Plant Delights September 2015 Newsletter

Greetings PDNers!

It’s hard to believe, but September is here and it’s time for our final Open Nursery and Garden for 2015. We hope you’ll join us to see all the gems that look great this time of year and stock up for the fall planting season with all the cool new plants from the fall catalog.

Plants, Plants, and More Plants

Monarda 'Bubblegum Blast'

Monarda ‘Bubblegum Blast’

We also hope you’ve had time to enjoy the Fall Plant Delights Nursery catalog. We’re so excited by the new offerings, especially the clumping, heat-tolerant, mildew-resistant bee balms. These are a huge breeding breakthrough for anyone who likes monardas and attracting pollinators into the garden.

Other members of the same (Lamiaceae) family are also putting on quite a show now.Agastaches, first cousins to bee balm, are simply amazing in fall. In particular, Agastache ‘Peachie Keen’ and ‘Rosie Posie’ have been standouts in our trials and are still in full flower here. These are perfect for a sunny, well-drained spot in the garden where you can observe all the cool insects and hummingbirds which will visit.

Agastache 'Peachie Keen'

Agastache ‘Peachie Keen’

While we’re talking members of the Lamiaceae family, we must mention the salvias. The Salvia greggii cultivars are putting on their fall show, as are many other fall-flowering species. Our favorite fall-flowering salvia has to be Salvia ‘Phyllis Fancy’. We moved a plant of this amazing giant into one of the new beds near the sales greenhouses, so people who don’t wander the gardens extensively will still get to enjoy it.

Final Open House for 2015…and More Plants

Did we mention we’re in the midst of our final Open Nursery and Garden for 2015? Friday through Sunday, September 11-13 and 18-20 (8-5 Friday and Saturday and 1-5 Sunday) are the final opportunities to visit until February 2016. We hope you’ll bring your want list from the fall catalog or just come and stroll the gardens.

Boehmeria 'Glow Light'

Boehmeria ‘Glow Light’

There’s so much to see in the garden this time of year, including an array of ornamental grasses and a number of fall-flowering bulbs.Cyclamen hederifolium is flowering throughout the dry shade woodland garden, Also, an incredible array of shade-loving tricyrtis (toad lilies) are at their peak with their unique orchid-like flowers. For a bright spot in the fall shade garden, there are few plants as capable of adding as much sunshine as Boehmeria ‘Glow Light’…truly radiant.

We’ve had a great lycoris (surprise lily) season and a number of late-blooming crinum lilies are flowering nicely. Peak lycoris season at JLBG is August, but there are several cultivars which flower into September as you’ll see when you visit. Crinum lilies begin as early as May for us, but many re-flower through September, while others don’t start until fall. Their cousin, the mini-hippeastrum-like Rhodophiala bifida is also providing a bright spot of red throughout the garden now. Be sure to see what these genera have to offer for your fall garden.

Silene subciliata

Silene subciliata

Several more fascinating new plants from the fall catalog that are now looking great in the garden include Silene subciliata, Heteropterys glabra,Gloxinia ‘Little Red’, and Sedum ‘Dynomite’. Be sure to enjoy these stars out during open house…they’re hard to miss.

The dark blue-flowering leadworts (ceratostigma) are simply fantastic now as are the light blue-flowered caryopteris. Even buddleias (butterfly bushes) are showcasing their fall blue-lavender flowers. We think you can never have enough blues in the garden.

Other colors abound now including echinaceas (if they were cut back after their early flowering), dahlias, rudbeckia, verbena, hedychiumlobelia, ruellia, achimenes, and so much more. Bring your camera, bring your friends, and we’ll provide the great weather. We hope you’ll be able to visit!

Open Nursery and Garden Dates for 2016

Winter
February 26 – 28 and March 4 – 6

Spring
April 29 – May 1 and May 6 – May 8

Summer
July 8 – 9 and July 15 – 17

Fall
September 9 – 11 and September 16 – 18

Friday and Saturday 8a-5p
Sunday 1-5p

Rain or Shine!
Free Parking!

Click for more info

Happy Open Nursery Days Shoppers

Happy Open Nursery Days Shoppers

News from PDN/JLBG

With our steady growth over the last couple of decades, we experienced an office space crunch, so to alleviate this, we were fortunate to recently purchase the adjacent 6-acre horse farm. While it’s sad to lose our wonderful neighbors, the Yde’s, we are excited to have more room. To get more office space, the nursery will be booting us out of our current home in the middle of the garden as soon as we build our downsized retirement home on the new property.

Anita with Frank Harmon

Anita with Frank Harmon

We are blessed to have acquired the services of one of America’s finest architects, Frank Harmon, of Raleigh, who, along with his team, have designed our new residence. (Tony was classmates with Frank’s late wife, Judy, at NC State…back in the day). The purchase will also allow us to re-configure the Open Nursery and Garden parking areas, which we believe you will enjoy. Be sure to follow the changes over the next year during each Open Nursery and Garden.

Demolition of the Yde's Former Residence

Demolition of the Yde’s Former Residence

 PDN/JLBG Classes

garden-retreat-classAnita will be leading her first class at the garden this fall, but it’s not about plants. Join Anita as she leads a sensory garden walk designed to awaken the senses and quiet the thinking mind. Anita will show you how experiencing the gardens through the senses will nourish the body, mind, and spirit. If your mind is open to new experiences, don’t miss this incredible opportunity to gain new insights from a truly amazing woman…yes, I’m prejudiced. You can learn more about Anita at http://AnitaAvent.com or read her wonderful Sensuous Gardening Blog at http://www.sensuousgardening.blogspot.com/. Seating for this class is very limited.

Remember to sign up for our other classes offered this fall:

  • Josh Taylor’s Photography Class
  • Tony’s Garden Walk
  • The World of Soils

Read the class descriptions here.

Industry News

In news from the horticultural world, corporate giant, Ball Horticultural has purchased the 153-year-old Conard-Pyle Company from owner Steve Hutton, whose family has owned the business for the past 65 years. Even though you may not recognize the company name, Conard-Pyle is the manger/distributer of Knock-out roses…perhaps you’ve heard of them. They also introduced the “Blue Hollies”, the industry standard holly in the Northeast US.

Gardens of Germany

Our friend, landscape architect, Roland Oehme, son of the late landscape architect, Wolfgang Oehme is taking a plant trip to Germany and is accepting travel companions. This isn’t an organized tour per se, but a chance to visit gardens, nurseries, and study German garden design. The cost is $2500-$3000 including airfare. If you’re interested, you can email Roland at his company, Green Harmony Design, at info@greenharmonydesign.com.

Passing On

Athyrium 'Branford Beauty'

Athyrium ‘Branford Beauty’

We were saddened this month to learn of the passing of plantsman Nick Nickou, MD, of Branford, CT, who passed away at the age of 94. In addition to being a physician for 40 years, Nick was a keen gardener and plant explorer (China, Russia, Greece, South Africa, Patagonia and more). We are fortunate to have a number of plants that Nick shared, growing in our garden, including his two most popular introductions, Athyrium ‘Branford Rambler’ and Athyrium ‘Branford Beauty’. What an amazing and wonderful life!

Bruce Usrey

Bruce Usrey

The nursery world lost a giant this month, with the passing of retired Monrovia Nursery President/CEO, Bruce Usrey. Bruce worked with Monrovia for over 45 years, starting in plant production and working his way up to CEO and, in his later years, Managing Director. Bruce oversaw much of the tremendous expansion of Monrovia during the 1980s through the 2000s, when Monrovia became a household brand. Bruce is survived by his wife, Susie, another 40-year Monrovia veteran.

Most everyone who grew houseplants from the 1970s through the 1990s has probably heard of Peters Fertilizer, which is a worldwide industry standard for quality and performance. Many of us vividly remember their famous blue fertilizer dye, which stained our hands and made those we subsequently dined with stare with horror.

We are sad to report that Peters founder, Robert (Bob) Peters just passed away at age 97. Peters rewrote the proverbial book on liquid fertilizer during the green industry heyday. Peters started his fertilizer company in 1947, but sold it in 1979 to the Grace Company, which later became Grace-Sierra. Grace-Sierra was subsequently gobbled up by Scotts in 1993. Disenchanted by the workings of a large corporation and their unequal promotion of their Miracle-Grow brand, Peters re-purchased the rights to their fertilizer in 2002, but not their original name. They subsequently started a new company, selling the old Peters fertilizer as Jack’s at www.jrpeters.com.

Connect with Us!

Until next month, connect and follow us and the cats on FacebookPinterest, and our blogs at http://blog.plantdelights.com and http://www.sensuousgardening.blogspot.com/, where you may sign up to follow our regular posts from the nursery and the botanic garden.

Happy Gardening!

tony and anita

Plant Delights July 2015 Newsletter

Greetings PDNers!

Summer Open Nursery and Garden

Agave 'Grey Gator'

Agave ‘Grey Gator’

Come see our 30 foot flowering agave at our final Summer Open Nursery and Garden Days this weekend. Visitors from around the country have been showing up to see our giant agave in flower, a 16-year-old specimen of Agave salmiana x Agave asperrima, with the first flowers opening right on cue for our summer open days. This is the tallest century plant we’ve ever flowered, with the tip of the spike topping out just a few inches below the 30′ tall mark. We’ve got our giant ladder perched nearby so Jeremy can make his daily pollinations, all while fighting off attacking hummingbirds.

We hope you’ll have time to walk around the garden while you’re here. The newly-opened, full sun Souto garden is looking fabulous, with so much color it’s almost overwhelming. Changes also abound throughout the older sections of the garden. Anita has suggested the removal of several formerly fenced and hedged areas to create more openness…we think you’ll enjoy these changes as much as we do.

Summer Nursery & Garden Days Final Weekend

July 17 – 19

Friday and Saturday 8a-5p
Sunday 1-5p

Rain or Shine!
Free Parking!

Click for more info

Happy Open Nursery Days Shoppers

Happy Open Nursery Days Shoppers

Daylilies You’ll Notice — Royalty in the Summer Garden

If you visit during the summer, you’ll notice some rather impressive daylilies in the sunny areas. We’ve long enjoyed daylilies for their ability to add color to the summer garden and now have them showcased better than ever.

Hemerocallis 'Freewheelin'

Hemerocallis ‘Freewheelin’

The prevailing daylily breeding trend since the 1970s has been to shrink the height of daylilies to appeal the masses. Obviously, this worked, since Hemerocallis ‘Stella D’Oro’ can be seen lining highway medians across the country. As horticultural contrarians, however, we enjoy taller daylilies, which we feel add much more visual interest to the garden. We don’t object to a few daylilies in the 3′ range, but rarely find the shorter varieties at the top of our favorites list, although some true dwarf rock garden daylilies would be fascinating.

Hemerocallis ‘Autumn Minaret’ is certainly the best known of the taller cultivars, topping out in our garden now at 6.5′ tall…yes, you read that correctly. This 1951 late season introduction was hybridized from one of the taller natural species, Hemerocallis altissima, which is actually a very small-growing plant that just happens to have a 5′ tall flower spike.

Hemerocallis 'Black Eyed Susan'

Hemerocallis ‘Black Eyed Susan’

Hemerocallis ‘Purity’ is another summer-flowering favorite. The well-branched 5′ tall flower spikes hold hundreds of yellow-orange flowers over a very long time. We can’t imagine a summer garden without this gem. While we typically don’t rave about many daylilies that flower below 3′, there are a few noticeable exceptions. One that we continually tout as one of the best is Hemerocallis ‘Black Eyed Susan’. Without question, this amazing plant is one of the most floriferous and stunning daylilies we grow. Although it only manages 32″ in height, its show power in the garden is truly hard to match.

