2010 Plant Delights Nursery January Newsletter

Dear PDN’ers:

Whew…we made it though another year thanks to those of you who stuck with us during the last couple of years, when everyone’s budget was stretched to the point of breaking. I’m sure we’re all tired of the declines of the last few years and hope 2010 is the year that we all begin the climb back up the financial hill. In that vein, the 2010 Plant Delights Nursery catalogs have just been mailed and the website at http://www.plantdelights.com has been updated. We hope you enjoy the new and returning plants that we’ve selected for this year’s catalog.

Congratulations to Blake Shreeve of Arizona, the winner of our 2009 Top 25 Contest. Blake will receive a $250 PDN gift certificate for his efforts. Blake had the lowest score in predicting the Top 25 best selling plants of 2009. If you would like to enter the contest for 2010, go to www.plantdelights.com/New/contest.html and enter. There’s no cost to enter, and it doesn’t put you on any email lists to receive body enhancement supplements…only the chance to win the $250 gift certificate. 2010 entries must be completed by February 15, 2010. The final list for 2009 is at the end of the newsletter.

We’d also like to congratulate PDN plant records coordinator, Dennis Carey, who has published his first book. Dennis’s book, The Effect of Cytokinins on Ornamental Crops is a modified version of his Masters thesis. If you’re a plant science geek, live alone, have no social life, and are looking for some bedtime reading, you can order your copy at Amazon.

In the nomenclature corrections department is Opuntia ellisiana ‘Burbank Spineless’. If you’ve ordered this from us in the past, you’ll need to change the tag…if you care about that sort of thing. Thanks to Scott Ogden and David Ferguson for pointing out a major error…the plant we offered as ‘Burbank Spineless’ is the wrong plant. Burbank’s plant is a form of the less hardy O. ficus-indica. Our plant is a spineless selection of the US/Mexican native O. cacanapa named ‘Ellisiana’. Same plant…different name.

Although winter was late getting started in NC, it’s in full force now as well throughout most of the country. We’ve been telling anyone who would listen for years, that we were nearing the end of our 15-year warm cycle and entering a 15-year cold cycle, but many folks dismiss the idea, while continuing to drink the global warming Koolaid. The 15-20 year up and down cycles have actually been fairly consistent over the last 5000 years, despite “human control”. I know some gardeners in Portland, Oregon who are wishing for global warming after experiencing a December low of 8 degrees F, after having only had a few frosts over the last decade. We should be getting some really good hardiness data out of that plant-rich gardening mecca.

Those who remember the late JC Raulston, and had the opportunity to visit his amazing modernistic home in downtown Raleigh, may be interested to know that the house is for sale. For those who never visited his home, JC took an old abandoned brick warehouse and had it converted into a spacious “California” style interior. JC’s will left his house to a local AIDS organization, who in turn sold it to a Canadian couple, who have recently been transferred back to Canada. So, if you’d like to own a very special home and have a spare $889,000, check out this link.

In some of the saddest and strangest news of the month, we regret to report the death of nurseryman Tom Van Wingerden, who was killed in a Gator utility vehicle accident inside his greenhouse. I know, you’re probably asking yourself how you can have a wreck inside a greenhouse, but then you’ve never seen Tom’s greenhouse, Metrolina, near Charlotte. Tom’s greenhouse has a staff of 600 full-time employees, generates $125 million in annual sales to mass-marketers, and covers a mind-boggling 150 acres…that’s right…one greenhouse. Whether or not you’ve heard of Tom before, he or a member of his family has probably influenced your gardening life. Think of Metrolina as the Southwest Airlines of the bedding plant world, with the goal of driving prices down through efficiency. Tom’s dad, Aart Van Wingerden, a 1946 Dutch immigrant, started a greenhouse operation near Asheville, NC and he and his wife, Cora, proceeded to raise 16 children, most of whom now run huge greenhouse operations around the country. Tom’s mechanized inventions not only kept his costs low, but also made it possible for other greenhouse growers to produce more with less input, therefore keeping the cost of bedding plants and seasonal flowers at an amazingly low level. If you’re ever in an East Coast mass market garden center, look for the name “Metrolina” on the plant carts or on the large delivery trucks. Tom will be sorely missed. You can read more at GrowerTalks Magazine website.

Unfortunately the PDN family also ended 2009 on a sad note with the loss of one of our nursery cats, Diamond, who passed away yesterday after a battle with bone marrow cancer. Diamond was 13 years old. She is survived by sisters Ruby, Pearl, and brother Zirconia.

As I mentioned last month, Echinacea ‘Tomato Soup’ hung on to knock Colocasia ‘Thailand Giant’ out of the top spot for the first time in four years. Two other elephant ears made the list, Colocasia ‘Mojito’ in 3rd place and Alocasia ‘Portadora’ in 20th. It was also good to see two ferns make the list from a great group of plants that often struggle for garden recognition alongside their more flowery cousins.

I.ll stop here and let you get back to enjoying the new catalog online…you should be seeing your printed copy in the mail very shortly. As always, thanks for taking time to read our rants and most of all, thank you so much for your support and orders this year!

Please direct all replies and questions to office@plantdelights.com.

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Thanks and enjoy