On my way to spring training I was able to stop at Plant Delights in North Carolina during one of their open house days. It was a real treat to make my first visit there (I’m sure there will be others in the future). The place is well named as it caters to the people who are delighted in the rare and unusual in the gardening world. Part of what makes both the online presence and the actual place enjoyable is the personality of the owner, Tony Avent, whom I bumped into as I toured the grounds. His enthusiasm for gardening bubbles over into his descriptions and interpretations of plant characteristics. I noted that he seemed to push the boundaries of what could be growing in North Carolina and he responded that when he had failures he would go back and find another plant “higher on the mountain”, looking for the individual specimens that would survive. In other words, a lot of intelligent experimentation.
The garden was open for touring but not a lot had come into flower yet because of the cold weather. I saw a flowering cherry and camellias, but what particularly caught my eye was this Algerian Iris.
Very pretty and early -flowering to boot.
The garden was interesting for it’s winding paths which are heavily mulched and water features.
Everything (and I mean everything) was labeled. A lot seems to have been planted relatively recently but there were some really nice specimens like this Japanese Crepe Myrtle with cinnamon-colored bark.
The plants for sale were headlined by the Hellebores that were at their peak, with many interesting varieties to whet a gardener’s appetite.
I came back with four new varieties but left this lovely double for the future.
There were a great many other interesting plants on display, including shade lovers, sun lovers, hardy and not-so-hardy, all of them carefully labeled with descriptions. I think about seven greenhouses in all that were open to the public, though there are a great many more in production.
I spent about four hours going over the choices but could easily have spent longer. As it was I came away with 18 tiny treasures that represent things that I either knew that I needed before I came or didn’t know that I needed until I came to Plant Delights 🙂