Brexit Redux – Part III

The next morning, we were in for a weather event. The storm that had swept over North Carolina a few days before had followed us to the UK, and predictions were for torrential rains and 60-80 mph winds. For the night prior, we had stayed at the lovely Colesbourne Inn, part of the Colesbourne Estate and Gardens. Colesbourne Inn Our rooms were built in the 1100s, making it one of the older inns in which I've had the pleasure to stay in my travels. Despite the age, the rooms had been well updated with the modern conveniences on the interior and made for a delightful accommodation. We enjoyed a lovely dinner with Sir Henry and Carolyn Elwes, the current heirs of the estate, along with Dr. John Grimshaw, who formerly managed and re-invigorated the estate gardens. The food at the Colesbourne Inn is quite extraordinary...highly recommended.John Grimshaw was a trouper, agreeing to take us around Colesbourne in the difficult weather. Taking photos of galanthus in the pouring rain and Read more [...]

For the Love of Hostas

Hostas are incredibly tough plants and will get along fine in almost any garden...but they look their absolute best with just a little extra attention. Here are some tips to grow beautiful hostas in your garden. Despite hostas durable nature, there are many myths circulating about growing hostas, one of which is the term Originator's Stock. Originator's stock is simply a superfluous term for saying that the plant in question is the correctly named clone. Click here for more debunking! Read more [...]

Agave x striphantha

When creating hybrids, especially with plants like agaves, it takes many years to know exactly what the offspring will look like. We have a pretty good guess, since we've done this for so long, but here's an updated photo of a cross we made in 2013 of Agave striata x Agave lophantha. The hybrid, that we call Agave x striphantha is now 3' wide, which is the same width of the Agave striata parent. We expected the hybrid to stay a bit smaller, but it did not. What we still don't know is what will happen when it flowers. Agave striata is the only hardy species that doesn't die after flowering, while the flowering rosette of the other parent, Agave lophantha cashes it in after its sexual encounter. Hopefully, it won't be long before we know about the hybrid, and hopefully it will produce viable seed. Learn more about growing agaves. Agave x striphantha (striata x lophantha) This is the Agave striata parent This is the Agave lophantha parent. Read more [...]

Gardening for winter

Here are a couple of images of the gardens at JLBG to show how we garden for the winter months. By selecting and designing your garden for the winter season, it will automatically look great during the other three seasons. Plants featured include hellebores, rohdea, ophiopogon (mondo grass), sabal palm, Illicium 'Florida Sunshine', and a number of conifers. Here's one of our woodland streams featuring Aucuba 'Limbata', carex, and rohdea. With proper plant selection, the garden in winter doesn't have to be a lifeless canvas of mulch. Read more [...]

Falling Waters in the Garden

Here's a new photo we just took in the garden that showcases the amazing architecture of xMangave 'Falling Waters' when it reaches maturity...pretty amazing! Find out more about xMangave and their uses as a container specimen on FaceBook @MadAboutMangave. xMangave 'Falling Waters' The genus xmangave is an exotic botanical curiosity that was derived from a cross between an agave and a manfreda. Crosses between two genera are somewhat rare in cultivation and extremely rare in nature. However, agave and manfreda have broken all the rules and 'hooked up' on more than one occasion to produce the attractive offspring called x Mangave. The 'x' on the left side of Mangave tells you that it is a cross between different genera. Read more [...]

Cyclamens in the cracks

When we completed our crevice garden, we wanted to see if it would be a good home to cyclamen, since they like to grow naturally in well drained sites, and sites that are very dry during their late spring/early dormant period. Here, they also get a couple of hours of morning sun, but shade after that and no supplemental water. The soil mix is about 50% Permatill and 50% native soil/compost. Here are some photos recently taken this winter showing how they have fared. The joy of growing cyclamen is that each seedling has a different leaf pattern...what amazing plants! Cyclamen hederifolium Cyclamen hederifolium Cyclamen hederifolium Cyclamen hederifolium Cyclamen hederifolium Cyclamen hederifolium Cyclamen hederifolium Cyclamen hederifolium Cyclamen hederifolium Cyclamen hederifolium Cyclamen hederifolium Cyclamen hederifolium Cyclamen hederifolium Cyclamen hederifolium Cyclamen coum Cyclamen coum Read more [...]

Late Fall Alliums

Although it's a bit late, we wanted to share a new image we took of Allium kiiense in the gardens last fall. For us, this is one of the best small alliums for the garden, but because it flowers so late in the year (2nd week of November for us), few people ever see it. Every year, we produce more than we can sell because we keep assuming that word of this treasure will finally get out in public. Since it has a slightly pendant habit, Allium kiiense is best located where you can see it close up, and ideally from slightly below. Read more [...]

Winter Bloomers

Walking around the garden in mid-winter, we spotted a couple of nice woodies in full flower in addition to the winter blooming perennials. The first is one of many witch hazels we grow...in this case, Hamamelis 'Orange Peel'. Hamamelis 'Orange Peel' Growing nearby is Distylium buxifolium, also in full flower. D. buxifolium is a cousin to the better known D. myricoides. As best we can determine, it was not in cultivation in the US until a recent wild seed collection by Scott McMahan of the Atlanta Botanical Garden. Our plant is 3 years old from seed and measures 3' tall x 10' wide. Distylium buxifolium in flower Distylium buxifolium flowers closeup Read more [...]

The Bloomin’ Garden!

Here some images of plants blooming in the garden this week. Camellia 'Cinnamon Cindy'Camellia 'Lady Vansittart' 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 'Snow Cream'Helleborus 'Cinnamon Snow' Edgeworthia and hellebores are both winter bloomers and the blooms pair well floating in a bowl of water. Iris unguicularis 'Winter Echoes' Read more [...]

Friday Morning Podcast

Here are some seed and seedpods from the gardens and the greenhouses today. Aucuba - zone: 7a-9bHesperaloe - zone: 7a-10b Muhlenbergia lindheimeri - zone: 6a-9bOpuntia - zone: 7a-10b, at least Aspidistra - zone: dependent on speciesDalea - zone: 3a-8b Read more [...]