We’ve got many more of the taller daylilies in our trials, and have even moved a bit of pollen around this summer between some of the taller varieties, so we hope you find these “off the bell curve” daylilies worth including in your own garden.

Black Bamboo Death – The End is Nigh

Phyllostachys nigra

Phyllostachys nigra (courtesy Georges Seguin via Wikipedia)

The bamboo world has been rocked over the last few years as most of the black bamboo has begun its flowering cycle. While flowering is good in most plants, such is not the case with bamboo since, like agaves, it dies after flowering. Like century plants, a bamboo plant also takes about 100 years to flower but unlike agaves, bamboo offsets don’t survive. Since most bamboo is grown from divisions, when a particular clone flowers, it flowers everywhere around the world within a certain time window, influenced slightly by growing conditions.

Black bamboo began flowering worldwide in 2008, with many in the US starting only in the last year. Bamboo flowers are brown and insignificant, so most folks won’t even notice until the plant begins a steady decline. The sad part is that everyone’s black bamboo will die, but the up side is that more plants will be grown from seed and the new generation crop will have another 100-year lifespan. Also, all those folks who were lied to by retailers who told them black bamboo clumped will have their problem resolved. The take home lesson is that if you’re buying the running black bamboo (Phyllostachys nigra), be sure to ask if it’s a new generation plant from seed or the clone which is currently flowering.

Yucca Birth Records Confusion — Who’s Your Daddy?

For many years we’ve had a fascination with yuccas and have long been convinced that the taxonomy of the Southeast native species was a mess. Reading several recent DNA papers along with some older works from the early 1900s, we realized that most of what is labeled Yucca filamentosa is actually Yucca flaccida…a completely different species.

We’re in the process of updating all of our names on the website and apologize in advance for the confusion. All of the variegated cultivars of Yucca filamentosa, except for the cultivar ‘Variegata’, are actually selections of Yucca flaccida.

Yucca gloriosa 'Tiny Star'

Yucca gloriosa ‘Tiny Star’

Yucca filamentosa, however, is a real plant. The real plant is what is known in the trade as the coastal boat-tipped yucca. We are currently propagating some true Yucca filamentosa for inclusion in a future catalog. If you vacation along the East Coast from NC south to Florida, the small yucca you see on the dunes is Yucca filamentosa.

Also growing on the southeast coastal dunes are two other species, Yucca aloifolia and Yucca gloriosa. It has long been theorized that Yucca gloriosa might represent a natural hybrid between Yucca aloifolia and Yucca filamentosa and, sure enough, the new DNA work confirms that theory. Consequently, the name should be written correctly as Yucca x gloriosa. Now it makes sense that when we were studying yuccas last year on the NC dunes, many plants seemed to be intermediates between the three parent species. We guess our eyes were not deceiving us after all. Two papers on the subject were shared by Larry Hatch of Cultivar.org and are found below if you are scientifically nerdy enough to care.

On our many Southeast US botanizing trips we discovered other natural hybrids along with another new southeastern native yucca species that seems to have never been named. We will be working to get it described and published in the near future…an exciting time for those of us who love yuccas.

Perennial Plant Registrations

Our friend Larry Hatch is looking to fill a gap in the registration of new perennial varieties. There is supposed to be a system in place for anyone who wants to officially register, for posterity purposes, any new perennial that they name and introduce. While some genera of plants like iris, daylilies, and hostas have a dedicated registrar and a functioning system, most genera of plants either don’t have a registrar or the system is too cumbersome. The New Ornamentals Society is working to streamline the process with a new no-cost registration system. We encourage you to give it a try here.

Fern Hardiness Oops

Dryopteris labordei 'Golden Mist'

Dryopteris labordei ‘Golden Mist’

In our trials from this winter, it has become obvious that one of the ferns we offer isn’t nearly as hardy as our liner supplier had indicated. We lost all plantings of Dryopteris labordei ‘Golden Mist’ at 9 degrees F this winter, which is a far cry from its purported Zone 5 hardiness. The problem stems from a taxonomic confusion. Dryopteris labordei is considered a synonym of Dryopteris indusiata, the latter of which is a Zone 5 plant. Obviously, the two plants are not the same. While it’s still a great fern, we are shifting its winter hardiness to Zone 8a-9b. If you purchased this based on our previous hardiness listing, just drop us a note and we’ll add a credit to your account or issue a refund. Please accept our apologies for this incorrect information.

Passing On

Last month saw the passing of one of the giants of the waterlily world, Patrick Nutt, 85, longtime curator of Aquatic Plants at Longwood Gardens. Pat was revered throughout the water lily world for his encyclopedic knowledge and as a water lily breeder, promoter, and educator. Pat will be best remembered as the breeder of the internationally-renowned giant water lily Longwood Victoria, which most summer visitors to Longwood have no doubt gazed on in amazement. Pat began his career at Longwood Gardens in 1957 and remained there for the next 38 years, until his retirement in 1995. Even after his retirement, he continued to be a regular at Longwood Gardens while also traveling around the world, collecting and researching water lilies. Our condolences go out to Pat’s family and friends…life well lived!

Connect with Us!

Until next month, connect and follow us and the cats on Facebook,Pinterest, and our blog, where you may sign up and follow our regular posts from Plant Delights Nursery and Juniper Level Botanic Garden.

Happy Gardening!

-tony and anita

Plant Delights May 2015 Newsletter

Greetings PDNers!

Spring Open Nursery and Garden Days

One more weekend of our Spring Open Garden and Nursery Days remains… this Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. We hope you’ll join us to walk the 10+ acres of gardens and take home a few of the incredibly cool plants for sale in the nursery, many exclusives, available only at Plant Delights. The first open weekend we welcomed visitors from 21 states (Vermont to Louisiana and west to Oklahoma) and even a couple from Germany.

Paeonia 'Bartzella'

Paeonia ‘Bartzella’

Visitors are enjoying the new garden areas including plantings by the sales greenhouses and the recently opened 2+ acre Souto garden section. We hope you’ll allow plenty of time to see all the amazing plants while getting lots of landscape ideas for the garden at your home.

The peonies are peaking now, with our clump of Paeonia ‘Cora Stubbs’ sporting 55 insanely fragrant flowers! Peonies like Paeonia ‘Bartzella’, which are usually finished flowering by Open Nursery and Garden Days, have just opened their first flowers. We also have four agaves in spike so far, including our largest hardy agave, Agave ‘Grey Gator’, whose spike began Thursday night.

A number of plants that sold out earlier are now back in stock with even more right behind. We hope you’ll visit the Plant Delights website often to find the best perennial treasures.

Spring Open Nursery & Garden Days Final Weekend

May 8 – 10

Friday and Saturday 8a-5p
Sunday 1-5p

Rain or Shine!
Free Parking!

Click for more info

Happy Open Nursery Days Shoppers

Happy Open Nursery Days Shoppers

Congratulations Dr. Olsen

Dr. Richard T. Olsen

Dr. Richard T. Olsen (from USNA website)

We recently posted a congratulatory note on social media to let you now about former PDN’er and NCSU graduate, Dr. Richard Olsen, who was recently appointed the new Director of your U.S. National Arboretum in Washington DC. In case you are not connected to social media, we posted how thrilled we are for Richard.

Since finishing his PhD at NCSU in 2006, Richard has worked with the U.S. Department of Agriculture as a tree breeder. Even during Richard’s tenure at Plant Delights as a student, we knew he was an amazing plantsman, destined for horticultural greatness. It’s great to know that the folks at the U.S. Department of Agriculture recognized this too.

The U.S. National Arboretum is best known for a few of its more public plant collections: the Gotelli Conifer Garden, Asian Valley, the Bonsai pavilion, Fern Valley, and the National Herb Garden. Lesser known are many of its amazing tree collections and breeding plots that are rarely explored or off limits to visitors. These breeding programs have so far yielded over 650 plants introduced into commerce.

The 446-acre U.S. National Arboretum had lost its way in recent years. Visitors noticed the lack of general maintenance from unmown lawns to research plots where weeds were taller than the research plants. Most recently, the National Arboretum had greatly reduced their hours and were closed to the public most of the week. Coinciding with Richard’s hiring, the National Arboretum is now open again seven days a week… hooray!

The National Arboretum also endured a PR fiasco a few years earlier when a plan to get rid of parts of several plant collections (boxwoods, daylilies, azaleas) met with a very public backlash. Since that time there has been major behind the scenes strategizing involving Richard and several others to craft a long-range strategic plan for the National Arboretum.

We look forward to the Arboretum regaining the stature it once had as one of the great jewels in the U.S. horticultural crown.

UNSA Logo

 

Industry News

In news from the nursery world, comes the closure of Greer Gardens of Oregon. For 50 years Harold Greer and his staff have made a wide assortment of rhododendrons and other amazing plants available to gardeners around the country. The Greer’s fourteen-acre garden and nursery will become a retirement home featuring many of the Greer’s amazing plants. Thanks for a great run and for all the great plants!

In other news from the nursery world, Scarlet Tanager CEO, Niles Kinerk, tells us that because sales have rebounded this spring, he will be able to scale back both Spring Hill Nursery and Michigan Bulb and not close them in June as he had previously planned. It’s always good to avert another significant loss to the mail order industry!

The More You Know

In the “you can’t make this up” file comes news that researchers have determined that moths remember on which plant they lose their virginity. A study of African moths showed that, like humans, the moths recognized and remembered their first time and returned there for subsequent mating. In this case, the moths would return to mate on a plant that wasn’t their natural preferred host simply based on good first time memories. Read the whole store here.

If you’re up for more reading, we’ve recently put a series of new plant articles on-line including many articles we write for Walter Magazine. Enjoy!

American Hosta Society Annual Convention in Raleigh June 18-20

Hosta 'Totally Awe Sum'

Hosta ‘Totally Awe Sum’

Only a few weeks remain until we welcome the American Hosta Society annual convention to Raleigh. Plant Delights Nursery/Juniper Level Botanic Garden will welcome the group to dinner, tours, and shopping on June 18. We really hope you’ll be able to join us. Register to attend the events here.

Let’s Stay Connected!

Until next month, connect and follow us and the cats on Facebook, Pinterest, and our blog, where you may sign up and follow our regular posts from Plant Delights Nursery and Juniper Level Botanic Garden.

Happy Spring Gardening!

-tony and anita

Plant Delights April 2015 Newsletter

Greetings PDNers!

Nursery Update—Made it through Winter

It’s been quite a late winter at Juniper Level/Plant Delights, with the latest-occurring single digit temperature we’ve seen since our records began in the 1970s. Plants like hellebores in bloom when the cold snap hit have recovered, although flowers that were fully open or nearly so were slightly damaged. Hellebores are really tough and, after removing a few damaged flowers, they look great.

Helleborus x hybridus PDN Double Pink w/Spots

Helleborus x hybridus PDN Double Pink w/Spots

Plants and More Plants

Trillium vaseyi

Trillium vaseyi

Some of the very early trilliums, like the Florida forms of Trillium underwoodii, were also damaged. On a few of these, the entire stem collapsed back to the rhizome. When this happens, these trilliums will not return until next year. All of the other trillium species had the good sense to wait until later to emerge and are unscathed.

One of the benefits of cold winters is a good chilling period for most perennials. Like a bear needs to hibernate, the same is true for most perennials and the longer rest and deeper chill they receive, the better they return for the upcoming season. Consequently, we expect a stunning spring display.

Paeonia 'Bartzella'

Paeonia ‘Bartzella’

The fat peony buds have already poked through the ground and started to expand. We moved quite a few of our peonies last year into sunnier areas, so we have really high expectations for 2015. We continue to expand our peony offerings based on the results of our trials where we evaluate for good flowering and good stem sturdiness. It’s a shame that many of the best-selling peonies often don’t meet that criteria.

