Trout Lily Fishing

We’ve assembled a nice collection of US native trout lilies, but unfortunately they don’t adapt well to typical nursery production. We are experimenting with digging these spring ephemerals while they are in flower and shipping them at that time. Here is one that was a start this spring that hopefully we’ll be able to share in a few more years.

White-spotted leopard

Recently took this photo of the amazing white-spotted leopard plant, Farfugium ‘Kaimon Dake’…so glad to have this back in stock finally!

Now you can have your very own white-spotted leopard!

Stephanotis kissin’ cousin

Cynanchum ascyrifolium is first cousin to the popular wedding flower, stephanotis. Despite it’s ease of growth in the garden, and hardiness to Minnesota, it’s always been a poor seller. We wanted to share the photo of our 2′ tall x 3′ wide clump taken last week in the garden. We could be persuaded to propagate again…if enough of you show an interest.

A new redbud to cultivation

Since redbuds were a favorite plant of the late J.C. Raulston, and a feature of the garden that bears his name, I assumed that I had seen or grown all of the known species. Boy was I wrong, as I learned from Scott McMahon, Manager of International Plant Explorations for the Atlanta Botanical Garden on a recent trip to Georgia. Cercis chuniana, which Scott brought in from China, is one of two species of redbuds with pendant racemes of flowers. The other is Cercis racemosa, which we've grown in our gardens since 1995. The foliage of C. chuniana is glaucous and quite unique, along with the flowers emerge white and age to pink. We look forward to this amazing new plant eventually becoming available to the public. Read more [...]

Cracks worth peering into

So far, it's been an amazing spring in our now completed crevice garden. Composed of 200 tons of recycled concrete, the 300' long drought-loving border is home to plants that need extremely well-drained planting media. We hope you'll be able to visit this fascinating installation during our Spring Open Nursery and Garden days, today, May 4, 8am-5pm, tomorrow 1pm-5pm, and next weekend, May 10-12. If not, here are a few current images. Read more [...]

Kale by the Sea

We’re now 2 years into our first successful attempt at growing the European Sea Kale, and have just finished our first flowering season. They key to success with Crambe maritima seems to be growing it hot and dry, since it resides in our gravel crevice garden. How cool is it to have a plants that is both ornamental and edible!

But, they don’t grow here

We have long admired the Aril iris, a group of dry-land species, mostly from Middle Eastern countries, which are renown for their ability to die quickly in wet, humid-summer climates.  Well, armed with our new crevice garden, we decided it was time to try our hand at these once more, focusing on what is known as Arilbred iris...aril species that have been crossed with more typical bearded iris. In our case, we focused on the 50/50 hybrids, which the vendor assured us would not have any chance in our climate. 

Despite our wettest year on record, here we are, 20 months after planting without a single loss. Here are a couple of photos from last spring, as we await the 2019 show (two center photos) just a few weeks away.  The crevice garden should look amazing for our Spring Open Nursery and Garden days...we hope you'll come visit. The lesson...don't believe anything you're told unless you verify it yourself. 

If you're interested in learning more, visit our friends at Read more [...]

Lies, Damn Lies, and Plant Labels

We just snapped this photo of Lemon Thread Cypress (Chamaecyparis pisifera 'Lemon Thread') in the gardens here at Juniper Level, and wanted to share since it illustrates our constant rants about trusting nurseries, plant tags, and websites to give accurate mature sizes. For a woody plant, our typical advice is to triple any size you are given. So, we wanted to see how that advice would work with the plant below.

Lemon Thread cypress was discovered in the mid 1980s as a sport at Oregon's Mitsch Nurseries, so it's a relative newcomer as plants go. Our 20 year old specimen is planted in compost-amended sandy loam without any chemical fertilizers ever. We should also add that we don't believe in shearing plants, which we find a waste of energy as well as a middle finger to natures's beauty. Our specimen now measures 25' tall x 15' wide.

We then searched the web for Lemon Thread Cypress and recorded the sizes from the top 30 sites that came up in Google...see notes below the photo.  Sizes Read more [...]

New Sterile Hellebores

We are rightly skeptical of great new plant claims, since so many new introductions fail to live up to the marketing hype, so we were cautiously optimistic when we planted our first trial plants of Helleborus x glandorfensis a couple of years ago.

These new, thought to be impossible hybrids of Helleborus niger x Helleborus x hybridus, have indeed lived up to the marketing hype. They are similar to the incredible Helleborus x iburgensis hybrids, which preceded them (crosses of Helleborus niger, hybridus, and lividus), but without Helleborus lividus, which produces the leaf veination, but reduces the flower size slightly.

The H. x glandorfensis hybrids (created by breeders in Glandorf, Germany) have dark, black green foliage, with flowers which are ridiculously large for a lenten rose.

Both the H. x glandorfensis and the x iburgensis hybrids have outfacing flowers and do not produce seed. You can't go wrong with any of these amazing hybrids for the winter garden!

Helleborus x glandorfensis Read more [...]

New baby tucked away in plain view

Even though we're in the garden virtually everyday, there's so much to see that we often miss things that are right in front of us.  Case in point...a few weeks ago, our taxonomist, Zac Hill was walking though the woodland garden and noticed that our evergreen Solomon's Seal had been sexually frisky with another disporopsis species in a nearby clump. In the photo on the right is the daddy, Disporopsis pernyi, and on the left, the momma, Disporopsis undulata.  In the center is the baby...a hybrid between the two.

The hybrid clump was actually fairly large, so we'd missed the blessed event by several years. According to disporopsis guru, Dr. Aaron Floden of the Missouri Botanical Garden, this seems to be the first time that anyone has documented a hybrid between these two species, so we named our new baby Disporopsis 'Opsis Attract' and look forward to being able to share in a few years.

  Read more [...]