What you see below is but a fraction of what we will have for sale. This listing is separated into several different sections below: “Garden Flowers,” “Fruit,” “Vegetables and Herbs,” “Trees and Shrubs,” “Dwarf Asiatic Lilies,” “Tall Asiatic Lilies,” “Dwarf Oriental Lilies,” “Tall Oriental Lilies,” and “Dahlias.” Some plants will be in very limited supply. We’ll also have a large number of designer container plantings, miniature gardens, “broken pot” gardens, and garden accessories. Bird Houses — made by us! — will be the special featured items this year.
Job’s Tears (Coix lacryma-jobi) — A member of the grass family and tropical in origin, so use this very unique grain in a container as an annual or plant it beside your pond and watch for the grain to form. (In the southernmost United States — zones 9 and 10 — Job’s Tears have naturalized in some places, but that’s not going to happen in our mountain environment.) The grain that Job’s Tears produces — and which gives us its common name — are large, white, hard pearls (“tears”) that are often used to make jewelry and (especially) to make rosaries in Asian countries (which this most unusual plant comes from). The cultivated variety of Job’s Tears is an edible grain crop in much of Asia and is often sold in Asian markets as “Chinese pearl barley,” though it’s not a barley at all. The seeds of Job’s Tears are notoriously difficult to germinate, so you should at least praise us for our diligence in getting our small supply up and ready for the 2017 Plant Sale. It is by far the rarest and oddest thing you’ll encounter all summer! It’s a beautiful ornamental grass that would love to spend the summer beside your water feature (in as much sun as you can find for it). And you can use it to recite your prayers for less global warming while you’re at it.
Cleome “Clio Magenta” (Cleome x hybrida) — A traditional cottage garden flower from the Victorian age, but this hybrid has no thorns (yay!) and is more manageable in size, compared to your great-grandmother’s Cleome — topping out at 18 – 36 beautiful inches (rather than 5 or 6 feet). The flowers are also highly fragrant, something else your great-grandmother might find amazing about this Cleome. Cleome is native to Paraguay, Argentina, Uruguay, and Southern Brazil, so it does best with lots of sunshine and will appreciate hot, dry conditions (global warming is this flower’s best friend!). Its tight, upright, shortish habit makes it perfect for container plantings or for massing in your perennial borders for a pop of color. Cleome is often called “spider plant” because each flower’s long stamens resemble a very long-legged spider. “Clio Magenta” is a sterile hybrid, so it will not seed in your garden for a billion little Cleome seedlings next spring. When it’s gone, it’s really gone. And did I forget to mention that it’s deer resistant.
Phlox “Sugar Stars” (Phlox drumondii) — An annual flower perfect for your cutting garden! This plant’s abundant, highly fragrant blooms are an enchanting shade of silvery violet with pretty dark purple streaks. Perfect for sunny borders, and it will make it through dry spells with flying colors. (See a color photo here.)
Phlox “Cherry Caramel” (Phlox drumondii) — Another annual phlox that will add an unusual splash of color to your sunny border and is perfect for cutting and vase-loading all summer long. Very fragrant blooms in an unusual range of colors, from creamy buff outer petals (“caramel”) to the deep cherry inner core. They do not stop blooming all summer. In fact, the more you cut them, the more they bloom. (Does that make them masochists?) (See a color photo on our Facebook page.)
“Royal Ensign” Morning Glory (Convolvulus tricolor) — They call this a “dwarf morning glory.” It is most unusual for the Convolvulus genus because it is not a climber. It’s a bushy, mounding, flowering annual perfect for spilling over the sides of containers or for brightening up your perennial border. Let’s focus on those blooms, shall we? The two-inch trumpet-shaped blossoms are tri-colored, with deep blue in the large petals (rare cobalt blue) and a yellow throat, those two colors separated and highlighted by a white collar that provides a stunning contrast. This flower has been cultivated since the 17th century, but it’s totally new to the Watauga County Annual Community Plant Sale. Better get some while the getting is good!
