Gardening Unplugged - Out Bloom the Gloom

Gardening Unplugged - Out Bloom the Gloom

Winter Blooming Perennials w/Dr. Patrick McMillan

By Published June 13, 2023

Shop for Winter Flowering Plants at Plant Delights Nursery

You can have plants blooming in your garden every day of the year, just like we do here at Juniper Level Botanical Garden. In 2023 we had an uncharacteristically warm February, so many more plants were in bloom for the Winter Open Nursery & Garden Days. Join our Director of Horticulture and Gardens, Dr. Patrick McMillan, in a walk through the garden as he discusses some of his favorites, such as Urophysa, Hellebores, Trillium, Cardamine, Pulmonaria, Primula, Cyclamen, Epimedium, Chrysogonum and more.

Video Transcript

Welcome, welcome to the garden. So, you guys got the fun trip today because we're going to talk about adding winter color to your garden, winter flowers in particular. There's lots of ways to add structure and that's a whole other talk. But today we're going to talk about different plants that you can put in your garden that are basically going to out bloom the gloom of winter and since, you know, we planned this months and months ago and I'm like yeah, okay the snow drops and a few other things will be blooming but now it's August, you know, weather-wise. So, we've got a lot more to see than normally we would see and what I would encourage everyone is don't feel bad if you want to interrupt me if you want to ask about something if it's not related, I don't care.

This is an opportunity for us to really share the magic of this place with you and I'd encourage you to come to all these open houses and see how the garden progresses during the year. And make an appointment, come visit us when it's not open house, in the dead of winter. You'll be shocked at how much is still in flower in the middle of January or the middle of December here. We've designed this garden to really service us as human beings who get depressed when we don't see green. So, if you're a plant nerd, like me, when things aren't green and blooming that's the pits, right. So even though, I tend to focus on planting for the generation of natural... of biodiversity. I developed a style gardening called 'natural community gardening' that I tend to practice at home. And you know native plants are mostly what compose that, not entirely, but mostly would compose that. And not many native plants bloom in the winter. So, guess what? My garden's full of non-native plants in the wintertime because I'm not feeding the hummingbirds, they're gone, I'm feeding Patrick because he's going to be gloomy if he doesn't see color in the garden. And so, we're going to look at a lot of those plants today.

Everybody good? Any questions? All right well let's head out. Actually, I'm going to start right over here because Plant Delights and Juniper Level are oftentimes the place where things happen. And the work that Tony has done at Juniper Level and Plant Delights has really changed a lot of the ways that we garden in the Southeastern United States.

So, you know back when Tony and I were a little younger neither one of us had gray hair, you know we wouldn't have dreamed of having all these plants from the Chihuahuan Desert in this part of the country. We were just experimenting with it back in the late 80s and early 90s when I first started working collaboratively with Tony. And now, that's a common sight across the Southeast. That's because of Juniper Level. There’s a plant right here that I guarantee you if I ask you what is that plant and I didn't let you read the label has anybody ever seen that plant before?

I don't have anybody that's going to say, oh yeah that's your Urophysa henryi, right? No, because I know a lot of plants and when I got here last year this thing was blooming on the first of March and I looked at them like what is that? No one has. It's probably the only one in the United States right now. Urophysa henryi, it's a little genus of plants that goes in crevices and limestone and karst regions in a few sites in in China. There are only two species in the genus and Tony found somebody who had collected seeds and said, "Hey, sure, I'd like to try those," and tried them here. We had no idea where, what kind of habitat to plant them in. Turns out they don't have to be planted underneath that overhanging rock, most likely, but we didn't know. And we planted it, and this plant has been blooming from November all the way till now looking just like this. So, it blooms all through the winter and it turns out it's closely related to hepatica, if you know what hepatica is, it's a ranunculus family. And so, you know just by chance we planted it, it grows, now we need more to find out what its cultural conditions are in the Southeast, what it can tolerate. Will it tolerate a shade garden, will it tolerate having poorly drained soil, you know what all can it tolerate? And we do all that before a plant comes to you. So, when it comes to really exciting winter flowering plants, that one I'm super excited about and I can't wait to keep working with it and until we find out that gets to something that can get to you and have in your garden because it's fully sterile too in our area so it's not something that's going to be like, oh, Chinese privet or something. We're having to work really hard. We have two indigene individuals there and our pollinators are so cold when this thing blooms most pollinators aren't flying so we haven't had good seed set yet, so I've been doing some sneaky bedroom stuff with the plant here and now it's setting seed. So, it turns out we can get it to actually produce seed if we really try.

