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 [...]

Spring Open Nursery & Garden is Just Around the Corner

It's hard to believe that spring open nursery and garden days is almost here. Spring is always a busy time of year and our nursery and garden staff have been working tirelessly making sure the gardens are in prime condition and our sales houses are brimming with beautiful plants. Take advantage of shopping our sales houses for many unique and rare perennials, many exclusively available at Plant Delights Nursery. We are offering nearly 20 varieties of Baptisia this year, more than you will find at most garden centers. Many are from our own breeding program at Juniper Level Botanic Garden and include two 2019 introductions you will find no where else. Join Tony, Friday, May 3 at 10am for a stroll through the gardens as he discusses baptisias, part of our Gardening Unplugged garden chat series. Baptisia Bletilla - Hardy Orchids The hardy orchids also look amazing this year, with seven different bletilla and over 30 varieties of ladyslippers and calanthe available, you are sure 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.

  Read more [...]

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.

Delicate trillium

In flower now at Juniper Level Botanic Garden (JLBG) is the newest published species of toadshade, Trillium delicatum, which became official last week!  Trillium delicatum, which from a distance could be confused with Trillium decumbens hails from central Georgia, where it's found growing in floodplains. DNA studies found that it is more closely related to the Alabama-centered Trillium stamineum. 

This leaves only fifteen more potentially new species in the Southeast US that are currently being studied for future naming...pretty exciting times. 

As an ex-situ conservation garden and since we do not endorse sales from plants collected in the wild, our JLBG propagation team are working to make this available from seed, so keep your eyes peeled. 

Read more [...]

Coum to Papa

One of many real joys in the winter garden are the hardy cyclamen. We can count on the wonderful Cyclamen coum to be in peak flower for our annual winter Open Nursery and Garden Days, starting in late February.  Here is a clump of Cyclamen coum ‘Maurice Dryden’ in flower currently, growing underneath a large evergreen holly.