Hardy Orchid time – Calanthe

The first of the hardy orchids to flower for us are the Asian calanthes.  These easy-to-grow woodland orchids are simply wonderful…here is Calanthe discolor in our garden this week. Some of our oldest clumps are now several feet across. Hardiness in Zone 6b-9b.

Leaf me alone…after the flowers fade

Long after the flowers of the fall flowering Cyclamen hederifolium fade, the foliage remains amazing all through the winter and into early spring before going dormant. Cyclamen 'Silverado' is one of many seed strains that are high on our favorites list for winter interest in the shade garden. In the midst of the leaves, you'll notice the curly bronze tendrils. After flowering, the developing seed pods are protected by the floral stem, which curls tightly like a spring, where it remains until the seed are ripe, at which point it unfurls like a baseball pitcher from a wind-up, and propels the seed out into the world. We raise our cyclamen here from seed...a two year process.  Hardiness is Zone 4a-8b. Read more [...]

Turn the ground blue

One of our favorite spring-flowering groundcovers is the amazing Laurentia fluvitalis…aka Blue Star Creeper. Here it is in our spring garden providing a lovely color contrast to the surrounding gold foliage plants. Evergreen in warm winter climates, it goes deciduous when winter temps drop below 15F, but bounces right back when spring arrives. Hardiness is Zone 5a-10b. 

Curling with Rohdea ‘Shishi’

Although it might not compete with the riveting, edge-of-your-seat excitement of Olympic curling, we personally find Rohdea ‘Shishi‘ far more interesting. Here’s a photo of our garden patch looking great this week, even after a rough winter. This fascinating woodland specimen is winter hardy in Zones 6a-10b.

See you in Richmond

I’m heading up to Richmond Virginia in a couple of weeks for a Wednesday March 28 presentation on Shade Gardening for the Garden Club of Virginia’s Daffodil Day.  The entire event will take place at the Garden of Virginia’s Kent-Valentine House on East Franklin Street. There are a few available spaces remaining, so please share this with your friends in the area and join us as we talk plants.  To get more details and to register, click here

Cabbage Patch Kids

Most gardeners think vegetables when crucifers (brocolli, kale, cabbage, etc.) come to mind, while lawn afficinados, think weedy bittercress, and lab researchers think arabadopsis (the horticultural guinea pig). It's hard to imagine, but these are all members of the giant crucifer family, Brassicaceae.  The family also includes many ornamental garden plants, of which we are particularly enamoured with our native cardamines. Before the DNA crowd got hold of these, there were actually two distinct genera, which we still acknowledge, cardamine and dentaria (toothworts). All are spring woodland ephemerals, meaning they flower in winter, and are dormant by May. We've made a number of special selections from travels in the Eastern half of the country, some of which we've introduced, and several still in trials. Below are a few that we think are exceptional including some of our garden seedlings.   Cardamine bulbosa 'Show Showers' is the most amazing selection of our native Read more [...]

More hellebores from the garden

Here are images of the latest round of lenten rose hybrids in flower in our gardens this week.  It was great to chat with so many wonderful visitors who came to see them in person during our Open Nursery and Garden days.  For those who couldn't make it, you can enjoy this on-line glimpse. We've now added all of the remaining hellebores from our open days for our on-line customers.  Enjoy! Read more [...]