One of the reasons why botanic gardens are so important is that we try things differently.

But that’s kind of what happens with a botanic garden and one of the reasons why botanic gardens are so important is that we try things differently. Things you wouldn't think of trying. Things you wouldn't dream of trying. I mean, how many of you guys think that something from a rain forest in southeastern Brazil would survive the winter in North Carolina? But it turns out it does. So, we have things from all over the world and lots of things more than any other nursery from right here in our own backyard in terms of our natives. And we're always looking to find those that satisfy both the natural requirement and the human element too. Something that grows best for you. So, most plants that we try at Juniper Level die. If you think you kill plants, you haven't killed anything. We have 27,000 types of plants here we have four five six times that many that we have tried here and killed. So, the most important thing a botanic garden can do is kill plants so that you don't have to. We find out what works and what doesn't.

All right, so when it comes to winter flowers in your garden there's a few things people always think of, hellebores are one of them. So, hellebores provide us with a lot of variation and flower color and beauty for the winter and we're going to look at a number of those that flower at different times of the year.

Hellebores provide us with a lot of variation and flower color and beauty for the winter.

But I guess you all know what I'm talking about with the Lenten rose, the hellebore. There's also another species that's been cultivated for a long time, the Christmas Rose. Lenten roses are supposed to be good Catholics. They're supposed to flower during Lent, that's how they got the name. But for us lent comes early because these things start flowering in January for us every year and they reach their peak usually right about now. But this year they flowered much earlier because we had, you know, 87 degrees the other day and we've haven't had a frost for quite some time.

Most Lenten roses, the classical Lenten rose, and this one's not too far off from classic even though it's got a fancy slate color double flower, most of the typical Lenten roses nod their flowers so that you actually had to do what I'm doing and lift the flower to really appreciate it. Most of the ones that you'll see at Plant Delights, our breeding program, works on creating Lenten roses that have upright flowers. We're also very excited to have Lenten roses that are sterile and don't produce a lot of seed. A lot of the newer hybrids have been hybridized so far that they won't produce seed and become a nuisance in your garden or in your community. Because Lenten roses do produce a lot of seeds and a lot of seedlings, and they can become invasive in some areas. So, both of those things are really good to know and as we walk around and look at all the amazing variation and the types of Lenten roses that we have, you know you want to keep that keep in mind that there's a lot of work goes into making something from a droopy flower to an upright flower. And once we have it, the seedlings that come off of it aren't going to be the same as the parent. So, everything, when you buy one of these things it means it's been clonally reproduced so that we have the same flower structure and everything that you see on the picture. Because the seedlings are... that's how we ended up with the millions that we have killed here because we grow them out, we see what the flower is going to do. The ones that have droopy flowers go in the burn pile and the ones that have upright flowers we use for breeding another generation and another generation another generation. And so, there's a lot of work that goes into producing that one little pot that you see up there of that plant. Another...

Q: How do you reduce the number of hellebores in a garden? Do you just cut all the flowers off before it seeds, and dig them up?

A: Yeah, so if you want to get rid of them completely then removing the seeds is a good start but you really have to dig them out. Unless you want to spray them, you really have to dig them out and I don't like to spray in the garden, so we dig them out and its successive years because you'll have, you'll miss a piece of the root and it'll come up. And it's amazing, plants you don't want always grow so well and that same plant that grows so well in the garden, the minute you need to grow a hundred, you know, or 200 of them to sell, it won't grow. I don't know what it is.

