Sunday, September 18, 2011

Visit to Juniper Level Botanical Garden - part 1

Last weekend I had the pleasure of visiting the Juniper Level Botanical Garden and adjacent Plant Delights Nursery in Raleigh.

Agave ovatifolia makes a dramatic statement.
The gardens, established by the horticulturalist and plant explorer Tony Avent, serve as a research and trial field as well as a display area for new perennials.  

Titanotrichum oldhammii
 The gardens and nursery are known for their hosta breeding program, having introduced many new cultivars.   They also have an extraordinary collection of agave, crinum, hardy elephant ear, trillium, and much more.  Plant Delights Nursery is a mail-order nursery which is open to the public four times a year and helps fund the research and the botanical garden. 

Hosta Seedling Evaluation field
Colocasia esculenta 'Black Marble'
The Botanical Garden has several different areas filled with plants including a hardy tropical garden, a rock garden, a sunken aquatic garden, and an alpine garden.  According to their brochure, in total it contains over 17,000 different plant specimens!

Hibiscus 'Summer Storm' overlooking the Aquatic Garden.
I'm not even sure if I saw all of the parts of the garden - I think I got lost wandering around the many winding pathways...



I did enjoy the unexpected pieces of art that popped up occasionally.

The locally famous 'barrel monster' sculpture by Joseph Carnevale
 After wandering the gardens, the real fun began - plant shopping!  

One of the greenhouses with plants for sale at Plant Delights Nursery
According to their brochure, Plant Delights Nursery offers around 1600 different plants for sale at any one time in several large greenhouses.  It might be good to browse the catalog ahead of time!  Here you can find many plants that you can't find anywhere else - but beware, they don't come cheap.


I managed to escape with only five plants by avoiding some of the greenhouses.  There might be a little drool left on a certain $28 hosta though...  Good thing this nursery is only open to the public four times a year!

11 comments:

  1. I get the Plant Delights catalog and drool over everything it. It would be a very dangerous place for me to visit. I love visiting trial gardens and learning about new plants!

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  2. I am officially jealous. ;)

    Gorgeous shots, Indie! I have to show the picture of the waterfall to my hubby and ask him to build it for me. Think he could finish it before the snow flies? LOL!

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  3. How wonderful to be able to visit this place! Sounds like you could live there and never see all the plants! Congrats on getting 5 plants - I hope they are something special and unusual.

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  4. What a lovely garden! Thanks for the tour.

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  5. LOL! How fun the barrel monster is. LOL!
    What a great waterfalls they have there. I just love touring gardens in person or on the blogs.Only way I will get to see many of them. The Yellow Foxgloves are so pretty. I just planted one in my shade garden a week ago. I am going to enjoy this beauty.

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  6. And you got out of there with five plants! Such will power! I would have pawned some of my roses (just kidding, but I'd have at least thought about it LOL). Buying the more uncommon varieties of plants is a favorite hobby of ours.

    But more importantly, thanks for the tour of this amazing garden -- it will definitely be added to our list of places to visit the next time we are in the Carolinas. I can't wait for you to post "Part 2"!

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  7. Certainly a garden of plant delights and the titanotrichum is a delightful little flower. And a nice little hoard to take home with you. Happy planting.

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  8. I recently did a post on my visit to this nursery: http://carolynsshadegardens.com/2011/07/05/the-weird-and-the-wonderful/. Of course, I focused on the shade plants!

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  9. Plant Delight is da bomb for rare plants but the prices are ridiculous. They tend to be small and some seemed more like rooted cuttings. What are they doing with all the money? My advice is read the witty catalog but go elsewhere to buy your plants.

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  10. I ended up getting a Onychium japonicum 'Sichuan Lace' (a rare fern), two Dicentra spectrabilis 'Gold Heart' (a bleeding heart with beautiful chartreuse foliage that will match the other one I have), and two Hosta 'Cameo'.

    I do agree that it is quite expensive, and that the quality does vary - sometimes they are very tender seedlings, sometimes they are rootbound, and of course everything in between. That is one of the benefits of going to the open house - I don't have to pay for shipping and I can examine the plants before I buy them :) It is definitely more the place to get the rare plant you can't find elsewhere. And it's a very fun place to window shop at!

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  11. One of my favorite nurseries :-) I could not live close to them, I'd leave all my money at that place :-)

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