Director of Plant Breeding needed @ NC State

You are all probably aware of our upcoming merger with NC State University, but what you may not know about yet is the Plant Breeding Consortium. NC State has long had a number of world class plant breeding programs including 25 that are currently active, from sweet potatoes to blueberries, to ornamental plants. All of those programs will soon be consolidated under a new PhD faculty position...the Director of Plant Breeding. The University is seeking a world class visionary leader for this new position. The details can be found in the posting announcement  We've got a fabulous Chancellor, (Randy Woodson), a fabulous Dean of the College of Ag and Life Sciences (Rich Linton), and a soon to be constructed $160 million dollar Plant Sciences Center. All we need now is a fabulous Director of Plant Breeding. Is that you or someone you know? Chancellor Randy Woodson (above left) with US Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue College of Ag Life Sciences Dean, Rich Linton (left) Read more [...]

Join the flocks and bedazzled.

Here are a couple of favorites from our trials that will be included in our new catalog to be launched January 1. These are the Bedazzled series of Phlox, created by plantsman Hans Hansen, using our native Phlox bifida. Last year, these started flowering for us in late January and continued into April. In the ground, our clumps are only 4″ tall and 2′ wide. These are much more dense that typical Phlox bifida, and much more compact than Phlox subulata. Even before flowering, the evergreen foliage is pristine all winter. The first is ‘Bedazzled Lavender’ and the second is ‘Bedazzled Pink’. 

There’s Gold in Africa

When we first saw a photo of Zantedeschia ‘African Gold’, we nearly fell off our chair…or were we standing? No matter, we finally managed to acquire a start, and have been bulking them up ever since in hopes of being able to share one day, so stay tuned for the January 2019 catalog!

Cast Iron Tough

Now that winter is giving us a sneak preview of what's in store for the next few months,  the evergreen plants in the garden are really starting to shine without all those pesky deciduous perennials. Aspidistra, or cast iron plants, are one of our favorites, and they really look so good in the garden now. Many folks in more northern climates are relegated to container culture, but for those of us in Zone 7b and south, they are amazing perennials.  Aspidistra ebianensis 'Flowing Fountains' should be in all shade gardens where the climate allows. He's our nine year old clump this month, now 2' tall x 6' wide. Aspidistra retusa 'Nanjing Green' is a smaller clump with a different form. And here is a photo of Aspidistra elatior 'Asahi' from the garden last week.  We've also grown quite a few aspidistra from seed to see what kind of new forms might arise. Below are some photos of some of our 2 year old offspring. Like hostas, variegation in aspidistra arises from Read more [...]

Rich Dufresne estate update

I was blessed to spend time yesterday with Rich's delightful family, who came down from Massachusetts to sort through Richard's belongings at his home for the last 9 years in the NC Sandhills. They were thrilled for us to rescue Rich's papers, scans, and other plant related material. Our goal is to make these available to the public in a yet undetermined way, and hopefully plan a future celebration of Richard's life. It's been lovely to see so many comments from others who also admired Rich.  Special thanks to Rich's closest friends, the Lindlaus's, who were so helpful to Rich in his daily life, as well as coordinating the clean-up/rescue. Bless you all!   Read more [...]

The Salvia Doctor has left the Greenhouse

It is with a heavy heart that we share news of the passing of our friend Richard Dufresne (pronounced Doofrane), 75, who passed away this month at his home in Candor, North Carolina.  Rich was truly a one of a kind...a 1972 graduate of Carnegie Melon with a PhD in chemistry. After graduation, Rich did the post-doc shuffle, first at Johns Hopkins, then Brandeis University, and finally UMass, before signing on with Lorillard Tobacco Company in North Carolina as a flavor chemist. There, he researched organic chemical compounds to flavor tobacco. What else could you do with three post docs and a PhD thesis, titled, Thermal cyclizations of 3-(2-arylhydrazino)-3-pyrroline derivatives: a study of the Fischer indole synthesis? Rich was a regular at our nursery and garden, where we both benefited from the mutual exchange of plants and information. When Rich last visited us about eight weeks ago, it was obvious to us that we were seeing him for the last time. His health Read more [...]

Mixing textures

We love experimenting with new textural combinations in the garden, and here are a couple that caught our eye this fall. Start planning new bold leaf texture and color combinations for your garden this winter as you dream of spring. The bold foliage of Asarum splendens (wild ginger), mingles nicely with the southern maidenhair fern, Adiantum x mairesii. Here, we've interplanted Gloxinia (Seemania) 'Little Red' in a patch of Alstroemeria psittacina 'Variegata' and Manfreda 'Spot'. We love how the bold texture of the manfreda contrasts with the alstroemeria, while the color of the leaf spots pick up the purple in the gloxinia stems.  Read more [...]

Hit gold with Solomon’s Seal

Several of the Solomon’s Seals age gracefully, but we’re usually too busy writing catalog copy to get photos. This year, we happened to catch Polygonatum infundiflorum ‘Lemon Seoul’ all lit up in its fall fines. 

Goodbye Florence

Thank goodness Florence is finally heading away from our area. Thankfully, we dodged the worst of the storm, since the prediction models were dreadfully off target as late as 24-48 hours prior to landfall, when they showed the eye of the hurricane headed directly toward PDN/JLBG. Thankfully for us, Florence headed three hours south, passing instead over its namesake, Florence, SC. Top winds here were only 27 mph, with only 5″ of rain. Our thoughts go out to our friends in the actual storm track, who are coping with both wind and water damage. We’re on track to dry out by Friday, as we resume our final Open Nursery and Garden weekend for 2018…now scheduled for Sept. 21,22 (8-5) and Sept 23 (1-5)…see you soon and thanks for all the notes of concern!

Oh Florence!

It's the calm before the storm here at PDN/JLBG...or to quote the late philosopher Yogi Bera, "Deja vous all over again." In September 1996, a wild woman named Fran visited our Fall Open Nursery and Garden Friday, and now it's another F'er...Florence. Florence currently sits in the Atlantic Ocean, with a strong desire to stop by the NC coast on her way to Raleigh. Normally, the hurricane prediction models have coalesced by now, but instead, they are still diverging, with a wider range of potential impacts than a few days prior. NC has never had a hurricane come ashore with winds greater than 135 mph (Hazel in 1954), so Florence could be Fred Sanford's "big one", unless she gets dizzy from all the spinning and weakens on the way to land.  Here in Raleigh, we're still in the dead center of the average projected path, so everyone is busy getting prepared...as much as possible. All greenhouse covers are either being removed or battened down with excessive strapping, while Read more [...]