Another group of plants that we don't think of immediately as being winter flowering plants are trillium. And the vast majority of the trillium that grow well in the South will do their flowering before the first day of spring. So, for us right from now through mid-March is kind of the peak of trillium bloom. So, for folks that grew up a little to the north of here or in the mountains we think of a trillium you think of this thing, the white flowered, the large white flower trillium or wake robin that have flowers that are produced on a pedestal. Those do really terrible in the Piedmont and coastal plain of the Southeastern United States. They're made to be back in New York, not down here, and the ones that occur down here occur in the mountains where it's cooler. So those, if you can grow them, they're not nearly as nice as the ones you see up north and the flowers last a day or two. If it rains, they don't even last that long. They don't last a long time. The sessile flower trillium, which are the trillium that are meant to be in the Southeast here, have flowers that are produced smack right smack against the three bracts, which function as leaves essentially in these plants. And these sessile flower trillium have flowers that will stay open for around a month. Each species has a different suite of scents that come on the flower. So, Trillium maculatum smells like a spicy banana, Trillium discolor smells like cloves, Trillium cuniatum either smells like concord grapes or rotten meat depending on which population you're talking about. if it's the Piedmont of North Carolina it smells like concord grapes, if you go down to South Carolina and Georgia, smells like rotten meat. And so, they're very, very interesting and the foliage has patterns that make them beautiful even before they flower because most of these almost all of the sessile flower Trillium have motels on the leaves. So that green with the darker modeling makes them really of interest in the winter garden.

Another group we always think of when it comes to winter in the garden is cyclamen. And Cyclamen hederifolium is the common one that most people think of around here. Now these bloom in the fall, late summer, in autumn but they produce their leaves during the winter. And the leaves look not like an old, you know, tired evergreen leaf. They look really fresh and there's so much variation in the variegation on the leaves that you can really make a splash statement in a garden using Cyclamen hederifolium. So, the common cyclamen that that everybody sees around here is this you know this one. The hederifolium means 'ivy leaves' in Latin so the leaves look to sort of resemble the ivy, has a typical inside out flower like a cyclamen normally produces in late summer and fall. After the hederifolium finishes blooming, you can have Cyclamen coum which flowers in late fall through winter. Cyclamen purperium [purpurascens] is blooming now. So, you can actually carry cyclamen flowers in the five or six species that we're able to grow here in the Southeast flowering from fall all the way into early spring. And so, you can use cyclamen in the same way that you might use crocus because even though every crocus is already finished in our garden, or I'd show them to you they would normally be blooming. But the crocus you can start with things like Saffron crocus in the Autumn, that'll flower in September, and October speciosus and all those beautiful Autumn flowered crocus and then they bleed right into the midwinter to late winter species and hybrids of crocus. So, you can use that in your garden too to come out if you live in a neighborhood with no voles no squirrels no Chipmunks. I'm telling you, if you're planting crocus, they get moved around. The best place to plant them is in your yard.

It turns out insects are really good taxonomists.

If we're really ambitious and we want to keep walking, I'll show you some amazing patches of dentaria. But this is another winter flowering, late-winter flowering group of plants that is spectacular. This is not the most spectacular clump of it. If you walk the gardens, you'll see some absolutely amazing toothwort clumps. Toothwort is in the Crest family or the cabbage family. The leaves taste just like mustard greens. It's edible so I like things that are also edible. Native Americans certainly used these as a major spring green. The flower color comes in whites and pinks off to kind of almost purplish bluish colors, depending on the species, and they're what we call spring ephemerals. So, they do most of their growth in the winter, they flower in late winter, their leaves kind of get tired in Spring, and by May they're gone. So, for most species, not all species, but for most, like this one. And they're native to the southeastern United States and Eastern Asia the ones that we grow here in the Southeast and Europe but the ones we grow in the Southeast are mostly native. We've done a lot of work with these because I love them, they allow you to put something in the garden that will actually spread very rapidly and become what I call a living mulch. So, it fills the space, and it doesn't push anything out. It never out competes anything. It'll just kind of find the spaces between other plants, even small things like the Asarum. It won't push out and it's gone by the time most of the rest of things in your garden are blooming. So, I love to fill spaces with things like that. That's a new, undescribed species that Tony found out in Arkansas. Still doesn't have a name yet.

Q: Shade only?

A: Yeah, they're most shade to part sun. If you have morning sun through just before midday you can get away with it. Beyond that, it starts to get a little dicey.

Look at how crazy this one is. This is... actually all these trillium we've been looking at along this side are all different forms of Trillium ludovicianum, which means Louisiana in Latin. it's Louisiana toad shade and it's just not quite warm enough today or there'd be a swarm of these little weird flies around here.