“Bella” Flowering Maple (Abutilon x hybridum) — Also known as Chinese bellflower, but we prefer the genus name Abutilon to the wholly misleading common name of “flowering maple,” since this annual flower has almost nothing in common with a maple tree (other than the shape of its leaves). “Bella” blooms in a wide variety of charming colors: pale pink, pink, rose/mauve, coral/apricot, pale yellow, white/near white. The blooms themselves are large and resemble somewhat the generous blooms of Hibiscus. “Bella” is a superior container plant, and some enterprising gardeners we know bring their Abutilon containers in during the winter and place them in a sunny window, and then take them back out again, come spring. You may do that too, if you please (and assuming you have a sunny window during the mountain winter), or you can plant your “Bellas” in the front of your perennial border for an enchanting, but charmingly ephemeral, splash of color.
“Cerise Queen” Yarrow (Achillea millefolium) — Cherry-pink mounds of blooms on compact plants is the hallmark of this variety of yarrow. It desires a sunny spot and can withstand drought like a camel and even thrives in poor soil. Did you know that the genus name — Achillea — comes from the Greek thug Achilles, who dragged poor Hector around the walls of Troy? Achilles got shot in the heel by an arrow, and his wound was treated with a plant — yarrow, supposedly. And hence the salve “Wounded Warrior,” one ingredient of which is supposed to be yarrow. (Ain’t mythology grand! Ain’t pharmacology grander?) This is a perennial garden bloomer and will spread, so you’ll have some to share with the neighbors in a couple of years. It makes a great cut flower and will prolong its bloom if you do cut it regularly. It’s deer resistant too, fragrant, and is also used as a dried flower.
“Queen Sophia” Marigold (Tagetes patula) — One of the annual, specialty Marigolds we’re featuring this year. Features dark orange petals rimmed in golden yellow. Wow! Leaves and flowers are edible, and you also get all the other beneficial by-products of having marigolds among your vegetables — a natural pest repellant. (See the photo here.)
“Cottage Red” Marigold (Tagetes patula) — Another outstanding annual. This red-flowered Marigold has yellow margins around the edges of the petals, making it a stand-out in any sunny spot. It will bloom for you until frost next November! (See the photo here.)
“Choca Mocho” Cosmos (Cosmos atrosanguineus) — This species (like the Marigolds above) is native to Mexico and is said to be extinct in the wild. A wonderful cutting flower with maroon-to-dark-chocolate flower heads that will stand out in your perennial beds. Another of our special annuals. (See the photo here.)
Sweet Four O’Clock (Mirabilis longiflora) — Four O’Clocks are natives to the American Southwest and Mexico, where they’re perennial (or reseeding annuals), but for our colder climate, you should treat these as unusual and attractive annuals. They produce a profusion of trumpet-shaped flowers (up to 4 1/2 inches long … wow!) that are exotically fragrant. The flowers are famous for opening only when the clock strikes four — or, in other words, in the middle of the hot afternoon, when their fragrance will sit heavy on the humid summer air and intoxicate you into doing something foolish (like turning off the TV and going outside). Like Thomas Jefferson, who was sent seeds of Sweet Four O’Clock in 1812 and grew them at Monticello (and you know what Thomas Jefferson got up to at four o’clock on some afternoons!). Caution: If you have skin sensitivity, don’t be handling this plant. All parts of it are toxic, and picking the flowers may cause dermatitis in sensitive individuals.
“Silver Edge” Siberian Iris (Iris sibirica) — Siberians bloom after beaded irises, and their sword-like foliage makes a nice bit of texture all summer long in your perennial beds. “Silver Edge” sports exactly what you’d expect — a delicate silver lining around the edges of the light-purple petals. Simply stunning. Because Siberians are resistant to juglone, the toxic emission from walnut tree roots, they grow very nicely under walnuts, and they are deer resistant. Attractive to hummingbirds. Will thrive in a sunny spot but can tolerate some shade. (See a photo here.)