One of the first plants to sell out this spring was the amazing mayapple, Podophyllum ‘Galaxy’. We have another crop in the production pipeline but they aren’t ready yet…hopefully in the next few months. Thanks for your patience since there was obviously pent up demand.

Phlox 'Pink Profusion'

Phlox ‘Pink Profusion’

The early spring phlox are just coming into their glory here at Juniper Level. Two new offerings from our friend Jim Ault are just superb. If you have a sunny garden, don’t miss trying Phlox ‘Forever Pink’ and Phlox ‘Pink Profusion’.

The flower buds have also begun on the sarracenias (pitcher plants) in the garden. Not only is pitcher plant foliage unique in appearance and its ability to attract and digest insects, but the flowers are also amazing. Each flower arises before the foliage, atop a 6-18” tall stalk (depending on the species). The flowers, which resemble flying saucers, come in red, yellow, and bicolor.

Sarracenia flava

Sarracenia flava

Pitcher plants are very easy to grow in a container of straight peat moss, and kept sitting in a tray of water. In the garden, sandy soils or a combination of peat and sand work great. Just remember…no chemical fertilizers or lime nearby…they need a pH below 5.0. Pitcher plants also like damp feet but dry ankles, so growing them in a swamp is a no-no. We hope you’ll find something you like from our selection of ten different offerings.

In case you missed it, we recently added a number of new hellebores to the website, many of which are available in large enough quantities that we can offer quantity discounts. Of course, this will be the last of our hellebore crop for 2015, so when they’re gone, they’re gone for the entire year.

Greenhouse Filled with Hellebores

Greenhouse Filled with Hellebores

Plant Cartoon

I hope all the aroid collectors saw this wonderful cartoon. If not, check out the link below. We’re not sure what that says about us, but it’s probably true. http://www.foxtrot.com/2015/02/08/calling-all-florists

Open Nursery and Garden

Thanks to everyone who visited during our winter open nursery and garden days…many braving some unseasonably cold weather. Remember that we will open again the first two weekends of May, and we expect much nicer weather for you to shop and enjoy the spring garden.

2015 Spring Open Nursery & Garden Days

May 1 – 3
May 8 – 10

Fridays/Saturdays 8a-5p
Sundays 1-5p

Rain or Shine!
Free Parking!

Click for more info

Happy Open Nursery Days Shoppers

Happy Open Nursery Days Shoppers

Fern Conference

Pyrrosia polydactyla

Pyrrosia polydactyla

Whether you’re a ferner or a native, you may be interested in the upcoming fern meeting….aka the Next Generation Pteridological Conference, scheduled to start at the National Museum of Natural History in Washington DC on June 1. If you’ve got a fern “jones,” consider joining us for the Smithsonian’s fern conference. Not only will you enjoy fern presentations, but you’ll be able to talk spores, stipes, and croziers while enjoying cocktails in the nation’s capital. For more information visit http://botany.si.edu/sbs/.

Invasive Species

A hot-button topic is invasive exotics and, like with any scientific topic, the best thing we can have is dissenting opinions. Those with an open mind will enjoy these recent eye-opening publications:

Sign Up for Close-Up Photography Workshop and Garden Walks

Josh Taylor Photography Class at PDNWe have a number of educational events scheduled at Plant Delights this spring from classes to conventions and we’d love for you to join us. You’ll find our list of classes here, starting with our Close-Up Garden Photography workshop on Saturday May 2.

American Hosta Society National Convention in Raleigh June 18-20

Hosta 'Showbiz'

Hosta ‘Showbiz’

In June, we welcome the American Hosta Society, as hosta lovers from around the world descend on the Raleigh area to share and learn about their favorite genus of plants.Plant Delights Nursery/Juniper Level Botanic Garden will welcome the group to dinner, tours, and shopping on June 18. We really hope you’ll be able to join us. Register to attend the events at americanhostasociety.org.

Let’s Stay Connected!

Until next month, connect and follow us and the cats on FacebookPinterest, and our blog, where you may sign up and follow our regular posts from the nursery and the botanic garden.

Happy Gardening!

-tony and anita

Plant Delights Nursery February 2015 Newsletter

Greetings PDNers!

Buy Valentine’s Day Gift Certificates

Valentine’s Day is rapidly approaching and it’s time to forget those cut flowers that only last a few days and give the gift of long-living perennials which will remind your love of your thoughtfulness each year. The easy, stress-free way to share your love is with a Plant Delights gift certificate for your plant-loving Valentine so they can select their own favorites.

Show your love with a PDN Gift Certificate

Show your love with a PDN Gift Certificate

Visit and Shop Winter Open Nursery & Garden Days

New Walkway to Souto Garden

New Walkway to Souto Garden

Our upcoming Winter Open Nursery and Garden Days are only a few weeks away. We are happy to officially open the new 2-acre, full-sun Souto Garden to visitors. To facilitate entrance into the new garden section, we’ve opened up a walkway through the Nellie Stevens holly hedge from the Sunken Rain Garden. We hope you’ll enjoy this new addition with thousands of amazing new sun perennial plants and plantings.

Buy Hellebores and More

Helleborus 'Rose Quartz'

Helleborus ‘Rose Quartz’

Visit us during Winter Open Nursery and Garden Days and you’ll experience a hellebore extravaganza! We’ll have an amazing selection of flowering hellebores to choose from….most in full flower. Hellebores aren’t the only plants to see, as there are many other winter-flowering gems in the greenhouses. Of course, if you’re ready to get a jump start on your planting, all plants in the Plant Delights Nursery catalog and website will also be available, although some are still asleep for the winter. Others which are grown in greenhouses at 55 degrees will be available, but must be kept indoors until all danger of frost has passed.

Greenhouse Filled with Hellebores

Greenhouse Filled with Hellebores

See our New PDN and JLBG Signage

New Garden SignAnita and her team spearheaded the creation and installation of an array of new directional and informational signs around the nursery and garden offices, starting with our new entrance and exit signs. Our goal is to make navigation of our campus easier during Open Nursery and Garden Days as well as for visitors, tours, and groups.

Let’s Scan Those Purchases!

We’ve enhanced our shopping procedures for you with our new bar code scanning system. We trialed the system during our later 2014 open nursery days so we’re ready to make your checkout experience faster and more efficient for your shopping pleasure.

Happy Open Nursery Days Shoppers

Happy Open Nursery Days Shoppers

Sign Up for Close-Up Photography Workshop and Garden Walks

We have a number of educational events scheduled at Plant Delights this spring from classes to conventions and we’d love for you to join us. You’ll find our list of classes here, starting with our Close-Up Garden Photography workshop on Saturday May 2.

American Hosta Society National Convention in Raleigh June 17-20

Hosta 'Showbiz'

Hosta ‘Showbiz’

In June, we welcome the American Hosta Society, as hosta lovers from around the world descend on the Raleigh area to share and learn about their favorite genus of plants. Plant Delights Nursery/Juniper Level Botanic Garden will welcome the group to dinner, tours, and shopping on June 18. We really hope you’ll be able to join us. Register to attend the events at americanhostasociety.org.

Drones in the Garden and Nursery

Take a look at these two brand new drone videos of our botanic garden and our nursery! Our daughter, Katie, is a software architect at SAS by day and an aspiring filmmaker at night. We asked her to help us edit these two raw videos captured with the aerial drone provided by Heli-Cam Aerial Photo and Video. If you haven’t had the chance to visit the garden or the nursery, or haven’t been here in a few years, we believe these videos will give you a glimpse of how we are growing and beautifying the landscape in southern Wake County. Share these videos with your family and friends and help us raise awareness of how cool it is to visit PDN and JLBG!
PDN Video
JLBG Video

A Drone in the Garden

A Drone in the Garden

Knock Out the Nonsense…

We recently received a note from a garden writer, detailing the strong arm tactics now being used by the marketer of Knockout Roses ®, in an effort to keep their Knockout ® trademark valid. Garden writers around the county were send cease and desist letters, telling them to stop using Knockout ® as part of the cultivar name. The company, Conard Pyle of Pennsylvania, is technically correct to try and protect their trademark, but they’ve shot themselves in the proverbial foot by misnaming the individual roses.

USPATUS Trademark law does not allow a trademark to be used as the public-known name of any product. Trademarks can only be used to designate origin of the product…for example, for a series of roses. If the public, however, recognizes the trade name as the product name or part of the product name, then the trademark, despite being legally acquired, becomes invalid.

Conard Pyle would have been on solid legal footing if they had actually given the Knockout ® roses good cultivar names that the public would remember, but they intentionally didn’t do that. The official names of the Knockout roses are non-words like Rosa ‘Radrazz’, ‘Radcon’, ‘Radcor’, etc. Most of the public have no idea these are the real plant names. The public, instead, knows the rose names as Rosa ‘Pink Knockout’, Rosa ‘Rainbow Knockout’, Rosa ‘Double Knockout’, etc. That’s because this is exactly what Conard Pyle intended…even in their own marketing brochures.

The Knockout ® roses were given these non-sensical cultivar names so, when the 20-year patents expired and everyone could legally propagate the roses, they wouldn’t be able to sell them under the Knockout ® names that the public knew as the plant names. In other words, it seems that their intent was to fool the public into knowing the plants by the trademark name only…despite the non-sensical real cultivar names being included on the tag in “mice type.” By the way, the first of the Knockout ® patents to expire will be Rosa ‘Radrazz’, which will lapse in 4 years (January 2019), hence the sense of urgency.

Rosa 'Radrazz'

Rosa ‘Radrazz’

It appears Conard Pyle’s legal team is now trying to close the proverbial barn door after the horses have left the stable. Legal letters have been so frightening to garden writers that some bloggers have gone back and changed 8-year-old posts. Perhaps this will finally be enough for garden writers to grow a spine and stop using these illegal trade names in print and on-line…a practice that would stop the nurseries from using them in short order.

One newspaper writer that we spoke with has even gone so far as to stop writing about any trademarked plant…hurrah! We need to continue to publicly shame those in our industry who persist with this confusing and improper plant naming as a way to get around the intent of US Patent and Trademark law. It’s a shame no plant people have the time or deep pockets to challenge these perpetrators in the courts. If you’d like to read more about this subject, including settled case law, you will find our other article here.

Read circa 1904 Plant Catalogs

Fellow plantsman Larry Hatch, Cultivar.org founder, sent me this interesting link from a 1904 Suzuki and Iida plant catalog. Many of the plants we consider new to the trade were actually grown and sold quite a while ago. Larry tells us that archive.org now has 12,600 different old nursery catalogs online so, if you’re snowed in or have no social life outside of gardening, like us, check these out.

Ask Tony a Question!

We love to receive queries from customers…like this great series of questions:

“Over the past 10 years we have seen the price of florist orchids plummet so that now an in bloom, good size orchid can be $10 at Trader Joes or your local grocer. I assume this is due to the fact that growers have figured out tissue culture propagation and how to grow orchids fast to flowering size. The price of many garden/terrestrial orchids has not similarly plummeted whether from PDN or other nurseries. Why not? Are they just such a different beast physiologically? Is it just because the market is so much smaller for garden orchids vs florist orchids? Or is it on the horizon but not here yet? Not suggesting you should be making less of a percent profit on each plant but just curious and would rather be able to buy (and potentially kill) a couple $30 vs one $65 Cypripedium. Thanks for any insight and absolutely no rush on an answer.”

Katie and Tony

Katie and Tony

Indeed, a company in Holland has tried to fast-track Cypripedium orchids like they have done with tropical Phalaenopsis orchids. We’ve grown quite a few of these, which arrive in the US at about 50% of the price of 8-year-old, outdoor grown ladyslipper orchids. The problem is the high mortality rate of these fast-tracked plants, which is due to something in the process of the plants being grown in accelerated growth greenhouses. So yes, but until we figure out why the plants are dying at nearly a 50% rate, you won’t see the prices coming down immediately, but there is hope.