It turns out insects are really good taxonomists; they specialize in certain closely related species of plants. And the fly that pollinates this is a strange fly, has a great name, it's called a freeloader. So, it's the freeloader fly and our taxonomist here, Zach Hill, has found a new species over in eastern Georgia at which I also found in eastern Georgia a few years after him, and we didn't know until we both started working at the same place. Oh, you found this too. Doesn't have a name yet but we thought it was closely related to this and it turns out it is genetically closest related to this, and the freeloader fly pollinates this and that and nothing else. Isn't that weird?

Here's another beautiful one the Trillium recurvatum. It's called ‘Prairie Trillium’. There's lots of forms of that won't grow in the South, that's one you'd be more likely to see in a place like Wisconsin than in North Carolina but there are southern forms, including a population in North Carolina.

Now this is 'Sparkling Diamond' and that's what we really want in a hellebore, in our breeding program, because you don't have to guess where the flower is. You don't have to look underneath to appreciate the thing, it’s making a huge show for you in the middle of wintertime.

Oh, which way do I want to go? Which way? Oh yeah, that's another, thank you, lungwort.

Yeah, lungwort is a European thing. This is a native here, but it is awesome to bring really beautiful blue coloration into the garden in late winter. Lungworts are very ubiquitous in English gardens and on the West Coast in places like Washington, where I came from, they're everywhere. Here, you don't see it that much. The genus is Pulmonaria. They're, again, pretty innocuous most of the year. The leaves do last, they're semi-evergreen so you keep that that beautiful pattern, but most forms actually don't like the South so much. So, we’ve, in things like acanthus and pulmonaria, we've killed a lot to find the ones that really do well in the South. We'll talk about primroses in just a minute and, same there, we had to kill lots to find any that actually do well in the South.

Q: Do you sell ones that just do well here?

A: Yeah, absolutely yeah, we sell plants all over the world so we will sell things that don't do well here but only very few and it's clear on the... if you read the zones, it'll say 6a as the low end or 7a to indicate it really doesn't do well here. But a few things that we work with other groups, you know, other breeders to offer we do.

Q: What zone is this?

A: 7b this is Zone 7b.

Primula sieboldii, not your grandma's primrose

So, primula, oh my gosh, I love Primula sieboldii. So, this is when I first saw this, I don't know, 20 years ago. Because I don't know... you know, if you're from where I'm from, everybody's grandmother has primrose, right, but it's the old cow slip, the old yellow primrose. And so, when I saw this it's like, that ain't your grandma's primrose. It's a very fancy primrose. Primula sieboldii has these... it's a spring ephemeral, it has these incredible flowers that are produced before the first day of spring every year. It's always late February, early March when it starts, and it'll flower for a pretty extended period of time. When we sell these to folks they'll take them, they'll buy them in flower up at the at the plant sale and then I just know like clockwork in a couple weeks I get a call. "I bought these beautiful Primrose, they immediately died when I put them in the ground." No, they died a month after you put them in the ground, but they go dormant during the summer. So, this is one that if you do end up getting it, be aware that you will not see it in mid-summer or late summer, fall and you'll start to notice it coming out of the ground in early January even with these unique leaves. And it'll look like there's nothing there because they start producing these little leaves and it looks like it's not going to be good and it's not going to flower and eventually it turns into this. And it'll even get, you know, three times this beautiful during the following... the next week, it'll just keep continuing to just go crazy.

Patricks favorite flower - Snowdrops

Let's run right over here and look at... out of all these things I'm all known for native plants. People say "what's your favorite flower" that's what people always ask me, and I guess I got kind of... you know, people who know me know that everything's my favorite, but I actually do have a favorite flower and my favorite flowers are snowdrops.  These are literally the last snow drops that are still blooming in the garden and they're barely blooming. In a normal year, they'd be in full flower right now. This is Galanthus plicatus, one called 'Beth Chatto', and it has really wide leaves and it's one of the later flowering snow drops. Have any of you grown snowdrops? Have you killed them? Most people kill them.

Q: Are snow drops and Snowbells the same thing?

