Sunday, March 05, 2006

The Hairy Potter and the Horticulturist's Apprentice

On Saturday my husband I went to the first winter open house for Plant Delights Nursery and Juniper Level Botanical Garden. The title of this post comes form the Spring 2006 Catalog Cover. They have Jack Pittman design the cover for each catalog. He is a commercial artist that specializes in humorous illustrations and it is always great to see his new cover design each time the new catalog arrives. The catalog is also written with a very humorous tone. It is probably the best overall piece of mail I get.

Gardening and plants of all kinds are a big interest for me. If you live in the Raleigh area and are interested in gardening you really should check out the wonderful display gardens that are there. They are generally open only a couple times a year, and this is the first year they have had a winter open house. The spring open house in May is great time to go. There are a lot of plants blooming and it isn't the hottest part of the summer. The plants on display and those available for purchase tend to be more unusual or at least hard to find varieties of more common plants. It's a real plant connoisseurs dream. I have lived in this area for almost ten years, but only found out about this place a couple years ago. I read about it on a gardening message board. (Isn't the internet is great.) We went mainly to see the underlying structure of the garden to get ideas for our own yard. But there were many wonderful plants that were already blooming.

The first plant we saw that is a must have for our yard, was the giant leaf paper plant, Edgworthia chrysantha. This plant was really more like a small tree (maybe the size of a Japanese Maple tree) and was covered with small clusters of yellow/white flowers with a very sweet smell. We weren't able to get one on this visit, but hopefully they will have some available during the spring open house in May. We already have a spot near the house picked out for it.

We did end up buying a Colocasia - gigantea Thailand Giant Strain. It is an elephant ear plant that can grow to nine feet tall and the individual leaves can be more than 5 feet long and 4 feet wide. The plants are also supposed to get large white scented flowers. I've never seen an elephant ear plant flower, but hopefully the deer will leave this one alone long enough for us to see the flowers. I do have several other varieties of these growing in the yard and the deer have left them alone. So far so good. If we get some good sized leaves this first year, this summer I'll try taking a cast of one of the leaves to make a bird bath. We also got a Euphorbia x martinii 'Waleuphrud' (Rudolph's Red Nosed Spurge). The small green and red flowers on the left are on the blooming euphorbia we purchased.

They also have some terrific bog garden plants.
I've always wanted to try some, but don't have the right conditions in my yard for them. Although while were looking over the pitcher plants (right) in the greenhouse, another visitor gave me a couple terrific suggestions for growing some at home. The plants grow in peat and she suggested getting a slow draining container, filling it with peat and soaking - creating my own portable little bog. Another idea was to dig a hole in the garden and line the hole with plastic and to put a few holes in the plastic for some drainage and then fill the hole with peat and your plants -and viola your own little bog garden.

1 comment:

Carolyn said...

What fantastic photos! We don't have a proper garden at the moment and I really miss it. You are so lucky to be able to grow such exotic looking plants.

Definitely give the "home made" bog garden a try - it should work!