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Plant Delights Nursery 2020 Spring Catalog Cover

It’s been over a year since we announced our efforts to preserve JLBG and we offer a sincere thank you to those 134 people from 22 states + DC, who have donated to the NC State University Endowment to preserve Juniper Level Botanic Garden. We’re still a long way from a sustainable endowment, so please help us  spread the word since time is of the essence. You’ll see the donate button at jlbg.org

We are delighted to work so closely with the NC State Horticulture Department, which is a hotbed of ornamental plant breeding. In the last 20 years, the triumvirate of Dr. Dennis Werner, Dr. Tom Ranney, and Dr. Craig Yencho, have introduced ornamental plants, generating retail sales topping the 300-million-dollar mark.  One of Tom Ranney’s hydrangeas has generated over $1 million dollars for breast cancer research. With Denny’s recent retirement, the breeding program is being reconfigured and streamlined, and will now be headquartered at the JC Raulston Arboretum, among other exciting changes.

Continuing our NC State collaboration, 2020 will mark year two of the Southeastern Plant Symposium and Rare Plant Auction, our joint educational fundraising program between JLBG and the JC Raulston Arboretum. Year one was a smashing success, and we’re building on that for our June 12-13 event this year. We hope you’ll go to https://jcra.ncsu.edu/sps/ to see the incredible dream team of 15 speakers presenting for 2020. The fast-paced, intense program is designed for people involved with the green industry, which include nursery/retail staff, garden designers, botanic garden staff, and keen plant collectors. We expect the 2020 program to sell out, so don’t delay.

As we alluded to on the cover, keeping up with the plant name change carousel is a feat itself. Continual advances in DNA are revealing relationships we never dreamed possible. When a name change is supported by good research and conclusions, we include both names for several years, since the purpose of nomenclature is about facilitating communications. We apologize for what often seems like confusing name changing, but really, we have more nomenclatural clarity now than ever.

For 2020, we’ve added over 90+ new plants in the catalog, with more than 50 being Plant Delights Nursery exclusives, thanks to the incredible work of our staff who scour the world, in addition to our own selecting and breeding, to bring you these amazing new plants.

We continue to add special new century plants and mangaves to the catalog. Six first time offerings include five Plant Delights/JLBG exclusives. These include two variegated selections of Agave bracteosa and one of Agave nizandensis…all three spineless! In the Mangave realm, Mangave ‘Bloodlines’ and Mangave ‘Center of Attention’ are two must haves!

We continue our fascination with hardy aroids with some very exciting new introductions. One is the first introduction of a hybrid of two hardy voodoo lilies, Amorphophallus ‘Glow Light’. From aroid guru Alan Galloway, we introduce the fascinating Sauromatum horsfieldii ‘Lancelot’ and after years of propagation attempts, we are pleased to finally offer our wild-discovered hybrid of Alocasia and Leucocasia (Colocasia gigantea) Specialocasia ‘Phat Chance’.

In the geophyte world, four special crinum lilies made our list for the first time, including two of our own introductions.  We also continue to release more lycoris to the market, the results of our performance trials and subsequent stock build up.  Of our six new lycoris introductions for 2020, the flower colors range from red to pink to yellow, and everything in between. Sprekelia ‘Early Riser’ is a new introduction of our earliest flowering clone of Aztec lily we grow. Another new amaryllid hybrid from our work here at JLBG is our first bigeneric Hippeastrelia (hippeastrum x sprekelia). Hippeastrelia ‘Red Rover’ adds a new twist to a plant known for only solid red flowers.

Many of our special selections of wild ginger are finally available in catalog numbers, including five of our own introductions, along with one from Japan. This includes two selections of our native Asarum arifolium…one superb clumping form, and another equally wonderful stoloniferous form. Asarum speciosum ‘Bloodshot Eyes’ is our new selection of the Alabama native wild ginger, while Asarum ‘Creeping Tortoise’ is our collection of a rare running form of the Taiwanese Asarum macranthum. 

2020 marks the most new hosta introductions for us in quite a while. On the giant side of things, Hosta ‘Wu-La-La’ is a lovely edged sport of the legendary Hosta ‘Empress Wu’, while our Hosta ‘Quarterback’ is on the opposite end of the spectrum…teeny, tiny. In between are six more Plant Delights/Juniper Level Botanic Garden introductions including Hosta ‘A Scape Plan’, ‘Azure Gem’, ‘Crazy Mouse’, ‘Gotta Little Blues’, and ‘Little Redneck’. 

North American natives have long held a special place in our horticultural hearts, so for 2020, we’ve added quite a few new gems. Pinckneya ‘Precocious’ is our new introduction of an early-flowering poinsettia tree that begins flowering at just over 1’ tall. We’ve also added five new pitcher plants, which include two naturally occurring hybrids. Be sure to also check out our two unique selections of the native rarely grown Oxalis violacea.

Several of our exceptional new baptisias, which showcase our breeding focus on form and flowers are finally ready.  These include Baptisia 'Angelina' (creamy white), Baptisia 'Chrysalis' (lavender), Baptisia 'Cloud 9' (blue), and Baptisia perfoliata 'Flying Saucers', with leaves that looks like flying saucers.

Nursery-propagated trillium for ex-situ conservation continues to be a huge focus, and for 2020, we add two new strains of the Southeast native Trillium foetidissimum, along with our hybrid introduction combining Trillium cuneatum and the yet-to-be-named Trillium freemanii. Rounding out our new offerings is the very rare, dwarf Trillium pusillum var. georgianum. Each of these represent from 5-10 years of nursery production time.

Alstroemerias takes a huge leap forward with the introduction of Alstroemeria ‘Indian Summer’…an amazing purple-leaved selection that flowers well during the heat of summer. If you like hardy orchids, we’ve added several new selections to our 2020 list, including a new cypripedium, cymbidium, calopogon, and a plethora of bletillas including two new offerings.

For the woodland garden, we have several gems, starting with Ajuga ‘Blueberry Muffin’…a fabulous ploidy mutant of the popular Ajuga ‘Valfredda’. Four fantastic epimediums made the cut including two of our own introductions. Three new tongue ferns, all Japanese selections of Pyrrosia lingua, are great  for the garden in warmer climates, and in hanging baskets in cooler areas. A new selection of strawberry begonia doubles the typical leaf size for Saxifraga stolonifera, and while we’re talking big, check out the new monster leaf brunneras with 9”+ wide leaves.

Once again, thank you for both your plant passion and for supporting the mission of Plant Delights Nursery and Juniper Level Botanic Garden to preserve, study, propagate, and share the worlds flora.

Happy Gardening

Tony and Anita