Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Japanese Maples at the Terrace Shop

Acer palmatum 'Peaches and Cream'
By Annie Yang
Duke Class of 2020
Photos by Annie Yang

If you missed this month’s Spring Plant Sale (our most successful ever -- thank you!) or if your garden is calling out for more, there are still plants available in Duke Gardens' Terrace Shop, including many cultivars of Japanese maples (Acer palmatum).

Native to Japan, China, Korea, eastern Mongolia, and southeast Russia, these plants are super versatile and come in all sorts of shapes, sizes and colors. Some varieties are naturally smaller and shorter and can grow in containers. Other cultivars can serve as understory plants grouped together in shady woodland areas of a garden.

Japanese maples usually run relatively small for trees, but some of them can stand out even when planted alone. Their leaves run a whole spectrum of colors: red, orange, yellow, green, purple. In general, they prefer some afternoon shade but also a good deal of sunlight to showcase their colorful foliage.

Japanese maples require well-drained and consistently moist soil, as well as protection from strong winds. Watch out for late spring frosts, which they are especially vulnerable to when young. Despite this, many cultivars are relatively easy to grow and are long-lived. Below are a few of the Japanese maple cultivars available at the Terrace Shop. We recommend that you call in advance (919-684-9037) if there is a particular cultivar you are seeking.
Acer palmatum 'Summer Gold'


‘Summer Gold’

True to its name, ‘Summer Gold’ maintains an energetic yellow color throughout the summer, as well as the fall. Its foliage starts off light green in the summer and deepens into the fall, retaining wonderful shades for months.

Standing at 10 to 12 feet at maturity, ‘Summer Gold’ is a somewhat taller tree compared to its Japanese maple relatives. This tree thrives in well-drained soil and has average water needs. It is also resistant to deer and insects, and it is drought tolerant. ‘Summer Gold’ distinguishes itself from other Japanese maples not only with its color but also with its ability to withstand full sun without burning. This is a tree that is well adapted to the summer and isn’t afraid of full sun, heat or humidity.

‘Autumn Fire’

The leaves on this deciduous tree start off typically green like any other tree you might encounter in the early spring. But as spring transitions into summer and then into fall, ‘Autumn Fire’ begins to show its true colors. The edges of its unique, narrow leaves are first tinged with red, and eventually a fiery red engulfs the entire leaf. In the fall, ‘Autumn Fire’ is alight with its stunning scarlet hues, standing out even in a season packed with attractive foliage colors.
Acer palmatum 'Autumn Fire'

‘Autumn Fire’ grows to be about 6 to 8 feet tall and requires well-drained, rich soil and regular watering. As a bonus, ‘Autumn Fire’ can also tolerate humidity. Like many Japanese maples, this tree prefers full to partial sun. But be careful exposing ‘Autumn Fire’ to too much full sun or else it will really burn!

‘Peaches and Cream’

When I first encountered this tree, I wasn’t sure what was so “creamy” about ‘Peaches and Cream’. There seemed to be a lot more peaches implied by the red than any cream or white! But to truly appreciate ‘Peaches and Cream’ you really have to follow it through the seasons. In the early spring, the leaves on this deciduous tree actually take on a pale green, almost white color, accentuating its veins, which are still dark green. As the weather gets colder, the cream is replaced by an orange-yellow color reminiscent of sweet summer peaches.

As with other Japanese Maples, ‘Peaches and Cream’ is on the shorter side, from 6 to 12 feet tall, but it certainly makes up in personality and vibrancy what it lacks in stature. ‘Peaches and Cream’ thrives in acidic, well-drained and rich soil, and it is also drought and humidity resistant. This tree can grow under mostly sun to mostly shade, but it prefers the shade. Imagine enjoying a bowl of peaches and cream under the cool canopy of a tree during the summer!

The following cultivars may also still be available through the Terrace Shop: Vitifolium, Taki no Gawa, Green Mist, Skeeter’s Broom, Crimson Princess, Katsura, Alan’s Gold, Calico, Meigetsu, Little Cindy, Emerald Lace and Tamukeyama.

