Spring Open Nursery & Garden is Just Around the Corner

It’s hard to believe that spring open nursery and garden days is almost here. Spring is always a busy time of year and our nursery and garden staff have been working tirelessly making sure the gardens are in prime condition and our sales houses are brimming with beautiful plants.

Take advantage of shopping our sales houses for many unique and rare perennials, many exclusively available at Plant Delights Nursery. We are offering nearly 20 varieties of Baptisia this year, more than you will find at most garden centers. Many are from our own breeding program at Juniper Level Botanic Garden and include two 2019 introductions you will find no where else.

Join Tony, Friday, May 3 at 10am for a stroll through the gardens as he discusses baptisias, part of our Gardening Unplugged garden chat series.

Baptisia
Bletilla – Hardy Orchids

The hardy orchids also look amazing this year, with seven different bletilla and over 30 varieties of ladyslippers and calanthe available, you are sure to find one for that special spot in your garden.

As part of our Gardening Unplugged chat series, our nursery manager, Meghan Fidler, will be discussing hardy orchids in the garden and how you can be successful growing them in your garden.

Cypripedium – Ladyslipper Orchids
Sarracenia – Pitcher Plants

The pitcher plants are blooming and our hosta house is bursting with color that will brighten any shady nook. Be sure to mark your calendars and join Tony Saturday, May 4 as he explores the fascinating world of our native pitcher plants, and come back the following weekend as Tony showcases hostas in the garden and our hosta breeding program at JLBG.

Hostas

Hardy Orchids from seed

I was looking at our patch of Bletilla ‘Brigantes’…a hardy orchid hybrid between Bletilla striata and Bletilla ochracea and wondering what its offspring would look like.  I recalled that the late plantsman Don Jacobs grew bletillas from seed in his window sill, so I figured we’d give it a try.  If you’ve never handled orchid seed, it’s a bit like handling tiny dust particles.  We harvested the seed before the pods cracked open and sowed them like we do our fern spores, and sealed them in a ziploc bag.  Sure enough, they germinated, and two years later actually flowered.  These are a sampling of the amazing variation from the 200 seedlings we potted.  We’ll select a good representative sample of the variation including any unique individuals and plant them out in trial beds and watch how they develop.  How exciting!

Hardy Lady Slipper Orchids!!

Cypripedium, Lady Slipper Orchids, is a genus of woodland garden plants that are among the most desired of all native hardy orchids for sale, despite their often finicky requirements.

Plant Delights Nursery is excited about our bare root shipment of responsibly grown, flowering size, cypripedium orchids we received yesterday.  These plants are nursery propagated and not collected from the wild.

picture of bare root cypripedium pubescens

Cypripedium parviflorum var. pubescens – healthy bare root liners with multiple eyes!

Fall is the best time for planting your hardy lady slipper orchid. Beds should be well-prepared and amended with compost unless you naturally have rich, organic soil. Dig a shallow but wide crater, spread the roots out flat (with eyes pointed upward), cover them with 1″ of soil, and water in well.

picture of cypripedium gabriela and healthy bare root liners

Cypripedium ‘Gabriela’ – healthy bare root liners with multiple eyes.

You should avoid planting your lady slipper orchid near aggressive groundcovers (such as ivy, vinca or Japanese pachysandra) or near the base of trees or large shrubs due to root competition. Check out this article on Cypripediums for more in depth information.

picture of cypripedium reginae and healthy bare root liners.

Cypripedium reginae – healthy bare root liners with multiple eyes.

Other varieties of Cypripedium we just got in for sale include C. kentuckienseHank Small, Michael, and Philipp. All plants have been potted to keep the roots from drying out and for shipping, but the mix can easily be removed for fall planting and incorporated into the planting site.

Cypripedium ‘Hank Small’ ladyslipper orchid

Cypripedium Hank Small4I remember when I discovered we could actually grow ladyslipper orchids in the garden, despite so many stories of them being impossible to cultivate.  The reality is that one ladyslipper, Cypripedium acaule is tough to move.  Otherwise, they’re easy.  I just took this photo of our clump of Cypripedium ‘Hank Small’…32 flowers this year!  I hope you will give these a try in your light shade garden.  A slightly moist soil is best, although this one is grown much too dry under a giant pine tree.