A: Snowbell is different. So Leucojum, or snowflake, summer snowflake, spring snowflake or Leucojum which is grown throughout the South has a bell, but it doesn't really look like the Snow-White flower if you're familiar with that. But snow drops are like the quintessential English garden nut flower. Like it's... if you ever get a chance to go over to England and see the garden shows with the snow drops, it's incredible. People will find a little variation that has some little gold here and they'll be selling it for forty thousand dollars, you know. But I do love them, and I love them because they always bloom in the winter, and you can grow them and have a temperature of 10-11 degrees F when they're in full flower and they don't even flinch. I've had them flowering at zero Fahrenheit and not had a ruined flower. So, snowdrops are, in my opinion, one of the most amazing plants and the reason people fail with them in the south is because everybody plants Galanthus nivalis which is the common English snowdrop, the one that's native to England, and those will not survive. Most forms will not survive in the Southeast. So, for us, the giant snowdrop, okay, which is Galanthus elwesii, or just keep in your mind 'giant snowdrop', that's my favorite of my favorites because it's always in bloom on November 18th, which is my birthday. This is like the only thing that's blooming because that's like the deadest time of the year, even more so than January, November. So, I love the fact that I have these beautiful flowers in November.

So elwesii flowers in the fall Galanthus elwesii monostictus actually starts flowering in September-October. Elwesii for us is in November through Christmas. Always in bloom on Christmas Day, Hanukkah dates too, for me, but it’s always in bloom at that time of the year.

The other species, G. placadis, the 'Arnold's Promise' which is a wonderful navalis that's really big that grows well in the South. There are four or five different types that'll grow well in the Southeast and you should plant them because it's a Snowdrop you can grow in the South, and it flowers during the time nothing else is flowering.

All right we'll talk about epimedium only because they usually do flower before the first day of spring but they're usually not flowering now. Usually this is a second week in March they start to really go nuts but this year it was February that they really started to go nuts. And epimedium have gotten to be very, very popular among gardeners on the East Coast now. Been popular on the West Coast and in Europe for quite some time but it's more of a refined plant than a lot of things that are going to be superstar plants in the, you know, Lowe's hardware or something like that. You won't find these there. These produce... in some of these, some species like cellulatum, produce flowers that are held well away from the foliage. But the old kinds that we used to have had flowers that were kind of hidden in the foliage. They last a few days, and they were gone. So, we have a big breeding program here too with epimedium and trialing program with epimedium to find the ones that produce the most outlandish flowers, the longest display, spread out the bloom season, and produce good foliage too because you have to look at this all year long and you only get to look at this for two or three weeks in the spring, right. A very interesting group of plants from Eastern Asia.

Q: Is it evergreen?

A: It is. This species is. There are about two-thirds of them [that are] evergreen that we grow in the garden and a third are deciduous. So, the grandiflorum types are really the ones that are best known that are deciduous that was one back over that way just a little while ago.

Q: And what about deer?

A: Epimedium are pretty much deer proof. They're in the Barberry family and nothing.... Well, I will tell you that there is nothing that a deer won't eat. They'll eat this after they've eaten a lot of other things, so the Barberry family tends to be pretty good deer resistant plants. It's why Berberis thunbergii is such a horrible invasive up in the Northeast where they have lots of deer problems. Because not only does it grow well and spread there, but the deer tend to not favor it.

Oh, let's roam around and see what else we can find here. Oh, I know one thing I would definitely want to show you over here.

Did I already pass it? Oh, look here there's that's beautiful, yeah. This is actually a persicum isn't it? Yeah, yeah so the florist cyclamen is C. persicum, which you buy in, like I used to do, help this oil tycoon in Texas plant their yard, right. And so, you buy fifty thousand dollars’ worth of cyclamen and plant them out right before Christmas, they look beautiful in their garden, and then you pull them out and throw them in the trash. That's kind of like poinsettia. But it turns out we're finding that there are a lot of persicums, that we can actually grow over the winter here and that will provide flowers January through February. So, you'll see these particularly planted in our more well-drained soils places like in the crevice garden. And in some cases, you'll see that great big weird, it's not really a root and it's not a tuber, it's a I think it's called a fleshy hypocotyl or some weird thing like that the root of a cyclamen is not anything relatable to any other root structure like whatever you want to call it of any other group. But that's kind of what you can expect from the hederifoliums and the columns too.

