Zephyranthes has the common name rain lily for a good reason…it has the charming habit of sending up new blooms after a summer rain (it would make an excellent rain garden plant). Zephyranthes (rain lilies) are small perennial bulbs that need to be sited in the front of the border, or in a rock garden to be appreciated.
With an abundance of days in the mid 90’s in July, August has started with an abundance of rain, from hurricane Isaias to afternoon thunderstorms. And the rain lilies are loving it! Here are some of our rain lily collection in our outdoor production beds. Let us know which ones appeal to you and we will try to get them in future catalog!
The genus Sinningia is a South American gesneriad (African violet and gloxinia relative). Hummingbirds and butterflies just love the tubular flowers of Sinningia, and several species including Sinningia tubiflora, are quite fragrant.
Sinningia flowers come in a wide array of colors from white, to yellow, pink, red and all shades in between. Sinningia species are drought-tolerant and heat loving…perfect for hummers and the southern garden. We hope you will join us in our excitement over the wonderful perennial sinningia.
Hurricane Hermine brought some much needed rain over the weekend. Not only were there some happy gardeners, but the rain lilies are loving it too. Here is a picture of Zephyranthes ‘Heart Throb’ in the garden with its bright 2″ reddish-pink flowers and contrasting white eye. At a mere 6″ this Heart Throb is a real show-stopper.
Rain lilies got their common name from their charming habit of producing new blooms after it rains. Rain lilies come in a variety of colors to coordinate with your garden’s palette. Plant rain lilies near the garden path where you can enjoy their beauty from mid summer up until fall. Be sure to come check out our wide selection of rain lilies this coming weekend, Sept. 9-11, during our fall open house, and you can take home your very own Heart Throb!
We’ve trialed many variegated forms of the lovely fall-flowering Salvia leucantha, and the only one we felt was good enough to share is Salvia leucantha ‘Eder’, which we’re pleased to offer this summer/fall for the first time. Where it isn’t winter hardy, it can easily be kept indoors in a cool room or porch.
I first met the Balkan native, Salvia nutans on a visit to Germany a few years ago and was gobstruck. How had I missed knowing and growing such amazing plant? We were able to track down seed, and to our surprise, it thrived even through our hot humid summers. For us, Salvia nutans flowers for several months in spring, but will continue longer if the summers are cooler. Did I mention how hard it is to photograph due to the abundance of feeding bumblebees?
Salvia ‘Newe Ya’ar’ is an odd name for an odd plant. This amazing sage was developed in Israel by breeders looking for the perfect culinary sage. In developing this, they also created a great garden plant for regions that have trouble growing the typical culinary sage, Saliva officinalis, due to our wet, humid summers. Members of the American Herb Society, who first imported this, raved about it amongst themselves, so we’re thrilled to finally be able to share. We don’t know how far north this has been trialed past our 7 degrees F here, so please let us know how its performed if you’ve tried it in colder regions.
Lobelia cardinalis in the bog garden with a close up of the flowers
Lobelia Monet Moment in the garden with close up of flowers
Lobelia cardinalis is native to 41 out of the 50 states in North America. The cardinal flower is tolerant of many different soils from moist bogs to average garden soils, and is perfect for use in rain gardens. Cardinal flowers are also a magnet for hummingbirds and butterflies. Lobelia begins blooming in summer and will continue until fall with an array of flower and foliage colors to blend nicely in your garden, from the brilliant red flowers of the species, to the hot pink Monet Moment, or the burgundy foliage of Black Truffle.
You can order cardinal flowers online or visit us at our fall open house September 9-11 & 16-18 to see the cardinal flowers blooming in the garden and pick out that perfect plant for a spot in your garden.
Canna lilies are a great addition to your sunny summer garden or rain garden. Their large bold leaves come in a variety of colors and variegation patterns, and provide the perfect foil for brightly colored flowers from orange, to brilliant reds, rose to white. Cannas add color to the garden from late spring to fall and are an excellent attractant for butterflies and hummingbirds.
Here’s a recent photo from the garden of one of our favorite full sun, summer-flowering perennials, Sinningia ‘Arkansas Bells’. This amazing African violet relative thrives with cactus and agaves in our full sun rock garden, flowering from April until September, during which time, the hummingbirds have to wait their turn. We don’t currently offer this because not enough folks purchased it last time, which drives us a little nuts! It’s only winter hardy to 5 degrees F in the ground, but makes a superb container plant in colder zones. So, why do more people not buy this? Please convince us to propagate some more since it is so wonderful.
Today…Sunday is day 3 of our 6-day Summer Open Nursery and Garden. We hope you’ll drop to stroll the gardens and perhaps find a few plants you can’t live without. We’re open today from 1-5 and next Friday, Saturday 8-5, and winding up next Sunday from 1-5pm. We’d love to say hello and answer your gardening questions, so load up your camera and your gardening friends and we’ll see you in the garden. Please allow plenty of time as there are an amazing number of great plants to see!
Our annual Summer Clearance Sale is now underway. With summer inventory complete, we’ve found some of the coolest plants didn’t sell in the numbers that we’d hoped, so we’re left with extra inventory. Quantities are limited. Sale ends July 3 and plants must be scheduled by July 5 for shipment or pickup. Shop now!
Greetings from Plant Delights and Juniper Level Botanic Garden.
