A Concrete Idea

Unless you’ve been hiding under a piece of concrete, you’ve no doubt heard of our crevice garden experiment, constructed with recycled concrete and plants planted in chipped slate (Permatill). It’s been just over three years since we started the project and just over a year since its completion. In all, the crevice garden spans 300′ linear feet and is built with 200 tons of recycled concrete. The garden has allowed us to grow a range of dryland (6-12″ of rain annually) plants that would otherwise be ungrowable in our climate which averages 45″ of rain annually.

One of many plants we’d killed several times ptc (prior to crevice) are the arilbred iris, known to iris folks as ab’s. These amazing hybrids are crosses between the dazzling middleastern desert species and bearded hybrids. Being ready to try again post crevice (pc), we sent in our order to a California iris breeder, who promptly emailed to tell us that he would not sell them to us because they were ungrowable here. It took some persuading before they agreed to send our order, but on arrival, they became some of the first plants to find a home in the new crevices. Although we’ve added more ab’s each year, the original plantings will be three years old in August. Here are a few flowers from this week.

Iris are just a few of the gems that can be found in our “cracks”, continuing below with dianthus. As we continually take note of our trial successes, more and more of those gems will find their way into our catalog and on-line offerings…as long as we can produce it in a container. Please let us know if any of these strikes your fancy.

If that’s not enough, here are some more shinning stars currently in bloom.

If any of this seems interesting, you probably should be a member of the North American Rock Garden Society…a group of similarly afflicted individuals. If you are specifically addicted to cracks, check out the nearly 2000 strong, really sick folks on Modern Crevice Gardens on Facebook

The Bloomin’ Garden!

Here some images of plants blooming in the garden this week.

Camellias are a great evergreen plant for the garden and depending on the species they offer blooms from fall, sporadically through the winter and into spring.

Edgeworthia and hellebores are both winter bloomers and the blooms pair well floating in a bowl of water.

Friday Morning Podcast

Here are some seedpods and seed heads from the garden today. Seedpods/fruit don’t have to be colorful to be decorative.

The shape of the seed capsule as well as hairs and filaments that capture light also add ornamental value.

But, they don’t grow here

We have long admired the Aril iris, a group of dry-land species, mostly from Middle Eastern countries, which are renown for their ability to die quickly in wet, humid-summer climates.  Well, armed with our new crevice garden, we decided it was time to try our hand at these once more, focusing on what is known as Arilbred iris…aril species that have been crossed with more typical bearded iris. In our case, we focused on the 50/50 hybrids, which the vendor assured us would not have any chance in our climate. 

Despite our wettest year on record, here we are, 20 months after planting without a single loss. Here are a couple of photos from last spring, as we await the 2019 show (two center photos) just a few weeks away.  The crevice garden should look amazing for our Spring Open Nursery and Garden days…we hope you’ll come visit. The lesson…don’t believe anything you’re told unless you verify it yourself. 

If you’re interested in learning more, visit our friends at the Aril Iris Society

Competition Gardening – Let the Judging Begin!

Everyone appreciates the beauty of nature, and as gardener’s we are especially proud and excited as the gems in our garden begin to display their glory and grandeur. During the first weekend of our Spring Open Nursery and Garden Days, April 28-30, Plant Delights Nursery is excited to host “Rainbows in the Garden”, an accredited iris show, presented by the Eastern NC Chapter of The American Iris Society.

picture of Iris virginica 'Contraband Girl'

Iris virginica ‘Contraband Girl’

This accredited show is being held and judged under the rules and regulations of The American Iris Society. The show is free to the public and entry submissions are open to all. Entries must be a named variety of tall, intermediate or dwarf bearded iris, Siberian, Louisiana, or other beardless iris. All rules and regulations can be found here

picture of Iris germanica 'Beach Baby' blooming in the garden

Iris germanica ‘Beach Baby’ – dwarf bearded iris blooming in the garden

Entries will be received from 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. on Friday, April 28, 2017 at Plant Delights Nursery, 9241 Sauls Rd., Raleigh, NC 27603. Judging begins at 10:30 a.m. and the show opens to the public at noon. The exhibit will remain until 4:00 p.m. Saturday, April 29. We encourage all our customers to enter their prized iris. 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place ribbons will be awarded in each category.

Iris cristata in flower

Iris cristata Montrose White

The dwarf native woodland iris, Iris cristata are in flower here today.  Iris ‘Montrose White’ was introduced by Montrose Gardens in NC.  Iris cristata is native in shade, but flowers much better when given a couple of hours of sun.

Iris cristata Powder Blue GiantIris cristata ‘Powder Blue Giant’ is incredibly floriferous in the garden today.  These spring flowering groundcovers are just delightful.