Plant Profiles

Sunny Delights

Everything changed for me with the first batch of catalogs I received from the daffodil specialists. To my astonishment, none were from Holland, but instead came from Oregon, Northern Ireland, England, New Zealand, and Tasmania. Unfamiliar with practically every entry, I was immediately taken in by the refinement of form and the expanded range of colors seen in some of their flowers.

Daphne bholua

Daphne, the first love of Apollo, gave her name to a genus of shrubs as endearing as her flight from his embrace. She was transformed into a laurel tree to escape the god, so we crown champions with laurel (Laurus nobilis) wreaths. But for fragrance alone, there is no single genus of shrubs that I find more indispensable for the garden than Daphne

Gardeners in the Deep South

Gardeners in the Deep South face some challenges unique to their region. Well known are the discomforts of outdoor work in the heat of summer, and the persistence of weed and insect pests due to the long growing season. Another problem is the extreme vigor of climbers and vines…

The genus Aloe

The genus Aloe merits wider use, be it in a potted collection or in mixed plantings. More than any other plant, aloe vera is an icon of the 1960s and ’70s (at least within the realm of legality). It grew on nearly every countercultured windowsill in North America, offering its gelatinous sap to be smeared or swallowed for every known malady…

Ferns from spores

There are no seeds, no cuttings, just spores released from the sori on a frond’s underside. If the spores settle in a perfectly hospitable spot, they grow into prothallia, which look like liverworts…

See-Through Plants

In mid-winter, I value strong but supple structural plants. Their movements in the winter wind play with the slanting light, in a view that gets me through the year’s shortest days…