Brexit Redux – Part III

The next morning, we were in for a weather event. The storm that had swept over North Carolina a few days before had followed us to the UK, and predictions were for torrential rains and 60-80 mph winds. For the night prior, we had stayed at the lovely Colesbourne Inn, part of the Colesbourne Estate and Gardens. Colesbourne Inn Our rooms were built in the 1100s, making it one of the older inns in which I've had the pleasure to stay in my travels. Despite the age, the rooms had been well updated with the modern conveniences on the interior and made for a delightful accommodation. We enjoyed a lovely dinner with Sir Henry and Carolyn Elwes, the current heirs of the estate, along with Dr. John Grimshaw, who formerly managed and re-invigorated the estate gardens. The food at the Colesbourne Inn is quite extraordinary...highly recommended.John Grimshaw was a trouper, agreeing to take us around Colesbourne in the difficult weather. Taking photos of galanthus in the pouring rain and Read more [...]

Brexit Redux – Part II

From Ashwood, we headed south, stopping for the evening near the town of Shaftesbury at the small, but lovely Coppleridge Inn. We arrived just after dark, which made the last hour of driving down narrow winding roads more treacherous than we would have preferred, but at least we arrived before the dinner hour wrapped up. The English love of drinking is legendary and sure enough, it seemed that everyone in the town was at the Coppleridge Inn pub for their evening rounds of drinking and socializing. Coppleridge Inn Pub After a lovely breakfast at the Coppleridge Inn, we headed out on the short 10 minute drive into the quaint town of Shaftesbury for the annual Shaftesbury Galanthus Festival...my first chance to see rabid galanthophiles in action. Galanthomania (maniacal collecting of snowdrops) has exploded in the UK, like coronavirus in the rest of the world, with both being quite costly once you become infected. We arrived at the Shaftesbury Art Center, where we were asked to Read more [...]

Brexit Redux – Part I

With the ink barely dry on the Brexit signing in early February, and well before Coronavirus panic hit, it was time for a return trip to the UK for another round of plant collecting. Accompanying me is Walters Gardens plant breeder, Hans Hansen of Michigan. Who knows how much more difficult it might become to get plants from across the pond into the US in the future. In reality, it's pretty darn difficult even now. Our trip started with a return to John Massey's Ashwood Nursery, which is widely regarded as home to the top hellebore and hepatica breeding programs in the world. Although I'd been several times, I'd never managed to catch the hellebores in flower, and although it's hard to predict bloom timing, we arrived at the beginning of peak bloom. We were able to visit the private stock greenhouses, where the breeding plants are housed, and what amazing specimens we saw. Below are the latest selections of Helleborus x hybridus from the handiwork of long-time Ashwood breeder, Kevin Read more [...]

For the Love of Hostas

Hostas are incredibly tough plants and will get along fine in almost any garden...but they look their absolute best with just a little extra attention. Here are some tips to grow beautiful hostas in your garden. Despite hostas durable nature, there are many myths circulating about growing hostas, one of which is the term Originator's Stock. Originator's stock is simply a superfluous term for saying that the plant in question is the correctly named clone. Click here for more debunking! Read more [...]

Asarum – Wild Gingers

Plants in the genus asarum are small but exquisite, deer-resistant woodland perennials that thrive in moist but well-drained conditions with light shade. Many asarum species are evergreen and make a great ground cover in the woodland garden. Here are some images of asarum in the garden this morning. Asarum are one of our specialty collections at Juniper Level Botanic Garden, with 86 species and 529 unique clones. Join Tony in the gardens during this Gardening Unplugged video garden chat about wild gingers. The flower color of asarums are usually burgundy or purple, but we are always on the look out for variants. Towards the end of the video Tony shows a yellow flowered form, Asarum ichangense 'Ichang Lemon', which we hope to have available for 2021. We do have another yellow flowered form we are offering for the first time this year, Asarum 'Tama Rasya'. Asarum 'Tama Rasya' Read more [...]

Adult vs. Juvenile

We get really excited about adult (mature) forms of ivy (Hedera) that are shrubs (arborescent). Juvenile (young) ivy vines, like a young child, run around the garden and get into things they shouldn't. Like kids, ivy goes through puberty, which happens only after it crawls high (30-40') into a tree or other tall object. It then settles down, stops running and becomes woody, with a compact, evergreen growth habit. It also begins flowering (an amazing pollinator attractant), sets attractive fruit, and we have seen no errant seedlings in our trials. H. helix 'Paper Doll'H. rhombea 'Hyuryu Island' Just as adult people grow rounder with age, arborescent ivies also change shape and the leaves lose their lobed appearance and the growth becomes dense and woody. By propagating from these difficult-to-root adult parts of the plant, the adult ivy plant retains the mature characteristics and no longer feels the need to crawl around and conquer the rest of your garden. H. helix 'Prince Avenue' Read more [...]

Holy Hosta!

Our hostas have happy roots! Hosta 'Apple Pie' Hostas are often touted as the best shade-loving plants for the perennial garden. At Plant Delights Nursery our hostas are all container-grown and are multiple-division plants that you can immediately divide. H. 'Kim She'H. 'Sunshine Floozie' All of the hostas that appear in this post are from our own breeding program at Juniper Level Botanic Garden. Learn more about our breeding program here. Read more [...]

Surprise!

A cold front that came through Raleigh, NC yesterday brought much needed rain and cooler temperatures. Coupled with the hit and miss showers last week, the first of our lycoris (surprise lily, hurricane lily, spider lily) have started to emerge in the garden. We look forward to a steady procession of "surprises" as we move into late summer and fall. Phil's Gold Lycoris have long been a geophyte (bulbs, corms, tubers, etc.) of interest, and since our climate is perfect for their growth, we are attempting to assemble a complete lycoris collection, and sort out some of the taxonomic misinformation, as well as to make many unavailable clones available to more gardeners. Here at JLBG, we currently grow all of the Lycoris species and over 650 unique clones, making this most likely the largest lycoris collection in the world. We are currently working on our fall catalog and eleven lycoris made the fall catalog cut, including eight first time offerings. Keep your eyes out....we're coming Read more [...]

Friday Morning Podcast

When designing your garden, incorporate as many visual treats as possible. So in addition to selecting plants for their attractive flowers and leaves, consider choosing some perennials for their ornamental seed or fruit. Here are some decorative seed pods in the garden this morning! Opuntia Hosta Yucca Amorphophallus Read more [...]

The Smells of Summer

Fragrant flowers are an often overlooked (or under-smelled) feature of the garden. But planting a garden full of fragrant flowers delights the nose, both day and night. The summer garden is full of wonderfully fragrant plants to tickle your nose and calm your senses. Here are some images taken yesterday in the garden...if only they were scratch and sniff! Hymenocallis Join us for our 2019 Summer Open Nursery & Garden Days, July 12-14 and 19-21 and experience the fragrances of the summer garden for yourself! Echinacea When thinking about fragrance in the garden, don't forget about foliage as well. Plants like rosemary and Illicium are amazing additions to your fragrance palette. Illicium 'Florida Sunshine' Crinum Read more [...]