Salvia nutans – Coming Soon
So far, it’s been a great spring at PDN and JLBG. Rains have been pretty regular so far…thanks to two early-season tropical storms. No sign of an imminent summer let-up in moisture. Of course, constant rain can also spell trouble for some more dryland-loving plants like the new perennial snapdragons we’re testing. While the majority of plants we trial from other breeders don’t pass our NC stress test, it is always nice to have a truly stressful spring to let us know what plants are really tough and will survive.
Growth in the garden has been amazing this spring, and the summer show is shaping up to be the best ever. There’s just so much to see in the summer, we really hope you’ll make plans to attend our upcoming Open Nursery and Garden Days, July 8-10 and 15-17. If you’re averse to heat, arrive early when the weather is still delightful, but don’t come without your camera.
Polianthes ‘Pink Sapphire’ – Coming Soon
We’re already putting together our fall catalog and have many new exciting plants in store. Several fabulous new hardy hibiscus and salvias will be included and so much more.
Horticulture enrollments have always been a roller coaster ride, but with the job increases in the technology field, fewer and fewer students are migrating to careers with plants. With a wide range of career paths that includes farming, landscaping, greenhouse and nursery growing, plant breeding, and flower arranging, there is something for anyone who enjoys being around plants.
In a recent survey, only 48 percent of adults aged 18 to 34 said they are familiar with horticulture, as compared with 65 percent of older adults. And, while the majority of respondents view horticulture as essential to food, water, and the environment, only 26 percent strongly agree that horticulture is a diverse area of study that will lead to a fulfilling and respected career.
According to a 2015 employment outlook report from USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) and Purdue University, a total of 35,400 U.S. students graduate each year with a bachelor’s degree or higher in agriculture-related fields—22,500 short of the 59,700 industry job openings available annually. No wonder it’s getting so hard to find good help.
To combat declining enrollments in horticulture programs and a lack of qualified industry workers, Longwood Gardens, The American Society for Horticultural Science (ASHS), and 150 partner organizations announced the launch of the Seed Your Future initiative. The public rollout of Seed Your Future will officially begin in 2017, but fundraising to support the effort has already begun. You can learn more and make a donation to this effort at the Seed Your Future website.
Tom Ranney at JCRA
There is a wonderful article about NCSU plant breeder Tom Ranney in the most recent issue of the trade magazine Nursery Manager. I expect many of you grow some of Tom’s introductions, even though you may not realize it. We hope you enjoy the article about one of the world’s top woody plant breeders.
We were pleased to be featured in the spring 2016 issue of Garden Design in a fern article by British garden writer Noel Kingsbury.
Georgia plantsman Scott McMahan has closed his McMahan’s Nursery and sold his garden center, Garden Hood to his former manager, and returned to his previous career at the Atlanta Botanical Garden. Scott has been an International plant explorer for many years and will now have the same job full-time with the garden.
A lightning-induced fire has put a damper on the run of Quality Cactus/Select Seeds of Texas. This unique wholesale nursery was the only source for many rare southwest/Mexican native plants from seedlings to mature specimens. Best of luck as they try and rebuild.
Wade Roitsch at Yucca Do
Our friends at Yucca Do Nursery are calling it quits after 28 years in the mail order nursery business. Owner Wade Roitsch is winding down operations now so, if you want any plants before the doors close, don’t delay. Wade and Carl will continue to explore in the search for new plants, so thankfully they’ll remain an important part of the horticultural community. It’s been a real honor for us to be able to work closely with them during the run of Yucca Do, and our horticultural hats are off to their incredible contribution to our industry and to our gardens.
Our friend and fellow plant explorer, Fred Spicer, has resigned his position as director of the Birmingham Botanic Gardens after over a decade at the helm. The garden has changed dramatically under his leadership, to become one of the major plant collections in the Southeast US. We wish Fred the best of luck in his next great adventure.
The horticultural world has experienced several significant losses this spring.
Dr. Sam Jones, 83, of Piccadilly Farms in Georgia passed away on February 9. Sam was preceded in death by his wife of 56 years, Carleen. Sam was a professor of botany at the University of Georgia (1967-1991), and he and Carleen ran their side business, Piccadilly Farms. Piccadilly was the first US company to widely promote hellebores and the first to hold a hellebore festival. Sam and Carleen were awarded the Perennial Plant Association’s highest honor, the Award of Merit, in 2005. Piccadilly is now owned and operated by their daughter and son-in-law, Valerie and Bill Hinesley.
Robert Mackintosh, co-founder of Woodlanders Nursery in Aiken, SC, passed away on February 14 at the age of 90. Robert was preceded in death by his wife of 60 years, Julia. Robert enjoyed a career as a Harvard-educated Landscape Architect, while starting Woodlanders Nursery as a hobby in 1975. The nursery, now in its 41st, year is known internationally as a source of rare plants. Woodlanders Nursery is now in the hands of co-owners Bob McCartney and George Mitchell.
Judith and Dick Tyler
Hellebore specialist Judith Tyler, 70, co-founder of Pine Knot Nursery in Virginia, passed away suddenly on March 18, just a week after their annual Hellebore Festival. Judith had just been to a follow-up pneumonia appointment when doctors discovered she had late stage cancer only days before her death. Judith and her husband Dick have run Pine Knot Farms since 1983, during which time they have become known internationally as hellebore experts, due in part to their wonderful book, Hellebores: A Comprehensive Guide, with friend Cole Burrell.
We are currently looking to fill our position for a greenhouse/nursery grower. If you or anyone you know might be interested in such a position, click here to learn more.