Sunday, March 30, 2008

Where's Alley?

Alley was caught sleeping on the job recently. She insists that her job description includes keeping new stock warm until they sprout.

Bringin in the brugs

We are bringing in some new brugmansia this spring. Bring on the brugs.

Cherub "Dark Pink"

Unbelievably floriferous, this dark pink variety sets a new standard of performance. The 9" trumpets are a deep apricot-pink with peach overtones. The long chartreuse buds turn cream and a faint pink, darkening as they open. They bloom in waves about every 3 weeks with masses of dark pink trumpets. The plants are bushy and well branched. Delightfully fragrant in the early mornings and evenings. Plan on a large pot for this vigorous grower.


Desiree is in a class by itself with three tiered flowers of deep orange. The skirts are neat, elegant and have the long tendrils. Very good fragrance. Flower length is 15 inches from tendrils to stem. Leaves are large and dark green.

Species Double White

Huge double-triple trumpets that are definitely different large flowers range from double to triple skirts. It blooms in waves every 3 to 4 weeks with lots of beautiful double white trumpets.


'Sunray' is a Kyle Courtney hybrid. The blooms are creamy white with rays of yellow from the center. Leaves are serrated and the foliage is naturally a lighter green color than most brugs.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008


My plant of the moment is going to be an ordinary houseplant. I think most of us have grown them at one time or another. Usually given as a start from someone that had one that was probably given to them as a start.

A couple of years ago a part-time employee that took care of our "tropical house" told me stories about her mother and the tropicals she would plant out in her perennial gardens. She mentioned Chlorophytum comosum, the common spider plant as a plant her mother would grow under pines. I commented that they were not hardy and she answered that they survived most winters here except our harshest ones and since they are so easy to start its not such a loss if they don't survive forever. She graciously offered to start me a flat of them. Lets just say that's a "good amount" of spider plants. I planted them in a grove of American holly, pine and oak trees. That was two years ago. Last summer they struggled and I was not sure about their survival. I was amazed to see them coming up out of that arid area these last couple of days. For this reason they are my plant of the moment.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Oh Brother...or more appropriately...Oh Sister

Well, my sister read my latest 'Plant of the Moment' blog and said she was very confused. She insists that I tell you that Hippeastrum "voodoo" can be planted outside in your landscape instead of just growing in a pot like all the amaryllis she is used to growing. She also insists I point out that the reason these bulbs are stretching out the pots is because they are multiplying. She didn't understand why they did that and suggested a few scenarios that I can't relate here. Geez, everyones a critic.

PLANT OF THE MOMENT - Hippeastrum 'Voodoo'

Hippeastrum 'voodoo' is in the amaryllis family. It usually blooms mid-spring with showy red flowers with a white throat. The strappy foliage will be tinged bronze if placed in full sun. I have read that rodents won't eat it. Each time hippeastrum 'voodoo' goes through our front counter and out the door I've noticed this vigorous grower stretching out the pot it is in. I think every one that I have noticed has a misshapen pot. Today when Susie, a fellow gardenweb contributor and hellebore grower extraordinaire, checked out with with one in her box that had two blooming spikes, I finally made the walk back into the greenhouses to claim one for my own. For this reason it is my "plant of the moment".

Monday, March 17, 2008

O is for Shamrock

Simply said oxalis is one tough, resilient plant. Dig up a bed of these and each little bit of rhizome or root will make a new little plant.

I've planted purple oxalis (Oxalis regnellii 'Atropurpurea' ) here and there in dappled shade and in morning sun areas with good results considering they are growing in amended sand which is still never really moist except for after a rain. This particular plant is always in our greenhouses and is not used enough for planting outdoors. It is native in Argentina, Bolivia, and Paraguay. It was first cultivated in the United States in 1930. Purple oxalis likes part-shade (at least protection from the hot afternoon sun), rich moist sandy soil, and is hardy to zone 7-11. Its hardy here and they are just now popping their purplely heads out of the sand. I planted a couple of them in dappled shade mid-winter and they are still evergreen though look a bit scruffy.

Oxalis crassipes "Pink" is more hardy than the showier purple. They are supposed to be hardy down to zone 5 or 6. They remain evergreen for me if given enough moisture. I was recently pleased to see the ones I had planted in early spring of last year that had disappeared into the sand with the drought have been starting to poke up out of the ground.

We also carry "Alba" which of course sports a white flower.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Where's Alley?

Well its getting closer to Easter and Easter Lily season and our girl Alley thought she would try out our latest creation for size. She also thought this would be a particularly lovely picture to wish one of her favorite people "A Very Happy Birthday".

