Redbud love – Cercis ‘Wavecrest’

Our friend Hans Hansen had told us about a redbud he was growing from the former Wavecrest Nursery, that was a cross of Cercis canadensis and Cercis chinensis...a cross considered difficult, if not almost impossible.  I visited last week to get cuttings (yes, it roots), and found a stunningly beautiful small tree with glossy dark green foliage. It has the floral density and trunk flowering of Cercis chinensis with the winter hardiness of Cercis canadensis, enduring Michigan winters of -12F, so far.   Here's a photo Hans shared of it in flower this spring.  Surprisingly, it's never been officially released or named, so we've christened it, Cercis 'Wavecrest' to honor the amazing nursery, where it was discovered as a seedling.  If our cuttings take, we'll work to get this into the trade and in the hands of collectors.  Read more [...]

Allium ‘Milleniunm’ – Perennial Plant of the Year

In 1998, Massacheusetts allium breeder, Mark McDonough share a plant of his newly named Allium 'Millenium' with us to introduce in 2000 to celebrate the new century. After 17 years on the market, Allium 'Millenium' became an overnight success when it was just selected as the 2018 Perennial Plant of the Year by the Perennial Plant Association. This is a yuuuge honor as it joins a very select company of award winners.   Allium 'Millenium' is now produced by the 100,000's.  I just took this photo in the production fields of Walters Gardens in Michigan.  All of these were produced from a single quart pot they picked up from us 7 years ago.  Pretty impressive!     We don't feel that breeders usually get enough credit for their amazing work, so here's the man behind Allium 'Millenium', breeder, Mark McDonough of Massacheusetts.  A well deserved congratulations, and thanks for letting us be a small part of this amazing story!   Read more [...]

Rhodophiala bifida ‘White Surprise’…and more

We'll never get tired of growing plants from seed and the anticipation of seeing what unique traits might arise.  This week, we were thrilled to "discover" our first white oxblood lily, Rhodophiala bifida in our research trials.  We deflowered it this week with its own pollen in the hopes of producing more white clones. Fingers crossed.  Below are a few of our other seedling selections that will be coming soon. Rhodophiala bifida 'Hill Country Red' is the industry standard clone In 2017, we released our first clonal selection, Rhodophiala 'Carmencita' Coming in the next couple of years is a very early flowering seed strain with orange red flowers that we've named Rhodophiala 'Red Baron' Here is a still unnamed 2013 seed selection. Here another unnamed selection with nice white central striping. Another lovely pink 2013 selection One final shot.  As you can see, it's easy to get carried away with seedling selections.   Read more [...]

New rain lily – Habranthus ruber

Flowering a new plant for the first time is always exciting, and this week we enjoyed our first Habranthus ruber.  This Brazillian rain lily is quite rare, and probably only a few exist in the US.  We’ve already selfed this to get seed, and we also spread its pollen far and wide to other rain lilies to see what color combinations might be possible. We doubt this will be reliably winter hardy for us in Zone 7b, but it should produce fascinating offspring. 

Odd Rain Lily Breeding

Over the last few years, we’ve made quite a few intergeneric hybrids within the Amaryllid family…one known for rather odd mating habits. Our crosses involved 2,3, and occasionally four genera together.  Today, one of our bi-generic (2 genera) crosses flowered for the first time, confirming its hybrid origin.  In this case the parents were Habranthus robustus x Zephyranthes ‘Labuffarosea’, so it’s our first xZephybranthus. The foliage tends more toward the habranthus parent, while the orientation of the flower and the petals go more toward the zephyranthes parent.  This is somewhat akin to crossing a human with a chimpanzee. 

Sporty spores

Have you ever stopped to look at fern spore patterns?  If not, take time to turn over your fern fronds.  My favorite spore pattern comes from the fern genus, Coniogramme. These produce what is known as anastamosing veins…your new word for today.  Anastamosing is the connection of separate branching patterns…in this case, veins of spores.  Free art…compliments of mother nature.

Surprise….it’s surprise lily time!

Many gardeners don't look forward to summer, but we've found a cure...plant lycoris! Known as surprise lilies and hurricane lilies, the lycoris bloom season starts in mid-July and continues into mid-September with a procession of different varieties.  Winter hardiness of lycoris ranges from Zone 4 to Zone 7, depending on when the foliage emerges. We currently grow nearly 600 different varieties of lycoris, the diversity of which is truly astonishing. Because we are the only source of most of these, once they are sold out, we may not have enough to offer again for 5-10 years, so if you see something you like, it's best not to wait.  You can plant lycoris anytime the ground isn't frozen.     Lycoris x squamigera is an old hybrid, grown throughout the midwest, often mistakenly purchased as the tender Amaryllis belladonna. Lycoris 'Caldwell's White' is a surprise lily we recently released from the late, famed lycoris breeder, Sam Caldwell. We can't say enough Read more [...]

Hardy Cactus…thoughts

We've got a thing for hardy cactus in the garden, but haven't propagated many to offer yet. One of our many favorites is Notocactus apricus.  Above is our 17 year old clump in the garden, which is 4" tall x 15" wide.  We've grown a few from seed, but are curious how many folks might consider purchasing one?  We've only been to 7F since 2000, so we don't know if it will take colder temperatures or not.   Visitors to our spring Open Nursery and Garden this year got to see the amazing Trichocereus 'Irridescent Watermelon' (bred by local cacti specialist, Mike Papay) in full flower (hardy so far to 7 degrees F).  Offsets are almost non-existent, so we decided to grow some from seed. Each plant will be different, but all should be quite nice.  So, if we offered these as a seed strain, would you purchase some, knowing each will be slightly different? Read more [...]

Rain, followed by Rain Lilies

Our nearly 2" rain, a few days ago, produced a stunning show of rain lilies in the garden.  Here are some selections from the original Yucca Do collection in Labuffa, Mexico. Between July and October, these flower 2-3 days after each rain. Winter hardiness of each is Zone 7b, although, they may possibly survive in Zone 7a.  They also make fabulous container specimens. Zephyranthes 'Early and Often' (a Yucca Do selection) Zephyranthes 'Lily Pies' (a Yucca Do selection)  Zephyranthes 'Rose Colored Glasses' (a Yucca Do selection) Zephyranthes 'Star Spangled' (a Yucca Do selection) Zephyranthes 'Viva Las Vegas' (a Plant Delights selection for 2018 release) Read more [...]