Fall is a great time for gardening. With cooler weather there is less transpiration and water stress on the plants. Also, even though the top of the plant may be dormant, the roots are still growing. This gives the plants a chance to establish a good foundation over the winter and a head-start going into spring.
Speaking of a good foundation, a healthy garden starts with good soil preparation. Soil care is essential in avoiding plant stress and subsequent pest problems. Join us next Saturday, November 12 from 10-noon for an interactive lecture that will cover nutrient balance, soil test reports, how to incorporate organics, taking care of microbes, and an array of misconceptions regarding planting techniques. If you have soil test reports, be sure to bring them with you.
Another perk to attending next weeks soil class, is afterwards you can shop our sales houses, taking advantage of our Fall Overstock 20% off sale and go home with lots of unique plants. Here is just a peak at a few of the gems.
Farfugium ‘Argentum’ blooming in the greenhouse
Dioon ‘Palma Sola’ – Mexican sago palm
Dionaea ‘King Henry’ – large leafed Venus fly trap
Combat those pesky backyard pests with your very own Bug Bat. These North American natives are at home in a moist bog areas and prey on ants, flies, wasps, beetles, slugs and snails.
Even if you don’t have a bog or moist garden area, you can still enjoy growing pitcher plants on your deck, patio, or balcony…and they make a great conversation piece for friends and kids. Simply plant your pitcher plant in pure peat moss in your favorite patio container, set in a saucer to hold water and maintain even moisture. Find out more about the culture of pitcher plants and shop our other Sarracenia for sale.
Here are some recent images from the gardens here at Juniper Level of one of our favorite pitcher plants, Sarracenia leucophylla ‘Tarnok’. This amazing double-flowered pitcher plant was discovered in Alabama by plantsman Coleman Tarnok in the early 1970s.
Here is the clump growing in the garden. Pitcher plants are quite easy to grow, provided the soil stays moist about 3-8″ below the surface. They do not, however, like soil that remains waterlogged. In both the ground and in pots, we grow our pitcher plants in pure peat moss. Most pitcher plants are reliably winter hardy in Zone 5. We hope you’ll give these a try in your garden.
Here’s an image we just took in the gardens of Sarracenia leucophylla ‘Sumter’. In our opinion, it doesn’t get much better than this. All hardy pitcher plants have these amazing other worldly flowers, and most are winter hardy in Zones 5 and 6. All our sarracenias are planted in straight peat moss, about 8″ deep inside a pond liner that has holes cut along the edges so the water doesn’t stay too high. No fertilizer ever and you certainly don’t have to worry about insects.
It’s finally here…the time we share the gardens and open the nursery to the public. Starting tomorrow (Friday) morning, we welcome visitors to stroll the gardens and shop till you drop for cool perennials. Click here for times and directions. The gardens here and Juniper Level look absolutely fabulous. Below are a few images of what you’ll see.
Plant combinations abound throughout the gardens giving you ideas for your garden spaces at home.
Here are a few of the gems you’ll find scattered around the garden. Many of the cactus are flowering this week including Trichocereus ‘Big Time’
Notocactus apricus is another favorite winter hardy cactus.
Trilliums are everywhere with over 1000+ selected clones as well as many of our seed-propagated selections for sale.
Pitcher plants are in full flower throughout the gardens and nursery…a sight not to be missed.
Of course, who can resist great hostas like Hosta ‘Autumn Frost’
For spring, we’ve added a series of short garden chats in the garden that Tony will lead. There is no charge or pre-registration required…just bring your questions
Friday April 29 @ 9am – Gardening in Sun
Friday April 29 @ 11am – Gardening in Shade
Friday April 29 @ 3pm – Hosta Breeding and Evaluation at PDN/JLBG
Saturday April 30 @ 9am – Soil preparation and planting
Saturday April 30 @ 11am – Growing Agaves in North Carolina
Saturday April 30 @ 3pm – Growing Peonies in the South
So many folks have become locked in to chrysanthemums as the only way to have fall color in the perennial garden, but we’d like to suggest you try sarracenias. These North American natives are simply stunning this time of year. Taken this week, this photo is a pot of Sarracenia ‘Daina’s Delight’ that’s been growing, untouched, by our front walk for over a decade. It’s potted in pure peat moss, with no drainage holes in the bottom of the container, but a couple at soil level on the sides to prevent standing water. At least a few hours of full sun is necessary.
Fall is a great season for many of the pitcher plants, which produce beautiful new pitchers now. Here’s a photo from yesterday, showing the lovely Sarracenia ‘Bug Bat’. Pitcher plants are easy to grow in full sun, organic soil with low nutrient content, and in a garden site that stays moist, but not wet on top.
Many of the changes you’ll see when you visit the garden next time are driven by Anita’s suggestions to open up many of the overgrown garden spaces around the sales area. This new section is where 150′ of Nellie Stevens hollies were removed last fall/winter. Despite only being in a short while, the plants are beginning to settle in. The wonderful rock work, was done by our Research and Grounds horticulturist, Jeremy Schmidt. Here’s a fun seep area in the same space that Jeremy dreamed up. We hope you’ll check out these and more new additions when you visit during our upcoming July open nursery and garden.