Nursery Industry Updates

When woody plant guru, Dr. Mike Dirr officially retired from the University of Georgia, he started a plant breeding company with two local Georgia nurserymen, Jeff Beasley of Transplant Nursery and Mark Griffith of Griffith Propagation. The company, Plant Introductions Inc., founded in 2007, and its First Editions line of plant introductions was just sold to Bailey Nurseries of Minnesota.

Dr. Dirr has worked closely with Bailey’s for years, especially since he spotted the reblooming Hydrangea ‘Bailmer’…the plant you know as ‘Endless Summer’, in their fields. Bailey’s already has production facilities in Oregon so, with the addition of PI’s southeast US facilities, they’ve got much of the US covered. Despite the sale, Dirr, Beasley, and Griffith are scheduled to remain a part of PI’s team. Jeff and Lisa Beasley have also transitioned to the next generation with the sale of their own Transplant Nursery to their daughter Camilla and husband Gatlin. We wish everyone the best in the transition.

Look…NC Crops Washed Away

Are you aware of the current dangers to the North Carolina marshmallow crop? If not, please see this video right away and expect to pay more for NC marshmallows at the store. Farming is full of weather-related perils, as this video so aptly points out.

The Blues Brothers

Jake and Elwood

Jake and Elwood

And at the Avent home, many of you already know we adopted two less-than-healthy twin male kittens from the Best Friends Pet Adoption late in 2014. Now, Jake and Elwood are healthy, hearty, and robust, weighing in at 10 lbs and 8 lbs, respectively. These little love machines are about 9 months old and keeping us well loved and entertained. Anita continues working with Jake in the kitchen so he can take over cooking duties for Tony and Elwood loves to play in the laundry room and nap in the sun on the cat trees. If only we could teach them to vacuum and pull weeds.

Let’s Stay Connected!

Anita and Tony

Anita and Tony

Until next month, connect with us and the cats on Facebook, Pinterest, and our blog, where you may sign up and follow our regular posts from the nursery and the botanic garden.

Happy Valentine’s Day and Happy Gardening!

-tony and anita

 

Featured Plants

Cyclamen coum Silver Leaf

Cyclamen coum Silver Leaf

Euphorbia rigida

Euphorbia rigida

Helleborus 'Painted Doubles'

Helleborus ‘Painted Doubles’

Helleborus 'Cinnamon Snow'

Helleborus ‘Cinnamon Snow’

Iris unguicularis 'Purple Snow'

Iris unguicularis ‘Purple Snow’

Ranunculus ficaria 'Brazen Hussy'

Ranunculus ficaria ‘Brazen Hussy’

Plant Delights Nursery December 2014 Newsletter

Greetings and Happy Holidays from all of us to you!

We hope your holiday season is merry and bright, and those of you in climates where winter gardening is possible are enjoying time in the garden. Now that the new catalog writing and proofing are completed, we’re back to spending time planting new plants and relocating old ones around the garden.

New Plant Sales Catalog at the Printer!

Our new and re-designed Plant Delights catalog is at the printer and scheduled to be on the way to your mailbox at the end of December. As always, there are plenty of cool new plants as well as many returning favorites. We’ll be featuring a few of these between now and the end of the year on our blog. We’ve (mostly Anita) been working hard with our catalog designer, Shari Sasser, to make the new print catalog more user friendly and visually appealing.

We’re Leafing in the Garden…

Epimedium leaves at JLBG

Epimedium leaves at JLBG

Here at Juniper Level, Todd and the garden staff are wrapping up the leaf raking for the year since all the leaves have finally fallen. The next step is re-mulching the entire garden, which will begin shortly. For this, we use a triple-shredded hardwood mulch, which we purchase locally. We like this type of mulch since it doesn’t wash in heavy rains, while allowing air and water to penetrate.

Our leaves, garden and nursery debris, and leaves from the nearby town of Garner are being piled up here to become compost. After sitting for a month, new organic debris is then mixed with our native soil at the rate of 50% each. We turn the piles five times at intervals of at least two weeks to make the compost, from which we build and rebuild our garden beds.

Look What’s Changing at JLBG

We’re also spending quite a bit of time this fall removing some large footprint plants; after which we add more of our compost mix, then replant with cool new plants. You’ll see lots of these newly replanted areas when you visit for our next open house in February.

 

New plantings at JLBG

New plantings at JLBG

2015 Open Nursery and Garden Dates
Winter 2015
February 27 – March 1
March 6 – 8

Spring 2015
May 1 – 3
May 8 – 10

Summer 2015
July 10 – 12
July 17 – 19

Fall 2015
September 11 – 13
September 18 – 20

Fridays/Saturdays 8a-5p and Sundays 1-5p
Rain or Shine!     Free Parking
Click for more info

Interesting Plant Data, Anyone?

We always enjoy sharing business trivia, so this month, here are a couple of our favorite top 10 lists. The first is our top 10 states by plant purchases during 2014. As you can imagine, our home state of North Carolina leads the list, but some of the others may come as a surprise, including two West Coast states that made the list. We are so grateful for all of you, no matter where you are located, who adopted our plant children this year to enjoy in your gardens.

Fall hydrangea leaves at JLBG

Fall hydrangea leaves at JLBG

Top 10 States by Plant Purchases for Plant Delights in 2014

  1. North Carolina
  2. New York
  3. Texas
  4. California
  5. South Carolina
  6. Pennsylvania
  7. Florida
  8. New Jersey
  9. Ohio
  10. Washington

How many would you have predicted correctly?

Top 10 Best Selling Plant Groups for Plant Delights in 2014

  1. ferns
  2. hosta
  3. helleborus
  4. agave
  5. salvia
  6. colocasia
  7. epimedium
  8. canna
  9. iris
  10. echinacea

How many items would you have predicted correctly?

Wow! This News is Helpful

And on the theme of fabulous garden news, we received a press release from a new non-profit sharing news of a brand new website, accessiblegardens.org dedicated to our gardening friends who are dealing with extraordinary medical challenges.

This unique, non-commercial website connects people with the tools they need to create an accessible garden: information, photographs, videos, building plans, links to helpful government and private agencies, seed catalogs, and designs for accessible gardens.

Accessible Gardens is an outreach project of Ophoenix, a Public Benefit Corporation in San Francisco.

The Perfect Tree – According to Anita

We’re sure many of you have seen news stories about the Tree of Forty Fruits, but if not, check out this TED video. Syracuse University art professor Sam Van Aken started a project to graft 40 different fruit trees onto a single trunk. While this certainly isn’t a new idea, Sam’s take on fruit tree grafting is to perform the grafting for artistic reasons as well as for fruit production. We think you’ll find this pretty cool. By the way, Sam received his Masters of Fine Arts degree in 2001 from the University of North Carolina.

Munchkin, Spring Hill and Michigan Bulb Closing…

It’s always sad to lose another mail order nursery family, but we will be saying goodbye to more stalwarts. Plantsman Gene Bush ofMunchkin Nursery in Indiana has retired from the mail order business. Although Munchkin was not a large nursery, Gene did a superb job offering rare and hard-to-find treasures, while doing a great job educating gardeners. Thanks for all your hard work, Gene!

On a much larger scale, two of the largest and oldest mail order nurseries in the country are scheduled to close this June…Spring Hill Nursery (1849) and Michigan Bulb Nursery (1943). Both nurseries were rescued (along with many others) from bankruptcy in 2001 byNiles Kinerk of Gardens Alive.

Niles and his team have been able to rebuild the sales volume for all of the purchased companies, but Spring Hill Nursery and Michigan Bulb have not provided the positive cash flow needed to remain viable. Consequently, to avoid bankruptcy and be sure that all vendors are paid, both companies will operate through the spring season before closing in June 2015. This is a sad day for the mail order nursery industry, and there is always a glimmer of hope for a white knight to ride in to save the day, but the prospects don’t look good.

Mystic Creek at JLBG in Autumn

Mystic Creek at JLBG in Autumn

Plant Breeding Honors Go To…

Congratulations to Dr. Mike Dirr, retired professor from the University of Georgia, for being named a fellow by the National Academy of Inventors (NAI). Mike is one of only 170 inventors, and the first plant breeder to receive the honor. Fellow status is granted to those who have created or facilitated outstanding inventions that have made a tangible impact on quality of life, economic development, and the welfare of society. Kudos to Mike!

The Life and Times of Henry Ross

We were saddened to learn of the loss of Gardenview Horticultural Park founder Henry Ross, who passed away at age 87. Most likely, few people outside of Cleveland, Ohio, or the plant nerd community have ever heard of Henry, but he was quite a horticultural force. Since 1949, Henry worked tirelessly at transforming a 16 acre plot of overgrown land in the town of Strongsville, Ohio (now in the middle of Cleveland), into a horticultural paradise. We’ve had the pleasure of visiting Henry many times, starting in 1993, and always learned new plants we didn’t know about before.

Henry Ross in his garden

Henry Ross in his garden

Henry was an amazing plantsman, but his lack of people skills kept him from receiving the accolades other contemporaries received, turning Henry into a bitter curmudgeon. As Henry tried to raise an endowment to continue the garden after his death, he consistently shot himself in the proverbial foot, alienating the majority of people who tried to help. Henry was the classic paradox, one of the most kind and gentle people we’d ever met, but his bitterness and resentment were his own worst enemy.

Gardenview Horticultural Park

Gardenview Horticultural Park

Henry had trouble finding garden help because few people could match Henry’s standards of rising before dawn, living in a proverbial shack, sans paycheck, and working in the garden until falling asleep at night…regular bathing was a time luxury that Henry simply couldn’t afford. Finally, in 1995, that one in a million person showed up in the person of Mark LaRosa, who moved into the property’s guest shack and became Henry’s protégé. LaRosa has worked at Gardenview since 1995, and continues there after Henry’s passing. Just like with Henry, who lived off his military retirement, LaRosa is not paid.

Henry introduced several plants during his lifetime, most notably, Ajuga ‘Arctic Fox’, Hosta ‘Solar Flare’, and Monarda ‘Gardenview Scarlet’. Henry had many more plants that should have been introduced, but his deepening neurosis of not getting enough credit kept him from sharing further.

Gardenview‘s Board of Directors is now attempting to move the non-profit garden into its post-founder phase, finally without Henry’s resistance. Their hope is to build both an endowment and generate funding so the garden can finally have paid staff. If you’d like to visit or donate, you can find out more here and here…of course the garden couldn’t afford a real website. Henry…you’ve lived a full and amazing life and here’s to the prosperous future of Gardenview Horticultural Park.

Let’s Stay Connected!

Until next month, connect with us on FacebookPinterest, and ourblog, where you may sign up and follow our regular posts from the nursery and the botanic garden.

Happy Holidays and Happy Gardening!

-tony and anita

Featured Plants

Agave striata 'Live Wires'

Agave striata ‘Live Wires’

Cardamine douglassii 'Southern Lady'

Cardamine douglassii ‘Southern Lady’

Illicium parviflorum 'Florida Sunshine'

Illicium parviflorum ‘Florida Sunshine’

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Liriope muscari 'Okina'

Liriope muscari ‘Okina’

Ranunculus ficaria 'Orange You Cute'

Ranunculus ficaria ‘Orange You Cute’

Rohdea chinensis var. chinensis 'Green Panda'

Rohdea chinensis var. chinensis ‘Green Panda’

PDN Gift Certificate - Always the perfect gift!

Always the perfect gift!

 

Plant Delights Nursery November 2014 Newsletter

Happy Thanks-Gardening PDNers!

As we approach the holidays we are so thankful to share our plant passion with each of you. Thank you for ordering from PDN, reading our blog, and sharing our passion on social media. We are so blessed on many levels.

