June started with a bang as we welcomed Horticulture Magazine’s Great Plants, Great Plantsman Symposium to Raleigh. After a wonderful series of talks by speakers such as Tom Fischer (Editor, Horticulture Magazine), Helen Dillon (Ireland), Bob Lyons and Todd Lasseigne (JC Raulston Arboretum), and yours truly, Plant Delights welcomed 180 wonderful gardeners from around the country for a lunch and afternoon of looking and shopping.
Late spring also provided some time in the field. I was fortunate to make another incredible field trip to the Green Swamp, home to pitcher plants and Venus fly-traps. While I have been to the Green Swamp many times in recent years, a recent controlled burn in one area yielded some amazing treasures. Calopogon tuberosus was abundant in flower….both purple and white flowered forms. Growing alongside was C. pallidus, a diminutive relative. Also growing side by side was another striking orchid, Cleistes bifaria. Growing alongside the orchids was an abundance of sarracenias. In all, we saw Sarracenia flava in its many forms and colors, S. rubra, S. purpurea, S. minor and plenty of natural hybrids with each of these species. It was great to see how well the Venus fly-traps had responded to the burn. With the good flowering this year, we can hope for a good seed crop to ensure future generations…provided the habitat can be preserved.
While we only botanized a small region, we were also able to see the Federally Endangered Lysimachia asperulifolia and the rare L. loomsii both in flower. This was my first time to see Rhexia lutea in the wild. It’s hard to imagine a rhexia with anything but purple or white flowers, but there it was. If this plant is propagatable, it has a great future as a garden ornamental. Special thanks to plantsman Frank Galloway for being our tour guide. Frank is a true advocate for finding and preserving rare native plants.
For the last few weeks, I’ve been chained to my desk writing our 2004 fall catalog. Most of the printed matter has now headed for graphic layout and then off to the printer. We hope to have the catalogs in the mail around the first of August. It’s time to take off the shackles now and head out and meet open house visitors. Our summer open house runs from July 9-11 and 16-18…hope you can drop by for a visit.
By the way, we have some administrative/office positions available if you or anyone that you know is interested. We are looking for the right person to become a part of our PDN team. -tony