“Sarah Bernhardt” Peony (Paeonia lactiflora) — Much like the famous stage actress whose name they honor, these are bosomy, double-flowered peonies totally “in the pink.” Even after they bloom out, their glossy green foliage provides a compelling backdrop for other flowering perennials and a nice tropical texture for your high-summer garden. The blossoms are famously fragrant, just like Miss Bernhardt after her bath in sweet-scented oils. Peonies are known as “investment plants” for a good reason: they persist year after year, and grow greater and more dramatic, just like a good stage actress. Plant them in any border, along a driveway, near water — they provide their own spotlight and never fail to enchant. A note on staking: Most of the great-flowered peonies require some support because as they age their huge flowers grow heavier and heavier. We recommend a “grow-through” grid that will allow the developing buds to ascend and then prevent their flopping in a rain. The heavy foliage will hide the grow-through. And don’t freak out about the little ants crawling over the buds, They actually serve a vital purpose and help the buds to open. Deer resistant.
“Edulis Superba” Peony (Paeonia lactiflora) — “Edulis Superba” is every bit as venerable as “Sarah Bernhardt.” It’s been a feature of cottage gardens since 1824, but it features a “hotter pink” than “Sarah Bernhardt.” (It’s maybe like the stage actress started moonlighting as a saloon torch-singer.) Wonderfully fragrant, a marvelous cut flower, its glossy green foliage is beautiful all year long. It’s considered one of the most robust peonies. Don’t plant your peonies too deep. They prefer to be rather shallowly buried and will develop a pronounced crown. Deer resistant. (See a photo of “Edulis Superba” here.)
Indian Hyacinth (Camassia esculenta) — This is a late-spring flowering, perennial bulb, native to the American Northwest. The Lewis and Clark expedition noticed the Nez Perce Indians roasting and eating the bulbs, and since they were hungry too, the Lewis and Clark expedition ate their weight in them. They also managed to bring back a few for President Thomas Jefferson to inspect and plant at Monticello. They will thrive best with siting in good sun (though we’ve had a patch growing for years in mostly shade). Their natural habitat was open prairie. The bulbs produce dramatic, rich, dark purple blue flowers with startling yellow stamens. They will naturalize into the landscape, if left undisturbed.
“Camellia” Balsam (Impatiens balsamina) — Yes, this is a form of Impatiens, but an older and more neglected form. These were called “Lady Slippers” in the Victorian and Edwardian ages, and then they fell into under-use in gardens. We’re bringing them back with two different varieties (see the next listing below). Beautiful rose-shaped blooms in many colors: pink, lavender, red, rose, and white. Short bushy plants have large bright green leaves. Very easy to grow. A must for fans of Victorian cottage gardens. You can extend the flowering season of balsam by dead-heading or snipping back the main stem after it blooms. Balsam is a near cousin of our native Jewelweed or Touch-Me-Nots and will bloom about mid-summer.
“Peppermint Stick” Balsam (Impatiens balsamina) — Very much like the “Camellia” Balsam above, except the blooms are distinctively spotted red and white. (See a photo here.)
“Hot Cakes” Stock (Matthiola incana) — Stock is another of those Victorian cottage garden faves that have become under-utilized today. They are known for their excellent fragrance and were often used for “hand posies” that delicate ladies might carry around with them and inhale when presented with a disagreeable odor. (Victorian streets were not known for their pleasant fragrance. Neither were some Victorian men!) Sometimes called “Gillyflowers,” Stock is a classic annual garden flower, ideal for containers but also well suited for sunny spots among your vegetables and in your perennial borders. Good for cutting, as it will continue to bloom forever if you keep cutting it.
Denver Daisy (Rudbeckia hirta) — This is a hybrid black-eyed Susan, short-lived compared to regular black-eyed Susans. It really should be considered a “persistent annual” in our mountains. But what an annual! Flowers for months on end, on a compact, bushy plant. An outstanding cut flower. Deer resistant. Bred from the native Rudbeckia hirta species, crossed with R. “Prairie Sun,” expressly for the 150th anniversary of the founding of the city of Denver. In 2008, Denver gave away “Denver Daisy” seed in schools, banks, and other offices all over the city. “Denver Daisy” sports enormous 6- to 8-inch blooms with outstretched petals of purest yellow. At the base of each petal is a dab or two of dark red, creating a halo around the chocolate-brown cone. Stunning in cutflower bouquets and a huge draw in the garden (butterflies and bees, not to forget the songbirds who’ll feast on the dried seeds in late fall and early winter). A must-have for the sunny border.
