Resurrecting Lenten Roses

So, how do your evergreen perennials including hellebores look after the early winter blast?  Most likely, they look a bit rough if your ground froze like it did here at the garden.  Most likely, they'll be fine once they thaw and we edge closer to spring. Many plants can't uptake water in the winter because their roots don't reach below the frost line.  In this case, the plants must reduce their need for water. Water loss in winter is highest when the evergreen foliage is exposed to either sun or wind. Some gardeners cover their evergreen perennials with branches or materials like pine straw to reduce water loss. The first step taken by most evergreens to reduce water use is to become flaccid (limp). The plants will become turgid again once the temperatures rise above freezing and moisture becomes available. Trillium and hellebores are two good examples.  If wilting isn't enough to compensate for the water being lost, the plants next begin jettisoning foliage, Read more [...]

Fluorescent bee balm

We’ve been thrilled at the entire group of new non-running, mildew-resistant bee balms from the Walters Gardens breeding program.  Now fluorescent flowers have been added by including previously unused, little-known orange-flowered genetics. It’s hard to capture the degree of fluorescence in photos, but you’ll agree when you see them in person that these are a dramatic breeding breakthrough. The first in the series is Monarda ‘Electric Neon Pink’, and we are so pleased to help introduce this to the market. Bee sun glasses are not included.

Sinningia ‘Cherries Jubilee’…how many hummingirds are too many?

Our 2018 introduction of Sinningia ‘Cherries Jubilee’ was designed for one purpose…to do away with the need for hummingbird feeders. When mature, this amazing hardy gesneriad selection produces over 200 stalks at once, each with 75+ flowers each….that’s 15,000 flowers at once. The long flowering season of Sinningia ‘Cherries Jubilee’ runs from mid May through mid September. Lots of sun and well drained soils are the key to grow hardy sinningias well. 

St. John’s wort with ornamental fruit

For several years, we’d followed the development of fruiting St. John’s worts, developed for the florist industry, so finally we decided to get some plants for trial and see if they had any garden value. Much to our delight, they exceeded all of our expectations, so now we want to spread the word.  For us Hypericum ‘Hypearl Compact Red’, flowered and produced fruit from late spring all the way into fall…never without color all summer. If you’re a flower arranger, then there’s another reason to grow these in your garden. we hope they excite you as they do us. 

Second round of snow

Sno Kiddin'...We average just over 5" of snow each winter, and after yesterday, we're hoping to turn off the snow faucet for the year. Predictions for our region were dramatically underestimated, and while we only received 5" of snow at the nursery, nearby  locations registered 12"+ accumulations. Here are a few images from the gardens. Nothing quite like being snowed in...my favorite time to browse on-line mail order catalogs.  At least, in a couple of days, we should be back in the 60s, so no more 200 straight hours below freezing..   Read more [...]

A new variegated daylily, Hemerocallis ‘Striped Fantastic’

Although we love daylilies, we don't offer a large list, opting only for very special selections that should be better known.  Such is the case with Hemerocallis 'Striped Fantastic', one of only three stable variegated daylilies, and the first tetraploid. Due to its slow rate of increase, it's taken 11 year for this worldwide release to happen. Hemerocallis 'Striped Fantastic' was named by retired daylily breeder, Steve Brigham of the former Cordon Blue Daylilies. We'd grow this even if it never flowered.  The lovely flowers are a true bonus, passing by far the other two variegated daylilies on the market. These images are from our garden here at Juniper Level last summer.  Read more [...]

Two great native Eryngiums…unknown, but not for long

Since we have a passion for native plants, we constantly seek out both new species and new selections that simply aren't widely known.  Eryngium aquaticum var. ravenelii is one of those plants that leave us asking why it isn't grown more.  Unlike most of the perennial native eryngiums that have green flowers, this one has bluish flowers that rival the European species. This well-behaved Southeast US native species has thrived in our garden. Another eryngium that's near and dear to our hearts is our 2006 introduction, Eryngium yuccifolium 'Kershaw Blue'.  Most Eryngium yuccifolium forms we've grown have narrow green leaves, and while nice, they can't compare with the ornamental value of this wide leaf, silver blue selection.  Read more [...]

Psoralea…not a skin disease

Be honest now…how many of you have grown psoralea in your garden?  Psoralea is an odd little baptisia cousin that’s ignored by all the gardening books, as well as most recommended native plant lists. Here is our clump of Psoralea psoralioides in the garden this past June…pretty amazing for a perennial native from Illinois south to the Gulf Coast. We hope you’ll give this waif a home in your garden. 

New dianthus…take a sniff

We love dianthus (hardy carnations), both for their evergreen foliage, drought tolerance, and deliciously fragrant flowers. Getting dianthus to flower is easy, it just that soon after flowering, most succumb to our hot, humid summers. Consequently, we celebrate when a new dianthus not only survives, but thrives. The latest trial subjects to sail through our weather extremes test are two new Walters Gardens introductions.  Here is Dianthus 'Marashino' growing in our rock garden surrounded by agaves and cactus. For us, flowering starts around mid-April Not far away, here is Dianthus 'Sweetie Pie' with so many flowers that they almost obscure the silver grey foliage. We hope you like these as much as we do. Read more [...]

Epimedium ‘Peachie’…a real peach

We are thrilled to finally introduce our latest fairy wing from our breeding work here at PDN/JLBG.  Epimedium ‘Peachie‘ is a 2010 Plant Delights seedling that has been absolutely stellar in our trials, both for the unique peach flower color and for the sheer density of flowers. We hope you will enjoy this in your garden as much as we do.