New Catalog Update

As you probably know, October and November are both catalog writing months at Plant Delights. This year, it’s been great to take advantage of our improved wireless access at Juniper Level Botanic Garden to write from a golf cart as we traverse the garden with tape measures and cameras in hand.

We’re still amazed how often our measurements and observations in the garden are at such odds with information published by plant marketers on-line. So much of the discrepancy is because most plant breeders and plant marketers only trial plants for container production. You’d be shocked how many new plants are sold to an unsuspecting public that have never been trialed in a garden.

We are in the process of assembling our 2015 spring catalog for you and it will contain over 100 new perennials including quite a few of our own introductions of asarum, arisaema, baptisia, epimedium, and more. We’re continuing to tweak the format of our print catalog layout to include larger plant images…we hope you enjoy the changes. Let us know what you’d like to see in the catalogs going forward, as well as your comments on format.

Cypripediums and Rohdea japonica

Cypripedium at JLBG

Cypripedium at JLBG

Speaking of plants, the fall harvest of cypripedium ladyslipper orchids is complete and everything is now potted, so if you’d prefer to get your cypripediums in the ground now while they’re dormant, the new crop is on-line.

We also have a one-time offer this fall. Our seed crops of Rohdea japonica have been quite prolific the last few years, so we have more than we currently need. While our surplus lasts, they are available in quantities of 100 or more for $4 each, what a bargain! Email us at sales@plantdelights.com if you’re interested.

Shipping Season Ends

We’re wrapping up our 2014 plant shipping season in the first week of December, so this is your last chance to get your fall order shipped before our shipping season resumes in mid-February, weather permitting. That being said, we are always willing to work with you should a horticultural emergency arise between now and then, weather permitting.

JLBG – Autumn Nudity

The fall gardening season is fully upon us now that we’ve had our first hard freeze. Thank goodness, we haven’t had weather like Denver, where it dropped to -14F on November 13…yikes! There are plenty of things in the fall garden we could do without…hibernating perennials and leaf raking come to mind. While the process of leaf raking is tedious, we sure love the resulting compost, so let ‘em fall.

As horticultural voyeurs, we also enjoy watching the garden embrace its fall nudity. Just like disrobing for a shower, the clothes, jewelry, and makeup comes off the garden in fall. Instead of seeing the flashy garden bling of spring and summer, the fall season puts an emphasis on structure and good bones.

Hydrangea and Fall Color at JLBG

Hydrangea and Fall Color at JLBG

JLBG – Evergreens

Evergreens, which mostly fade into the background during spring and summer, suddenly become more visible. Sans foliar clothes, butchered trees and shrubs scream to the world…look at me…I’ve been abused. Late fall is always a great time to take stock of your landscape. How does it look after all the leaves have fallen? The proverbial fall horticultural mirror will indeed show all the garden faults that could stand to be corrected. Would additional evergreen shrubs or perennials help the garden look better through the winter months? We happen to be quite enamored with evergreen plants and have created a website category to make it easier to find these plants: Evergreen Perennials.

JLBG – Compost

Surely, by now, everyone has a compost pile. If you’re short of space, it’s easy enough to rake fallen leaves into a path or lawn, mow them with a mulching mower, and then sprinkle them back into the beds, where they will feed the microbes and, eventually, the plant roots below. Remember the microbes in the soil are responsible for feeding your plants as well as fighting off diseases. These microbes must feed on carbon, which comes from organic compost, so if you compost properly, you should never need to buy salt-based chemical fertilizers.

JLBG – Soil Moisture and Temperature

Also, be sure to also keep a check on garden soil moisture. High fall winds in some parts of the country tend to dry out both foliage and soils at a time when many gardeners don’t think about soil moisture due to the cooler temperatures. Most plants really need good soil moisture going into the fall. Be sure to keep a check to make sure your soil and plants don’t become too dry.

If you grow tender perennials and are in a region where they need to come indoors, hopefully you’ve already taken care of those chores. If not, you can read our article about overwintering tropicals for some helpful information. If your ground doesn’t freeze early, this is still a great time to plant perennials. We haven’t slowed down getting new plants in the ground, and in a typical winter, we only have a few weeks when we can’t plant.

JLBG – New Garden Beds, Displays, and Designs

We’ve updated many of our perennial beds and have created several beautiful new display areas throughout the garden showcasing our unique and rare perennials. Right now we’re in the midst of a major new planting renovation around our sales greenhouses that we can’t wait for you to see in spring. We’ve removed over 30 18-foot-wide Nellie Stevens hollies to make room for some of Jeremy’s rockwork and a host of cool new plants. Plan to come see us at the 2015 Winter Open Nursery and Garden Days in late February and early March to see Jeremy’s gorgeous rockery designs.

2015 Open Nursery and Garden Dates
Winter 2015
February 27 – March 1
March 6 – 8

Spring 2015
May 1 – 3
May 8 – 10

Summer 2015
July 10 – 12
July 17 – 19

Fall 2015
September 11 – 13
September 18 – 20

Fridays/Saturdays 8a-5p and Sundays 1-5p
Rain or Shine!     Free Parking
Click for more info

 

Purchase PDN Gift Certificates for the Holidays

We’d like to make your holiday shopping experience easier this year by suggesting you visit our website to purchase our Plant Delights Nursery Gift Certificates for all the gardeners and plant lovers on your shopping list.

Our gift certificates are a great way to give or send expressions of your love and good wishes without going through the hassle of driving, parking, and dealing with the holiday crowds! Gift certificates are available from $40.00, and we will gladly mail one directly to the recipient with a nice personal note and our latest plant catalog.

Our gift certificates may be used any time (they do not expire) and will take the guesswork out of gift-giving for that hard-to-buy-for gardener in your life. And we’ll even cover the cost of postage to mail your gift certificate and catalog to each recipient this year!

So cozy up to your tablet or laptop and let us assist you with sending plant and gardening cheer to all your gardening and plant-loving family and friends!

Plant Delights Gift Certificates, a great way to say "I love you!"

Plant Delights Gift Certificates, a great way to say “I love you!”

Congratulations JCRA, Duke Gardens, and UNCC Gardens!

In case you missed it, an academic website called BestMastersProgram.org just published a new list of the Best University Associated Arboretums and Botanic Gardens in the world. Congratulations to the three NC university gardens that made the list…well deserved!

  • UNC-Charlotte #26
  • JC Raulston Arboretum #8
  • Duke Gardens #4

Garden Industry News

In other news, we recently received a note from Jacque Wrinkle, widow of the late plantsman Guy Wrinkle, that she has put their dream home and one acre garden in Vista, California, up for sale. The property also includes a 3,000 square foot greenhouse and a wide array of cool plants. So, if you’re in that area, or want to move to this horticulturally rich area…especially if you’re a plant collector, here are a couple of links where you can find out more:

On a sad note this month, longtime friend Joe Gray passed away on October 16 of pancreatic cancer at the far too young age of 58. Many of you in the horticulture industry knew Joe from trade shows, but many more were affected by Joe’s work without knowing it.

Joe spent nearly 30 years working for Hines Nurseries, starting as a salesman and quickly rising to COO. Joe was one of the leaders of Hines Nurseries when they were the largest nursery in the US. As an avid plantsman, Joe’s passion for plants was reflected in many of the plants Hines made available, mostly through independent garden centers around the country.

Joe was one of the truly top notch people in our industry and he’ll be sorely missed. Joe is survived by his wife Carol and three sons, Nicholas, Miles, and Christopher. In lieu of flowers, the Gray family requests donations to American Pancreatic Action Network, 1500 Rosecrans Ave #200, Manhattan Beach, Ca 90266.

Until next month, we’ll see you here on the Plant Delights blog where you may sign up and follow our regular posts from the nursery and the botanic garden.

Happy Thanksgiving!

-tony and anita

Garden Color for Fall and Winter

Rohdea japonica

Rohdea japonica

Rohdea japonica is a highly-prized, tropical-looking, oriental native that mimics the appearance of an evergreen hosta. The 1′ long x 2″ wide, thick, dark green leaves form an upright vase-shaped clump to 2′ wide in 10 years. Late in the season, the insignificant flowers produce attractive short stalks of red berries that persist through the winter at the base of the plant. When used en masse, rohdeas are a dynamite evergreen winter interest addition to the deep shade garden. We have masses of Rohdea japonica growing at the base of giant black walnut trees…can you say tough?

Illicium parviflorum 'Florida Sunshine'

Illicium parviflorum ‘Florida Sunshine’

We brought three golden seedlings of the rare Florida endemic Illicium parviflorum back from a 2000 visit to Florida plantsman Charles Webb. After several years of evaluation, we selected one plant for introduction as Illicium ‘Florida Sunshine’. Our 7-year-old specimen has become a small shrub to 5′ tall x 3′ wide of anise-fragranced, chartreuse gold foliage during the spring and summer. As the weather cools in fall, the leaf color brightens to screaming yellow, then becomes a near parchment color by midwinter. During the same time, the upper stems take on a brilliant red cast, contrasting vividly with the leaves. In sun, the winter foliage will scorch, so we recommend this be grown in light shade…a stunning beacon in the winter garden.

Iris unguicularis 'Dazzling Eyes'

Iris unguicularis ‘Dazzling Eyes’

Iris ‘Dazzling Eyes’ is a 2004 Rick Tasco hybrid that has shown incredible vigor in our trials. Iris ‘Dazzling Eyes’ has a nice white and purple striped eyezone inside the blue-lavender petals. As with all Iris unguicularis cultivars, Iris ‘Dazzling Eyes’ likes a bright sunny location and good drainage…best beside a large rock. For us, flowering usually begins in November and continues through March, pausing only for extremely cold weather.

Featured Plants

Euphorbia x martinii 'Ascot Rainbow' PP 21,401

Euphorbia x martinii ‘Ascot Rainbow’ PP 21,401

Helleborus niger 'HGC Josef Lemper' PP 15,615

Helleborus niger ‘HGC Josef Lemper’ PP 15,615

Heucherella 'Solar Eclipse' PP 23,647

Heucherella ‘Solar Eclipse’ PP 23,647

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Oxalis fabaefolia

Oxalis fabaefolia

Verbena canadensis 'Snowflurry'

Verbena canadensis ‘Snowflurry’

Yucca filamentosa 'Color Guard'

Yucca filamentosa ‘Color Guard’

Plant Delights Nursery September 2014 Newsletter

Greetings PDN’ers!

PDN Fall Nursery News

We hope you’ve received your copy of the Fall 2014 Plant Delights Nursery catalog. Kudos to our graphic designer Shari Sasser at Sasser Studios for the catalog redesign and new look. Among other things, the fall catalog includes three new aucubas, six new crinum lilies, and twenty new fern offerings. These are a fraction of the many exciting new plants you’ll find either in the print version or online.

Hibiscus 'Kopper King' PP# 10,793

Hibiscus ‘Kopper King’ PP# 10,793

It’s always interesting for us to see what sells and what doesn’t. Top sellers from the fall catalog so far include, Adiantum venustumAgapanthus ‘White Heaven’Agave ‘Huasteca Giant’Agave ‘Shadow Dancer’Alstroemeria ‘Koice’Aster ‘Fanny’Begonia ‘Pewterware’Bouvardia ‘Scarlet Hummer’Canna ‘Pacific Beauty’Dryopteris erythrosora v. prolificaEchinacea ‘Fatal Attraction’Epimedium ‘Domino’,  Eucalyptus neglectaHeuchera ‘Citronelle’Hibiscus ‘Kopper King’Hibiscus ‘Midnight Marvel’Hosta ‘Orange Marmalade’Juniperus conferta ‘All Gold’Lespedeza ‘White Fountain’Ligularia ‘Chinese Dragon’Lilium formosanum Giant formOxalis ‘Francis’Patrinia scabiosifoliaPhlox ‘Peppermint Twist’Ruellia ‘Black Beauty’Salvia greggii ‘Teresa’, and Salvia ‘Golden Girl’.

