Baptisias: Great American Natives!

Baptisias, commonly known as false indigo, are North American native members of the pea family and quite drought tolerant once established. They provide amazing architectural form in a sunny garden or perennial border, and are deer-resistant and a butterfly magnet (See the top 25 flowers that attract butterflies here.).

image of Baptisia 'Blueberry Sundae'

Not only do baptisia come in blue, which many people are familiar with in the most common species, B. australis, but they are also available in a wide array of colors such as white, yellow, purple, and pink, and new breeding efforts are producing bicolor flowers such as those of Lunar Eclipse.

Baptisias have long been one of our favorite groups of sun perennials here at PDN. Through our trials of new varieties introduced  to the market, as well as our own breeding program, we continue to select for improved structure and habit as well as flower color. In 2017, we have introduced 2 new varieties in our Tower Series, Yellow Towers and Ivory Towers. These join our previous introduction, Blue Towers, all having a vigorous upright habit to 4.5-5′, terminating in 18-20″ spikes of flowers, true show-stoppers in the garden.

image of Baptisia 'Yellow Towers'

Baptisia ‘Yellow Towers’

Due to high demand, we quickly sold out of finished stock of Ivory Towers, but don’t fret, we have another crop coming along and they should be ready just in time for our Spring Open Nursery & Garden Days April 28-30 and May 5-7. And be sure to join us on Sunday May 7 at 2pm for our Gardening Unplugged garden chat series, where Tony will be talking about baptisias. You can also read Tony’s more in depth article about baptisias, here.

Surprise Lily and Butterfly Season

Lycoris x rosea with Eastern Tiger Swallowtail

There are few times of year more exciting for us than lycoris (surprise lily) season, and we are right in the midst of that now.  We’re also enjoying peak butterfly season at the same time, which is really great since butterflies love to drink surprise lily nectar.  It’s hard to put the camera down with so many great photo opportunities, so we thought we’d share one of our favorites from this week…an Eastern Tiger Swallowtail on Lycoris x rosea. (See more flowers that attract butterflies). See the top 25 flowers that attract butterflies here.

Attracting Butterflies to the garden

Allium Millenium with yellow swallowtail2

We love plants that attract butterflies to the garden, and here at Juniper Level Botanic Garden, it’s been a banner year for butterflies. Allium ‘Millenium’ is always a favorite of yellow swallowtails…here are images from this week. See the top 25 flowers that attract butterflies here.

Eupataorium dubium Little Joe with yellow swallowtail

Joe Pye weed…aka Eupatorium is always a butterfly favorite.  Here is a photo this week with yellow swallowtails taking a sip of Eupatorium dubium.

Eupatorium dubium with pipevine swallowtailThe pipevine swallowtails were enjoying the same eupatorium together with the yellow swallowtails. You can find a link to all of our butterfly favorites here.  We hope you’ll plant to bring nature into your garden.

 

Butterflies have been busy

Pipevine swallowtail larvae on aristolochia

We know it’s hard for some folks to wrap their mind around being excited when insects eat your plants, but that’s how nature works.  In the best scenario, the insect eating the plant is as beautiful or more so than the plant their eating.  I just snapped this photo of the larvae of the Pipevine Swallowtail devouring all of our aristolochia (pipevines) in the garden.  This actually doesn’t harm the plants, and before long, your garden will be filled with these beautiful butterflies below.  No spraying, please. See the top 25 flowers that attract butterflies here.

Lantana camara Star Landing with butterfly (62966)A pipevine swallowtail enjoying a lantana nectar snack here at Juniper Level.

 

2006 Plant Delights Nursery August Newsletter

Greetings from Plant Delights. We hope all is well in your hometown. It’s that time of year and the fall catalog will be on the way on Friday, August 11. If you want to get a head start on your friends, you can find the new catalog on-line at www.plantdelights.com.

We hope you are making your plans to visit PDN this fall, either for the PDN fall open house or for the JCRA 30th Anniversary Symposium.

Even though we may cringe at the idea of summer gardens, there are quite a few plants that relish the idea. The gingers and the colocasias are loving the summer heat, and I can’t think of a plant that more represents summer than the wonderful hardy hibiscus, which are in full flower as we speak. August is a fun month, since this is when many of the wonderful lycoris (surprise lilies) flower. I usually don’t like surprises, but I always break my rule when it’s lycoris time. Another bulb that just loves summer weather is the crinum lilies with their amazing stalks of pink, red, striped, or white flowers.

There are so many summer butterfly-attracting plants flowering now, from the long-flowering verbenas to the stunning eupatoriums (joe-pye-weed), to the well known buddleia (butterfly bushes). Since butterfly attracting plants are designed to flower when butterflies are in season, most of the summer flowering plants are probably good nectar sources. We hope you’ll take time to journey through the pages of the new on-line catalog and see what fun plants you can’t live without. (Read more about Buddleia here) (See the top 25 flowers that attract butterflies here)

On a sad note, we have lost one of our wonderful NC plantsman, Rob Gardener, to cancer. Rob retired from the NC Botanical Garden in Chapel Hill a few years earlier, after devoting his life to gardening and in particular to the genus Sarracenia. Other than many of the sarracenia hybrids we carry, Rob will also be remembered for two of his other introductions, Baptisia ‘Carolina Moonlight’ and Baptisia ‘Purple Smoke’. We’ll certainly miss a good friend and fine plantsman.

For those who entered our Top 25 Contest, be sure to check how your favorite plants are selling. -tony