horticulture myths

Dicentra exima

Cultivars – Evil or Misunderstood?

It’s shocking the number of articles, both in print and on-line that demean plant cultivars, as though they are the scourge of the natural world. These articles repeatedly proclaim that cultivars are not native, not environmentally desirable, and not of use to pollinators. Sadly, this is an indictment of our educational system, since it shows

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Don’t Miss the Stones latest show

Putting on a show this week in the garden are the Living Stones. No, not Mick, Keith, and Ronnie, but the horticultural Living Stones, Lithops aucampiae. Our oldest patch starts flowering in early to mid November each year, growing beautifully under an overhanging rock. For all the articles about how difficult they are to grow,

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That Won’t Grow Here

We love it when people tell us that certain plants won’t grow in our climate. As gardening contrarians, we thrive on proving gardening experts wrong. Below is a great example–our combination of Globularia repens (Spain, Italy) and Acantholimon halophilum (Central Turkey) thriving in the dryland crevice garden. Both have sailed through out rainy, humid, hot

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Does your Rangoon Creep?

Looking lovely at JLBG now is the purportedly tropical vine, Combretum indicum. Native from a wide range of Southeast Asia, Rangoon creeper is a woody vine that’s shockingly winter hardy, as our plants sailed through last years 11 degrees F–despite it usually being listed as a Zone 10/11 plant. The flowers usually open white, age

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Mon San in More Sun

Juniperus x pfitzeriana ‘MonSan’ is looking quite exceptional in the garden. Since we live in the community of Juniper, NC, we thought we should have a significant collection of the our namesake genera. This Monrovia Nursery introduction, which is a hybrid between the Asian Juniperus chinensis and the Eurasian Juniperus sabina, is truly stunning. Although

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The Season of White

With what seems to be an endless array of Hydrangea paniculata cultivars entering the market, July has turned the garden into a snow white scene. The Asian Hydrangea paniculata was first published as a new species in 1829, but was not grown in the Americas until Arnold Arboretum director, Charles Sargent brought back seed from

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Getting a Handle on Handelia

Here’s another of those plants that virtually no one has either grown or even knows about. Handelia trichophylla is a little-known monotypic member of the aster family (Asteraceae). Not only does it have hairy, silver foliage, which usually spells certain death in our summers, but it hails from the “stans”, which include the low rainfall

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A Healthy Melaleuca

We were thrilled to have a great flower show this year on the most winter hardy honey myrtle we grow, Melaleuca ‘Wetland’s Challenged Mutant’. This introduction from Desert Northwest, is either a selection of Melaleuca paludicola, or a hybrid with that species. Most of the other “hardy” melaleucas (formerly, Callistemon) died to the ground this

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