It’s been quite a late winter at Juniper Level/Plant Delights, with the latest-occurring single digit temperature we’ve seen since our records began in the 1970s. Plants like helleboresin bloom when the cold snap hit have recovered, although flowers that were fully open or nearly so were slightly damaged. Hellebores are really tough and, after removing a few damaged flowers, they look great.
Helleborus x hybridus PDN Double Pink w/Spots
Plants and More Plants
Some of the very early trilliums, like the Florida forms of Trillium underwoodii, were also damaged. On a few of these, the entire stem collapsed back to the rhizome. When this happens, these trilliums will not return until next year. All of the other trillium species had the good sense to wait until later to emerge and are unscathed.
One of the benefits of cold winters is a good chilling period for most perennials. Like a bear needs to hibernate, the same is true for most perennials and the longer rest and deeper chill they receive, the better they return for the upcoming season. Consequently, we expect a stunning spring display.
The fat peony buds have already poked through the ground and started to expand. We moved quite a few of our peonies last year into sunnier areas, so we have really high expectations for 2015. We continue to expand our peonyofferings based on the results of our trials where we evaluate for good flowering and good stem sturdiness. It’s a shame that many of the best-selling peonies often don’t meet that criteria.
One of the first plants to sell out this spring was the amazing mayapple, Podophyllum ‘Galaxy’. We have another crop in the production pipeline but they aren’t ready yet…hopefully in the next few months. Thanks for your patience since there was obviously pent up demand.
The flower buds have also begun on the sarracenias (pitcher plants) in the garden. Not only is pitcher plant foliage unique in appearance and its ability to attract and digest insects, but the flowers are also amazing. Each flower arises before the foliage, atop a 6-18” tall stalk (depending on the species). The flowers, which resemble flying saucers, come in red, yellow, and bicolor.
Pitcher plants are very easy to grow in a container of straight peat moss, and kept sitting in a tray of water. In the garden, sandy soils or a combination of peat and sand work great. Just remember…no chemical fertilizers or lime nearby…they need a pH below 5.0. Pitcher plants also like damp feet but dry ankles, so growing them in a swamp is a no-no. We hope you’ll find something you like from our selection of ten different offerings.
In case you missed it, we recently added a number of new helleboresto the website, many of which are available in large enough quantities that we can offer quantity discounts. Of course, this will be the last of our hellebore crop for 2015, so when they’re gone, they’re gone for the entire year.
Thanks to everyone who visited during our winter open nursery and garden days…many braving some unseasonably cold weather. Remember that we will open again the first two weekends of May, and we expect much nicer weather for you to shop and enjoy the spring garden.
Whether you’re a ferner or a native, you may be interested in the upcoming fern meeting….aka the Next Generation Pteridological Conference, scheduled to start at the National Museum of Natural History in Washington DC on June 1. If you’ve got a fern “jones,” consider joining us for the Smithsonian’s fern conference. Not only will you enjoy fern presentations, but you’ll be able to talk spores, stipes, and croziers while enjoying cocktails in the nation’s capital. For more information visit http://botany.si.edu/sbs/.
A hot-button topic is invasive exotics and, like with any scientific topic, the best thing we can have is dissenting opinions. Those with an open mind will enjoy these recent eye-opening publications:
Sign Up for Close-Up Photography Workshop and Garden Walks
We have a number of educational events scheduled at Plant Delights this spring from classes to conventions and we’d love for you to join us. You’ll find our list of classes here, starting with our Close-Up Garden Photography workshop on Saturday May 2.
American Hosta Society National Convention in Raleigh June 18-20
In June, we welcome the American Hosta Society, as hosta lovers from around the world descend on the Raleigh area to share and learn about their favorite genus of plants.Plant Delights Nursery/Juniper Level Botanic Garden will welcome the group to dinner, tours, and shopping on June 18. We really hope you’ll be able to join us. Register to attend the events at americanhostasociety.org.
Let’s Stay Connected!
Until next month, connect and follow us and the cats on Facebook, Pinterest, and our blog, where you may sign up and follow our regular posts from the nursery and the botanic garden.
Here are a few more photos from my recent coastal NC botanizing trip. This was the first time for my stepdaughter Katie to join me in the field, and here she is with her namesake, katydid, dining on the fall-flowering carphephorus.
Lots of cool woody plants including this amazing dwarf wax myrtle, Myrica cerifera…a perfect dwarf 30″ tall x 30″ wide…no pruning ever required.
I was truly shocked to find Cornus florida (dogwood) growing in the swamps and looking this great in the early fall. This clone with extra large leaves looked like something I’d expect in early spring…no signs of mildew or leaf spot, and obviously very tolerant of standing water.
This variegated Liquidambar (sweet gum) wasn’t bad either…now, to get it grafted.
Much of the land in this area is a longleaf pine (Pinus palustris) /wiregrass savannah..sandy soils with a very high water table and regular flooding.
If you look close among the “weeds” you’ll find large patches of Sarracenia purpurea (pitcher plants), that dine on unsuspecting insects.
In this area, two pitcher plant species grow together, S. purpurea and S. flava. The swamp gets kind of lonely at night, and to no surprise, we found the hybrid of the two species, Sarracenia x catesbaei growing nearby.
There was also lots of non-plant life….as you can imagine, quite a few mosquitos, but also this magnificent giant spider.
…and everyone’s favorite, fire ant mounds galore. I hope you’ve enjoyed our journey!