Plant Delights Nursery February 2015 Newsletter

Greetings PDNers!

Buy Valentine’s Day Gift Certificates

Valentine’s Day is rapidly approaching and it’s time to forget those cut flowers that only last a few days and give the gift of long-living perennials which will remind your love of your thoughtfulness each year. The easy, stress-free way to share your love is with a Plant Delights gift certificate for your plant-loving Valentine so they can select their own favorites.

Show your love with a PDN Gift Certificate
Show your love with a PDN Gift Certificate

Visit and Shop Winter Open Nursery & Garden Days

New Walkway to Souto Garden
New Walkway to Souto Garden

Our upcoming Winter Open Nursery and Garden Days are only a few weeks away. We are happy to officially open the new 2-acre, full-sun Souto Garden to visitors. To facilitate entrance into the new garden section, we’ve opened up a walkway through the Nellie Stevens holly hedge from the Sunken Rain Garden. We hope you’ll enjoy this new addition with thousands of amazing new sun perennial plants and plantings.

Buy Hellebores and More

Helleborus 'Rose Quartz'
Helleborus ‘Rose Quartz’

Visit us during Winter Open Nursery and Garden Days and you’ll experience a hellebore extravaganza! We’ll have an amazing selection of flowering hellebores to choose from….most in full flower. Hellebores aren’t the only plants to see, as there are many other winter-flowering gems in the greenhouses. Of course, if you’re ready to get a jump start on your planting, all plants in the Plant Delights Nursery catalog and website will also be available, although some are still asleep for the winter. Others which are grown in greenhouses at 55 degrees will be available, but must be kept indoors until all danger of frost has passed.

Greenhouse Filled with Hellebores
Greenhouse Filled with Hellebores

See our New PDN and JLBG Signage

New Garden SignAnita and her team spearheaded the creation and installation of an array of new directional and informational signs around the nursery and garden offices, starting with our new entrance and exit signs. Our goal is to make navigation of our campus easier during Open Nursery and Garden Days as well as for visitors, tours, and groups.

Let’s Scan Those Purchases!

We’ve enhanced our shopping procedures for you with our new bar code scanning system. We trialed the system during our later 2014 open nursery days so we’re ready to make your checkout experience faster and more efficient for your shopping pleasure.

Happy Open Nursery Days Shoppers
Happy Open Nursery Days Shoppers

Sign Up for Close-Up Photography Workshop and Garden Walks

We have a number of educational events scheduled at Plant Delights this spring from classes to conventions and we’d love for you to join us. You’ll find our list of classes here, starting with our Close-Up Garden Photography workshop on Saturday May 2.

American Hosta Society National Convention in Raleigh June 17-20

Hosta 'Showbiz'
Hosta ‘Showbiz’

In June, we welcome the American Hosta Society, as hosta lovers from around the world descend on the Raleigh area to share and learn about their favorite genus of plants. Plant Delights Nursery/Juniper Level Botanic Garden will welcome the group to dinner, tours, and shopping on June 18. We really hope you’ll be able to join us. Register to attend the events at

Drones in the Garden and Nursery

Take a look at these two brand new drone videos of our botanic garden and our nursery! Our daughter, Katie, is a software architect at SAS by day and an aspiring filmmaker at night. We asked her to help us edit these two raw videos captured with the aerial drone provided by Heli-Cam Aerial Photo and Video. If you haven’t had the chance to visit the garden or the nursery, or haven’t been here in a few years, we believe these videos will give you a glimpse of how we are growing and beautifying the landscape in southern Wake County. Share these videos with your family and friends and help us raise awareness of how cool it is to visit PDN and JLBG!
PDN Video
JLBG Video

A Drone in the Garden
A Drone in the Garden

Knock Out the Nonsense…

We recently received a note from a garden writer, detailing the strong arm tactics now being used by the marketer of Knockout Roses ®, in an effort to keep their Knockout ® trademark valid. Garden writers around the county were send cease and desist letters, telling them to stop using Knockout ® as part of the cultivar name. The company, Conard Pyle of Pennsylvania, is technically correct to try and protect their trademark, but they’ve shot themselves in the proverbial foot by misnaming the individual roses.

USPATUS Trademark law does not allow a trademark to be used as the public-known name of any product. Trademarks can only be used to designate origin of the product…for example, for a series of roses. If the public, however, recognizes the trade name as the product name or part of the product name, then the trademark, despite being legally acquired, becomes invalid.

Conard Pyle would have been on solid legal footing if they had actually given the Knockout ® roses good cultivar names that the public would remember, but they intentionally didn’t do that. The official names of the Knockout roses are non-words like Rosa ‘Radrazz’, ‘Radcon’, ‘Radcor’, etc. Most of the public have no idea these are the real plant names. The public, instead, knows the rose names as Rosa ‘Pink Knockout’, Rosa ‘Rainbow Knockout’, Rosa ‘Double Knockout’, etc. That’s because this is exactly what Conard Pyle intended…even in their own marketing brochures.

The Knockout ® roses were given these non-sensical cultivar names so, when the 20-year patents expired and everyone could legally propagate the roses, they wouldn’t be able to sell them under the Knockout ® names that the public knew as the plant names. In other words, it seems that their intent was to fool the public into knowing the plants by the trademark name only…despite the non-sensical real cultivar names being included on the tag in “mice type.” By the way, the first of the Knockout ® patents to expire will be Rosa ‘Radrazz’, which will lapse in 4 years (January 2019), hence the sense of urgency.

