The State of the Nursery

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Its January 3 and its negative 6 degrees out and looks like we could dip into the negative teens in the very near future, I guess we still live in zone 5. I am glad we stuck to our roots and did start incorporating non hardy plants into our collection in reaction to the folks that wanted us to believe we now live in zone 6.

For the readers that do not know what I am referring to check out climatic zone maps of the United States. Zone 5 is an area that normally gets to be -10 to -20 during the coldest time of the year. Zone 6 would be 0–10 degrees. Plants generally can live in more than one zone. Even the pickiest of plants such as Korean Fir, ‘Horstman’s Silberlocke’ generally can handle two different climatic zones. Often times plants such as White Spruce ‘Pendula can live in areas as diverse as zone 2-7.

Enter 2014. Every weather year in Indiana is a weird weather year. That being said anything found growing in the gardens in the nursery has proven itself to be good to go in the worst of conditions. These range from flooding to drought and frozen under 18” ice for 4 months. One of the plants I have been particularly impressed and will be growing again is a Japanese Maple called Acer palmatum ‘Omure yama’. ‘Omure yama’ is a horizontally cascading laceleaf variety often overlooked by folks that just grow or buy Acer palmatum ‘Veridis’.

‘Veridis’ turns a lovely orange in the fall which is great, orange is the new black. Omure yama’ looks like the tree is on fire with every shade of yellow, gold, orange, and red. Our plant in the garden has survived the frozen under 18” ice in the winter flood in 2009, and the myriad of late frosts last year. The plant can be planted in full sun to very shady conditions as well.

We will be offering a wonderful selection of some of the latest introductions of Echinacea, Heuchera, Bergenia, and Coreopsis this year just to list a few of the species, by no means limited to these.

It seems as though after longer than a hundred or more years of pastel colored perennial gardens the hot colors are here! Through very intensive breeding programs some plants such as Coneflowers which were only available in different shades of purple are now available in oranges, reds, yellows, as well as the shorter sizes. Many of the Echinacea we are offering are no more than 12-24” tall. We do like to grow Echinacea ‘Tiki Torch‘ which is a 30-36” plant at times. However the enduring 3 months of true orange with no fade to purple action makes it worth the extra inches.We will be growing a pom pon type of Echinacea called Echinacea ‘Cantaloupe Supreme’ that is kind of like ‘Hot Papaya’ but in a melon color. A dynamite shorter banana yellow plant would be Echinacea ‘Chiquita‘ which does about a foot or so tall.

Coreopsis ‘ Red Satin‘ is a new thread leaf variety that is a true red and hardy. This plant ought to help bridge the color gap between ‘Route 66’ and ‘Sunset Strip’.

We will continue to grow ‘Mercury Rising’ and ‘Star Cluster’ from the Big Bang Series by plant breeder Darrel Probst.

There are some awesome conifers aka evergreens available in the nursery. We have a gorgeous group of Dragon Eye Pine consisting of 2 cultivars, Pinus densiflora ‘Burkes Red Variegated’ and ‘Occulus Draconis’. My preference is Burke’s Red Variegated, However some folks prefer the more open habit of ‘Occulus Draconis’.

For shrub enthusiast, I am sure they are out there somewhere? We will have a handful of Calacathus x raulstonii ‘Hartlage Wine’ which blooms with wine red flowers during Magnolia season. We will also have Calycanthus florida which produces unusual dark maroon flowers.

We have a great crop of Hosta’s in stock. There are still some Hosta ‘Purple Heart which is a dwarf glossy green leaves with purplish black with petioles or leaf stems. this is a tight hosta with good slug resistance. we may have a dozen left when they are gone they are gone! No pressure. If you are a collector this is a must have! Terra Nova does not specialize in Hostas; they introduce very few Hostas in comparison to Heuchera and Pulmonaria.

We will also be growing Hosta ‘Victory’ and several other giant varieties we have not had in the past. Hosta ‘Victory‘ is a variegated ariety with a 1‘ yellow margin on the outside of the leaf that eventually grows to 70” wide by 30” tall. Victory will be the Hosta of the year in 2015!

Miniature plants for Miniature and Fairy gardens will be available. There will be dwarf Hosta, Heuchera or Coral Bells and Some Picea abies ‘Pusch’ which is a miniature version of ‘Acrocona’. Pusch is outstanding in trough gardens as well. We have a couple new troughs in the “red shed” if you need a trough.

At this point in time our goal is not to get bigger its to get better at what we do here at the nursery. It seems as though we invested a lot of resources and time in building the infrastructure the past 8 years. I have always been happy with the quality of our plants. Its hard to grow a several thousand plants and do other stuff at the same time. Now we have all our time to dedicate to sourcing out the best and most interesting varieties of things to grow. I expect the quality of our plants to just get better as a result.

We look forward to seeing you at the nursery in 2014!

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