Isn't that sweet, that's beautiful. Yeah, this is a this is actually a seedling that we really liked that we were going to throw away and saved. It was a seedling of one called 'Green Snowflake' which is a dentaria or Cardamine dissecta and it probably is pure Cardamine dissecta but when we have one, we like we get rid of all the babies. All the seedlings go in the trash because we don't want to sell something that's not exactly the same as the as the parent plant. There's a, oh let's see, where is the... over here I've got a couple more things I definitely want to show you.

Right here. So, this is almost done.

You ever been to Seattle and seen how the gardens are out there? Oh, you live in Seattle. You did. Yeah, so you know Herronswood Garden out there? In Kingston, Washington right across the sound. Yeah, so I was Director there and it's just... in Washington, it's crazy. In western Washington you throw some on the ground, like to throw it away, it just roots in and grows, like everything grows. So, it's nice when you find something that they have a hard time growing there that grows well here, you know, because they seem to be able to grow everything. So, Christmas Rose is one of those things. It never really looks great on the West Coast but here, does pretty well. And so, if you like the Lenten roses, then there are a number of good forms of Helleborus niger that you can grow, and they flower. This one you can see is almost done but we have a number throughout the garden they always are in flower; guess when? Middle of December, okay, because it's Hanukkah time and it's Christmas. We got shortchanged on those seasons, I don't know why, but it's never Hanukkah time it's always Christmas time, right? I'm Jewish by-the-way [Laughter].

Here's one of these Epimedium grandiflorums, this is a deciduous one.

So, this one will die all the way back to the ground in the winter, it’s absolutely beautiful. Cultivar is... or youngianum. I'm sorry this is... no wait, I thought this was grandiflorum... it's youngianum, still deciduous. But yeah, the deciduous types of epimedium are a little easier to clean up because the stems just break off in the fall. The evergreen type of epimedium if you're going to grow epimediums that are evergreen you should cut the foliage completely off just before they sprout up. Which means in January just saw off all of your epimedium because the old foliage just detracts from the show that you'll get from your epimedium, so we just use hedge trimmers and and saw off all of our epimediums. By the way do you guys know the other name for epimedium? You see it in the drugstore or in the gas stations a lot. It's 'horny goat weed'. So, the plant has a long history in East Asia being used as an herbal Viagra.

...the reason we enjoy hummingbirds all year in Seattle it's because of a plant from China.

This is a Mahonia. Yeah, and that's one of our hybrid selection Mahonias. Certainly, has eurybracteata in it but you know Mahonia is another good one to talk about for winter flowers and color because most of our mahonias do bloom in the wintertime. And if they're blooming a little early they'll have the fruit all during winter which is very beautiful. But many, many of them are... most of them are midwinter bloomers. So, the problem with Mahonia is the one that everybody grows here, Mahonia bealei, is super-duper invasive. It escapes, it seeds all over the place, you should not plant that one. The other mahonia here are either much less invasive or not [invasive]. And they add that beautiful color in that they have a scent that's almost like the old Rosa rugosa, in many cases, so it has that beautiful odor to it and it's really interesting. Because like I just hated mahonias when I went to Washington because they're so invasive I go out to Washington none of them are invasive they can't even grow beeliai and they love mahonias and what's more the native bird and plant people love mahonia because they're native species out there. Aquifolium, which is blooming in the berms out by the parking lot right now here, is native out there. So, the weird thing is that in the Puget Sound area the Anna's hummingbirds that used to breed there and then migrate down to Southern California to spend the winter decided they were going to stay all year once a critical mass of Mahonia had been planted in people's yards. So today there's a new form of Anna's Hummingbird which is the largest bodied form of any of the of the races of Anna's Hummingbird on the east on the west Coast. it's actually the largest hummingbird that spends all year in North America or in the United States. And it's just because people were planting Mahonia that they decided, and other winter flowering plants, that they decided ah we should just stick around here all winter long. So, the reason we enjoy hummingbirds all year in Seattle it's because of a plant from China.

Q: Do you know a trick to extending the flowering period of peonies? We're up in Maine.

A: Oh yeah, oh yeah okay. So, a trick to extending the flowering period of peonies... no. The trick is with peony flowers like in Washington it's another thing you see is like peony flowers instead of being open for a couple days they'll be open for a couple weeks but it's because it's like it's like gardening in a vegetable cooler down there a vegetable crisper because the temperature never gets warm enough to push them forward. In Maine, pretty much the whole East Coast, peonies are very short flowers because we're pushing them so fast. Because by the time they're blooming in June, May and June, up in Coastal Maine, the daytime temperatures are already getting so warm that they push out very quickly. I wish I had, I wish I had a different answer for you, I don't.

