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Archive for January, 2011

Plants to try in 2011

Monday, January 31st, 2011

On Thursday, Jan. 27, 2011 I attended the WINTERgreen show in Duluth, GA  put on by the GGIA (Georgia Green Industry Association).  A trade show with plants indoors at this time of year is always a welcome diversion.  Add to this a lecture about “some exciting plants to keep customers returning” by Ted Stephens  and I left inspired  to seek out some of these plants (including both familiar favorites and some new to me) to add to my own garden. 

Ted is a plantsman extraordinaire and owner of Nurseries Caroliniana, Inc., located in North Augusta, SC where the focus is on rare and unusual plants.  The challenge is how to incorporate some of these gems into an existing landscape.  What follows are a few of the plants he highlighted (a long list) including both native and exotic types, that made the cut for my list of plants to grow.  My list is fluid and may change but it is always growing.  Many of these plants  are pictured on Nurseries Caroliniana’s website www.nurcar.

Daphne odora 'Aureomarginata Alba' in March

 Begonia grandis ‘Heron’s Pirouette’- The species of this hardy perennial has been a mainstay of shade gardens for years; known for its late summer to early fall flowers.   If this selection really does bloom from late spring to frost, I want to grow it.  Hardy from Zone 5 to 9. 

Callistemon rigidus ‘Clemson Hardy’-Discovered at a home in Clemson, SC.  Once established this bottlebrush is drought tolerant and reblooms in the summer.  A good choice for containers.   Hardy from Zone 7 to 10. 

Calycanthus floridus var. laevigatus ‘Purpurescens’-The leaves have purple undersides and the  flowers have a fragrance similar to  overripe apples.  Found in Japan and admired by plantsmen at Hillier’s in the UK.   

Cyrilla racemiflora- This native( evergreen to semi-evergreen)  Titi tolerates wet feet and has showy spring flowers and attractive seedheads in fall.  Hardy from Zone 6 to 10.

Cyrilla racemiflora and Baptisia

Disporum pullum – This little known species of Fairy bells has pink flowers, grows up to 30 inches tall and will maintain evergreen foliage until 20 degrees F. Perfect for the woodland garden. 

Edgeworthia chrysantha ‘Winter Gold’- This late winter/early spring flowering shrub belongs to the Daphne family but does not suffer the root problems that many Daphne’s are prone to.  Hardy to Zone 6b.

Edgeworthia chrysantha in bloom

Hydrangea paniculata ‘Phantom’- Considered an improved selection over ‘Limelight’ with bigger flowers that do not droop.  Hardy to Zone 4.

Hydrangea paniculata ‘Silver Dollar’-This selection of pee gee hydrangea tends to be more compact

Magnolia chunghungtana-  Even the name appeals to me and Ted describes this deciduous magnolia as like M. sieboldi on steroids.   At the SC Botanical Gardens at Clemson it has survived single digits with no damage.  It must be budded or grafted.

Sedum ‘Neon’-Vibrant deep pink flowers on a compact stalk make this perennial a winner.  Plants don’t flop over which also makes it appealing.  Hardy from Zone 3 to 9.

Rohdea japonica ‘Claudia Phelps’  – A standout  for its glossy foliage, this perennial adds welcome structure to the shade garden.   Hardy Zone 8 to 10. 

As always I recommend that gardeners shop locally first.  If you can’t find what you want in your neighborhood try mail order sources including:

Plant Delights , in Raliegh, NC or Woodlanders in Aiken, South Carolina. .

Perennial Plant Symposium

Monday, January 10th, 2011

On Saturday, February 5, 2011 the Georgia Perennial Plant Association will host its annual Perennial Plant Symposium at the Atlanta Botanical Garden.  Don’t miss this informative event.  For more information and to register visit

Primula veris, late March at the Atlanta Botanical Garden

Dianthus 'Frosty Fire'