The Real Garden Tweets
2022 was another year of challenges with many distinct from years past. While the worst of COVID is finally in our rear-view mirror, we and others in our industry are still dealing with significant supply chain challenges, while also trying to adjust to cost escalations unlike we’ve seen since the 1970s. We never expected to resort to junk-pile diving to find enough containers in which to pot. Our last potting container order was delayed 12 months, before they finally arrived this summer.
We thought we had correctly priced our shipping charges to account for expected increases in 2022, but as it turned out, we didn’t even come close to our goal of breaking even. Then, there was the massive labor shortage, which surpassed anything we’ve seen in our 37 years in business. When you loose over 1 million people to COVID and Congress can’t agree long enough to fix a broken immigration/guest worker program, small businesses are destined for disaster.
Since we propagate and grow the plants we sell, the obstacles above made our job even more challenging. That said, we embark on our 37th year with the best offerings of new plants in many seasons. Kudos to our amazing staff and their tireless efforts for making that happen.
In 2022, our Open Nursery and Garden Days swelled to record attendance, which is great to give visitors both a first-hand view of the gardens, and hopefully inspire a new generation of gardeners to embrace horticultural biodiversity. We also had another record-setting Southeastern Plant Symposium this year and look forward to even more people attending our next event on June 16 and 17, 2023, when our talks are focused on woody plants.
While we haven’t ventured out on any overseas botanizing trips since COVID, we have made quite a few regional trips through the Southeast US, returning with many potential exciting plants which are now on trial for their horticultural value and performance.
This years’ catalog includes the largest listing of new agaves we’ve ever had, including 18 new variegated cultivars and two amazing new mangaves. Many of these, like our Agave ‘Great White Shark’ are in insanely high demand, with on-line black-market prices topping $10,000 per plant. In the world of Mangaves, ‘Queen for a Day’ is sure to leave you gasping and wondering…how did they do that?
The 2023 catalog includes the most amazing new hostas we’ve introduced in decades. Many are our own introductions or those of our friend, Hans Hansen. Many of these are Plant Delights exclusives, so are sure to sell out. Hosta ‘Silly String’ is fascinating as well as unique. To brighten your shade garden with gold foliage, check our Hosta ‘Coast to Coast’ and the PDN exclusive, Hosta ‘Edge of Dawn’. Many of our new introductions are wavy-leaf blue selections like the amazing ‘Deep Sea Dive’, ‘Tears in Heaven’ and ‘Wind Beneath my Wings’. Perhaps you should think about adding a new bed to your woodland garden.
While we’re talking shade garden plants, we’ve added three new PDN exclusive epimediums for 2023, which are truly exceptional. We’ve also added a couple of special sedges for 2023, including the impossible to find Carex ‘Echigo Nishiki’ along with Dan Hinkley’s exceptional collection of Carex scaposa. Our list of cast iron plants expands further with three new selections. If you’ve not seen Pinellia ‘Purple Dragon’, then get ready for the most amazing, non-weedy pinellia in the world…a plant that took us nearly a decade to track down and propagate.
Two new toad lilies made the list including our selection of the little-known Tricyrtis ravenii and the very dwarf, highly coveted dwarf, Tricyrtis ‘Crow Leaf’. Primula ‘Dale Henderson’ is the most amazing hardy primrose we’ve ever grown, although it’s taken us two decades to build up enough to share.
Ferns continue to be a special group for us, as we work to expand on the typically limited commercial offerings of ferns. For 2023, we are pleased to add eight new selections, several of which have never been offered anywhere prior, including five of conservation value from known wild collections.
We continue our focus on little known geophytes (bulbs, tubers, other underground storage organs) with 15 new listings. This is the first year we have been able to include two of the most amazing US native lilies, Lilium canadense and Lilium superbum. We’ve also added two exceptional new crinum lilies, along with three first time lycoris offerings and three first time zephyranthes (rain lilies). The lustful, glaucous-foliaged Hymenocallis azteciana also makes its’ first catalog appearance, along with the hardy orange-flowering Cyrtanthus ‘William Penn’.
Our mission to expose more gardeners to the amazing array of North American natives that should be more widely known and grown continues. Two new baptisias made the catalog along with the first named clone of the rare cream-flowered Monarda luteola. Macbridea is another little-known pink-flowered perennial with great ex-situ conservation importance, along with our offering of the exceptional Orontium aquaticum ‘Tidewater’. If you have moist soil, don’t miss the amazing Peltandra ‘Purplicious’…a stunning bright purple-stemmed form of our native green arrow.
If you have a sun garden, check out the amazing new butterfly bush, Buddleia ‘Pink Cascade II’, which is an amazing new compact selection with huge branched flower panicles. If you’ve got enough room, check out Salvia ‘Rockin’ Deep Purple’…a monster plant at 5’ tall x 10’ wide that blooms non-stop all summer! For those looking for taller specimens, check out Sambucus ‘Chocolate Marzipan’, an incredible, heat-loving giant purple leaf elderberry. If you’re looking for really, really hot new plants, check out the Zone 8 hardy perennial pepper, which promises 200,000 Scovilles of serious heat.
Agastache ‘Queen Nectarine’ sets a new standard for garden worthy agastaches, while Dianthus ‘Razzlepop’ and ‘Pink Bouquet’ do the same for hardy carnations. Even smaller is the amazing Clematis ‘Purple Gumdrops’, a new dwarf bush clematis, along with the superb rock garden succulent, Nananthus vittatus. If you like to munch in the garden while you work, don’t miss the incredible, perennial Korean celery, Dystaenia takesimana; think, an edible Queen Anne’s Lace.
Fundraising for an operational endowment to continue JLBG after Tony is gone, continues, albeit slower than we’d hoped. At catalog printing time, we’re at 3.5% of the required $17 million goal. Every day that passes, the situation becomes more critical timewise since Tony continues to age. Thanks to everyone who has contributed so far, as every gift to the NC State University Endowment for JLBG is truly appreciated. You can find out more at JLBG.org and click the Donate button.
As always…happy gardening!
-tony and anita