Greetings from Plant Delights where we hope the march toward colder weather finds everyone’s garden ready for winter. We’d like to start by sharing a few recent changes at Plant Delights, including our long-time Shipping and Customer Service Manager, Dianne Austin who decided to leave NC and return to her Texas roots to be near her family. We’d like to publicly thank Dianne for her eight years of dedicated service to Plant Delights customers. Dianne’s position was filled by her eight-year assistant at PDN, Virginia Meehan, who many of you have already had the pleasure of meeting, both by phone and at open house. Because of the continuity, we anticipate a seamless transition.
We’d also like to welcome our new grower, Julie Leonard, who joined us full-time when Candice Eckard departed to join her family business. Julie was previously a grower at Raleigh’s Campbell Road Nursery, after graduating from Kansas State’s horticulture program. We’d also like to welcome our newest full-time addition to the Plant Delights family, Karen Kwitnieski, who is joining us as our first IT and Marketing Administrator. Karen has been a faithful volunteer in our Garden Division for the last six years, so we’re sure her new hat will be feel quite different. Last, but not least, we also welcomed a new youthful member of our Plant Delights feline family this fall, with the addition of Jasper. Jasper is the friendliest kitten we’ve ever had, so if you haven’t met him on our Facebook page, we hope you’ll do so in person during our next open house in February.
We’ve also spent the last several months working behind the scenes on some major IT changes, including a completely redesigned website. The new website incorporates many of your suggestions including a plant encyclopedia of all past PDN offerings. While our website will officially change over to the 2013 catalog on December 31, it doesn’t appear that the redesigned site will be ready and fully tested by then, but it will be on the way shortly after that time. We hope you’ll continue to send your website suggestions, including letting us know what e-commerce sites you like the best, what features you like the best, and which sites you find the easiest to use. Our goal is to make your PDN web experience the best possible that our back-end system will allow.
Although our plant shipping season is winding down with this our last week until mid-February, we will still have gift certificates available for those hard-to-buy-for gardeners in your family. As a goodwill gesture, we are also suspending the $4 gift certificate handling charge for the remainder of the year. You can order gift certificates on-line.
We’ve just finished writing the spring print catalog, which is now in layout, and are now working on writing descriptions for many additional plants for the on-line version. We are so thankful to be able to list some very cool and very rare plants that we simply can’t propagate in large enough numbers to justify placement in the printed copy. So, you’re probably wondering what delights the new catalog will contain, so we thought we’d give you a sneak peek of a few that will appear in the spring 2013 catalog. First, is a Plant Delights introduction, Asarum maximum ‘Shell Shocked’, that we think is just amazing. Next is the absolutely incredible Carex oshimensis ‘Everillo’…a golden leaf woodland sedge. Check out Amorphophallus paeoniifolius ‘Thailand Giant’…an unreal giant voodoo lily selection from our friend Alan Galloway. While we’re taking giants, how about our amazing South African introduction, Zantedeschia ‘Swartberg Giant’…truly incredible. We finally have enough to share of the amazing gold leaf lily-of-the-valley, Convallaria ‘Fernwood’s Golden Slippers’. How about Brian Williams’ amazing black leaf Colocasia gigantea hybrid, Colocasia ‘Noble Gigante’. These are just tiny sample of the fun that awaits in the new catalog. So, is that drool I see or are you just foaming at the mouth?
Throughout the season, we get great feedback on the plants we offer. This year, we learned that two of our offerings actually were incorrectly named. The Brugmansia that we offered as Brugmansia ‘Antique Lace’ turned out to be Brugmansia ‘Betty Marshall’. Although we spend lots of time verifying that the name we purchase the plant under is correct, this one slipped by us. Both clones are similar, but thanks to brugmansia experts, we now have this one named correctly.
Additionally, the plant we originally purchased years earlier as Amorpha nana turned out to be a similar species, Amorpha canescens. We have both of these errors corrected on the web. Both are still great plants and the differences are minor, but if this causes anyone a problem that has received these plants, please let us know and we’ll issue you a credit or refund.
It’s been quite a month for crazy weather since our last newsletter with the impacts of Hurricane Sandy affecting many of our friends and customers in the Northeast US. As reports came in, we have attempted to keep you up to date on our Facebook page. Our friends at RareFind Nursery got hit twice…once by Sandy, then again by the nor’easter that followed shortly after. Although Sandy didn’t cause major damage for RareFind other than a power outage, the nor’easter dumped 10″ of snow along with a second power outage. The snow resulted in significant tree damage, so cleanup there continues.
At Plant Delights, we’ve already had a nice fall cool down and winter low of 25 degrees F, so far. We’re actually hoping for a cold winter, as we haven’t been able to gain any winter hardiness insight over the last three years because of such mild winters, consequently the number of plants we list as Zone 8 has grown much too large. We also curse the cold temperatures when we have to pay the greenhouse heating bills that unfortunately go hand in hand with the cold weather.
In news from the world of plant people, we welcome horticultural personality and garden designer Chris Woods back to the east coast. Chris was the founding director and beautiful mind behind the incredible public gardens at Chanticleer in Pennsylvania. In 2003, after 20 years at Chanticleer, Chris moved to the West Coast to explore new adventures. Unfortunately, Chris never found a position where he fit as well as he did in Pennsylvania. After stints at the Santa Barbara Botanical Garden, The Ojai Valley Land Conservancy, VanDusen Botanical Garden, the Mendocino Coast Botanical Garden, Chris was recently named the new Director of the Pennsylvania Hort Society’s Meadowbrook Farm, just north of Philadelphia, PA.
Chris’s hiring, coincided with the forcing out of longtime director, John Story, who was subsequently hired as General Manger of Peace Tree Farms, a well-known wholesaler horticulture producer in the region.
Last month saw the loss of another horticultural pioneer, but one that most folks didn’t know about. Ying Doon Moy, 83, passed away near his home near Houston, TX. Dr. Moy, as he was known, was born in Hong Kong, and taught school there before moving to Chicago in 1979. A year later, Dr. Moy was hired by the San Antonio Botanic Garden in Texas as their Director of Research, where he spent them majority of his US career. A few of his introductions that we have offered are Hibiscus ‘Moy Grande’, Hedychium ‘Dr. Moy’, and Hedychium ‘Moy Giant’. After a brief retirement, Dr. Moy, then age 80, was hired by the Mercer Arboretum near Houston to start a new breeding program there, focusing on hardy citrus. Dr. Moy is survived by his wife Lisa, two sons, and four grandchildren. Job well done!
Finally, if you’re a serious plant geek, really bored, have no social life, or just can’t bring yourself to cut the television on, check out this amazing new book on the woody plants of China.
Till next month….see you on Facebook