Foxtrot in the Garden

Foxtrot – “a dance characterized by long, continuous flowing movements” – Wikipedia. Pennisetum ‘Foxtrot’ –  I’ve long loved this splendid fountain grass, but somehow never managed to remember to stop and take a good photo…until now.  We like it so much, we planted a big mass around our new home.  These were planted as 1 quart pots in January…yes, we shop here also.   

 

Cow Pies….aka Meadow Muffin

I will admit I originally purchased this from We-Du Nursery co-founder, Dick Weaver for the name, after he shared the story of tromping through the woods near his home in Polly Spout, NC, and spotted what appeared to be a green cow pie.  It turned out to be an exceptional form of the native woodland groundcover, Erigeron pulchellus.  Figuring a plant named 'Cow Pie' wouldn't sell well to city folks, Dick opted for the name Erigeron 'Meadow Muffin'.  We've grown this for nearly 30 years, and as a shade groundcover, it's hard to beat.  The semi-evergreen (temperature dependent) rosettes knit closely together, forming a dense mat.  In mid-spring, the clump are topped with an incredible show of light pink daisies.  We hope you love this as much as we did, and help us keep the story alive. In case you know Dick during his NC nursery days (after retiring as the taxonomist at the Arnold Arboretum) he recently moved from his retirement home in Florida to Pennsylvannia Read more [...]

Magnets and Magenta…both attract

We were marveling this week at the incredible number of pollinator insects feeding on Sedum 'Dynomite' in the garden.  Visitors included honeybees, native bumblebees, dirt daubers, and assorted other wasps...all feasting away as if the buffet was closing.  Gardens can be environmentally healthy and attractive.  Fom a different angle, the same plant of Sedum 'Dynomite', combined with Persicaria 'Golden Arrow'.  Part of the fun of the garden is creating fun color, texture, and form combinations.   Read more [...]

New Cascades Butterfly Bushes…not your grandmothers buddleias

Can we have a collective, WOW!  For decades, we've begged plant breeders to use the weeping butterfly bush, Buddleia lindleyana in their breeding.  Although two breeders did so, and we have their F1 (first generation) hybrids in the garden, no one took it to further generations...until now. We are please to help introduce these amazing Hans Hansen/Walters Garden hybrids...the Cascades series of butterfly bushes.  The "Cascades" aren't small like many of the newer hybrids, but instead mature at 6-6.5' in height and width...the 'Empress Wu' of butterfly bushes. When I visited the Walters Garden trials this summer, these insanely showy butterfly bushes emitted an incredibly strong and sweet fragrance, and were loaded with an array of pollinators.  The "Cascades" are truly breakthroughs in the genus buddleia. They come in three colors, pink, lavender, and grand.  Hmmm....didn't know that grand was a color.  The photo above is Buddleia 'Grand Cascade'.  Read more [...]

Cherry Chocolate Chip fun in the garden

It's always cool to have really fun plants in the garden, and few can match this selection of our North American native, Manfreda undulata.  Manfreda 'Cherry Chocolate Chip' is the work of our friend Hans Hansen, who has created some of the finest perennials on the market today.  For us, Manfreda 'Cherry Chocolate Chip' stays evergreen to about 5-7 degrees F, below which temperature it becomes deciduous.  Sun from a few hours to half a day is perfect for this drought tolerant succulent.  I can envision fun landscape ideas using coral or sea shells to create a magical underwater-looking landscape. If you use this in a seascape, please share your images. Now, I can't get my mind off ice cream...back in a few minutes.   Read more [...]

New – Agave ‘Durango Fandango

This spring, we introduced a new seed strain of century plant, named Agave 'Durango Fandango'.  These arose from a cross made by one of our volunteer agave curators, Mike Papay.  Agave flexispina pollen was applied to a hardy selection of Agave schidigera. As with all agave crosses, it takes a while to full evaluate the offspring, but we wanted to share photos of our plants that went into the ground in March 2017 from 1 quart pots.  Since both parents mature around 2-3' in width, we expect the same from the offspring, but one of the nice surprises is the stunning red border that becomes more prevalent as it grows. Since both parents are winter hardy in Zone 7b, we expect the same for Agave 'Durango Fandango'.  If you want to try this or any of our agave hybrids, remember that the amount of plants available is limited by the seed set from the cross, and there will be no more once those are gone...until one of the offspring flowers, which could take many years. Read more [...]

Weather or not…

We had an interesting end of the day Friday, when a microburst/funnel cloud, complete with an abundance of 2.25" hail, passed over the nursery and gardens.  Colocasias were immediately transformed into Monstera deliciosa...aka Swiss Cheese plants. Eighteen irrigation pipes in the nursery were shattered along with the roof of our potting barn.  On the bright side, our compost pile will grow considerably after we finish raking debris.   Our little weather encounter pails in comparison to our gardening friends in Texas and Louisiana, who are beginning the recovery from Hurricane Harvey.  Mercer Botanic Garden just north of Houston was under an 8' deep raging river for 3 days.  Crews are still accessing what will no doubt be catastrophic damage.  We've yet to hear back from our friends at Shangrila Gardens in Orange, Texas, but can't imagine the news will be good since the main feature of the garden is the incredible canal that traverses the garden.   Peckerwood Read more [...]

Redbud love – Cercis ‘Wavecrest’

Our friend Hans Hansen had told us about a redbud he was growing from the former Wavecrest Nursery, that was a cross of Cercis canadensis and Cercis chinensis...a cross considered difficult, if not almost impossible.  I visited last week to get cuttings (yes, it roots), and found a stunningly beautiful small tree with glossy dark green foliage. It has the floral density and trunk flowering of Cercis chinensis with the winter hardiness of Cercis canadensis, enduring Michigan winters of -12F, so far.   Here's a photo Hans shared of it in flower this spring.  Surprisingly, it's never been officially released or named, so we've christened it, Cercis 'Wavecrest' to honor the amazing nursery, where it was discovered as a seedling.  If our cuttings take, we'll work to get this into the trade and in the hands of collectors.  Read more [...]

Allium ‘Milleniunm’ – Perennial Plant of the Year

In 1998, Massacheusetts allium breeder, Mark McDonough share a plant of his newly named Allium 'Millenium' with us to introduce in 2000 to celebrate the new century. After 17 years on the market, Allium 'Millenium' became an overnight success when it was just selected as the 2018 Perennial Plant of the Year by the Perennial Plant Association. This is a yuuuge honor as it joins a very select company of award winners.   Allium 'Millenium' is now produced by the 100,000's.  I just took this photo in the production fields of Walters Gardens in Michigan.  All of these were produced from a single quart pot they picked up from us 7 years ago.  Pretty impressive!     We don't feel that breeders usually get enough credit for their amazing work, so here's the man behind Allium 'Millenium', breeder, Mark McDonough of Massacheusetts.  A well deserved congratulations, and thanks for letting us be a small part of this amazing story!   Read more [...]