Thank you again to all shoppers for making the 2018 Spring Plant Sale our most successful ever! If you love gardening, remember that Duke Gardens members get 10% off all plant purchases at the spring and fall sales, and first dibs at the members-only preview sale in spring. Please see our website to learn more about becoming a member of Duke Gardens.

Friday, April 6, 2018

Spring Plant Sale Preview: Sedum + Sempervivum

Sedum 'Lemon Ball'
By Annie Yang
Duke Class of 2020

The bright yellow-green foliage of Sedum ‘Lemon Ball’ bursts out like fireworks and radiates excitement and freshness. It’s one of six Sedum varieties we will have at our Spring Plant Sale on Saturday and members-only preview sale this evening (see event details below). ‘Lemon Ball’ is a close cousin of ‘Angelina’, another Sedum variety, but it retains its vibrant color all year.

‘Lemon Ball’ requires full sun (you wouldn’t want to hide this plant in the shade!), and it grows in dry soil with average watering. It is also sturdier than ‘Angelina’ and is drought tolerant as well as rabbit and deer resistant. Fittingly, ‘Lemon Ball’ blooms in the summer and fits right in with the other bright, exciting colors of the season.

This plant works well as a border plant, lighting up any walkway or garden path. ‘Lemon Ball’ can also pop out in rock gardens without distracting from the beauty of the stones. You can even bring them indoors and place them in a hanging planter. ‘Lemon Ball’ will certainly stand out in any niche you find for it.

Scroll down to see more Sedum from our plant sale collection, as well as the popular Sempervivum 'Carmen' (hens and chicks).


SPRING PLANT SALE INFO:
Date: Saturday, April 7, 2018
Time: 8 a.m.-noon
Preview sale for members only: Friday, April 6, 4-6 pm. Duke Gardens members get 10% off at the preview sale and public sale, as well as a full list of plants in advance! Join online or on site.
Parking: Free.
Pets not permitted
Wagons + boxes: Our supply is limited; please bring your own if possible, and you'll have more time to spend gathering beautiful plants.
Your support helps Duke Gardens to provide summer internships to aspiring horticulturists from across the nation.
Please see our event page for more information, and we'd love for you to spread the word by sharing the event on Facebook and inviting your friends.
Thank you!
Sedum 'Mahogany Red'

Sedum Sunsparkler 'Dazzleberry'

Sempervivum 'Carmen'

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Spring Plant Sale Preview: Bee Balm

Bee balm (Monarda).
By Rose James
Photos by Annie Yang

For those who love bees, butterflies and hummingbirds, consider the Monarda plant, commonly known as bee balm, which we’ll have in nine varieties at Saturday’s Spring Plant Sale and tomorrow’s members-only preview sale (event details below).

 Of those nine, three are from the Sugar Buzz series. Released in 2014 by Walters Gardens Inc., this family of Monarda is extremely resistant to powdery mildew, a fungus that previously prevented many gardeners from introducing Monarda into their collections.

Each variety of Sugar Buzz Monarda features dark green foliage that smells of mint—thus its attractiveness to pollinators such as butterflies. Monarda is a hardy plant and can survive in full sun or partial shade with consistent, regular watering, and Sugar Buzz varieties are deer and rabbit resistant.

When cared for properly, Monarda will spread quickly. It’s often planted in perennial borders, but it is also a favorite for container planting, as the sturdy foliage allows flower clumps to form upright and prevent drooping.

The Sugar Buzz varieties of Monarda are favorites for summer-blooming gardens, and all varieties bloom around the same time, making them perfect choices to plant together.

In our Sugar Buzz trio this weekend, ‘Bubblegum Blast’ will give you the bright pink splash that its name implies. It is perfect for perennial borders and mass planting. It’s also easy to grow, heat and humidity loving, and will clump and spread with average care. ‘Cotton Candy’ features pale pinky purple flowers with lighter centers and lavender dots. Monarda “Grape Gumball” is the darker variety of the bunch, displaying deep magenta blooms.
Monarda

Our Monarda selections will also include Monarda didyma ‘Purple Rooster’, which provides the perfect purple complement to the Sugar Buzz series. This plant features true purple flowers and clean foliage. Its stalks are so sturdy that even the blooms reaching 3 feet tall do not require stakes.