Sunday, March 9, 2008


That is what I said when I found out we would be bringing four kinds of hakonechloa into the grass house this spring. Okay... well I may have jumped up and down, and all right I probably clapped my hands too but you can hardly blame me. These are four gorgeous grasses. Invaluable in creating a lush look in a landscape. While they can take full sun, in our southern climate they prefer lots of water and morning sun. I'm thinking they would be gorgeous in containers with a generous amount of water crystals.

"AUREOLA" Native to shadowy mountain cliffs in Japan, this cool season dwarf grass is lush and graceful. The cascading, satin-like foliage is broad and variegated with cream, chartreuse and green.

"ALBO-STRIATA" The white-striped form of the beautiful Japanese forest grass is more sun tolerant than the golden form. Its cascading green foliage is adorned with thick and thin creamy white stripes. Pink tints develop in fall, then the whole plant turns honey yellow. ‘Albo Striata’ takes a little more sun, and is a little taller, than the more familiar ‘Aureola’.

"ALL GOLD" The foliage of All-Gold is almost completely golden in light shade making it even more striking when planted along a woodland path or beside a shady terrace, or anywhere in soft, dappled light.

"BENI-KAZE" With the same overflowing grace as its relatives, newly introduced 'Beni-kaze' entertains brilliant red fall colors. The lax green mound of loosely arranged, draped blades remains green until cooler weather ignites the smooth foliar ribbons and begs its name, which translates “red wind.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Plant of the Moment-Saccharum arundinaceum (Hardy Sugar Cane)

The plant of the moment is the saccharum arundinaceum just now sitting on my kitchen table. I've been wanting this majestic beauty for quite a while now. I visited Niche Gardens last fall with a list in hand. Saccharum arundinaceum was first on that list. Upon arrival, on a gorgeous fall day, fellow plant fanatic in tow, I cast many hours of research to the wind and went crazy for their selection of native shrubs. It was only upon arrival home that I checked that list again to see if I had actually purchased anything on it. Of course I hadn't and of course I still NEEDED all those plants on that list. So I was delighted when I found out that this spring we are adding saccharum arundinaceum to our grass house. I will plant it in the back of a bed of various pennisetum and miscanthus where it should provide a gorgeous backdrop to these two shorter grasses.

The reason I think of this hardy sugar cane as majestic is because of its height of 10-15 feet. When I saw one in the fall in full glory I could not keep my eyes off of it. It certainly commands attention.

I definitely feel a blog or two on grasses coming up.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Plant of the moment-Salvia elegans 'Golden Delicious'

Pineapple sage has a lovely, fruity scent, is deer resistant, very heat tolerant and is also drought tolerant though is happier with regular moisture. Even though it is supposed to be perennial, in my zone 8 gardens I have had to plant it every spring. I like the 'Golden Delicious' variety since it doesn't bloom till early fall so the chartreuse leaf color makes it a standout even when not in bloom. In the south it likes full morning sun, if planted in afternoon sun the leaves will become a bit scorched. Walking through the herb greenhouses this weekend I kept getting the distinct feeling I was walking through Juicy Fruit Gum. It wasn't until my third pass past the salvias that I realized it was the pineapple sage that was giving me this sensory delight. One of the them was quite mixed up...thinking it early fall and blooming its head off. For this reason Salvia elegans 'Golden Delicious' is my plant of the moment.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Where's Alley?

This is our cat Alley. She likes to perform magic tricks. She will turn up here or there and sometimes it seems she is everywhere. One of her favorite places is on our counter stuffed into anything that looks comfortable. Is it just me or does it seem that she is saying "I vant to be alone".

Saturday, March 1, 2008

The last of dry shade

This will be the last blog on dry shade because quite frankly I have become bored with it and to think I was so excited at first. Anyway this last plant was brought up in a conversation on the gardenweb concerning the drought and what plants had come through with flying colors. One of our regular posters mentioned that her autumn ferns survived wonderfully through last summer's drought with no additional water at all. After reading her post I checked the ferns I had growing in my dry shade area and found that the best looking fern of the bunch was indeed an autumn fern. I checked the autumn ferns in our greenhouses at work and they too were the nicest looking of all the ferns mid-winter. I also have a couple of autumn ferns potted up on my north facing covered front porch that have looked lovely all winter long without much water.

I've also had varied luck with epimediums which are supposed to like dry shade. I planted a couple last summer but had mixed results getting them established.

I am also going to try a couple of saxifraga as well as a couple of non-invasive oxalis in the same area to see how they do.

Go ahead and try some of the dry shade plants I have suggested or if you know any different ones yourself feel free to post a comment and let me know what you have had success with.