Arbor Day – Look to the Canopy

Happy Arbor Day! As we all move hurriedly through life, focusing on what is directly in front of us, take a moment and look to the canopy. Raise your gaze and be more aware of your total surroundings.

Blooms overhead, the architecture and structure of nature…our place and purpose in this natural world.

Aesculus ‘Briottii’
Pinus taeda ‘Nana’
Trachycarpus fortunei Taylor form
Yucca treculeana var. canaliculata ‘Sasquatch’

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

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.

Explore, Shop, Refuel

2019 Winter Open Nursery & Garden Days

Visit Plant Delights Nursery at Juniper Level Botanic Garden during our winter open house starting Friday, February 22 through Sunday, February 24, and March 1-3. Click here for directions.

During each of our Winter Open Nursery & Garden weekends we welcome you to explore the winter wonders of Juniper Level Botanic Garden and attend our free garden chat series, Gardening Unplugged, where you interact with our expert staff discussing seasonally pertinent topics such as winter garden maintenance, hellebores, and asarum (wild gingers) in the garden.

You will also have the opportunity to shop the sales houses at Plant Delights Nursery and take home and abundance of rare and unique perennials, as well as exclusive PDN introductions available nowhere else.

After all this exploring, shopping, and enlightened horticultural engagement, take time to refuel with local food trucks that will be available during both weekends. Current schedule is as follows:






Rich Dufresne estate update

I was blessed to spend time yesterday with Rich’s delightful family, who came down from Massachusetts to sort through Richard’s belongings at his home for the last 9 years in the NC Sandhills. They were thrilled for us to rescue Rich’s papers, scans, and other plant related material. Our goal is to make these available to the public in a yet undetermined way, and hopefully plan a future celebration of Richard’s life. It’s been lovely to see so many comments from others who also admired Rich. 

Special thanks to Rich’s closest friends, the Lindlaus’s, who were so helpful to Rich in his daily life, as well as coordinating the clean-up/rescue. Bless you all!


Perennial Plant Association coming soon

We’ve had quite at year already, but the best is yet to come. In just under three weeks, we welcome the Perennial Plant Association meeting back to the Triangle region for the first time in 21 years. The Perennial Plant Association is a professional association of folks in the business of perennials. This includes growers, retailers, marketers, writers, landscape designers, etc. So far, over 435 folks from all over the world have signed up. 

The Monday plant talks are the only part of the meeting open to non-professionals, but what a day of talks it is.

Monday Speakers include

Dr. Patrick McMillan, Director of the SC Botanical Garden, and one of the top plantsmen in the country. Patrick is a dynamic speaker, plant explorer, and Emmy Award winning television celebrity.  He will be speaking twice, once on Native Plants of the Carolinas and again on Growing Southwest native plants in the Southeast.

Dr. Kevin Vaughn is a highly-awarded breeder of hostas, hemerocallis, iris, and much more. His book, Beardless Irises will be the topic of what will be a informative and humorous talk.

Dr. John Kartesz of Bonap  (Biota of North America) is a walking encyclopedia of North American Native Plants.  His on-line database allows you to find out where any plant is native in the US, and to indentify it on-line with visible characteristics. Don’t miss this fascinating presentation.

Christian Kress is the owner of Sarastro Nursery in Austria. This amazing specialty nursery is the go to source for rare perennials throughout the entire EU. Christian is a world-renown plant explorer, who has ventured through many of the worlds most dangerous countries in search of great new garden plants.

George Coombs in the perennials trial manager for Mt. Cuba Gardens. In this capacity, George oversees the side by side evaluations of new perennials in a garden setting. You’ll be amazed to hear his real world results.

Dr. Larry Mellichamp is the retired professor and director of the UNC-Charlotte Botanical Gardens. Larry is renown for his botanical knowledge, keen sense of observation, and dry sense of humor, all of which will be front and center, when he explores the quirky and secret life of plants, from his book, Bizarre Botanicals.

Judith Jones of Fancy Fronds is a woman who eats, sleeps, and breathes ferns. Judith will regale us with her encyclopedic knowledge of ferns we probably don’t know, but should be growing. 

Lauri Lawson has long been a student and teacher of medicinal plants, especially those derived from perennials. With a horticultural background that included stints at both Niche Gardens and Plant Delights Nursery, Lauri has a wealth of plant knowledge to share about remedies from plants you may already be growing in your own back yard.

If you don’t want to sit all day, then there are also two tour options for Monday

The first option is to Metrolina Greenhouse near Charlotte, where a large portion of the perennials sold in the region are grown. Metrolina only has one greenhouse, but it covers 162 acres. In addition to their incredible automation, they employee up to 1300 people, and ship out 180 tractor trailers of plants daily. This is truly a mind-boggling operation.

Tour 2 on Monday is for garden designers

We have an amazing tour lineup Monday tour that includes the famed Chatham Mills Pollinator Garden, the NC Botanic Garden, the Honeysuckle Tea House, and the amazing Red Door Garden. These tours all focus on sustainable, organic, and pollinator-friendly gardens. You can find out more about each of these by clicking this link.

And that is the pre-convention day!   The core days are Tuesday-Thursday. You can find the full agenda here. Some spaces still remain, so sign up soon! 

It’s Alive !

Just after lunch today, the blessed event began as our Amorphophallus titanum ‘Peter Grande’ began to open. Here is an image from 215pm Friday, with our County Register of Deeds, Charles Gilliam, looking on…making sure it was indeed opening..  Peak viewing will be tonight from 5-8pm and tomorrow from 8am until 8pm. Artificial insemination will take place this evening…probably between 7 and 8pm…voyeurs welcome! 

Do you have rocks in your head…or your garden?

We’re members of many plant groups, and each are quite wonderful. One of the groups of which we’ve been member the longest is the North American Rock Garden Society.  We’re blessed not only with a great national organization, but also with a superb local chapter.

We were thrilled to host the groups’ National Meeting last year in Raleigh.  One of the incredible bonuses of membership is access to their incredible seed exchange, where one can get lost in a list of over 3000 rock garden plant seed, donated by members from around the world. These are not plants that are usually found anywhere else, and certainly not in typical seed catalogs.  Round two of the 2018 seed exchange will start in a few weeks, so if growing unusual rock garden plants from seed appeals to you, check out the seed exchange and consider becoming a member. 

Happy New Year

New Year greetings from the staff at Plant Delights Nursery and Juniper Level Botanic Garden. We thank you all from the top of our hearts for another amazing year. As we turn the page on the calendar, 2018 begins our 30th anniversary year…and they said it wouldn’t last.  At this time of reflection, we wanted to share on of our favorite verses from poet, William Wordsworth, which can help us all cope better in a world of seeming craziness.  




Introducing Hibiscus ‘Summer Carnival’

On of the exciting new plants in the 2018 catalog is the first commercial variegated hardy perennial hibiscus.  Hibiscus ‘Summer Carnival’ was developed by our friend Hans Hansen. I can still recall the moment I first laid eyes on this beauty…truly love at first sight. The variegation runs up the stem, into the leaves, and even into the flower buds. We hope you enjoy this as much as we do. Mature size is 42″ tall x 5′ wide, and hardiness ranges from Zone 4a-9b.