Monarda didyma ‘Purple Rooster’ blooms in mid to late summer with fragrant foliage and flowers. The plant grows most quickly in full sun, but spreading will occur more rapidly in partial shade. In addition to attracting pollinators, it is deer resistant. To encourage flowering, foliage should be cut back at the end of every re-bloom.
Monarda didyma 'Purple Rooster'.
Photo courtesy of Mt. Cuba Center.

SPRING PLANT SALE INFO:
Date: Saturday, April 7, 2018
Time: 8 a.m.-noon
Preview sale for members only: Friday, April 6, 4-6 pm. Duke Gardens members get 10% off at the preview sale and public sale, as well as a full list of plants in advance! Join online or on site.
Parking: Free.
Pets not permitted
Wagons + boxes: Our supply is limited; please bring your own if possible, and you'll have more time to spend gathering beautiful plants.
Your support helps Duke Gardens to provide summer internships to aspiring horticulturists from across the nation.
Please see our event page for more information, and we'd love for you to spread the word by sharing the event on Facebook and inviting your friends.
Thank you!

Bloggers Rose James and Annie Yang are in Duke's Class of 2020 and are Duke Gardens work-study marketing assistants.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Plant Sale Preview: Heuchera

Heuchera 'Citronelle'. Photo by Annie Yang.
By Rose James
Duke Class of 2020

Heuchera, commonly known as coral bells, has grown increasingly popular with gardeners for its adaptability and because butterflies love it. We will have five varieties at our Spring Plant Sale this  Saturday (event details below), and Duke Gardens members can get first dibs at Friday’s members-only preview sale. Here are two varieties that gardeners are sure to love.

Heuchera 'Rose Quartz'. Photo by A. Yang.
Heuchera ‘Rose Quartz’ is a gorgeous metallic-looking plant best known for the holographic effect of its impressive foliage. The leaf color starts out as a light dusty rose before transitioning to a light pewter color. In early summer, pink buds give way to cream flowers, making this the perfect summer-blooming perennial to add to any garden.

Heuchera ‘Rose Quartz’ attracts butterflies, hummingbirds and bees, and it’s deer resistant. This is a fairly easy-to-grow plant that demonstrates more tolerance of heat and humidity than many other species. Native to the Southeast, Heuchera ‘Rose Quartz’ thrives and produces the most vibrant colors in partial shade environments, although it will also do fine in full sun with constant moisture. In the spring, any damaged leaves should be removed for optimal regrowth. Good drainage is crucial to this plant, and when it is given consistent care, it may act as an evergreen.

The colorful spread of the ‘Rose Quartz’ foliage can reach 12 inches, making it a focal point for borders and containers. Planting time is from late winter to late spring or late summer to early fall. Late summer will provide the best display of blooms in the spring. Consider using this plant to provide a mysterious shimmer to your garden border.

Heuchera ‘Citronelle’ was created accidentally by gardeners attempting to produce its close relative Heuchera ‘Caramel’. It is considered a Heuchera villosa hybrid and is native to the Southeast. Featuring vibrant citron leaves with silver undersides and cream-colored flowers, Heuchera ‘Citronelle’ is a colorful container plant perfect for gardeners looking to spice up their arrangements.

Like the Heuchera ‘Rose Quartz’, ‘Citronelle’ attracts butterflies, hummingbirds and bees, and it is deer resistant. Unlike its heat-resistant cousin, however, ‘Citronelle’ is more sensitive to sun and will experience color fading if placed in full sun. This species requires weekly watering, though more frequent watering may be necessary in extreme heat. Good drainage is essential, and the only pruning required is removing any winter-damaged leaves during the spring.

This bright yellow plant is well-paired with hostas (see our hosta preview here), and it can be used as an edge or container plant. It is easy to grow and complements most perennial arrangements. The leaves are low and form in clumps, making it the perfect plant for perennial borders. Heuchera ‘Citronelle’ is a cheery plant to brighten any summertime garden.

