Do You Know Your Neighbors

There are many great garden-worthy native plants that are under utilized, not readily available, or not even on the radar of many gardeners. If you aren't familiar with, or haven't grown these native beauties, you should get acquainted! Erigeron is native to all states East of the Mississippi and forms flat evergreen rosettes that are slowly stoloniferous and form a tight mat. In spring, the rosettes are topped with 10" stalks of light pink daisies. Average-to-dry garden soils in light shade is perfect. Erigeron pulchellus 'Meadow Muffin' Carex radiata is found in eastern North America from Canada to Alabama. 'Halifax' is a fine-textured selection we encountered while hiking in Halifax Co., NC. The evergreen 8" x 8" mound is a stunning textural addition to the woodland garden and is a great contrast to bold textured woodland plants such as hostas and hellebores. Carex radiata 'Halifax' Engelmannia peristenia is a monotypic genus (only one species) that has proven ridiculously Read more [...]

Hardy Agave for Your Garden

There are many agave that are hardy in our Zone 7b garden that many people would not think would live here. The key to successfully growing agaves is proper siting, planting, and culture. These are pictures taken this week of agaves in the garden. Join us May 4, 2019 at 2:00pm for our Gardening Unplugged garden chat on Hardy Agave for the Garden, during our Spring Open Nursery & Garden Days. Agave ovatifolia 'Vanzie' Agave lophantha 'Splendida' Agave salmiana 'Green Goblet' Agave victoria-reginae Papay Giant form Agave x pseudoferox Read more [...]

Urbanite Crevice Garden

If you haven't been out lately, the last section of our crevice garden along the exit drive is nearly finished and being planted as we speak. Previous sections are starting to fill in nicely and really shining this spring. Be sure to visit during our upcoming 2019 Spring Open Nursery & Garden Days, May 3-5 & 10-12, and get inspiration for your own crevice or rock garden. Read more [...]

Seeds of Change

At Plant Delights Nursery and Juniper Level Botanic Garden we grow a number of our plants from seed. While many plants will come pretty true to type from seed, there is always the element of genetics and genetic diversity, just as in humans. We are always on the look out for these genetic variations and the next great garden worth plant. Below is a planting of 3 Alyssum argenteum that were grown from seed received from Jelitto Perennial Seed. All planted at the same time and same conditions, side by side, you can see the plant to the far left is already in flower, the middle plant is just starting to bud, and the far right is denser and more compact in its growth habit. Alyssum argenteum - Jelitto form Below is another seed grown crop of Alyssum saxatile 'Sulphureum' and you can see the variation of flower color from a creamy, buttery yellow to a bright golden yellow. So we are always excited about growing crops from seed and discovering the variations nature has in store. Alyssum Read more [...]

But, they don’t grow here

We have long admired the Aril iris, a group of dry-land species, mostly from Middle Eastern countries, which are renown for their ability to die quickly in wet, humid-summer climates.  Well, armed with our new crevice garden, we decided it was time to try our hand at these once more, focusing on what is known as Arilbred iris...aril species that have been crossed with more typical bearded iris. In our case, we focused on the 50/50 hybrids, which the vendor assured us would not have any chance in our climate. 

Despite our wettest year on record, here we are, 20 months after planting without a single loss. Here are a couple of photos from last spring, as we await the 2019 show (two center photos) just a few weeks away.  The crevice garden should look amazing for our Spring Open Nursery and Garden days...we hope you'll come visit. The lesson...don't believe anything you're told unless you verify it yourself. 

If you're interested in learning more, visit our friends at Read more [...]

Lies, Damn Lies, and Plant Labels

We just snapped this photo of Lemon Thread Cypress (Chamaecyparis pisifera 'Lemon Thread') in the gardens here at Juniper Level, and wanted to share since it illustrates our constant rants about trusting nurseries, plant tags, and websites to give accurate mature sizes. For a woody plant, our typical advice is to triple any size you are given. So, we wanted to see how that advice would work with the plant below.

Lemon Thread cypress was discovered in the mid 1980s as a sport at Oregon's Mitsch Nurseries, so it's a relative newcomer as plants go. Our 20 year old specimen is planted in compost-amended sandy loam without any chemical fertilizers ever. We should also add that we don't believe in shearing plants, which we find a waste of energy as well as a middle finger to natures's beauty. Our specimen now measures 25' tall x 15' wide.

We then searched the web for Lemon Thread Cypress and recorded the sizes from the top 30 sites that came up in Google...see notes below the photo.  Sizes Read more [...]

New Sterile Hellebores

We are rightly skeptical of great new plant claims, since so many new introductions fail to live up to the marketing hype, so we were cautiously optimistic when we planted our first trial plants of Helleborus x glandorfensis a couple of years ago.

These new, thought to be impossible hybrids of Helleborus niger x Helleborus x hybridus, have indeed lived up to the marketing hype. They are similar to the incredible Helleborus x iburgensis hybrids, which preceded them (crosses of Helleborus niger, hybridus, and lividus), but without Helleborus lividus, which produces the leaf veination, but reduces the flower size slightly.

The H. x glandorfensis hybrids (created by breeders in Glandorf, Germany) have dark, black green foliage, with flowers which are ridiculously large for a lenten rose.

Both the H. x glandorfensis and the x iburgensis hybrids have outfacing flowers and do not produce seed. You can't go wrong with any of these amazing hybrids for the winter garden!

Helleborus x glandorfensis Read more [...]

New baby tucked away in plain view

Even though we're in the garden virtually everyday, there's so much to see that we often miss things that are right in front of us.  Case in point...a few weeks ago, our taxonomist, Zac Hill was walking though the woodland garden and noticed that our evergreen Solomon's Seal had been sexually frisky with another disporopsis species in a nearby clump. In the photo on the right is the daddy, Disporopsis pernyi, and on the left, the momma, Disporopsis undulata.  In the center is the baby...a hybrid between the two.

The hybrid clump was actually fairly large, so we'd missed the blessed event by several years. According to disporopsis guru, Dr. Aaron Floden of the Missouri Botanical Garden, this seems to be the first time that anyone has documented a hybrid between these two species, so we named our new baby Disporopsis 'Opsis Attract' and look forward to being able to share in a few years.

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Winter Color Combo

Here’s a fun new winter color combo we tried in the garden that looks great now…Nothoscordum sellowianum (the insanely fragrant yellow winter-flowering bulb as a highlight for the purple-foliaged Yucca aloifolia ‘Magenta Magic’…pretty pleased with how this turned out.

It’s pretty seedy around here

In addition to spring, one of the things we look forward to most each year is the members only seed exchange list from the North American Rock Garden Society.

This amazing list of plants, shared by members from around the world, is truly the place to find seed of rare, hard-to-find plants for rock gardens and pretty much any kind of garden. The seed list typically offers 3000-4000 different plants annually...probably the best in the world. The first round of distribution in January of each year is limited to 25 different seed types (35 if you donate seed), and the second round, which just went live, allows members to select another 100 varieties. We just got out order submitted, and now anxiously await their arrival. 

We think the seed exchange alone is worth far more than the annual dues, but there's so much more from tours, to meetings, to networking, and a great journal. So, if you want to become a seedaholic, here's your path to addiction!

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