I should take a minute to share my visit to two Carolina nurseries as part of my annual Spring Training trip to Florida. I stopped at Plant Delights on my way south and then again at Plant Delights and Pine Knot Farms on the way north. Each time the weather was on the cool side. In fact on the way south it was a miserable 37 degrees with cold rain falling. Plant Delights was not nearly so crowded as I’ve seen it on other occasions. They even had a portable oil fired heater set up just so the people at the checkout stand could work without gloves.
But it did mean that I had my pick of the plants.
On my return north I stopped at Plant Delights again and picked up my plants which they had graciously agreed to hold for me over the week (a few more jumped into the car while I was there) and then I went another hour north to the Hellebore Festival at Pine Knot Farms.
Also at Pine Knot Farms was John Lonsdale who maintains a choice set of unusual plants at his Edgewood Gardens in Pennsylvania. His website is well worth exploring if you want to indulge in plant lust. He had brought with him a variety of cyclamen and I had already decided to expand the range of cyclamen that we have so it was a very good fit indeed.
By the time I got home there were four tubs of plants in my Prius…
At this season the showiest newcomers are probably the Hellebores.
But there were some other very interesting additions as well. A dwarf Lily from Japan’s Rebun Island which is already in flower at 5 inches high.
A nicely detailed version of the table fern
A Begonia that might possibly make it outside here with just wonderfully hairy stems and pretty foliage.
An interesting old print and description of this “Hog-weed Begonia” is found at a branch of the American Begonia Society.
There is also the very lovely little Viola Dissectas that I picked up from John Lonsdale. I can think of a lot of places in the garden to tuck in these little beauties.
I’ve also started to get very enthusiastic about trying some of the more exotic Oxalis since seeing one in bloom over the holidays in California. I couldn’t miss the unusual foliage of this Palm-Leaf False Shamrock. It’s said to be tough to get to flower but with these leaves the flowers would just be a bonus.
And while I thought I already had enough Canna in the yard with last year’s planting, I could turn down the vivid orange in this specimen.
Finally, I grew up with ice plant in Southern California. They were everywhere because they grew where many other plants wouldn’t. We played with them (they squish with lots of water released). So I have been reluctant to take them up. Besides in a cold climate they must freeze right? But apparently they are hardier than I thought and I can now start to image how these little sunlit jewels fit into a rock garden…
Anyway, that’s some of what I did on my spring vacation. Now I’m looking forward to making gardens they can fit into…