2009 Plant Delights Nursery November Newsletter

If you’ve been delaying placing your final order for 2009, our shipping season is drawing to a close. The week of Nov 30-Dec 4 represents your last chance to have an order shipped until we start up again in mid-February. That being said, we will do what we can to accommodate horticultural emergencies that crop up in the interim time. With the holidays rapidly approaching, we can help your shopping chores with a Plant Delights Nursery gift certificate for those plant lovers in your family. You can order by phone, mail, or on-line 24 hours a day at www.plantdelights.com

We are thrilled to have been featured in the current issue of Total Landscape Care magazine. If you’re into that sort of thing, you can read the on-line version at www.totallandscapecare.net and click on “View the Current Digital Version”.

It’s been a relatively calm weather year in the Southeast, despite hurricane models and global warming alarmists predicting the opposite. We were actually blessed to have the remnants of Hurricane Ida pass through the area last week and leave us with nearly 5 inches of rain … our recently installed drainage system in the new garden section got a great test. While we were starting to get a bit dry before the rain, folks to the south and just west of us had the opposite problem this year.

Our friends in the Atlanta area had endured four years of drought, but on Thursday October 15, Georgia’s Lake Lanier, which provides water to Atlanta, finally rose above the full mark for the first time since September 2005. The recent record droughts had dropped the lake level down to its historical lows of 18.9′ below full on December 28, 2007. Many residents of Atlanta had given up hope that the lake would ever refill completely, but finally, gardeners and nurseries in the area can breathe a sigh of relief as the lake is now 2′ above normal.

Denver also got their share of moisture this fall, only in the frozen form. On October 29, a massive front dropped 18″-24″ (more in surrounding areas) of snow on the Denver Colorado and adjacent areas. That would put a serious dent in your fall gardening. This is the most snow ever recorded for October in Denver … I’m sure manmade global warming must have caused it.

As I’ve mentioned in the past, this is the season we spend nearly every waking minute working on the new catalog. We just passed the three-week period we refer to as “hell weeks,” where life as we know it ceases to exist; due in large part to a series of rapid-fire catalog deadlines. The text is now completed, the photographs are all selected, and the catalog is in the midst of design layout. If all goes well from here, catalogs will go in the mail on January 1.

Because of the catalog, I haven’t had much time recently to spend in the garden, which is a shame because we’ve had a wonderful fall and only a tiny corner of the garden has been frosted. This means we are enjoying the flowers on both the giant tree dahlia, as well as the giant Hibiscus mutabilis. We love both plants because of their wonderful structure and height in the garden, despite not getting flowers every year due to early frosts.

Dahlia Hibiscus

Another perennial that isn’t recognized enough for fall flowers are the wonderful farfugiums (leopard plant). Although they are normally grown for their unusual foliage, there are few plants better for a fall floral show. Many folks may only get a few flowers, and this is due to growing them in too much shade. To get the best floral display, site your plants where they get a couple of hours of sun during the day and grow them in soil that stays reasonably moist. If you do, you’ll be rewarded with a stunning fall array of 3′ tall spikes of attractive yellow daisies that rival any garden mum.

Farfugium – Leopard Plant

If you hadn’t noticed, we’re pretty particular about nomenclature, and to that end, we’d like to pass along a few discoveries this fall that will change a couple of currently used cultivar names. First, Farfugium ‘Jitsuko’s Star’ turned out to be an old Japanese cultivar, F. ‘Yaezaki’ and similarly, Ophiopogon ‘Little Tabby’, was discovered to be a Japanese cultivar, O. ‘Haku ryu Ko’. We apologize for the incorrect listings, but planting plants isn’t the only thing that requires lots of digging.

When I first got hooked (not literally) on agaves, I was frustrated at the amount of good information about the genus, so in 2004, we invited 10 others with similar interest to rendevous in California for what we dubbed, “Agave Summit I.” Since that time, the interest in agaves has risen dramatically and last month, a group of 30 of us met again for “Agave Summit II,” this time outside San Diego. The purpose of our meetings is to present differing views on agave nomenclature, discuss the newest discoveries, share techniques of agave culture, and trade plants. It is through this amazing underground network that many new agaves make it into the pipeline toward commercial production. It is our hope to continue with these meetings every 4 years as the interest in agaves continues to grow.