“Outhouse” Hollyhocks (Alcea rosea) — Back by popular demand in 2017! Grown from seed, these classic, tall, single-flowered hollyhocks will become the instant stars of any perennial border. Outhouse hollyhocks come in mixed colors, from pink, white, red and burgundy, and are the classic Victorian ladies, with big blossoms decorating the tall, taller and stout stalks. They were traditionally grown next to outdoor privies, not because they had a fragrance to counteract human realities (because they have little to no fragrance) but because they took the mind off what was about to be encountered within those precincts. (See a photo here.)
“Dwarf Queeny” Hollyhocks (Alcea rosea) — Compact form, 2-3 feet high, ideal for bedding use, small enough to grow in pots! Huge, fully double blooms held all along the stems. Contains the full range of hollyhock colors: purple, red, rose, pink, salmon, yellow and white. (See a photo here.)
Cupid’s Dart (Catananche caerulea) — True blue flowers are often difficult to come by in the perennial garden, but these relatives of daisies fill the bill! Good as cut flowers or dried, these lovely perennials will form non-invasive clumps in your perennial beds. Native to the Mediterranean region, the flower was supposedly used by the ancient Greeks as a key ingredient in a love potion, hence the common name “Cupid’s dart.” There was actually a hint of threat in that name, since anyone infected with the juice of this flower could not resist a would-be lover’s advances. (We will not say anything if you want to experiment using the plant in your own ad hoc love potion, but we recommend that you choose your victim carefully, as the Church frowns on divorce.)
“Hot Papaya” Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea) — Plant breeders have gone a little bit nuts producing new varieties of our native coneflower, and “Hot Papaya” may be the most daring yet. This dazzling new cultivar was developed by a hybridizer in The Netherlands. These magnificent blooms are the first ever orange-red double coneflowers. The color stays true and doesn’t fade. The fragrant flowers are borne on strong stems and are excellent for cutting. Attracts butterflies to a wide range of landscape settings. Spent blooms will provide browse for over-wintering finches, and the seed heads can add to winter interest in your garden.
“Mystery Rose” Chinese Forget-Me-Not (Cynoglossum amabile) — Attractive to bees, butterflies, and birds, “Mystery Rose” is an annual that will grow in sun or part shade. These old-fashioned cottage garden plants are extra tall (to 3 feet) and bear long spikes of delicate flowers in a comforting soft mysterious shades of pink. Excellent for cutting. It is said to reseed, so it may well be a “persistent annual,” but you never know for sure with our mountain winters. (See a photo here.)
“Star of Fire” Masterwort (Astrantia major) — Volumes of dark purple-red pincushion flowers with burgundy bracts, rise on dark purple stems, with a backdrop of rich green leaves; great on streambanks or in a moist border (it will resent drying out); cut back after flowering for a second flush. Wants full sun to part shade (it’s usually described as a “woodland” perennial). Excellent cut flowers. Attractive to butterflies. (See a photo here.)
Przewalski’s Leopardplant (Ligularia przewalskii) — Site this exotic perennial from northern China very carefully: It wants to be always in moist soil (Number One!) and it prefers shade (Number Two). It will grow in sun, as long as the soil is always moist, but the huge, showy leaves — one of its glorious features for any cottage garden — will tend to wilt in the afternoon sun. This is one of the stand-out plants for foliage texture. Deeply cut, large leaves form a large but compact mound over time; it has sometimes been called “Elephant Ears” (which is just wrong, getting it confused with Colocasia) and sometimes “Dragon Wings,” which is much more appropriate when I think about the many dragons I have known on Game of Thrones. But it’s not just foliage that makes this perennial a must-have for the garden! It puts up long spikes of bright yellow flowers, like other Ligularia species. Clumps may be divided in early spring every three or four years, and you’ll have specimens to share with friends or donate to the Watauga County Annual Community Plant Sale.
Zinnia, Benary’s Giant Purple — Rich violet purple double flowers composed of many overlapping petals. Sturdy and long stemmed, perfect for bouquets. This Zinnia just doesn’t stop. The hotter it gets (hello, global warming!), the more it grows and blooms. Keep it dead-headed, and you’ll have big cuttable blossoms all summer long and right up until frost. This is one amazing annual that every perennial border needs, just for bragging rights.
