2003 Plant Delights Nursery December Newsletter

It’s in the mail. No, not the check, but the 2004 Plant Delights Nursery catalog. Some folks have already received their copy and you should have yours soon…at least if you have ordered in the last two years…and your post office delivery person isn’t a gardener. Until your paper copy arrives, you can enjoy the web version. Be sure to check out our Top 25 contest and test your skills at selecting plants for a nursery catalog.

2003 ended with a flurry of travel including an invitation from Martha Stewart Living Television to visit their Norwalk, CT studios to film some plant segments. Yes, you remember correctly that we did a catalog cover satire of Martha’s troubles in fall 2002. Martha was absolutely delightful to work with and perhaps we can persuade her to visit PDN in the future. In case you are interested in seeing the interviews, the first is scheduled to air on February 23, 2004.

Another great trip as the year came to an end was the opportunity to botanize and visit gardens and nurseries in the Phoenix/Tucson area in Arizona. I was able to return home with several new desert ferns for trial and many amazing agaves from the nurseries and collectors in the region. It was great to have Mary and Gary Irish (authors of Agaves, Yuccas, and Related Plants) to show me around not only through their wonderful home garden, but also the public gardens of Boyce Thompson and Desert Botanical Garden.

It’s hard to say that one part of the trip was a highlight, but the opportunity to spend the day at Mountain States Wholesale Nursery was truly incredible. Imagine being a collector of agaves and being able to closely examine hundreds of thousands of plants studying the variation within each species. George Hull, the Director of Product Development at Mountain States was more than gracious after a day of being followed by a drooling agave-phile.

One day of the trip was spent in Tucson visiting Plants for the Southwest Nursery of Gene Joseph and his wife Jane. I could have easily spent all day at this amazing nursery, but had to settle for less time in order to visit Greg Starr’s agave nursery. Greg is renown as one of the top agave experts in the country and the chance to finally meet in person and wander through his agave collection was superb!

I was only able to spend one day in the wild and that included nearly being stranded at 6,000′ elevation in the Tonto National Forest as the dirt road that traversed the peaks become so icy that is was impassable. Actually a pickup coming up from the east had slid off the mountain while I was heading west. By the time I arrived, the occupants were safely standing by the wrecker, which was preventing my descent past the worst of the icy patches. Oh well, nothing like backing up a one-lane road on an icy mountain.

In other exciting end-of-the-year news, we would like to congratulate Dr. Todd Lasseigne (yes, that’s with a PHD) who completed his degree work at NCSU. Todd rented a room here at the nursery for several years and is now employed as the Assistant Director of the JC Raulston Arboretum. Also congratulations to another former PDN employee, Jon Roethling, who has been promoted to the permanent position of Horticultural Assistant at the JC Raulston Arboretum.

We hope you enjoy the 2004 catalog and find lots of cool plants that you can’t live without. Here’s hoping for a great gardening year and we look forward to seeing you at Plant Delights.