If you happen to be reading this near the Raleigh area, we are lucky to welcome, Dr. Nick Turland of the Missouri Botanical Garden to the JC Raulston Arboretum to speak on Thursday, November 19 at 7:30pm. Nick is the co-director of the massive 50-volume Flora of China Project and will be speaking about his efforts in putting together such an epic work. I’m sure anyone interested in the Flora of China Project will find this program fascinating. To find out more, visit the JC Raulston Arboretum website.

If you’re in the Minnesota area and looking to purchase a ready made woodland garden … in Minnesota, you are in luck. Hosta breeder and plantsman, Hans Hansen, who moved to Michigan earlier this year has put his Minnesota house and 5-acre garden on the market. I had the pleasure of visiting many times, what I think is one of the finest private plant collections in the country, and I truly hope a plant person can call this garden home. Hans’ collection of nearly 2,000+ hosta varieties including lots of seedlings, 200+ different peonies, 100+ daylilies, a huge Martagon lily collection, a wonderful collection of clematis and other rock garden plants, and a spring carpet of trout lilies is just the beginning. It’s not even possible to list the extensive collection of plants you’ll find when spring arrives. Visit our gallery where I have posted a few photos I took this summer. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity that is not to be missed. To find out more, go to www.erahome.com and search for 15605 Snake Trail, Waseca, MN 56093.

The horticulture world was saddened recently as we learned of the passing of Rarefind Nursery owner and founder, Henry ‘Hank’ Schannen, 71, on Wednesday, September 16. Hank is survived by his wife, Virginia, and three daughters, Karen Schannen, Lisa Schannen and husband Howard Kohler, Dawn Schannen and husband Darren Kindred. Hank had been feeling poorly for a few weeks and actually died in the hospital parking lot where he was being taken for more tests. Hank, with the help of a great staff, created an amazing nursery, with a primary focus on Rhododendron and companion plants. Hank has been active in the Rhododendron Society for 40+ years and had introduced a number of his own hybrids, such as R. ‘Solidarity’, R. ‘Hank’s Mellow Yellow’, R. ‘Golden Globe’, and R. ‘Purple Elf’. The staff has committed to carrying on Hank’s vision by continuing the nursery. We send them our condolences in Hank’s passing and good luck with the future of the nursery.

We were also saddened to hear of the passing of Texas horticultural legend, Madeline Hill, at the ripe young age of 95. Madeline was the author of, Southern Herb Growing, and past president of the Herb Society of America. Madeline was a tireless promoter of herbs, traveling the country as one of their top ambassadors and to that end, she received a wealth of honor including having the US National Arboretum Knot Garden dedicated in her honor in the 1980s. I’ll remember Madeline for two of her great rosemary introductions, R. ‘Hill’s Hardy’ and R. ‘Arp’. Although we never met in person, I always valued our fascinating and informative phone conversations.

To follow up on my diatribe from last month about native plants being better adapted than non-natives, I’m posting research from Ed Gilman, Professor of environmental horticulture at the University of Florida. One of Ed’s research conclusions is, “One of the results that we noted was that there are no differences between native and non-native species for amount of water required for establishment,” Gilman said. “This often surprises people, but it emphasizes that the Florida-friendly principle — right plant, right place — is worth following.” To read the entire research write-up, go to hort.ifas.ufl.edu/irrigation.

We’re nearing the end of the 2009 Top 25 contest to compete for the $250 worth of plants, here are the results though mid-November. It looks like Echinacea ‘Tomato Soup’ has knocked Colocasia Thailand Giant out of the number 1 position for the first time in 5 years … without a great comeback in the last couple of weeks. The only other big movers are two plants from the fall catalog, Hydrangea .Spirit. at 14th place, and Agave bracteosa ‘Monterrey Frost’ at 18th. It’s truly amazing to have two plants from the fall catalog crack this year.s Top 25, although they will not count as we tally contest votes.

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.

Thanks and enjoy