Verbascum, “Wedding Candles” — Verbascum, with their characteristic tall spires of blooms, like a drier rather than a wetter situation. Perfect for rock gardens or other sites with very good drainage. They want sun, of course. See a photo here.
Verbascum, “Southern Charm” — Southern Charm’s color is said to be “sophisticated,” meaning surprisingly unconventional — each little bloom on the tall bloom-spikes features dusty rose or apricot, with fuzzy, purple eyes. A collector’s must! See a photo here.
Lupine, Russell Mix — Produces a wide range of beautiful colors. See a photo here.
Geranium (Pelargonium), “Brocade Cherry Night” — These are hothouse Geraniums, so you’ll need to treat them as annuals in your garden. (True Geraniums are a different species altogether — actually Geranium. The Pelargoniums resemble them in leaf shape, but that’s about it. All the Pelargoniums have a strong fragrance when the leaves are crushed, a feature totally absent from true Geraniums.) Striking foliage with large semi-double blooms of cherry pink makes Geranium Brocade Cherry Night an AAS Winner in 2016. See a photo here.
Strawflower, Tall Double Mix (Helichrysum bracteatum) — The popular everlasting flower. To dry, pick flowers when lower 2-4 rows of petals are just beginning to open. Remove foliage, bunch loosely, and hang upside down in a warm, airy place.
“Tom Thumb” Dwarf Solomon’s Seal (Polygonatum humile) — So much more versatile for the cottage garden than the full-sized Solomon’s Seal. Treat this dwarf as a most charming and unexpected ground cover for shade areas. An extremely hardy perennial for our mountain climate. Beautiful in the woodland garden, combining well with ferns and Hosta of all kinds. Deer resistant. Native to Japan.
“Silver Edge” Siberian Iris (Iris sibirica) –Dusky mid-blue petals with a fabulous silver edge — that’s the bloom — above strap-like foliage. The silver edge makes this Siberian iris stand out in the garden like no other. Thrives in damp areas where it will achieve its maximum potential. This is an award-winning variety much prized by iris connoisseurs. Deer resistant. See photo here.
“Empress of India” Nasturtium (Tropaeolum majus) — How many wonderful garden flowers owe their names to Queen Victoria? This one certainly does, as Victoria was the first monarch of Great Britain to achieve the honorary title of “Empress of India” (bless her heart!). So this is an old, Victorian variety of Nasturtium which produces opulent ruby-crimson, single flowers against dark compact leaves. Superb for hanging baskets and mixed plantings in kitchen gardens. Flowers are totally edible and will add crimson “zing” to any salad. Perfect as companion plants for cabbage, cucumbers, and herbs. Helps in repelling whitefly and cabbage caterpillars. These annuals are native to South America, but the Watauga Annual Community Plant Sale is very friendly to immigrants!
Cosmos “Fizzy Rose Picotee” (C. bipinnatus) — We had to order these new and wonderful Cosmos seeds from England. Semi-double, rosy-white flowers with an eye-catching ruby edging. Just too cool! See a photo here.
“Sweet William” Dianthus (D. barbatus) — The one, the only, the classic cutting flower for any and every perennial border. It’s called “sweet” for a good reason — the heavenly fragrance! Variety of colors are possible. See a photo here.
“Hulk” Aster (Callistephus chinensis) — Yeah, you’re not even gonna believe these enormous flowers from outer space! Somebody apparently got a regular Aster angry, we reckon, and “The Hulk” emerged. This unusual aster cousin gives the illusion of green with green bracts (which are not petals actually) surrounding a yellow and white central disk. There could not be a more ideal garden flower for cutting (plus it’ll scare away any mice in your house and possibly your mother-in-law). Each blossom is commonly 4 – 4 1/2 inches wide. This is an annual, so give it some space and a spotlight to wow your friends (not to mention your mother-in-law).
