Cuphea micropetala – Halloween flowers for fall

For over a month, Cuphea micropetala has been simply glorious with its Halloween colored flowers. Hardy for us, it can be used as a container specimen as long as you move it indoors before a freeze. For us, it dies to the ground after a hard freeze, but returns stronger each year here in Zone 7b. 

Variegated magnolia and mahonia

If you grow many plants from seed, you already know the chance of finding variegated offspring is actually fairly good..if you have a detailed eye.  Most variegates have little if any commercial value, other than to crazy plant collectors, who will gladly trade their first born for a start.  Still, it's always exciting when these pop-up. Here is our seedling of Magnolia insignis 'Significant Find'...in the ground for several years and unstably stable. Here is our unnamed seedling of Mahonia fargesii in the garden.  Keep your eyes peeled in your own garden and when you visit others.  Read more [...]

New sterile hybrid hellebores for fall – sneak peek

 We are very excited to add four brand new Helleborus niger hybrids (bred with Helleborus x hybridus) to our fall on-line catalog.  These are sisters to the wildly popular Helleborus 'Anna's Red' and 'Penny's Pink', all with outfacing flowers, incredible silver-veined foliage, and no seed. Our supplies of each are very limited.  Helleborus 'Cheryl's Shine' Helleborus 'Dana's Dulcet' Helleborus 'Moondance' Helleborus 'Sally's Shell'   Read more [...]

Lovin’ Leaf and Limb

    We were thrilled to welcome Raleigh based Treecology firm, Leaf and Limb for a volunteer workday at Juniper Level Botanic Gardens (JLBG) recently.  Almost 30 team members showed up with tree equipment to help with pruning, and some woodland canopy opening.  These volunteer work days are also used as a training opportunity for newer Leaf and Limb staffers.  Their crew had recently conducted a similar volunteer day at the JC Raulston Arboretum.  Kudos to a wonderful firm, and our sincere thanks for a job well done.  Read more [...]

New Cascades Butterfly Bushes…not your grandmothers buddleias

Can we have a collective, WOW!  For decades, we've begged plant breeders to use the weeping butterfly bush, Buddleia lindleyana in their breeding.  Although two breeders did so, and we have their F1 (first generation) hybrids in the garden, no one took it to further generations...until now. We are please to help introduce these amazing Hans Hansen/Walters Garden hybrids...the Cascades series of butterfly bushes.  The "Cascades" aren't small like many of the newer hybrids, but instead mature at 6-6.5' in height and width...the 'Empress Wu' of butterfly bushes. When I visited the Walters Garden trials this summer, these insanely showy butterfly bushes emitted an incredibly strong and sweet fragrance, and were loaded with an array of pollinators.  The "Cascades" are truly breakthroughs in the genus buddleia. They come in three colors, pink, lavender, and grand.  Hmmm....didn't know that grand was a color.  The photo above is Buddleia 'Grand Cascade'.  Read more [...]

Cherry Chocolate Chip fun in the garden

It's always cool to have really fun plants in the garden, and few can match this selection of our North American native, Manfreda undulata.  Manfreda 'Cherry Chocolate Chip' is the work of our friend Hans Hansen, who has created some of the finest perennials on the market today.  For us, Manfreda 'Cherry Chocolate Chip' stays evergreen to about 5-7 degrees F, below which temperature it becomes deciduous.  Sun from a few hours to half a day is perfect for this drought tolerant succulent.  I can envision fun landscape ideas using coral or sea shells to create a magical underwater-looking landscape. If you use this in a seascape, please share your images. Now, I can't get my mind off ice cream...back in a few minutes.   Read more [...]

Weather or not…

We had an interesting end of the day Friday, when a microburst/funnel cloud, complete with an abundance of 2.25" hail, passed over the nursery and gardens.  Colocasias were immediately transformed into Monstera deliciosa...aka Swiss Cheese plants. Eighteen irrigation pipes in the nursery were shattered along with the roof of our potting barn.  On the bright side, our compost pile will grow considerably after we finish raking debris.   Our little weather encounter pails in comparison to our gardening friends in Texas and Louisiana, who are beginning the recovery from Hurricane Harvey.  Mercer Botanic Garden just north of Houston was under an 8' deep raging river for 3 days.  Crews are still accessing what will no doubt be catastrophic damage.  We've yet to hear back from our friends at Shangrila Gardens in Orange, Texas, but can't imagine the news will be good since the main feature of the garden is the incredible canal that traverses the garden.   Peckerwood Read more [...]