Skirt-lifting time in the woods

While we'll always grow the woodland asarum (wild gingers) for their foliage, we are equally as entranced by their flowers which occur from fall thru spring...based on the species. The only months we haven't recorded asarum flowers in the garden are June-September.  One of our first time offerings this year is a selection we made of the Japanese Asarum kurosawae that we named Asarum 'Saddleback'. (Zone 7a-8b, at least)In late winter, we remove the old foliage in the center of the clump so that we can enjoy the flowers as you can see below.  Most of our asarums start as single divisions, and after 3-4 years, we divide them for the first time, resulting in 5-10 plants.  A second division 3-4 years later yields another 5-10 plants each, for a total of 25-100 plants. A third division is required 3-4 years later to finally have enough to offer. So, from start to commercialization is usually 9-12 years of production time. Tony demonstrates how to divide asarum Read more [...]

Guardians of the pet

Here’s a fun combination in the winter garden where we interplanted a clump of the North American native Agave lophantha with a gold-leaf form of the Japanese native Selaginella tamariscina. Both the textural and color combinations are quite eyecathing.  The lesson…create vignettes throughout the garden and don’t be afraid to experiment!

Cast iron makes a return

We now have so many aspidistra (cast iron plants), that there is at least one species flowering virtually every month of the year. Winter still has the most flowering species, and here are a few that are currently blooming in our collection. Most folks don't see the flowers because they either don't know to look or plant their plants too deep, so the flowers form underground. We like to snip off some of the oldest leaves for a better floral show. Aspidistra fungilliformis 'China Star' is a Chinese collection from Jim Waddick Aspidistra tonkinensis is a Dylan Hannon collection from Vietnam...not enough to share yet, but soon. Aspidistra sp. nov. is an Alan Galloway collection from Vietnam.  We thought this was Aspidistra lutea, but we now think it may be a new undescribed species. This one offsets slow, so it may be a couple of years before we can share...hopefully by then we can get this named. Aspidistra vietnamensis...a Japanese selection. Most of the plants in the trade Read more [...]

Cyclamen experiment

When we had our new home built, the design resulted in several potential planting areas under a wide overhang that never sees any moisture...unless something akin to a hurricane blows in. The idea was to keep water/irrigation and mulch away from the wood siding. Cyclamen seemed like a good choice for this difficult spot, so our friends Brent and Becky Heath shared some corms of a hardy form of the normally tender Cyclamen persicum. We laid the corms on top of the soil and covered them with 2" of Permatill (expanded slate that resembles pea gravel), which was then covered by an ornamental layer of river rock. Here are the plants currently after just over 1 year in the ground. The cold last winter burned off all the foliage, but they have all returned. Techniques like this should also work with any of the hardy cyclamen.  Read more [...]

Chelsea Gardens

Chelsea is always a sell out, so get your tickets early.   Interesting 3D garden Meatball Garden hmmm   A new use for driftwood Dyslexis hopscotch paving patterns Larger than life cattails Run for the metal roses No one's going to steel this bull Plants that never die Modernist garden A new take on stained glass Crevice fountains Not sure how they did this, but it's pretty amazing.   About face... If it looks like a nymph and moves like a nymph.... Read more [...]

Pearls of Wisdom

Just back from speaking at the wonderful Davidson County Garden Symposium, held in the NC metropolis of Welcome.  It's always an honor to share the stage with on of my idols, the 78 year young topiary artist, Pearl Fryar. In addition to being an incredible topiary artist, Pearl is truly one of the great inspirational thinkers and doers of our generation. If you've never visited Pearl's amazing topiary garden in South Carolina, I hope you can do so while he's still able to greet and chat with visitors. Pearl tells me that recently he hosted a 40 person delegation from China, setting up tents in his garden as they studied his unique style.  If you can't make the trip to Bishopville, SC, you can contribute to the preservation of the garden, and perhaps still catch the inspirational movie, A Man Named Pearl. Pearl and his bride of 51 years, Metra drove up to Welcome in their new smart car...a perfect choice for this young at heart couple.   Read more [...]

Magnolia lovers headed to Raleigh…join us!

  Here's a photo we took in the gardens last year of a new Mangolia insignis hybrid from SC plantsman Kevin Paris, who will be one of many world renown speakers at the upcoming meeting of the International Magnolia Society meeting to be held here in Raleigh, March 23-25. We look forward the amazing lineup of speakers and tours, including here at PDN/JLBG.  This is an intense group of plant nerds from around the world, most of whom are passionate about much more than magnolias.  Below is a note from President Gary Knox about the upcoming registration deadline, and how to sign up.  We hope to see you there. The Feb 9th deadline for registration for the Annual meeting is rapidly approaching.  This is your final reminder to register for the Annual Meeting of Magnolia Society International planned for March 23-25 in North Carolina (please click HERE for details and HERE to link to online registration). Join us in Raleigh during the midst of Spring where you Read more [...]

Growing Pitcher Plants in Containers

In early summer of 2016, after my first couple of months working at Plant Delights Nursery, I bought my first pitcher plant, Sarracenia 'Hurricane Creek White'. After reading the article Introduction to Sarracenia - The Carnivorous Pitcher Plant on PDN's website, I followed the simple instructions on growing pitcher plants in containers. I selected a decorative frost proof container that was equivalent to, or maybe a little larger than a 3gal container. I used sphagnum peat moss, as recommended, for the potting mix. The sphagnum peat moss is very dry and almost powdery when it comes out of the bag. Put the peat moss in a bucket and add water. Mix well, and allow the peat to soak up the water until it is no longer powdery and is more a spongy consistency. Now you are ready to plant. I started off with one of our 3.5" pitcher plants, which had one to two growing points and four to six pitchers, much like the plant pictured here. Fill your decorative container Read more [...]

More highlights from Denver

Kelly Grummons is a long-time cactiphyle and cactus breeder.  Kelly was a part of Timberline Gardens in Denver until it closed recently to make way for development.  For now, he's running his mail order cactus nursery from his home.  Many of the cool opuntias in our garden came from Kelly.  Kelly's home garden More cool plants I don't normally look at turf in a plantsman's garden, but I was struck by his beautiful lawn....and without irrigation.  Several decades ago, this bermudagrass hybrid, Cynodon dactylon x Cynodon transvaalensis was discovered in a Denver garden, brought into the US over fifty years ago, by a worker stationed in Africa.  Recently introduced as DogTuff grass, it thrives, once established, without irrigation in the high mountain deserts of Denver.  Additionally, the spread rate is dramatically less than the more invasive bermudagrass of which most gardeners hate.  The hybrid is sterile, so must be planted Read more [...]

On the road, again

Just back from the Perennial Plant Association Symposium, held this year in Denver. The annual meeting, designed for garden professionals, includes plenty of tours and talks.  The meeting attracts garden designers, garden workers, garden writers & speakers, nursery growers, retailers, and perennial plant lovers from around the world. It's a great chance to meet and chat with just about anyone you've ever heard, who works with perennials.  (Front, right with the backpack is Joseph Tychonievich, who wrote the new book, Rock Gardening; Reimagining a Classic Style.  Did I mention that next years' PPA will be in Raleigh/Durham, NC from July 30-August 3.  I'm sure you don't want to miss such an amazing opportunity!  The amazing Denver Botanic Garden was our dinner site, what an amazing place to stroll and learn. Denver Botanic Garden is one of the premier gardens in the US, combining incredible design with an incomparable collection of rare and little-known Read more [...]