Boneset (Eupatorium perfoliatum) — One of our great Eastern native wildflowers, very under-utilized in gardens. There are two theories about the common name “boneset” — one, that it was commonly thought to aid the healing of broken bones, and two, that it was used as a diaphoretic in the treatment of an 18th century influenza called “break bone fever.” Take your pick, but proceed with caution if you’re planning to self-medicate with Boneset, because all parts of the plant are toxic to humans. Still, the white blooms of native Boneset will set off any garden room with a splash of light. The species name, perfoliatum, refers to the identifying feature that the leaves on the stem appear to be pierced through by the stem, like shishes on a kebab. Boneset grows naturally in moist environments but will actually tolerate dry shade, given enough time to establish itself. Not a mile from the Williamson house, Boneset is growing and blooming profusely down on the South Fork of the New River.
Heucherella “Buttered Rum” (H. ) — If Mr. Heuchera (a.k.a. Coral Bells) got together with Miss Tiarella (a.k.a. Foamflower), got married and had a child, we would call it “Heucherella.” In fact they did get together (in a botanical laboratory, but even so), and the cross-breeding has produced a wonderful addition to any woodland or shade garden. This particular Heucherella is just so yummy — “Buttered Rum” is an evocative name to describe the rich, creamy, gold-to-rosy-red, maple-leaf-shaped foliage. Scrumptious! Attractive to butterflies and tolerant of dry shade. White flower spikes (very much like Heuchera blooms) will shoot up from the mound of foliage in early summer and will attract hummingbirds.
Indian Pink (Spigellia marilandica) — Our all-time favorite East Coast native wildflower. We’ve offered these hard-to-find perennials for the last several Community Plant Sales, and we’ve taken a solemn vow never to leave them out of our annual frolics. See a photo here.
Strawberries — “Cavendish,” and trays of mixed varieties
Blueberries — “Blueray”
Raspberries — “Latham” red raspberries; “Anne” yellow raspberries; “Bristol” black raspberries
Blackberries — “Triple Crown” thornless blackberries
American Plum (Prunus americana) — A thicket-forming shrub or small tree with short trunk, many spreading branches, broad crown, showy large white flowers, and red plums. American plum is a small, understory tree with fragrant, white flowers in showy, flat-topped clusters occuring before the leaves in spring. The fruit that follows ripens to a shiny, bright red in August or September. The short, crooked trunk – with scaly, black bark – supports a graceful, open crown. Fall foliage ranges from electric red to pale yellow. The plums are eaten fresh and used in jellies and preserves, and are also consumed by many kinds of birds.
Vegetables and Herbs
Asparagus, “Purple Passion”
Peas, “Tom Thumb”
Peas, “Desiree Dwarf Blauwschokkers”
Tomatoes, heirloom varieties
Beans, “Mascott” green bean
Beans, “Purple Teepee” dwarf
Beans, “Red Runner”
Lettuce, “Harris Blend”
Lettuce, “Red Wing”
Lettuce, “Siamese Dragon Stir Fry”
Lettuce, “Rocky Top”
Lettuce, “Heirloom Cutting Blend”
Kale “Dwarf Siberian”
Heal-All (Prunella vulgaris)
Feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium)
Trees & Shrubs
“Tangerine Dream” Flame Azalea (Rhododendron calendulaceum) — The early French botanist Andre Michaux, who botanized in North America in the late 1700s (including around these parts), discovered and first named this plant, describing it as new to science. The vernacular name, “flame” azalea, derives from not only the fiery color of the flowers but also the expanded, unopened buds, which suggest the flame of a candle. One of the most spectacular flowering shrubs of the Appalachian Mountains. A deciduous shrub up to 10 feet high and 15 feet wide with clusters of large yellow to orange flowers, this unusually colored azalea lights up woodland or wayside like a bush afire.
“Henry’s Garnet” Itea, Virginia Sweetspire (Itea virginica) — Virginia sweetspire is an erect, rounded, broad-spreading, deciduous shrub with arching branches. Typically grows 3-4′ (less frequently to 5′) tall with a similar spread. Features fragrant, tiny white flowers borne in cylindrical, drooping racemes (3-6″ long) which cover the shrub with bloom in late spring to early summer. One of the best-performing blooming shrubs for any garden and a native to Eastern U.S. The Williamsons’ Itea is growing in considerable shade but never fails to bloom profusely.
