Newsworthy from our nursery

Amazing Hummingbirds

           Who is not amazed by the incredible speed and agility of our tiny ruby throated hummingbird? They dart and dive bomb with blazing speed and seem to hover effortlessly while taking a drink from bright red summer flowers. And in an instant, they are gone. Sometimes you will not see them but can hear their unmistakable hum as their gossamer-thin wings beat over 50 times per second.      Hummingbirds are the smallest of birds. Their very high metabolism requires lots of calories conveniently provided by the nectar of certain flowers containing 26% sugar or about twice what a soft drink contains! These little birds consume and use more than twice their own weight in nectar...

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Jack in the Pulpit

Can you plant it now? Jack-in-the–pulpit is an interesting and familiar woodland wildflower that will start waking up in mid-spring. An emerging sprout, like a fat, green pencil, will gradually rise and unfurl into 2, 3-parted leaves and then reveal the flower, a green and maroon striped “pulpit” with a hood over the preacher, “Jack”. Jack-in-the-pulpit can range in height between 1 to 3 feet with a spread of about a third of that. The flowers are curious and showy and are a perfect choice for a shady garden with pretty good soil. If plants are successfully pollinated, a fistful of bright red berries will form and stay up all summer. Otherwise, Jack will go dormant by mid summer. But...

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Evergreens Take Freezes in Stride

Some interesting strategies to fight the cold How do hardy perennials survive very cold and fluctuating winter temperatures? Basically, there are 3 ways. The first is to go dormant and die back to the ground completely. Overwintering parts like roots, rhizomes, and next year’s buds, are underground where they stay protected until soil temperatures warm in the spring, and the plant receives signals to break dormancy and start to grow. Many of our favorite spring bloomers like blood root, trillium, Jack in the pulpit, and Virginia bluebells do this. The second option that many deciduous plants use is to drop all leaves and go into a resting or dormant state during the winter. Since there are no leaves, there is...

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Nursery propagated Trillium - A Long and Arduous Process

Trillium is one of the most beloved of all spring wildflowers. There are over 50 species occurring worldwide but the greatest number and diversity occur in the southern Appalachians. Their taxonomy is constantly in flux and has challenged many a doctoral student. The challenge to the gardener, is how to get your hands on them. Up until the last 10 or 20 years, they have been dug from the wild by the hundreds of thousands while in full bloom. This is not only a terrible time to transplant them, but this wild harvesting coupled with habitat loss through development, has resulted in concern that species may be threatened in some areas. So a few crazy individuals and some very small...

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