Rhodophiala bifida ‘White Surprise’…and more

We'll never get tired of growing plants from seed and the anticipation of seeing what unique traits might arise.  This week, we were thrilled to "discover" our first white oxblood lily, Rhodophiala bifida in our research trials.  We deflowered it this week with its own pollen in the hopes of producing more white clones. Fingers crossed.  Below are a few of our other seedling selections that will be coming soon. Rhodophiala bifida 'Hill Country Red' is the industry standard clone In 2017, we released our first clonal selection, Rhodophiala 'Carmencita' Coming in the next couple of years is a very early flowering seed strain with orange red flowers that we've named Rhodophiala 'Red Baron' Here is a still unnamed 2013 seed selection. Here another unnamed selection with nice white central striping. Another lovely pink 2013 selection One final shot.  As you can see, it's easy to get carried away with seedling selections.   Read more [...]

New rain lily – Habranthus ruber

Flowering a new plant for the first time is always exciting, and this week we enjoyed our first Habranthus ruber.  This Brazillian rain lily is quite rare, and probably only a few exist in the US.  We’ve already selfed this to get seed, and we also spread its pollen far and wide to other rain lilies to see what color combinations might be possible. We doubt this will be reliably winter hardy for us in Zone 7b, but it should produce fascinating offspring. 

Growing Pitcher Plants in Containers

In early summer of 2016, after my first couple of months working at Plant Delights Nursery, I bought my first pitcher plant, Sarracenia 'Hurricane Creek White'. After reading the article Introduction to Sarracenia - The Carnivorous Pitcher Plant on PDN's website, I followed the simple instructions on growing pitcher plants in containers. I selected a decorative frost proof container that was equivalent to, or maybe a little larger than a 3gal container. I used sphagnum peat moss, as recommended, for the potting mix. The sphagnum peat moss is very dry and almost powdery when it comes out of the bag. Put the peat moss in a bucket and add water. Mix well, and allow the peat to soak up the water until it is no longer powdery and is more a spongy consistency. Now you are ready to plant. I started off with one of our 3.5" pitcher plants, which had one to two growing points and four to six pitchers, much like the plant pictured here. Fill your decorative container Read more [...]

Odd Rain Lily Breeding

Over the last few years, we’ve made quite a few intergeneric hybrids within the Amaryllid family…one known for rather odd mating habits. Our crosses involved 2,3, and occasionally four genera together.  Today, one of our bi-generic (2 genera) crosses flowered for the first time, confirming its hybrid origin.  In this case the parents were Habranthus robustus x Zephyranthes ‘Labuffarosea’, so it’s our first xZephybranthus. The foliage tends more toward the habranthus parent, while the orientation of the flower and the petals go more toward the zephyranthes parent.  This is somewhat akin to crossing a human with a chimpanzee. 

Get Well Soon Wishes

Please join us in sending get well wishes to plantsman Noel Weston, a friend of 35 years, who owns Lakeview Daylily Farm just around the corner from PDN/JLBG.  Noel was found unresponsive at his nursery last weekend after suffering a major stroke, and is currently in ICU (visitors are not yet permitted).  Noel was the City of Raleigh Horticulturist for 30 years before retiring to his daylily farm, where he spends seemingly every waking hour.  Above is Noel with his daughter, Erin Weston.  You can send you wishes to the family through Erin's Facebook page.  Read more [...]

Sporty spores

Have you ever stopped to look at fern spore patterns?  If not, take time to turn over your fern fronds.  My favorite spore pattern comes from the fern genus, Coniogramme. These produce what is known as anastamosing veins…your new word for today.  Anastamosing is the connection of separate branching patterns…in this case, veins of spores.  Free art…compliments of mother nature.

Surprise….it’s surprise lily time!

Many gardeners don't look forward to summer, but we've found a cure...plant lycoris! Known as surprise lilies and hurricane lilies, the lycoris bloom season starts in mid-July and continues into mid-September with a procession of different varieties.  Winter hardiness of lycoris ranges from Zone 4 to Zone 7, depending on when the foliage emerges. We currently grow nearly 600 different varieties of lycoris, the diversity of which is truly astonishing. Because we are the only source of most of these, once they are sold out, we may not have enough to offer again for 5-10 years, so if you see something you like, it's best not to wait.  You can plant lycoris anytime the ground isn't frozen.     Lycoris x squamigera is an old hybrid, grown throughout the midwest, often mistakenly purchased as the tender Amaryllis belladonna. Lycoris 'Caldwell's White' is a surprise lily we recently released from the late, famed lycoris breeder, Sam Caldwell. We can't say enough Read more [...]

We’re looking for a few good…make that, excellent, staff additions

We’re currently accepting application for two key positions, Nursery/Greenhouse Grower and Nursery Manager.  We’re looking for just the right person who shares our passion for plants, people, and high quality.  You can find out more on our website, so if you’d like to join our team, let us hear from you. 

More highlights from Denver

Kelly Grummons is a long-time cactiphyle and cactus breeder.  Kelly was a part of Timberline Gardens in Denver until it closed recently to make way for development.  For now, he's running his mail order cactus nursery from his home.  Many of the cool opuntias in our garden came from Kelly.  Kelly's home garden More cool plants I don't normally look at turf in a plantsman's garden, but I was struck by his beautiful lawn....and without irrigation.  Several decades ago, this bermudagrass hybrid, Cynodon dactylon x Cynodon transvaalensis was discovered in a Denver garden, brought into the US over fifty years ago, by a worker stationed in Africa.  Recently introduced as DogTuff grass, it thrives, once established, without irrigation in the high mountain deserts of Denver.  Additionally, the spread rate is dramatically less than the more invasive bermudagrass of which most gardeners hate.  The hybrid is sterile, so must be planted Read more [...]

On the road, again

Just back from the Perennial Plant Association Symposium, held this year in Denver. The annual meeting, designed for garden professionals, includes plenty of tours and talks.  The meeting attracts garden designers, garden workers, garden writers & speakers, nursery growers, retailers, and perennial plant lovers from around the world. It's a great chance to meet and chat with just about anyone you've ever heard, who works with perennials.  (Front, right with the backpack is Joseph Tychonievich, who wrote the new book, Rock Gardening; Reimagining a Classic Style.  Did I mention that next years' PPA will be in Raleigh/Durham, NC from July 30-August 3.  I'm sure you don't want to miss such an amazing opportunity!  The amazing Denver Botanic Garden was our dinner site, what an amazing place to stroll and learn. Denver Botanic Garden is one of the premier gardens in the US, combining incredible design with an incomparable collection of rare and little-known Read more [...]