Aspidistra crispa 'Golden Freckles'

Aspidistra crispa ‘Golden Freckles’

On the other end of the scale, plants which will be severely disciplined for not selling to this point include Aspidistra crispa ‘Golden Freckles’Aucuba ‘Sagama’Begonia henryi,Buddleia ‘Blue Chip Jr.’Buddleia ‘Pink Micro Chip’Choisya ‘Limo’Crinum x digweedii ‘Mermaid’Harpochloa falxLycoris x jacksoniana ‘Caldwell’s Rose’Ophiopogon ‘Tuff Tuft Lavender’Taxus bacatta ‘Aurescens Nana’, and Trismeria trifoliata. We know how well these plants perform, and how hard they auditioned just to earn a spot in the catalog. We really hope you’ll save these gems from the whips and chains of our growing staff and give ’em a try!

October Photography Class with Josh Taylor

Saturday, Oct. 11, 2014, 8am–4pm
Garden Photography – Photo Capture and Processing with Josh Taylor

Photo Class

Photo Class

Learn how to get the best possible images from your camera and how to process your images in Lightroom with Photoshop/Photoshop Elements.

The morning focus of this all-day workshop will be on learning and getting reacquainted with your camera ISO settings, histogram, exposure compensation, shooting modes, bracketing, white balance, etc. You’ll spend 3 hours in the garden with your camera and the instructor.

The afternoon session will be devoted to post-processing with Lightroom using participants’ images for demonstrations. Register hereor call to register at 919-772-4794. See some examples of Josh’s work on his website: www.joshuataylorphotography.com.

Sweden & Germany 2014 Expedition Log

We’ve finally finished the online version of Tony’s expedition log from his trip to Germany and Sweden this spring…lots of cool plants, great gardens, and amazing people. If you’d like to travel along, enjoy the trek here.

Main building at the Munich Botanical Garden

Main building at the Munich Botanical Garden

Last Open Nursery and Garden Days for 2014 are Sept. 19-21

Grasshopper on Hibiscus 'Turn of the Century'

Grasshopper on Hibiscus ‘Turn of the Century’

This weekend, we’re putting the wraps on our final open nursery and garden days for 2014, so we hope you can make the trip to Plant Delights Nursery and Juniper Level Botanic Garden to share the splendor of the fall gardens. Not only is there lots to see here in September, but our muscadine grape trials are ripe, so you can sample each variety while you’re here…or park your spouse under the grapevines to keep them from pestering you while you peruse the gardens and shop.

2015 Open Nursery and Garden Dates
Winter 2015
February 27 – March 1
March 6 – 8

Spring 2015
May 1 – 3
May 8 – 10

Summer 2015
July 10 – 12
July 17 – 19

Fall 2015
September 11 – 13
September 18 – 20

Fridays/Saturdays 8a-5p and Sundays 1-5p
Rain or Shine!     Free Parking
Click for more info

Juniper Level Botanic Garden

Juniper Level Botanic Garden

Fall is a fabulous time to plant!

In most parts of the country, it’s a fabulous time to plant…everything except agaves, echinaceas, bananas, and elephant ears (from Zone 7b north). North of us, just don’t plant anything marginally hardy in your zone as your first frost approaches and, in climates where the ground freezes in winter, allow enough time to get the roots anchored to keep the plants from heaving out of the ground.

Four months ago, we posted photos of our new four seasons garden that we’d just installed near our retail greenhouses. This section of the garden is now 16 weeks old, so we’d love for you to see what it looks like now and see how much it’s grown…a great demonstration why good organic soil preparation is so important and how much plants will grow when they’re properly cared for.

Four Seasons Garden - May 2014

Four Seasons Garden – May 2014

Four Seasons Garden - September 2014

Four Seasons Garden – September 2014

Nursery Industry News

PDN kudos to Plant Delights customer Allen Lacy, the founder and chief weed puller at the new Linwood Arboretum. Allen received some great publicity recently in an article in the Philadelphia Inquirer that we’d like to share.

We were also glad to see a recent article about our friend, the late Logan Calhoun, that just appeared in the Dallas News. Logan was a Plant Delights customer who shared many special plants that we still offer today…fifteen years after his untimely death.

KuLouKu/Shutterstock

KuLouKu/Shutterstock

In other news from the nursery world, Q&Z Nursery of Rochelle, Illinois, a major wholesale hosta tissue culture lab, is closing its doors. Although very disappointing, I can’t say I’m surprised. Q&Z, which has operated for 22 years since splitting from its former retail division T&Z, chose its market niche to be a hosta liner supplier to small mom and pop backyard nurseries.

They did this by offering a huge selection of new hostas (over 400 of their own introductions), without much, if any, in-ground evaluation, introducing seemingly every mutation that they found in the lab. If they tissue cultured a variegated hosta and it mutated back green, they would name and introduce the plant, knowing these small nurseries were usually more interested in having new hosta names in their catalog than having the best new hostas. This business model cost them the business of larger, more discriminating retailers, especially because they rarely had good photography of mature clumps of their new introductions…the single most important factor in properly introducing a new plant. Still, a few of their hostas turned out to be good plants that had staying power, including Hosta ‘Diamond Tiara’,  ‘Pineapple Upside-down Cake’, Hosta ‘Radiant Edger’, Hosta ‘Sugar and Cream’, Hosta ‘Sugar and Spice’, Hosta ‘Summer Breeze’,  ‘Summer Lovin’, and Hosta ‘Victory’.

Hosta 'Summer Lovin'

Hosta ‘Summer Lovin’

Once the economy tanked, it took many of the smaller nurseries with it, making it even more difficult for such a business model to be sustainable. The founder/owner, Mark Zilis, is one of the most knowledgeable folks in the hosta world, as witnessed by his landmark hosta book, The Hostapaedia, which you can currently still purchase on the Q&Z website.

We’d like to publicly thank Mark and his staff for their contributions to the world of hostas, and wish them the best in their future endeavors.

Garden Director Needed

In local news, one of our neighboring botanic gardens is in need of a new director. Dr. Peter White, director of the NC Botanical Garden, is stepping down to return to teaching and writing, so the garden is in need of a new director. Interested? If so, you can find out more here.

Wedding Anniversary Flowers

Hydrangea macrophylla 'Yofloma'

Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Yofloma’

Do you struggle with what to get that special gardener in your family? Consider giving a wedding anniversary flower. Not only are there designated precious stones to celebrate wedding anniversaries, but there are designated plants. The list below suggests what you might present plantwise.

  • 1st Carnation
  • 2nd Lily of the Valley
  • 3rd Sunflower
  • 4th Hydrangea
  • 5th Daisy
  • 6th Calla
  • 7th Freesia
  • 8th Lilac
  • 9th Bird of paradise
  • 10th Daffodil
  • 11th Tulip
  • 12th Peony
  • 13th Chrysanthemum
  • 14th Dahlia
  • 15th Rose
  • 20th Aster
  • 25th Iris
  • 28th Orchid
  • 30th Lily
  • 40th Gladiolus
  • 50th Yellow rose, violet
  • Source: Wikipedia

Passages

We try to share important life events from the horticultural world, but here’s one we missed. Ken Durio, 84, founder and president of the infamous Louisiana Nursery passed away last fall on October 28. I say infamous because Louisiana Nursery, was always the topic of customer stories whenever plant people gathered to discuss their new acquisitions. From the 1960s through the 1990s, if you wanted a rare plant…especially a woody plant, there were few sources other than Louisiana Nursery of Opelousas, Louisiana.

Hemerocallis 'August Flame'

Hemerocallis ‘August Flame’

While Louisiana Nursery listed virtually every plant you could imagine, to the tune of 5,000 listings in their prime, the quality of the plants you received, combined with the extravagant prices and their less than stellar customer service, made it a major frustration for most consumers. I’ll never forget ordering their $5 catalog in the late 1980s only to get a return note asking which of their 12 catalogs I wanted…at $5 each…the iris catalog, the hemerocallis catalog, the magnolia catalog, etc.

Ken Durio was an avid and knowledgeable plantsman who started Louisiana Nursery soon after graduating from LSU in 1950. Although it seems hard to imagine today, back in the 1950s and 1960s, Louisiana was one of the epicenters of plant exploration and introduction in the US.

By the 1980s, Ken Durio had developed a reputation as one of the most ornery and curmudgeonly nurserymen in the country, which is why, when I was asked to speak in Baton Rouge in 1996, I told them I would only come if they’d take me to meet the infamous Ken Durio. After trying to talk me out of it, they reluctantly relented and off we went. Despite many tales of people being run off the nursery for no apparent reason, I found Ken both welcoming, hospitable, and glad to chat plants. By this time, however, the nursery had become quite run down as sales had dramatically declined. Louisiana Nursery (no relation to the garden center, Louisiana Nursery.com) became a victim of the Internet, as gardeners were now able to find better quality plants cheaper and without so much hassle.

Iris unguicularis 'Purple Snow'

Iris unguicularis ‘Purple Snow’

No matter what you thought of their business, their plant collections and breeding efforts in groups like iris, daylilies, magnolias, and figs were truly remarkable. One of Ken’s surviving sons, Dalton, recently returned home to take care of his dad in the last stages of life and is currently trying to resurrect the nursery. Fingers crossed for a successful re-launch. You can watch his progress at www.durionursery.biz.

Until next month, join us on the Plant Delights blog , where you can sign up and follow our regular posts from the nursery and garden.

-tony and anita

Featured Plants

Bouvardia ternifolia 'Scarlet Hummer'

Bouvardia ternifolia ‘Scarlet Hummer’

Buddleia 'Pink Micro Chip' PPAF

Buddleia ‘Pink Micro Chip’ PPAF

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Canna 'Pacific Beauty'

Canna ‘Pacific Beauty’

Harpochloa falx

Harpochloa falx

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Phlox 'Peppermint Twist' PP# 18,196

Phlox ‘Peppermint Twist’ PP# 18,196

Ruellia 'Black Beauty'

Ruellia ‘Black Beauty’

 

Plant Delights Nursery July 2014 Newsletter

Greetings PDN’ers!

We hope you are enjoying your garden this summer and taking time to relax a bit, especially when the temperatures are soaring.

JLBG News

It was so nice to see and chat with many of you at the Summer Open Garden and Nursery Days last weekend.

Echinaceas in the Souto Garden June 2014

Echinaceas in the Souto Garden June 2014

The garden has been brimming with colors this summer, especially the new Souto Memorial Garden which is currently under development. We installed irrigation throughout the garden beds and paths in the Souto Garden earlier this year, and the plantings are displaying nicely. We’re excited to finally showcase this area of Juniper Level soon!

As we mentioned in our last newsletter, we’ve had eight more agaves (century plants) flowering this year, so our research horticulturist, Jeremy Schmidt, has been busy on one of several ladders making crosses between the species. From his crosses last year, we now have hybrids of Agave striata x Agave lophantha. We’re still a year away from these being large enough for the garden, but the potential is wonderful. We also have nice pots of seedlings from our giant hybrid of Agave salmiana v. ferox x Agave scabra that visitors marveled over during Summer Open Nursery and Garden days.

Not quite the mile high club, but Jeremy and an agave getting it on. Onlookers optional.

Not quite the mile high club, but Jeremy and an agave getting it on. Onlookers optional.

No guns banned here: lots of pistils and anthers.

No guns banned here: lots of pistils and anthers.

