There’s Gold in Africa

When we first saw a photo of Zantedeschia ‘African Gold’, we nearly fell off our chair…or were we standing? No matter, we finally managed to acquire a start, and have been bulking them up ever since in hopes of being able to share one day, so stay tuned for the January 2019 catalog!

Cast Iron Tough

Now that winter is giving us a sneak preview of what's in store for the next few months,  the evergreen plants in the garden are really starting to shine without all those pesky deciduous perennials. Aspidistra, or cast iron plants, are one of our favorites, and they really look so good in the garden now. Many folks in more northern climates are relegated to container culture, but for those of us in Zone 7b and south, they are amazing perennials.  Aspidistra ebianensis 'Flowing Fountains' should be in all shade gardens where the climate allows. He's our nine year old clump this month, now 2' tall x 6' wide. Aspidistra retusa 'Nanjing Green' is a smaller clump with a different form. And here is a photo of Aspidistra elatior 'Asahi' from the garden last week.  We've also grown quite a few aspidistra from seed to see what kind of new forms might arise. Below are some photos of some of our 2 year old offspring. Like hostas, variegation in aspidistra arises from Read more [...]

Mixing textures

We love experimenting with new textural combinations in the garden, and here are a couple that caught our eye this fall. Start planning new bold leaf texture and color combinations for your garden this winter as you dream of spring. The bold foliage of Asarum splendens (wild ginger), mingles nicely with the southern maidenhair fern, Adiantum x mairesii. Here, we've interplanted Gloxinia (Seemania) 'Little Red' in a patch of Alstroemeria psittacina 'Variegata' and Manfreda 'Spot'. We love how the bold texture of the manfreda contrasts with the alstroemeria, while the color of the leaf spots pick up the purple in the gloxinia stems.  Read more [...]

Hit gold with Solomon’s Seal

Several of the Solomon’s Seals age gracefully, but we’re usually too busy writing catalog copy to get photos. This year, we happened to catch Polygonatum infundiflorum ‘Lemon Seoul’ all lit up in its fall fines. 

Petered Out

A great time was had by all who attended and met Peter Grande in person. Peter's opening brought out the most first time visitors we've ever had at the nursery & gardens. It's truly quite an event to witness the largest inflorescence "flower" to ever occur in North Carolina. Despite the nearly constant caressing, Peter could only keep it up for 44 hours, and by mid-day Sunday, he was literally petered out. Fingers crossed for good seed set, which we should know in a month or two. Thanks to our great staff who both grew Peter and then hosted the long hours of visitation. Special thanks also to amorphophallus guru and JLBG adjunct researcher Alan Galloway, for sticking with us for the entire event and sharing his amazing knowledge. Peter has a twin brother, which could grace us with his presence in the next couple of years...the wait is back on.    Read more [...]

Peter Grande – A Living Sculpture

Here are a few images from the blessed event, starting when Peter began to open around 2pm Friday 4pm Friday - Do you think this view from below makes his hips look big? Below...a view from above @ 4pm Friday as the spathe unfurls, creating a bicolor effect Fully open around 7pm Friday evening having a Georgia O'Keeffe moment By 5pm, it the female parts were receptive, so it was time for the artificial insemination to begin.To reach the female parts, we cut three window in the base of the spathe. Inside are hundreds of female ovaries/stigmas, covered in a sticky syrup to hold the pollen. Next, we made a withdrawal from our sperm bank and recovered the pollen from our own Amorphophallus albus that flowered a few weeks earlier. Our goal is to create a winter hardy, offsetting version of Amorphophallus titanum that we could grow in the ground here. Small paintbrushes are used to apply the pollen to all of the stigmas. The final step is for our surgical Read more [...]

A Really Large Peter

Our Amorphophallus titanum, Peter Grande, continues to expand, hitting the 76″ tall mark today. This ties it for the 30th tallest flower (inflorescence) recorded in US history. Flower opening, which starts between 3 and 4pm, could begin any day now…stay tuned!  Plantsman Alan Galloway, one of the worlds’ leading authorities on the genus Amorphophallus will also be on hand for the grand opening to chat about anything amorphophallus. 

Amorphophallus titanum…the countdown to flowering has begun

This morning, the flower bud on our Amorphophallus titanum, Peter Grande measured 67"...that's one big Peter! Only 7 more inches to make it into the top 100 tallest Titanum inflorescences in history. We're still expecting flowering to start this Friday for our Summer Open Nursery and Garden Days, but with the caveat that nature really doesn't care about our plans, so the viewing dates could change. We've added a special Titan page to our website that includes a live feed Peter video cam, fascinating new Titanum trivia, and an amazing sortable spreadsheet of every known Amorphophallus titanum to flower in cultivation. Despite spending three years compiling the table, we sure there are a few others that we missed, so please let us hear from you with any additions and corrections. We hope you'll make plans to come see Peter in his full glory as soon as he's ready.  Read more [...]

Guess who is visiting for Summer Open Nursery and Garden???

Yes, it's our first flowering of Amorphophallus titanum...the Titan Arum.  The scheduled release date is July 6, 2018, so tell all your friends and come join us. We will continue to update the progress in case the date of the opening night performance changes. June 22 with our Taxonomist, Zac Hill 6.25.2018...not sure what it's been eating over the weekend, but darn, it's put on some weight and height...40" tall so far. We probably would have flowered one sooner, but back in winter 2005, we heard news that the heat went out in the UNC Charlotte Botanical Garden greenhouses, killing their flowering-size Amorphophallus titanum, so we donated out largest specimen as a replacement.  Here is our visit to see "Bella" ready to flower in 2007.    Read more [...]