Thursday Morning Podcast

Nature provides beauty and interest in the garden year round. Not just from it's floral displays, but often the seed pods are as interesting. Here are some seed pods from the garden this week. ClematisTaxodium ascendens Cestrum BegoniaPunica (pomegranate) Read more [...]

Plant Folklore

Humanity could not exist without plants. People's interactions with plants have evolved throughout history from medicinal, to magical, to nutritional. These interactions often resulted in whimsical, fanciful tales tied to oral history passed from one generation to the next. Take for example the genus Adiantum, maidenhair fern: The genus is derived from the Greek for "unwetted" because water rolls off the fronds. The individual pinnae were thought to resemble the hair of Venus, from Roman mythology, when she was born from the sea, fully formed and with dry hair, thus the common name maidenhair fern. The Birth of Venus As part of our Gardening Unplugged garden chat series held in conjunction with our Open Nursery & Garden Days, assistant nursery manager, Dennis Carey, leads a brief tour through the gardens discussing the plant folklore surrounding some popular garden plants. Learn more about adiantum and other plant folklore here! Read more [...]

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 Read more [...]

What’s Growing On?

March 2019 Newsletter News from JLBG/PDN 2018 was a year of exceptional changes for us here at the gardens and nursery.  Our long-time nursery soil company was sold and the quality of the mix went to hell. Because many of our crops are challenging in containers, before we knew it, our plant losses in the nursery were well into the upper six figures. To say our nursery staff had to scramble is an understatement. After trialing our most difficult crops in a number of new potting soil mixes, is was an easy choice to make the switch to Pacific Organics. https://www.pacific-organics.com/Despite the name, Pacific Organics is a NC-based national company, who have a bigger footprint of users in the northeast US than here in NC, where cheap nursery soil is king. Unbenownst to us, the folks at Pacific Organics have worked closely with the world renowned soil researchers at NC State, so we know the quality of the research they use to formulate their mix.We take great pride in Read more [...]

Delicate trillium

In flower now at Juniper Level Botanic Garden (JLBG) is the newest published species of toadshade, Trillium delicatum, which became official last week!  Trillium delicatum, which from a distance could be confused with Trillium decumbens hails from central Georgia, where it's found growing in floodplains. DNA studies found that it is more closely related to the Alabama-centered Trillium stamineum. 

This leaves only fifteen more potentially new species in the Southeast US that are currently being studied for future naming...pretty exciting times. 

As an ex-situ conservation garden and since we do not endorse sales from plants collected in the wild, our JLBG propagation team are working to make this available from seed, so keep your eyes peeled. 

Read more [...]

Coum to Papa

One of many real joys in the winter garden are the hardy cyclamen. We can count on the wonderful Cyclamen coum to be in peak flower for our annual winter Open Nursery and Garden Days, starting in late February.  Here is a clump of Cyclamen coum ‘Maurice Dryden’ in flower currently, growing underneath a large evergreen holly. 

Cardamine crazy

Look what’s in full flower now in the winter garden!.  This dazzling spring ephemeral, Cardamine quinquefolia, is just off the charts amazing for the light shade woodland garden. It has formed a stunning 3′ wide patch in four years in our Zone 7b garden. Hardiness is Zone 6a-8b. 

Winter gardens at JLBG

In case you missed visiting us at our Winter Open Nursery and Garden, our spring event is coming soon…the first two weekends in May.  Here are a few images of the garden in winter that you missed by not visiting!

   

New discovery – treasure or trash?

We field quite a few calls each year from folks who think they've just found the next million dollar plant and want to know how to monetize their discovery. Sadly, it's not as easy as it sounds. Take our latest discovery above...a nearly albino form of the hardy orchid, Bletilla striata that popped up here in our propagation department.

Despite it looking amazing, does it really have value?

Since it is a near albino, growth will be very slow due to a lack of chlorophyll, so that rules it out immediately for quantity production.

Will the next division also be equally as variegated or will it go back to green?  The answer is...we don't know.

The question then becomes how many people would purchase it, knowing it's going to be difficult to grow and it may never multiply or could revert to green?

In cases like this, a venue like EBay could be the best opportunity to match it with someone willing to take a chance. Each plant is different...so what do you think we should Read more [...]

February 2019 Newsletter

February 2019
Greetings from wet Raleigh, where we’re making good progress with our arc construction after a record-setting year of precipitation that topped out at just over 60” of rainfall…the most ever recorded for Raleigh. Of course, both the east and west ends of North Carolina made our 60” look like a drop in the proverbial bucket.  
 
Our largest coastal town, Wilmington, set a yearly rainfall record of 102”, while at the far western end of our state, Mt. Mitchell recorded just over 140” of rain. I guess we picked a bad year to start growing dryland alpines, but if they survive this year, they should be great going forward.

In the News
A shout out to our friend Jackie Heinricher, founder of the bamboo tissue culture lab, BooShoots in Washington, who has added a new career to her resume…that of race car driver.  I can’t say we have many racers who are also nurserymen. 
 
After Read more [...]