Friday, March 18, 2011

More NCBG Good Stuff

*All photos in this post were taken at the North Carolina Botanical Garden in Chapel Hill in April 2010*

This picture makes me miss the 'May Breeze' Woodland Phlox that I got in a trade and lost in one of those droughts we've been having every summer. Time to try it again. ;) The pale blue/ white makes a fabulous combination with the other blues and lavenders. The Garden sometimes offers P. divaricata seeds on its annual seed list and sells plants on-site too.

I've tried and failed with Pitcher Plant and plan to try again. They were easy to start from seed and I put them where the water drains from the house roof, but the dirt was probably too heavy, or they dried out at some point. Pitcher Plants like peat bogs, which are wet, acidic, and nutrient-poor.

The chartreuse blooms belong to the Yellow Pitcher Plant (Sarracenia flava)
and among the species with the wine-colored blooms are Purple Pitcher
Plant (Sarracenia purpurea) and Sweet Pitcher Plant (Sarracenia rubra).

Rob Gardner, who brought us Baptisia 'Purple Smoke' and Baptisia 'Carolina Moonlight', also developed several Sarracenia hybrids.

If you're going to have a carnivorous plant display you've got to have a bug sculpture! I have had random thoughts of designing a garden sculpture, buying the materials and asking my FIL, who was a welder by trade, to build it, but it's probably not in the cards. He's 65, had a knee replacement that didn't go well and forced him to retire early, and asking him to do something like that would probably be too much.

Meadow beauty, orchids, Sabatia, and few-flowered milkweed also grow in these beds and bloom in summer. Few-flowered milkweed has been offered on the seed list before and if it's offered again I'm definitely going to choose it! The color of the flowers is out of this world. Normally I don't like red-orange, except for Turk's Cap and Carolina Lilies, but these flowers positively glow. It's a tall and graceful milkweed.

Wild Sabatia grows on our farm. I am not sure of the species, although the flowers are smaller than the one on display in the Garden. Here Sabatia forms sweetly fragrant miniature pink bouquets in sunny wet places in June, in the ditches along the grass road that runs between the pastures and down to the creek. If you have a pond or bog garden and live in zone 7 or south, I definitely recommend this genus.

I have not seen any wild Pawpaws on the farm, as we are probably too far east, but I have grown a couple from seed from the Garden. One is about 5' tall now. It needs more buddies. It hasn't bloomed yet, but there is a good-sized Pawpaw at the Garden that blooms and fruits every year.

It has a beautiful Dutchman's Pipe climbing up through it, which I've seen in bloom before and the flowers are absolutely charming.

The Garden offered the seeds of Cumberland azalea this year but I took a pass on it, although it's a beautiful azalea, with vivid red-orange flowers in the middle of summer. I probably should have tried them but growing azaleas from seed takes patience, patience, and more patience. I wish they would someday offer the seeds of the Florida azalea that grows by the Totten Center.

There are some big beautiful Fla azalea specimens in the mountain section, with bright orange flowers, much like the ones I have only a little brighter, and they are gorgeous.

The one by the Totten Center is unusual though. The buds are reminiscent of a
Flame Azalea, a swirl of pink, cream and gold, but very very sweetly fragrant.

Eventually the flowers fade to cream while hanging on to their fragrance. The
effect may look a little anemic in the photo but in person it's definitely not.

This isn't the end of my wants from the Garden, not by a long shot. ;) We're lucky to have a resource like this within an hour's drive.


  1. You are very lucky to have these valuable resource close by! I love it! The closest thing we have to this is Cheekwood. Cheekwood is wonderful too but probably not as much as a learning garden as NCBG seems to be. It is more of an estate garden with markers. No pitcher plants though. I hope to try some in a container. You never know about your insect sculpture, perhaps your FIL will surprise you one day. Best wishes for him to get well.

  2. Simply beautiful. I remember those pitcher plants from visiting. Thanks for the remembrance.~~Dee

  3. I LOVE that FL Azalea. The colors are wonderful.

    Looking forward to seeing what all you will have growing in your gardens this year.

    Happy Gardening ~ Happy Spring,


  4. Ooh, I love that bed of pitcher plants! Just awesome! Those azaleas are gorgeous too.

  5. I love those azaleas, their fragrance is wonderful. Hoping to get some at the SCNP sale or the SCBG plant sale.....always places for me to spend my money.
    Does the Pawpaw form colonies by rhizomes? Seems to me I see many in one place.

  6. What a great idea showing photos from last year! I love the bench and the what-I-thought-were-Frittilaria-but-which-must-be-pitcher-plants!

    Also, it looks like little Rosa setigera made it through the winter! :)

  7. Such beautiful azaleas, I don't think I have ever seen such subtle and lovely colors. Those pitcher plants are so unusual, it was fun to see a whole bed of them. Thank you for showing so many wonderful plants.

  8. You are indeed lucky to have this beautiful resource only an hour away! I thoroughly enjoyed my trip to the Chicago Botanic Garden last fall, but it's a three-hour trip, so it's not easy to go very often. Good luck with all your new seed starting--it's always fun to try something new. And maybe your FIL would enjoy turning his skills into a hobby--it wouldn't hurt to drop a subtle hint:)

  9. Janet, yes, according to Dirr Pawpaws do sucker, but at the rate at which mine are growing I'll have a good stand in 50 years. They are some of those little trees in out-of-the-way places that I must really make an effort to feed this spring. I think in really good conditions Pawpaw suckers but can be controlled. Probably like Persimmon trees. We don't have Pawpaws growing wild here but we do have a lot of Persimmons. In wet places they sucker, in drier places they don't. Coast Azalea and Piedmont Azaleas are supposed to sucker too but one of my Coast Azaleas has put up one sucker in 14 years. I know they do in some places in the wild. Dirr writes about a 10 acre colony of Piedmont Azaleas created by plants suckering out. That must be an awesome sight! I think too that some plants sucker more with age. There are some huge Blueberry Bushes in our woods with suckers out a good 10 feet.

    I would be thrilled if my Pawpaws did form colonies ~ they are such beautiful tropical-looking little trees!

  10. That azalea is amazing!! So beautiful! I hope your FIL has a painfree retirement. I know how debilitating knee pain can be.

  11. The pitcher plant blooms are so complex in shape and I love the colors, especially together.
    Speaking of colors together - that mixture of pink, cream and gold in the Florida Azalea is so gloriously soft and beautiful, very romantic. Your close-up is wonderful.
    What a fantastic garden to spend many interesting hours in and such a great resource for seeds.
    Your FIL might really enjoy making a garden sculpture for you. Perhaps you should gently broach the subject and see what his reaction is. I do hope his knee doesn't cause him too much pain.

  12. I loved this place when I visited a few falls ago - there was an amazing sculpture show going on, with really interesting work on display, including a very arty oversized swing! Lucky you to be able to visit frequently :)

  13. What a great botanical garden. So much to see!

  14. Thanks everyone for your comments. Unfortunately FIL's knee has bothered him since the replacement 5 years ago. He didn't do the PT, but it may not have mattered a bit, since another doctor told him that the wrong size replacement knee was put in. The first surgery was so traumatic for him that he's put off a second one. He can get around well enough to get his boat in the water to fish. Like we are about gardening, he is about fishing.


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