In the arisaema world, we now have confirmed hybrids from our crosses of Arisaema fargesii x A. triphyllum and Arisaema triphyllum x A. taiwanense. Our first hybrid arisaema, a cross of Arisaema fargesii x A. heterophyllum, that we named Arisaema ‘Crossing Over’ will finally be available for spring 2015. It’s a rather amazing plant!

Although these are a bit farther in the future, many other horticultural gems will be available in our upcoming fall Plant Delights Nursery catalog, which we’ve been compiling since May. First, we decided which new plants made the garden performance cut, and then we propagated in enough quantities to share. The new catalog will be mailed, and available on-line, around mid-August…more anticipation than in a bottle of Heinz® ketchup.

Is Life a Drag? Volunteer at JLBG!

Juniper Level Botanic GardenFor over 20 years, we have been blessed to have incredible volunteers assist us in the gardens and research sections of Juniper Level Botanic Garden. We’d love for you to join us to volunteer and learn at one of the top plant collections in the country. Volunteer opportunities involve a range of activities from planting to labeling to garden maintenance. If you have some spare time or are nearing those treasured retirement years and you want to immerse yourself in horticulture, we hope you’ll consider becoming a garden or research volunteer. For more information, contact Heather Brameyer at 919.772.4794 or e-mail heather@plantdelights.com.

Volunteers Sally & Eric Benson keeping JLBG beautiful.

Volunteers Sally & Eric Benson keeping JLBG beautiful.

Southeast Palm Society Summer Meeting

Sabal uresana

Sabal uresana

We are pleased to announce we will be hosting the summer meeting of the Southeast Palm Society on Saturday, August 9, 2014. Guests are welcome to attend as well as SPS members. There are no reservations needed for the event…all we ask is that you let us know by August 1, if you’ll be here for lunch so we can have enough food. Please email us at visit@plantdelights.com no later than August 1, 2014.

 

 

Schedule: Southeast Palm Society at Plant Delights
Nursery/Juniper Level Botanic Garden

9:15-10:00am History of PDN & JLBG (slide show in PDN Education Center)
10:00-11:00am Explore Juniper Level Botanic Garden on your own
11:00-Noon General meeting (Patio Garden)
Noon-12:45pm Lunch at PDN, provided by PDN (Patio Garden, must sign up by August 1, 2014)
12:45-1:45pm Guided Tour of JLBG Palm Collections
2:00-3:00pm Guided Tour of JLBG Succulent Collections

PDN and JLBG will be open to attendees from 9:00am – 4:00pm on August 9, 2014.

New! Photography Class with Professional Garden Photographer Josh Taylor

JLBG's Grotto Garden October 2013

JLBG’s Grotto Garden
October 2013

Saturday, Oct. 11, 2014, 8am–4pm
Garden Photography – Photo Capture and Processing with Josh Taylor

Our instructor, Josh Taylor, is a professional garden photographer, workshop leader, and Canon camera instructor. Josh limits the class to 15 attendees so he can offer individual instruction, so please register early to ensure a spot! Learn how to get the best possible images from your camera and how to process your images in Lightroom with Photoshop/Photoshop Elements.

The fall landscape of the Juniper Level Botanic Garden at Plant Delights Nursery will be the setting for practicing camera skills. The morning focus of this all-day workshop will be on learning and getting reacquainted with your camera ISO settings, histogram, exposure compensation, shooting modes, bracketing, white balance, etc. You’ll spend 3 hours in the garden with your camera and the instructor.

The afternoon session will be devoted to post-processing with Lightroom using participants’ images for demonstrations. If you’re new to Lightroom or moving from Aperture or iPhoto to Lightroom, this workshop will be most helpful in getting you up to speed. You will learn how to import and process your photos in Lightroom. This workshop is designed for increasing your photographic skills and the joy of using your camera. Register here or call to register at 919-772-4794. See some examples of Josh’s work on his website: www.joshuataylorphotography.com.

New! Hosta Society National Convention – June 18, 2015 at Plant Delights Nursery

Please mark your calendar for June 18, 2015 to attend the 2015 Hosta Society National Convention. More details as we receive them.

Hosta 'Ice Follies' PPAF

Hosta ‘Ice Follies’ PPAF

2014 Fall Open Nursery and Garden Days

This will be our last Open Nursery and Garden event until late February 2015. Plan to join us to see our gorgeous fall offerings in the greenhouses and the botanic garden.

September 12-14 Friday/Saturday 8a-5p and Sunday 1-5p
September 19-21 Friday/Saturday 8a-5p and Sunday 1-5p
Rain or Shine!     Free Parking
Click for more info

Heronswood: East Coast Edition Sunken Garden at JLBG July 2014

Heronswood: East Coast Edition
Sunken Garden at JLBG July 2014

It’s All About the Plants

Growing and propagating plants is a lot like taking care of newborns. We have to feed them around the clock, keep the temperature and humidity comfortable for them, and diagnose and treat them when they are sick. And yes, we have to check them in the middle of the night when the monitor sounds off next to our bed indicating something is wrong in the environment or the equipment – even when it’s 9 degrees outside. Plantsmen and their families seldom sleep through the night, just ask them!

Wilbur, our irrigation system, has been an integral part of caring for our plants over the last two decades. He had become a part of the PDN family, so it was hard to retire him this year when finding replacement parts for him, a program written in DOS in the 1980s, proved impossible.

Our weather station rocks like Beyoncé!

Our weather station rocks
like Beyoncé!

After much research and review, Mike Spafford, PDN’s Nursery Manager, selected the replacement for Wilbur to be a new and sophisticated Tucor irrigation system. The fine folks at John Deere helped Mike and his staff through the process to procure and install the new system. Since May this year, our brand new irrigation system keeps the 30 greenhouses programmed to water plants according to current temperatures, humidity, and some other variables the new technology provides. The staff named the new irrigation system Beyoncé, since it’s so cool, sleek, and a real performer! Now the staff can rest a little bit easier since parts are readily available for Beyoncé when she needs a new gig.

Bar Code Scanning

We finally made another leap (with some trembling) into the 21st century with bar code scanning in the nursery for inventory and during checkout at Open Nursery Days. We’ve been practicing using the scanners and working out the software bugs since last fall and we did a test drive last weekend at the Summer Open Nursery and Garden Days. The response was very positive from our onsite customers since the lines at order write-up and checkout were significantly reduced. Thanks for your patience as we continue to enhance your shopping experience when you purchase unique and cool plants from us!

Staff News

We welcome Charlotte Saine as our new JLBG Research Assistant for Field Production. Working with JLBG Research Horticulturist Jeremy Schmidt and current JLBG Research Assistant Jared Chauncey, Charlotte will be doing lots of digging in the dirt in our acres of field trial and research beds, helping keep the data on each plant accurate and updated. Charlotte earned an Associates Degree in Horticulture from Sandhills Community College and was also our Summer Intern from Sandhills CC last year. We are delighted to see the younger generation of plant geeks be as passionate about plants as we are!

In Science News

Caterpillar on JLBG Dahlia June 2014

Caterpillar on JLBG Dahlia
June 2014

Interesting research at the University of Missouri demonstrated plants have the ability to “hear.” It seems that their “hearing” affects a plant’s ability to ward off pests. Researchers played noises of caterpillars munching on foliage to one group of plants while keeping a control group in silence. Later when the real caterpillars were set loose on the plants, the group that had been exposed to the caterpillar sound earlier produced more natural caterpillar repellents. Plants exposed to different vibrational sounds, opposed to silence, acted like the control group and didn’t produce the repellents.

Researchers are unsure how the plants “hear,” but assume it involves pressures on mechanoreceptor proteins, which calls for more research…i.e. another grant. You can read more here.

Retirement News

“Moving on to new adventures” is the phrase uttered with the retirement of two preeminent horticulturists. Holly Shimizu retired as director of the US Botanic Garden in May, after holding the position since 2000. Holly had previously served as the Herb Garden Curator at the US National Arboretum and later as the Director of the Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden in Virginia. Holly is a true national treasure, and I’m sure many of you have read Holly’s writings or enjoyed her wonderful presentations. Holly tells me that she has many interests in retirement but isn’t sure yet where her new chapter in life will take her. Re-working her home garden and starting one at her vacation home top the list.

Rocking into Retirement!

Rocking into Retirement!

Also, slated for retirement this fall is Dr. Larry Mellichamp, professor of Botany at UNC-Charlotte and Director of the UNC-Charlotte Botanical Gardens. Like Holly, Larry has had a huge impact on the world of horticulture through his writing and many presentations…as well as his hybrid pitcher plant introductions. If you’ve never visited the gardens at UNC-Charlotte, check ’em out before Larry departs the scene in October.

Life Passages

We’ve learned of the deaths of several prominent members of the horticultural community since our last newsletter, including Rosemary Bloom, wife of UK plantsman Adrian Bloom (Blooms of Bressingham) on May 26. We mentioned Rosemary’s illness in our last communication.

Around the same time, we’ll miss cycad (sago palm) giant Loran Whitelock, who died on May 14 at age 84. Loran first worked for the City of Los Angles before becoming a garden designer and cycad nurseryman. Cycad Gardens, which Loran started in 1972 at his home in Eagle Rock, California, held one of the most extensive cycad collections in the world. Loran, preceded in death by his wife Eva in 2007, had already laid the groundwork for his entire collection to be donated to the Huntington Botanical Gardens after his death.

Passing on...

Passing on…

During his lifetime, Loran regularly traveled to remote locations around the world to study cycads, and was very active in conservation work of this highly exploited group of plants. Not only did Loran travel, but he also wrote extensively about cycads. His most famous publication is the encyclopedic book The Cycads published by Timber Press in 2002. Loran’s contributions to the world of cycads were so extensive he was honored by having two cycads named after him: Encephalartos whitelockii and Ceratozamia whitelockiana.

Although we only met Loran once for dinner during our 2009 Agave summit in San Diego, he was a charming man, encyclopedic in his knowledge and gentle and giving in spirit. Job well done!

On the east coast another giant recently died, Kurt Bluemel, on June 4. Kurt was fondly known as the King of Ornamental Grasses for his pioneering work with the group. In 1964, the Czech Republic immigrant started his nursery in Fallston, Maryland, with German immigrant the late Wolfgang Oehme. The focus of Kurt’s nursery was ornamental grasses at a time when grasses were virtually unknown commercially in the US.

Kurt was always very generous with his time and knowledge when Tony was a young plantsman making regular pilgrimages to visit Kurt’s nursery and gardens in the late 1980s. At the time, there were very few nurseries with the selection of perennials and ornamental grasses that were available from Bluemel’s. Although Bluemel’s Nursery had both wholesale and retail divisions, it was the landscaping division that generated the lion’s share of their income, thanks to Kurt’s artistic eye and exacting understanding of design. Kurt would later open a Florida Nursery, Floraland, to supply plants for the Deep South, particularly to Disneyworld. Some of Kurt’s own introductions are still industry staples, Schizachyrium ‘The Blues’, Panicum ‘Heavy Metal’, and Eupatorium ‘Gateway’.

Kurt’s loss was a shock to all that knew him as he was indeed larger than life and had just returned from a botanizing trip to, of all places, Death Valley, just prior to being diagnosed with a very aggressive liver cancer. These trips were regular adventures with his famed traveling friends, plantsmen Ratzeputz Gang. Through the years, Bluemel’s Nursery served as a training ground for many of the world’s current crop of top horticulturists, so his influence will live on well into the future.

Solitude in JLBG's Woodland Garden July 2014

Solitude in JLBG’s
Woodland Garden July 2014

On a more local note, Raleigh plantsman Norman Beal died on July 12 after a four year battle with auto-immune disease. Three years ago, Norman sold his amazing Raleigh garden, which had been featured on countless regional and national garden tours.

