Director of Plant Breeding needed @ NC State

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

The Salvia Doctor has left the Greenhouse

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

Goodbye Florence

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

Oh Florence!

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

Nerd Night in Raleigh

I had a blast last week speaking on horticultural diversity at Raleigh’s Nerd Night…held at the Big Boss Brewery. I’ll admit to being skeptical when committing to speak in an un-air conditioned beer warehouse in late June…an obviously non-horticultural venue. The group of about 125 people…mostly Gen X – millenials was incredibly entheusiatic with great questions that continued well into the night. I hope you’ll check out the Nerd Night events, now held in over 100 cities. Special thanks to NCSU hort grad Alice Hinman of Raleighs’ bee enhancement program, Apiopolis, for the inviation to speak, Eric Self, the Nerd Night organizer, and my college classmate and fellow boomer, Debbie Hamrick for the photos.

Chelsea Gardens

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

UK Travels

Just back from a speaking gig in the UK and wanted to share some images from the trip. While there, we were able to visit the Chelsea Garden Show for the first time, and here are some of the amazing displays of horticultural perfection. Alliums Chrysanthemums Fuchsias Lupines Rebutias Sarracenias Lillies Gladiolus Narcissus   Agapanthus Hellebores - all forced from Ashwood Nurseries And looks who's manning the Ashwood booth...Pine Knot's Dick Tyler! Read more [...]

Plant Geek Visitors

Another great weekend in the garden, highlighted by a visit from several of our extended plant family…Carl Schoenfeld and Wade Roitsch of the former Yucca Do, Hans Hansen of Walters Gardens (back), and yours truly on the right. It’s been about seven years since we were able able to get together.  Carl is raising cattle (and plants) at his ranch in Argentina, and Wade is doing the same in Texas. Thanks to John Walters for snapping the photo. 

See you in Richmond

I’m heading up to Richmond Virginia in a couple of weeks for a Wednesday March 28 presentation on Shade Gardening for the Garden Club of Virginia’s Daffodil Day.  The entire event will take place at the Garden of Virginia’s Kent-Valentine House on East Franklin Street. There are a few available spaces remaining, so please share this with your friends in the area and join us as we talk plants.  To get more details and to register, click here

Food and Gardens

For our open nursery and garden days, we've lined up several of our favorite food trucks, so we don't have folks falling out in the garden from hunger pains. Being an ice cream junkie, I think the all natural local ice cream from Fresh is probably the best I've had anywhere in the world. We hope you'll come see the gardens/nursery and support these great local vendors.  WINTER 2018 OPEN HOUSE FOOD TRUCK SCHEDULE DAY DATE HOURS FOOD TRUCK HOURS ICE CREAM/SHAVE ICE FRI 23-Feb 11AM-SLOW ROUTE BISTRO 11AM-SLOW   SAT 24-Feb 11AM-SLOW FUZZY'S - Empanadas 12PM-SLOW FRESH – Ice Cream SUN 25-Feb   NA 1PM-SLOW   FRI 2-Mar 11AM-SLOW CHIRBA CHIRBA – Asian Dumplings 11AM-SLOW   SAT 3-Mar 11AM-SLOW RARE EARTH FARMS - LOCAL 11AM-SLOW   SUN 4-Mar   NA 1PM-SLOW FRESH – Ice Cream   Read more [...]