Q: Is that the only daphne you have?

A: Oh, we have tons of daphne. Wait, where do you see a daphne? Oh, Daphniphyllum. Yeah, so that's a Daphniphyllum to replace that Daphniphyllum which started to age out, which is a really interesting large treeish thing from East Asia. But we have lots of Daphne too that bloom this time of year. I was going to kind of run up here and we'll end. I don't ever go very far on these. I have these big dreams of we're going to go see all these plants over here and I always talk too much so I'm sorry.

Aucuba flowers in the winter as well. That's a weird one you know. We never ever stop and look at the flowers of akuba but it has four petals. See that? It's related to Dogwood. That doesn't seem practical, does it? But yeah, aucuba is another one that that flowers in the wintertime.

Chrysogonum makes a fabulous living mulch

Chrysogonum is another fabulous, what I call green mulch or living mulch, I like to call them living mulch, where we can plant, you know as you can see, lots of things are growing within that green and gold patch. It's not overcoming anything. And we have one that if you're really looking for an area you need to fill quickly called 'Eco Spider' that is a Chrysogonum australe, it's amazing. This one is again an undescribed species from, it's getting a name being worked on by a researcher out of Missouri Botanic Garden, this one from eastern Georgia. And it'll have those yellow flowers from now well a few weeks ago all the way up until May. So, great and it smothers weeds, but it doesn't smother your seasonal interest plants, like the Trillium, that can pop right up through it. So, it's one of our favorite living mulches.

So yeah, there is a ton of stuff that flowers in the winter. It's not all crocus and daffodils and the like. There are all kinds of things you can put into your garden that will flower in the wintertime. I just showed you a few of my favorites that were close at hand, but I hope you'll wander through the garden and take some notes on things you see that are blooming. Because it's, you know, it's not just camellias that do it in the South. We have so many choices of things and as you walk around just make note of what you see that you like, that's why Juniper level botanic garden is here. And we have flowering Daphne's right in the rock, the big mound there, there's several species of dwarf daphnes.

Q: Do you have edgeworthia?

A: Oh, we've got edgeworthia everywhere on the property.

[Audience member mentions how bad voles are]

Yeah, voles last year particularly were really bad but yeah, our edgeworthia over there, most of them are about done, but edgeworthia is wonderful. Paper Bush, if you guys haven't grown it, it flowers in the yeah it flowers in the in the late winter. This is one that normally is about to finish flowering now and it's pretty much finished or just about to finish here for us. It doesn't inform fertile seed and it doesn't spread around so I like this Asian species for adding really great color and odor because it smells like a sweet narcissus. What is that odor? And then have to realize what it is. And Daphne's too, if you've not stuck your nose in the Daphne odor pretty awesome. But you guys know about growing daphne's right? They grow great until the day they die. Like, they're really temperamental. They either grow really well and then they'll just look beautiful, and everything will be perfect, and it dies. That's a Daphne so you just have to you have to replace your Daphne's every once in a while.

Q: What month has the most flowering plants?

A: What month has the most flowering plants? Here, I would say April. April in this garden. Late March and early April here are ridiculous so if you get a chance to visit... you guys know you can make an appointment just on the website and come in. You just pick up a little sticker up front so that we know that you're our visitor and, you know, walk around the gardens. We'd love to see you here using the garden because we try to open it up staggered through the year, so people see most of what's here but there's no way. It's so much. Please enjoy the garden, walk around, see as much as you can. Make as many notes as you can.

And if you like what we do at the garden, if you like everything we do here, know that if you buy a plant 18% of every one of those plant sales is what pays my salary and everybody who works in the garden. Pays for everything with the garden at this point and Tony has donated the garden to North Carolina, state of North Carolina, to be part of NC State, sister to the JC Raulston Arboretum. But we have to reach a goal in the endowment before we can actually depend on that endowment. So, until then, we've got to sell the plants, right. So, buy some plants. That helps us and we've got a little donation can up by the tent so if you if you had fun today drop a dollar or two in and we'd really appreciate it. Any questions?

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