trial gardens

First Flowers of Flat Iris

Late December marks our first flowering of Iris planifolia. This odd native to Southern Europe and Northern Africa has a similar distribution to the better-known Iris unguicularis, but this Iris belongs to the group, known as Juno or bulbous iris. These deciduous iris are extremely sensitive to summer moisture, which is why this resides in

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Let’s Twist Again, Like we did Last Summer

Our title is obviously borrowed from the 1961 Chubby Checker song, which few people reading this, probably remember. Abutilon ‘Twister’ is looking absolutely elegant now in the fall garden. This amazing flowering maple hybrid from the folks at California’s Monterrey Bay Nursery, has thrived here since 2005, enduring several single digit F. winters. For us,

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Grasping Wags – a New Reveal

We’ve been very pleased with a series of new windmill palm hybrids in the garden as we approach another winter stress test. Trachycarpus x forceps is our assigned name for crosses between Trachycarpus fortunei and Trachycarpus princeps. While most Trachycarpus fortunei is winter hardy here in Zone 7b, the lovely Chinese/Tibetan border endemic, Trachycarpus princeps,

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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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The Charming Nerines

We have been admiring the amazing Nerine angustifolias in our dryland parking lot berms over the last few weeks, and they are almost at peak bloom. These South African (Mpumalanga province) amaryllids are distant allies to the Southeast Asian genus Lycoris, although they keep their foliage, unlike lycoris. Typically nerines don’t offer much winter hardiness

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Elliot’s Eragrostis

Flowering this month in our parking lot dryland garden is the true Eragrostis elliottii. Back in 1999, we introduced a plant under that name, which had been identified as that species by a Florida taxonomist. Well, it turned out to be the South African Eragrostis chloromelas that’s now being sold nationwide as Eragrostis ‘Wind Dancer’.

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