Sunday, April 27, 2008


The Suntory Collection is known for coming up with annuals and perennials that can take the heat and humidity. This year we have added to our Suntory collection with their new hardy and annual fuchsias.




Cascading and Snowfire both have a cascading habit. Cascading is not hardy here though, while Snowfire is hardy to Zone 8. Petticoat is more upright in habit and being so would also hold its own in a perennial bed. It is also hardy to Zone 8 so might be worth a try if you have a protected, moist, well-drained site. Okay so they are high maintenance but they are tauted to bloom from May to October so may be worth the extra effort. Large pots with water crystals added to the soil might be a great way to grow them. They like morning sun or light shade and they would look especially lovely growing in pots in a grove of high canopied trees. I will try them in that situation.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Where's Alley?

Both of the owners are animal lovers so we are very pet friendly here at Big Bloomers. People bring their dogs to help them pick out plants and we do our best to make a fuss and tell them what pretty girls or handsome boys they are.

Our girl Alley takes her job very seriously. The problem is she makes up her own rules. She decided these two lovely poodles would be best left in the car.

The poor pups would not even make eye contact with her they were so intimidated.

Alley celebrated her victory with an impromptu breakdance and also insisted on a belly rub and a pat on the head


Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Update on Plant of the Moment-Prostanthera Rotundifolia (Australian Mint Bush)

First off ..I would like to say thank you to my sister for posting the pictures of the prostanthera rotundifolia (australian mint bush). She is quite the computer whiz and I was tired and having problems posting the pictures to the blog tonight. She volunteered to put the pictures up on the blog while I took a shower and then I challenged her to do the whole blog. I think she did a wonderful job. I still can't read it without laughing till I cry. I can't say enough about the gift of laughter.. so thanks sis.

This is an update on the australian mint bush I wintered over in a big pot against a southeastern corner of my home. I was surprised it had survived the winter and am pleased to say it not only survived but is now flowering. I will cut it back hard after the flowers fade since it is quite leggy. I will definitely be thinking of other ways to use them in my landscape.

plant with purple flowers is my plant of the momentum

adelesflowers (6)

adelesflowers (5)

i am writing this for my sister who is washing her hair which is long and takes ten years to do...
so here goes...

this plant..maybe it is a shrub....cuase its bigger than a plant and has woody stems...
this shrub is cool,,,, it has pretty purple flowers....

it looks real nice....but the picture is not the best...cause my camera sucks...
but it is nicer in real life...

and i like it....
and it has nice purple flowers...
not all year...but now....
and they are i like it...

so that is why it is the plant of the momentum...
oh...and it grows too...and hasnt died yet....that is another reason to like it ...

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Where's Alley?

Alley has decided she has bigger "fish to fry" than watching flats of plants sprout. She has recently taken to hiding out in the herb garden. We are not sure if she is waiting to catch a certain rat snake that has taken up residence or if she is just trying to catch some extra zzz's.

Thursday, April 17, 2008


This beauty nearly slipped through my fingers. Luckily I was alerted to their presence here at Big Bloomers by two very lovely customers that I waited on today. I hope I didn't scare them by my exclamations of glee when I came across one that was blooming in their boxes to purchase. I have to say I was quite dismayed that this little beauty had gotten in here past me without even a heads-up by my co-worker and "partner in crime" Peggy.

I decided upon first glance this would be my next plant of the moment. Upon goggling I was even more pleased at the prospect of growing one. It does well in sun or part shade. Its a very large (6'-9' tall) but delicate plant or small shrub depending on your location. Being hardy down to zone 8 I think a protected area in that zone would be best. It blooms all summer and prefers a sandy or loamy soil. Oh, and it attracts hummingbirds. Its fast growing so would also be very nice in a pot on a deck which is where I think I will put mine.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008


Being a transplant from Zone 6 gardening, I was tickled pink to find out you could grow begonias in your garden that would actually come back the following year. I remember feeling much the same when told a gorgeous, shiny leaved, evergreen shrub called camellia was going to bloom red in December. But back to begonias. I think they were my first realization of what was in store for this former Zone 6 gardener. I think when I learned about the salvias I was literally brought to my knees. What was I talking about? Oh yes, begonias.....We carry a couple or three different kinds and I have managed to keep them alive in my sand though they are happier with a richer soil and more moisture.

Begonia 'Kaylen'

This one is able to survive colder winter temperatures and is substantial in size. Prolific rose-pink flowers combine with the rich burgundy foliage to make this one lovely border plant.

Begonia grandis 'Alba'
This one is even more cold tolerant being hardy to zone 6. The white flowers add a brightness to shady areas.

Begonia 'Sutherlandii'
This one is my favorite. It is tiny like the more tender B. Richardsiana. The flower color is a gorgeous clear orange. I grew one in a pot on my north facing, covered front porch last summer and am anxiously awaiting its return this spring.

Thursday, April 10, 2008


The plant of the moment does not have particularly spectacular foliage, or a lovely, unusual flower color, fragrance or size of blossom. Its an easy plant to grow though that likes full sun and poor soil.

I planted coreopsis major when I lived in Pittsburgh, PA. It hadn't even gotten to the third year "leap" stage, but it bloomed in its second year and that fall we moved to North Carolina. I'm not even sure why I loved it so much. Maybe it was the tall, strongly held stems or the finely cut foliage.

When planning my gardens here in North Carolina, I wanted to include this flower I thought was so interesting. I had forgotten the name though and the above picture with the three little, yellow flowers held up in the air was all I had to go on. I thought it was a helianthus or heliopsis and so of course I have not been able to find it. While walking through the greenhouses last week helping a customer I caught a glimpse of the foliage on coreopsis major and instantly knew that it was the plant I have been looking for and for this reason Coreopsis Major 'Steelata' is my plant of the moment.

Monday, April 7, 2008


Spring has sprung here at Big Bloomers. Our shelves are stocked and the greenhouses are about to burst with perennials and annuals. Here is a peek of what is new in our garden shop. I hope to have a list of new plants for 2008 in a couple of days.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Where's Alley?

Well, the last 'Where's Alley' blog left our girl just exactly where I found her four days later. She has been here and there and everywhere since that last blog but somehow she ends up right back here. She said this is a particularly comfortable, ah hum did she say comfortable...she meant particularly troublesome spot that needs attending to.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Plant of the Moment-Poncirus Trifoliata 'Flying Dragon'

I've been meaning to do a blog on Poncirus Trifoliata 'Flying Dragon' ever since I mentioned it on another Plant of the Moment blog. This picture was my instigation for finally doing a blog on this spiny beauty.
'Flying Dragon' is distinguished from the species, poncirus trifoliate by spines which curve strongly backward, in claw-like fashion most notable when the plant is leafless. Highly prized in the Orient, where it has been cultivated for centuries. 'Flying Dragon' is also a dwarf, growing to a maximum height of 6' (smaller in containers). Commercially used as a dwarfing rootstock for citrus. I have read that it is a good candidate for bonsai. Since its hardy to zone 6 even my family in Connecticut could safely plant it in their landscape. It likes sun to partial shade, is drought tolerant, looks great in the winter and can be grown with ease in containers. I've been growing one in a pot for a couple of years now. Mine has not bloomed yet so I am particularly jealous of these pictures taken by a lovely lady I was lucky enough to meet on the gardenweb.