Snowball Viburnum (Viburnum opulus) — One of the greatest large-growing shrubs for any landscape. Snowball Viburnum produces large white pompoms of flowers in spring that slowly fade to gentle shades of pink with age. These flowers are sterile and do not form the bright red fruits typical of the species. In autumn its soft green maple-leaf like leaves flush red orange and also purple. This fall coloring adds another reason to love this shrub. This heirloom cultivar was being grown in its native Europe early in the 16th century, and obviously made the crossing to North America with the earliest European settlers.
PeeGee Hydrangea (Hydrangea paniculata grandiflora) — Another “must have” for any perennial garden, but give this shrub plenty of space. “Grandiflora” is a fast-growing shrub that can reach 25 feet tall, but it’s very tolerant of heavy pruning. Large, sometimes giant white flower heads reaching 6 to 18 inches, will turn pinkish with age. Blooms on current season’s wood. They are splendid as fresh cut flowers or even greater (in some minds) as a dried flower. Hydrangea paniculata is one of the most cold-hardy species and will make an incredible show at the end of summer, when everything else has faded away.
Mock Orange (Philadelphus) — You simply cannot beat mock orange for beauty of flower and the incredible fragrance of its blossoms in spring! It’s under-utilized in our mountains, and there’s no excuse for that neglect. Extremely hardy and immune to the harshest Boone winter. Fast-growing and very adaptable. It can tolerate some shade but will bloom best in sun. Mock Orange will produce its beautiful white blossoms, with that orange vanilla scent, on last year’s wood, so never prune this shrub until after it blooms.
“Miss Kim” Lilac (Syringa pubescens subsp. patula) –Hardy, yet performs in southern regions, with excellent powdery mildew resistance. Great for border accent or mass planting. Deciduous. This lilac species hales from Korea and is sought after for its large, highly fragrant blossoms in spring. Blooms later than other common types, so it’s less susceptible to our late mtn frosts. Compact and upright in habit, prefers average, medium, well-drained soil in full sun. Tolerates light shade, but best bloom is in full sun. 4-7′ tall with a similar spread. Lavender to ice blue, sweetly fragrant, single flowers are arranged in dense, terminal clusters.
“Nannyberry” Viburnum (Viburnum lentago) NEW FOR THE 2017 SALE — Native to the U.S. Northeast and Midwest, this Viburnum is a large shrub or small tree that can grow to 30 feet as a single stem tree. (As a multiple-stemmed shrub, you can expect a max height of about 18 feet.) Nannyberry is actually one of the largest of the Viburnums. It is admired for its compact habit, its lustrous foliage which insects rarely disfigure, its beautiful and abundant flowers, its handsome edible fruit and its brilliant autumnal color. It readily adapts itself to cultivation, and is one of the best of the small trees of eastern America for the decoration of parks and gardens in all regions of extreme winter cold. (Can you spell “B.O.O.N.E.”?) The common name “Nannyberry” derives from an observation made by early settlers, that nanny goats loved the fall fruits but billy goats wouldn’t touch them. (All you goat-herders keep that in mind!)
Button Bush (Cephalanthus occidentalis) NEW FOR THE 2017 SALE — One of our native species, under-utilized in American gardens. It’s actually a member of the coffee family of trees (not kidding!). Button bush will max out at around 12 feet high, so it’s perfect for home gardens. It’s often sought out for rain gardens, as it likes wet feet. Flowers are showy (they look like a golf ball turned into a white pin cushion) and are very fragrant. The eventual fruits are very striking, providing winter interest. It’s said to be adaptable to every kind of soil and to sun or part shade, but it won’t tolerate drought or too much dryness. Keep it well watered until it gets established or site it on the edge of your pond. The fragrant flower heads are very attractive to bees and butterflies. Flower heads mature into hard spherical ball-like fruits. The glossy green foliage will give any water feature a lush, tropical air.