SPRING PLANT SALE INFO:
Date: Saturday, April 7, 2018
Time: 8 a.m.-noon
Preview sale for members only: Friday, April 6, 4-6 pm. Duke Gardens members get 10% off at the preview sale and public sale, as well as a full list of plants in advance! Join online or on site.
Parking: Free.
Pets not permitted
Wagons + boxes: Our supply is limited; please bring your own if possible, and you'll have more time to spend gathering beautiful plants.
Your support helps Duke Gardens to provide summer internships to aspiring horticulturists from across the nation.
Please see our event page for more information, and we'd love for you to spread the word by sharing the event on Facebook and inviting your friends.
Thank you!

Spring Plant Sale Preview: Amsonia 'Storm Cloud'

Amsonia 'Storm Cloud'. Photo by Annie Yang.

By Annie Yang
Duke Class of 2020

In the spring, these perennials sprout from the ground with stems as dark as foreboding clouds on the horizon right before a downpour. But once Amsonia ‘Storm Cloud’ blooms, those dark skies are replaced by star-shaped periwinkle blue flowers.

A North American native plant, ‘Storm Cloud’ is also a relatively easy plan to maintain. It’s moderately drought tolerant once established, and it’s deer resistant. It grows best in partial to full sun and moist soil.

‘Storm Cloud’ is also a versatile plant that can fill many roles in your garden. It can replace shrubs, line driveways and yards, or be planted as a large group. ‘Storm Cloud’ also brighten up a floral arrangement as a cut flower. Far from raining on your parade, these plants can be a delight in any garden.

Look for ‘Storm Cloud’ at our Spring Plant Sale on Saturday (or member preview sale Friday). We’ve selected hundreds of plants that thrive in this region, including many propagated from the plants we all love throughout Duke Gardens. Details are below. Hope to see you here!

SPRING PLANT SALE INFO:
Date: Saturday, April 7, 2018
Time: 8 a.m.-noon
Preview sale for members only: Friday, April 6, 4-6 pm. Duke Gardens members get 10% off at the preview sale and public sale, as well as a full list of plants in advance! Join online or on site.
Parking: Free.
Pets not permitted
Wagons + boxes: Our supply is limited; please bring your own if possible, and you'll have more time to spend gathering beautiful plants.
Your support helps Duke Gardens to provide summer internships to aspiring horticulturists from across the nation.
Please see our event page for more information, and we'd love for you to spread the word by sharing the event on Facebook and inviting your friends.
Thank you!

Monday, April 2, 2018

Spring Plant Sale Preview: Peonies

Paeonia 'Emma Klehm'. Photo by Chris Holaday.
By Annie Yang
Duke class of 2020

Peonies are always a crowd-pleaser at Duke Gardens' Spring Plant Sales. So local gardeners will be thrilled to hear that we will have a whopping 17 cultivars at this year's sale, from 'Moonstone' to 'Coral Sunset' and 'Pink Parfait'. The sale is Saturday, April 7, with a preview sale for members on Friday evening (details below). Here are two cultivars that will surely pique gardeners' interest.

Paeonia ‘Emma Klehm’

The deep, rich pink petals of Paeonia ‘Emma Klehm’ are guaranteed to attract the attention of any garden visitor. This striking flower gets its name from Emma Klehm of the Klehm family, who have had a long history of growing flowers and producing new hybrids. One has to wonder what kind of woman Ms.  Klehm was to inspire the name of such a bold peony!

‘Emma Klehm’ is a later bloomer, showing off its splendid colors from late spring to early summer, but the wait is quite worth it. Long-lived and relatively easy to grow, this plant prefers moist but well-drained soil and, in a warmer climate like North Carolina, thrives under partial sun.

Its vibrant colors make ‘Emma Klehm’ an easy choice for cut flower bouquets or as a border plant. Consider grouping it with other plants so its striking hues can really pop out and brighten up any garden.

Paeonia 'Monsieur Jules Elie'. Photo by Chris Holaday.
Paeonia ‘Monsieur Jules Elie’

This peony was first introduced in 1888, but its huge bloom, ruffled light pink petals and wonderful fragrance have made it an enduring garden favorite. Perhaps inspired by French painter Jules-√Člie Delaunay, this peony cultivar is truly a work of art.