Norman started his garden in the early 1990s, after retiring from the Virginia Cooperative Extension service and moving to Raleigh to garden like a crazed person for his remaining years. Garden he did, not only filling his garden with a plethora of aesthetically arranged rare treasures, but then taking over the adjacent gardens of four neighbors and gardening their land like his own. Norman was indeed a one of a kind…as generous as opinionated, always wearing his long tan pants and blue oxford shirt, which we all assumed he slept in as well. When you see a plant with the prefix Greystone, it is likely one of Norman’s many introductions. We’ll miss you my friend…life well lived and garden well grown!

Happy gardening!
~tony and anita

Henry

Henry

Featured Plants

Canna 'Blueberry Sparkler'

Canna ‘Blueberry Sparkler’

Colocasia esculenta 'Black Coral'

Colocasia esculenta ‘Black Coral’

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Crinum x herbertii 'Carroll Abbott'

Crinum x herbertii ‘Carroll Abbott’

Echinacea 'Secret Glow' PPAF

Echinacea ‘Secret Glow’ PPAF

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Musa 'Picasso'

Musa ‘Picasso’

Plant Delights Nursery May 2014 Newsletter

Dear PDN’ers!

Greetings and Happy Spring!

The Perfect Storm

As we mentioned in an earlier email, we experienced the perfect storm of events which impacted our order processing and shipping operations this spring. The combination of delayed ordering due to the long winter, a nearly universal demand for plants to be shipped in May, and the poorly-designed e-commerce system we purchased in December have created an operational and shipping nightmare. The entire company is working in crisis mode and we are burning the midnight oil to fulfill orders and work through the issues.

We know these delays are unacceptable to you and they are unacceptable to us as business owners. We appreciate your patience and your notes of support as we work to ship the orders that were delayed.

Despite seeming like spring has only just begun, we’re actually only a few weeks from the official start of summer. Rains have been steady so far this year, although our recent May rain of 5.17 inches was a bit more than we would have preferred for a single weather event. Fingers crossed for a great gardening summer in most parts of the country, although our thoughts are with those in the already drought stricken areas like California, Texas, and Oklahoma.

Spring open garden and nursery days were well attended and it was wonderful meeting so many folks, including visitors from as far away as California. It’s always great to put faces with the names that we’ve previously met only on social media. Because our growing season was two weeks later than normal, visitors were able to see different plants than they normally see in spring, including peak bloom on many of the early peonies. At least it was dry during open garden and nursery, which is always a relief.

Cattail Bridge at Mystic Creek

Cattail Bridge at Mystic Creek

Weathering the Winter in JLBG

Juniper Level Botanic GardenIn the last couple of weeks, the agaves here at Juniper Level B.G. have awoken from their winter slumber with seven species so far sending up flower spikes. It looks like we’ll be breaking out the tall ladders for some high-wire sexual liaisons before long. We didn’t get great seed set on last year’s century plant breeding, but the highlights of the successful crosses were hybrids of Agave victoriae-reginae and Agave americana ssp. protamericana which we expect will turn out to be quite interesting. Although only six months old, we can already tell they’re truly unique.

We continue to watch as plants in the garden recover from the severe winter. Most of the cycads (sago palms) we cut back have resprouted, with a few still to begin. So far, the only sure loss from that group was a several year old Dioon merolae. Most of our palms came through the winter okay, except for those in an out-lying low part of the garden, where damage to windmill palms was quite severe.

Cycas panzhihuaensis

Cycas panzhihuaensis

Many of the butia, or jelly palms, we thought survived have now declined to a brown pile of branches. We’re not giving up quite yet, as one Butia x Jubaea that we thought was a goner when the spear pulled (a term for the newly emerging leaves rotting so that they easily pull out of the top) has just begun to reflush.

Bananas have been slow to return for many customers, including the very hardy Musa basjoo. It seems that gardeners in colder zones who mulched their bananas have plants which are growing now. Perhaps this past winter will put a damper on the mail order nurseries who continue to list plants like Musa basjoo as hardy to Zone 4 and 5, (-20 to -30 degrees F), which is pure insanity.

Tony’s Travels

 

Hans and Tony courtesy of C. C. Burrell

Hans and Tony
courtesy of C. C. Burrell

We are grateful Tony had the opportunity to speak recently at the relatively new Paul J. Ciener Botanic Garden in Kernersville, NC. This small botanic garden is truly delightful, and the staff, including former JLBG curator Adrienne Roethling, have done a great job in the first phase of their development. We hope you’ll drop by if you’re heading through NC on Interstate 40.

Tony also spoke in Memphis last month, and then he headed into the Ozarks for some botanizing in northwest Arkansas. He had an amazing several days that resulted in finds like a stoloniferous form of Viola pedata, several trilliums he’d never seen before, and a new clematis species that’s still waiting to be named. We’ve posted some photos from the trip on our blog.

Connecting Socially

Zircon says "Don't mess with my social media links!"

Zircon says
“Don’t mess with my
social media links!”

We both love to share our plant passion with you on the PDN blog and our social media sites. We originally posted only on Facebookthen Google+, Twitter,  Pinterest  and LinkedIn, so we created a PDN Blog as our main social media platform. Tony uses the blog to share his perspectives with you about the plant and gardening world as he sees it. The PDN blog, in turn, propagates his posts to Facebook, Google+, and Twitter and allows him to get back out in the garden and greenhouses where he finds meaningful content to share with you!

Anita manages the Juniper Level Botanic Garden  website and the JLBG page at Facebook, along with the PDN and JLBG pages at Pinterest and LinkedIn. Thus far, the only issue we seem to have with social media is when the blog sends our posts to other social media sites, FB and Google+ remove the links to the plants, as well as some of the post. We have no ability to control or change this, and FB’s customer service is as responsive as asking a flat tire to change itself. Hopefully, one day we’ll discover a way to work around this challenge.

Suspending Web Ordering for Inventory June 17-18

Please note we will be closed to take plant inventory in the greenhouses on the above dates. This will require us to empty all shopping carts and suspend website ordering from 12:01am EDT on June 17 through 6:00pm EDT on June 18 in order to obtain accurate inventory numbers. We apologize for any inconvenience during inventory in June and October each year.

Taxonomy and Nomenclature

Longtime readers know Tony’s fascination with plant taxonomy and nomenclature. He always assumed plant naming and renaming had to do with science and taxonomy, but it seems that politics and nationalism are also at play. A recent example is the genus acacia, a member of the Mimosa family. It was determined in 2005 from DNA analysis that acacias from Africa and acacias from Australia were genetically different enough that they were not actually the same genus. Since the original type specimen, named by Linnaeus in 1773, was from Africa, the acacias in Australia were changed to racosperma.

What should have been cut and dried got hijacked when Australia protested, arguing that since they had so many more acacias than Africa (960 vs. 160), it would be too disruptive to change the Australian plants so Australia should get to keep the genus acacia, and a new type specimen (a replacement for the original African standard) should be declared as being from Australia. Follow me here…this would require the original African acacias to be renamed.

As it turned out, even the African acacias weren’t really all the same genus either, so they would then need to be divided anyway. This probably wouldn’t have garnered much in the way of horticultural headlines were it not for the fact that acacias are iconic cultural trees for both cultures. The result was a six-year heavyweight taxonomic and political rumble, the likes of which had never been seen before in the botanical world.

In 2005, the International Botanical Congress voted to officially give the name acacia to Australia. Africa vehemently protested, and accused the committee of stealing African Intellectual Property rights. In 2011, the International Botanical Congress, in a split decision, re-affirmed leaving Australia with the rights to acacia, and handing a still-steaming African delegation two new genera, vachellia (69 species) and senegalia (73 species), which taxonomist are still sorting out to this day. And you though taxonomy was boring!

A dramatic re-enactment by Jasper and Henry

A dramatic re-enactment by Jasper and Henry

Sticky Bees

Phlox paniculata 'Purple Eyes' with bees

Phlox paniculata ‘Purple Eyes’ with bees

In a recent discovery, scientists found bumblebees use electrical signals to determine which flowers have more nectar, allowing them to forage for pollen more efficiently. Bees build up positive electrical charges as they fly, which helps the pollen stick to them as they land on the flowers. Scientist found that this electrical charge is transferred to the flowers when they land to feed. Subsequent bees pick up on this electrical charge, telling the bee which flowers have already been foraged so they don’t waste their energy where little pollen will likely remain. This use of electrical signals had previously been documented in sharks, but not in insects. This fascinating research was first published in the February 21, 2013 issue of Nature magazine.

Industry Updates

Industry mergers are back in the news this month as the 1,000,000 square foot Kentucky wholesaler Color Point (74th largest in the US) has signed a letter of intent to purchase the 3,500,000 million square foot Mid-American Growers of Illinois, which ranks number 13. Interestingly, both nurseries are owned by siblings…the two youngest sons of the famed Van Wingerden greenhouse family, who made their fortunes supplying plants to the mass market box stores.

In sad news from the gardening world, UK plantsman Adrian Bloom of Blooms of Bressingham shared the news that his wife of 48 years, Rosemary, has been diagnosed with advanced terminal cancer, falling ill after returning from a Swiss skiing trip in March. Adrian underwent prostate cancer treatment back in 2011. Please join us in sending thoughts and prayers to the Bloom family.

2014 Summer Open Nursery and Garden Days

Mark your calendar for July Summer Open Nursery and Garden Days. We’ll have the cooling mister running full blast to keep you cool while you shop for colorful and fragrant perennials for your summer garden. And of course, the greenhouses will be full of many cool plants, including echinaceas, salvias, phlox, cannas, dahlias, crinum lilies, and lots of unique ferns. JLBG is especially lush and green during the summer so come and walk the shady paths of the Woodland Garden, or cool off at the Grotto Waterfall Garden and Mystic Falls Garden. It’s always great to see you and meet you in person and to reunite with our long-time customers and friends.

Days: July 11-13 and July 18-20 Rain or Shine!
Times: Fridays and Saturdays 8a-5p, Sundays 1-5p

Woodland Garden Paths near the Water Oak Garden

Woodland Garden Paths near the Water Oak Garden

Southeast Palm Society at PDN/JLNG on August 9th

 

 Sabal uresana

Sabal uresana

Just a reminder that we will be hosting the summer meeting of the Southeast Palm Society at Plant Delights Nursery/Juniper Level Botanic Garden on Saturday August 9, 2014. You are welcome to attend but you will need to register in advance by July 1, 2014. You will find the details here.

Soothing Stress in the Garden

As crazy as things have been in the nursery, the botanic garden here at Juniper Level provides a paradoxically exciting calmness. As a stress reliever, as well as a passion, we spend as much evening and weekend time as possible in the gardens viewing the amazing plants and plant combinations through the lens of our cameras. We each see the garden differently, so Anita shares her photos on the JLBG Facebook page and her Google+ profile, and Tony shares his photos on the PDN blog.

In addition to the sensory beauty and serenity of gardens large or small, researchers worldwide have documented the positive and calming benefits to the human nervous system of spending time in the garden. So relax, refresh, and restore your natural state of balance and calm by spending time in your favorite garden spot.

Until next time, happy gardening!

-tony and anita

Henry in the Grotto Garden at dusk

Henry in the Grotto Garden at dusk

Featured Plants

Crinum 'Lorraine Clark'

Crinum ‘Lorraine Clark’

Curcuma longa 'Snowdrift'

Curcuma longa ‘Snowdrift’

Canna 'Lemon Punch'

Canna ‘Lemon Punch’

Echinacea 'Secret Glow' PPAF

Echinacea ‘Secret Glow’ PPAF

Kniphofia 'Redhot Popsicle' PPAF

Kniphofia ‘Redhot Popsicle’ PPAF

Salvia 'Amistad' PP# 23,578

Salvia ‘Amistad’ PP# 23,578

Saururus cernuus 'Hertford Streaker'

Saururus cernuus ‘Hertford Streaker’