Sweetshrub, a.k.a. “Carolina Allspice,” “Bubbybush,” “Sweet Bubby,” etc. (Calycanthus floridus) NEW FOR THE 2017 SALE — One of the most common native shrubs in the uplands of the eastern U.S., always found around old homesites in these mountains. As its many common names suggest, it was always valued for the sweet fragrance of its mahogany-colored blooms, which in full sun can achieve the fragrance of a ripe cantaloupe. Sweetshrubs are often planted near entrances, or other outdoor living areas, to take full advantage of the fragrance. Calycanthus tends to grow broader than it is tall, especially if it’s sited in full sun. The broad spread is partly due to a suckering habit that can be controlled by yearly pruning. With sweetshrub you also get spectacular fall foliage color, with the leaves turning a brilliant golden yellow.
Black Tupelo (Nyssa sylvatica) NEW FOR THE 2017 SALE — The common name “Tupelo” comes from the Native American Creek language, meaning “swamp tree,” and it was common in the Eastern U.S. in moist woods and along water. But the Williamson Black Tupelo is sited in some of the driest part of their garden, so Black Tupelo is obviously very adaptable. The Williamson Black Tupelo has also been carefully pruned into an “umbrella” shape, proving that it’s also tolerant of human meddling. It’s a small tree by any standard and belongs in more home landscapes. We prize it for its glossy green, tropical-looking foliage. It does flower, but the flowers are tiny and inconspicuous. The resultant fruit is said to be a very important food source for robins. If you have a deer problem, protect your sapling during the first year, as deer are particularly attracted to young foliage. One of the last trees to leaf out in spring, and one of the most beautiful in autumn.
Red Bud (Cersis canadensis) NEW FOR THE 2017 SALE — Certainly one of the best of our native species for the small home garden and for providing that desirable pop of hot spring color. In our mountains, the Red Bud bloom usually follows hard on the splashing bloom of Forsythia, for a continuity of color. It blooms all along otherwise bare branches, producing a stunning effect of dead nature suddenly bursting with the blood of life. An “understory” tree in the wild and hence perfect for part shade.
Hazelnut (Corylus americana) NEW FOR THE 2017 SALE — A medium to large nut-bearing shrub which can be pruned to a tree form, if you’re ambitious and have time on your hands. The nuts are sought out by squirrels, deer, turkey, woodpeckers, pheasants, and other animals. The male catkins are a food staple of ruffed grouse throughout the winter. The nuts are edible but are smaller than the commercially cultivated Corylus maxima, commonly sold as “filberts,” but you can certainly shell and eat them, if you’re ambitious and have time on your hands. It has a tendency to sucker, producing a distinctive clump that becomes a haven for all sorts of wildlife. It needs good sun to produce an abundance of nuts.
Beauty Berry (Callicarpa americana) –As a folk remedy, it has been claimed that “fresh, crushed leaves of Callicarpa americana … helped keep biting insects away from animals such as horses and mules.” A chemical compound isolated from the plant, callicarpenal, was effective as a mosquito repellent. All well and good, but we grow it as an ornamental because of the striking clusters of little, brightly-colored berries that ripen and shine in the fall. The berries ripen in September through October and are a favorite among wild bird species including cardinals, mockingbirds, finches, woodpeckers, and more. Beautyberry is commonly planted in landscape designs to attract wildlife because of the food source the berries provide and the cover animals get from the shrub itself. The genus name “Callicarpa” comes from Greek meaning “beautiful fruit,” and the Greeks knew what they were talking about.
Spicebush (Lindera benzoin) NEW FOR THE 2017 SALE — One of our American natives that is deer resistant! As its common name suggests, it’s a wonderfully aromatic plant. Crush the young leaves in your hand, and you’ll be offering a fragrant sacrifice to the goddesses of the garden. Tiny aromatic blooms appear along the branches before the leaves appear in spring. The fruits that develop from those flowers — small, hard seeds that look like Allspice pods — were used by early European settlers as a substitute for … wait for it … Allspice (duh!). Hence, “Spicebush.” Got it? A tea can also be brewed using the aromatic leaves and twigs. Every bit of Spicebush is aromatic, and you’ll want to pinch a leaf and crush it every time you walk past. Did I forget to mention that it is the preferred food for the black and blue spicebush swallowtail butterfly larvae?
Dwarf Asiatic Lilies
Tall Asiatic Lilies
Dwarf Oriental Lilies (highly fragrant)
Tall Oriental Lilies (highly fragrant)