Long-lived, virtually pest free, and resistant to deer and rabbits, ‘Monsieur Jules Elie’ is an ideal plant for gardeners looking for intense color and vibrancy but relatively little hassle and maintenance. ‘Monsieur Jules Elie’ enjoys partial to full sun and fertile, well-drained soil, like many of its peony cousins. Some staking may be required to support its large, heavy blooms when they appear in late spring or early summer.

The beauty of ‘Monsieur Jules Elie’ can be showcased as a cut flower or in a number of different roles in the garden. It can stand on its own as a specimen plant, work together in groups of other plants, dot the border of a walkway or driveway, or serve as an informal hedge. This versatile and dependable plant is a delightful addition to any garden.

SPRING PLANT SALE INFO:
Date: Saturday, April 7, 2018
Time: 8 a.m.-noon
Preview sale for members: Friday, April 6, 4-6 pm.
Membership plant sale benefit: Duke Gardens members get 10% off & a full list of plants in advance! Join online or on site.
Parking: Free.
Pets not permitted
Wagons + boxes: Our supply is limited; please bring your own if possible, and you'll have more time to spend gathering beautiful plants.
Your support helps Duke Gardens to provide summer internships to aspiring horticulturists from across the nation.
Please see our event page for more information, and we'd love for you to spread the word by sharing the event on Facebook and inviting your friends.
Thank you!

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Spring Plant Sale Preview: Hostas

Hosta 'Island Breeze'
By Annie Yang
Duke T'20
Photos by Beth Hall

Hostas come in more than 2,500 different cultivars of different shapes, colors, sizes and textures, opening up an vast range of possibilities of integrating them into your garden. They can work well grouped together as background plants, but their exciting colors also make them great ornamentals.

These perennials are low-maintenance and usually live quite long. Hostas have a reputation for being shade plants, but the brighter the leaf color, the more sun it will require. In general, hostas require watering once a week at the soil and not on the leaves. Hostas are relatively pest-free—aside from slugs and the occasional deer—and they will also attract hummingbirds to your garden. There are thousands of hosta cultivars. Here are a few that we’ll be featuring at the 2018 Spring Plant Sale on April 7.

‘Dancing Queen’ 
Hosta 'Dancing Queen'
Unlike other yellow hosta varieties, ‘Dancing Queen’ keeps the excitement going and stays bright yellow all season long. Though hosta’s foliage is usually the star of the show, the mid to late summer blooms of pale lavender flowers are nothing to ignore!

‘Stained Glass’
The glossy gold leaves and green borders of this plant may remind you of the colorful designs on large stained-glass windows. Hosta ‘Stained Glass’ grows huge leaves and large, fragrant light purple flowers in the late summer. This cultivar is also more tolerant of sun than its cousins are.

‘Island Breeze’
The yellow centers and thick green margins of ‘Island Breeze’s’ foliage evoke a sense of tropical tranquility. When grown in darker shade, the yellows will become more chartreuses. But if exposed to more light, ‘Island Breeze’ will also lighten in color. It’s visually quite similar to its cousin ‘Stained Glass’, but an observant eye will notice that the leafstalks of ‘Island Breeze’ are also tinged in red.

EVEN MORE HOSTAS! Specialty hosta grower Green Hill Farm will also be a vendor at our plant sale. See additional specialty vendors at our plant sale link below.

SPRING PLANT SALE INFO:
Date: Saturday, April 7, 2018
Time: 8 a.m.-noon
Preview sale for members: Friday, April 6, 4-6 pm.
Membership plant sale benefit: Duke Gardens members get 10% off & a full list of plants in advance! Join online or on site.
Parking: Free.
Pets not permitted
Wagons + boxes: Our supply is limited; please bring your own if possible, and you'll have more time to spend gathering beautiful plants.
Your support helps Duke Gardens to provide summer internships to aspiring horticulturists from across the nation.
Please see our event page for more information, and we'd love for you to spread the word by sharing the event on Facebook and inviting your friends.
Thank you!