Rosa 'Radrazz'
Rosa ‘Radrazz’

It appears Conard Pyle’s legal team is now trying to close the proverbial barn door after the horses have left the stable. Legal letters have been so frightening to garden writers that some bloggers have gone back and changed 8-year-old posts. Perhaps this will finally be enough for garden writers to grow a spine and stop using these illegal trade names in print and on-line…a practice that would stop the nurseries from using them in short order.

One newspaper writer that we spoke with has even gone so far as to stop writing about any trademarked plant…hurrah! We need to continue to publicly shame those in our industry who persist with this confusing and improper plant naming as a way to get around the intent of US Patent and Trademark law. It’s a shame no plant people have the time or deep pockets to challenge these perpetrators in the courts. If you’d like to read more about this subject, including settled case law, you will find our other article here.

Read circa 1904 Plant Catalogs

Fellow plantsman Larry Hatch, founder, sent me this interesting link from a 1904 Suzuki and Iida plant catalog. Many of the plants we consider new to the trade were actually grown and sold quite a while ago. Larry tells us that now has 12,600 different old nursery catalogs online so, if you’re snowed in or have no social life outside of gardening, like us, check these out.

Ask Tony a Question!

We love to receive queries from customers…like this great series of questions:

“Over the past 10 years we have seen the price of florist orchids plummet so that now an in bloom, good size orchid can be $10 at Trader Joes or your local grocer. I assume this is due to the fact that growers have figured out tissue culture propagation and how to grow orchids fast to flowering size. The price of many garden/terrestrial orchids has not similarly plummeted whether from PDN or other nurseries. Why not? Are they just such a different beast physiologically? Is it just because the market is so much smaller for garden orchids vs florist orchids? Or is it on the horizon but not here yet? Not suggesting you should be making less of a percent profit on each plant but just curious and would rather be able to buy (and potentially kill) a couple $30 vs one $65 Cypripedium. Thanks for any insight and absolutely no rush on an answer.”

Katie and Tony
Katie and Tony

Indeed, a company in Holland has tried to fast-track Cypripedium orchids like they have done with tropical Phalaenopsis orchids. We’ve grown quite a few of these, which arrive in the US at about 50% of the price of 8-year-old, outdoor grown ladyslipper orchids. The problem is the high mortality rate of these fast-tracked plants, which is due to something in the process of the plants being grown in accelerated growth greenhouses. So yes, but until we figure out why the plants are dying at nearly a 50% rate, you won’t see the prices coming down immediately, but there is hope.

Nursery Industry Updates

When woody plant guru, Dr. Mike Dirr officially retired from the University of Georgia, he started a plant breeding company with two local Georgia nurserymen, Jeff Beasley of Transplant Nursery and Mark Griffith of Griffith Propagation. The company, Plant Introductions Inc., founded in 2007, and its First Editions line of plant introductions was just sold to Bailey Nurseries of Minnesota.

Dr. Dirr has worked closely with Bailey’s for years, especially since he spotted the reblooming Hydrangea ‘Bailmer’…the plant you know as ‘Endless Summer’, in their fields. Bailey’s already has production facilities in Oregon so, with the addition of PI’s southeast US facilities, they’ve got much of the US covered. Despite the sale, Dirr, Beasley, and Griffith are scheduled to remain a part of PI’s team. Jeff and Lisa Beasley have also transitioned to the next generation with the sale of their own Transplant Nursery to their daughter Camilla and husband Gatlin. We wish everyone the best in the transition.

Look…NC Crops Washed Away

Are you aware of the current dangers to the North Carolina marshmallow crop? If not, please see this video right away and expect to pay more for NC marshmallows at the store. Farming is full of weather-related perils, as this video so aptly points out.

The Blues Brothers

Jake and Elwood
Jake and Elwood

And at the Avent home, many of you already know we adopted two less-than-healthy twin male kittens from the Best Friends Pet Adoption late in 2014. Now, Jake and Elwood are healthy, hearty, and robust, weighing in at 10 lbs and 8 lbs, respectively. These little love machines are about 9 months old and keeping us well loved and entertained. Anita continues working with Jake in the kitchen so he can take over cooking duties for Tony and Elwood loves to play in the laundry room and nap in the sun on the cat trees. If only we could teach them to vacuum and pull weeds.

Let’s Stay Connected!

Anita and Tony
Anita and Tony

Until next month, connect with us and the cats on Facebook, Pinterest, and our blog, where you may sign up and follow our regular posts from the nursery and the botanic garden.

Happy Valentine’s Day and Happy Gardening!

-tony and anita


Featured Plants

Cyclamen coum Silver Leaf
Cyclamen coum Silver Leaf
Euphorbia rigida
Euphorbia rigida
Helleborus 'Painted Doubles'
Helleborus ‘Painted Doubles’
Helleborus 'Cinnamon Snow'
Helleborus ‘Cinnamon Snow’
Iris unguicularis 'Purple Snow'
Iris unguicularis ‘Purple Snow’
Ranunculus ficaria 'Brazen Hussy'
Ranunculus ficaria ‘Brazen Hussy’

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