Posts Tagged ‘growers’

I was delighted to have had the opportunity to visit Plant Delights Nursery and their Juniper Level Botanical Garden last week.  There is SO much to love, but sadly very few decent photos.  You see, that day was the first day of their Open House, but my last day in the area.  I had only two hours before I had to leave for my flight, and a measly 36 image slots left on my camera’s memory card (not nearly enough!).  I didn’t want to skip shopping, so I had to keep moving….

Let me start here:  I’ve been reading Tony Avent’s (the proprietor) e-mail newsletter and ordering from his mail order catalog for years.  I read his book in college, and meeting him was (for doofy plant geek me) akin to meeting a movie star.  Let me tell you – HE KNOWS HIS STUFF.  Even though he lives in North Carolina, that dude is up to speed on Bay Area nurseries and gardens  (including news items I wouldn’t know about if I wasn’t a member of the HALS North CA chapter).  Despite having hundreds (think I’m kidding?  you should’ve seen the big tour busses) of people wandering about, he spent a nice chunk of time chatting with me about gardens and nurseries in the Bay Area.

His staff were equally accommodating, and this is the main reason I am posting about the trip.  I cannot emphasize enough how remarkable the staff is.  I met/talked to no less than six people, each of them asked me if it was my first time at the gardens, and where was I visiting from.  When I saw that person again, they made sure to make eye contact, wave, smile, or otherwise say something like “hey, you still here?”, “what plant are you getting now?” or “have a safe flight!”.  I bought only THREE plants, all in 4″ containers, so it wasn’t like I was being recognized for pigging out on the greenery.  I bought an Arisaema (I’ve never grown this before, so we’ll see if Tony was right and it likes my patio) that had been rooted in the pot next to it, so when they were picked up, each had exposed roots.  I went to pay for it, and the nice man who wrote up my sales ticket directed me into one of their holding/shipping greenhouses so he could nest the 4″ pot into a 2 gal pot with potting soil to protect those roots until I could get it home and safely re-potted.  There was no extra charge for this, but it sure illustrates how much they care about the plants and what they’ll do to make sure they aren’t compromised.

Plant Delights specializes in some very cool stuff, making their own introductions as well as cultivating rare and unusual plants from all over the world (responsibly, too!).  They’ve got the most Zephyranthes cultivars I’ve ever seen in one place (and mine are doing well, I’ve had them a few years now).  I don’t personally grow Hosta, but check out one part of their Hosta seed trials below:

The people there know about their plants and soils, and they sure as heck care.  I overheard an impromptu lecture on soils and the evils of commercial fertilizer (organic is the way to go, no matter what you read anywhere else), and I learned that even they get their soils tested annually.  They take good care of everything, and to get plants of this quality from people of this quality….well….I have no need to go to Home Depot anytime soon.

Maybe someday I will try Pitcher plants again….I love how they look in bloom and with other plants (above).

Thank you, Plant Delights Nursery!

OH – and what did I carry home in my carry-on bag?  Bletilla striata ‘Murasaki Skikibu’, Arisaema costatum, and Lycoris x ‘Elsiae’.

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