Sunday, May 25, 2008


We are pleased to be able to offer this spring a very new addition to the hardy lantana family. Lantana camara 'Chapel Hill Yellow' is a hybrid between cold hardy 'Miss Huff' and tender "New Gold'. So you get the cold hardiness of 'Miss Huff' and the low spreading habit of 'New Gold'. Like the other lantanas Chapel Hill Yellow blooms all summer into autumn. This seedling was discovered growing in the gardens of Susy Dirr, Michael Dirr's beloved daughter who died recently from cystic fibrosis. Part of the proceeds of the sale of Chapel Hill Yellow will help support the Sweet Melissa Lung Transplant Fund for lung transplant patients and families at the University of North Carolina.

Saturday, May 24, 2008


A couple of days after blogging about campanula 'pink octopus', Peggy my 'partner-in-crime' dragged me into the greenhouses telling me I had to see this ginger that was brought to her attention by a customer on one of the days that I was off. Peggy mentioned the customer was looking for a blue ginger, one with a true blue flower that was absolutely gorgeous. Well Peggy looked and found the blue ginger in our greenhouses in our part sun section. She brought me into the part sun greenhouses to show me the dichorisandra thyrsiflora 'blue ginger'. She said she did not want to be accused of 'holding out on me' again. Upon seeing them I mentioned "oh I have one of those" to which she replied "of course you do" and then I explained that I had grown one in a pot in an eastern exposure last year. It didn't really do much of anything that season and I had decided it was another 'poopy' plant so in the fall when bringing things inside for the winter I decided this one was not worth the space in my small back room where I winter things over. I put the pot up against a south facing wall on my back deck to give it at least a fighting chance that winter. The funny thing was just the day before Peggy pointed it out to me I had noticed that it had popped up out of the dirt in the pot that was still against the south wall of my deck so it had indeed survived the winter outside in a pot. Upon googling it again I was reminded why I had wanted one in the first place. A true blue is very hard to find in the gardening world and the flower on 'blue ginger' is a particularly gorgeous flower.

Whew, that was a long explanation...are you still with me? After all that talk about ginger I have to tell you dichorisandra thyrsiflora is not a ginger at all but rather it is in the same family as wandering jew, commelinaceae, the family of spiderworts though it does resemble ginger in height and in habit. It dies back to the ground here but I have read they make a great houseplant and many more forgiving and patient people bring them inside in the fall where they will bloom early winter and since they only don't really need direct sunlight an eastern facing window would be fine for them. In researching blue ginger I have learned that they are very easily propagated from stem cuttings taken at any time of the year. I think this year I will most certainly bring it inside and let it overwinter in one of the two eastern facing windows I have.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Plant of the Moment-Campanula 'Pink Octopus'

When I first layed eyes on the picture tag that comes with Campanula 'Pink Octopus' I knew I had to have this exotic looking flower. The foliage is quite handsome as well with nice color and shape. In my research I found that this exotic beauty was also very easy to grow as well as being deer-resistant, long blooming if deadheaded and extremely attractive to hummingbirds. The flowers are described on the hybridizer's web-site as "Large pink buds shaped like Japanese lanterns that burst into pendulous blooms with long, slender, widely-spaced petals. As the flowers mature, the blooms spread wider and wider, until the bloom is flat and its "tentacles" have reached as far apart as possible!"

How could I resist with that description. I bought one from our greenhouses and planted it in a nice little east facing shady garden where it sat all season doing nothing until it finally put out one flower that seemed to be gone to fast to enjoy. I was so disappointed I think I might have even called it a "poopy plant" to its face. While taking my evening "walk around" the gardens with my pups tonight I was amazed and ashamed to see that my campanula 'pink octopus' had not only spread around nicely since last year but is also blooming its little head off and as you can see in the picture you have all stages of flower together.

When I was little my mother would constantly say to me "patience is a virtue". I guess its a virtue I still have not gained and for that reason Campanula 'Pink Octopus' is my plant of the moment.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008


My Plant of the Momentum (giggle) is going to be the Elsholtzia stauntonii my sister recently planted in her garden.

I keep thinking of it as the "sister" mint shrub to the australian mint bush I have been growing. While both are mint bushes, lovely, fragrant and shrub-like, the australian blooms early spring with a breathtakingly bright, purple haze and while the Elsholtzia blooms all summer the flowers are not as showy. The Elsholtzia is a very hardy plant growing into zone 4 and the australian is more tender only hardy to zone 7. The same, but different, just like sisters.
My sister and her husband travel full time in their motor home so my sister's garden resides on my property. They are back on the road after spending a month with us golfing, shopping, gardening and hanging out. While she was here she managed to put some order into my crazed chaos of gardens and I have to say they are looking better than they ever have.

So to say a special thank you to my sister, Elsholtzia stauntonii is my plant of the momentum.