Saturday, June 21, 2008

Garden Tours Coming

Hey all! Just a quick note before I head home from the office! There's a new section on the website (, or click on the title of this blog entry) about a new venture in garden travel and tours that I am hoping to get off the ground in the next few months.

We're working on itineraries both at home and abroad. Two trips are in the works for 2009, one to the Pacific Northwest touring nurseries, public and private gardens and some amazing natural areas. The other will be to the 2009 Philadelphia Flower Show and will include public gardens, estates and nurseries in the Brandywine Valley (Longwood Gardens, Chanticleer, etc. etc.) Details with costs and itineraries will be posted sometime later this fall--I hope sometime in October--so please keep checking back if either of these sound interesting to you!

In the future, there are itineraries in the works for garden tours to England, Scotland, France and Italy. We're working hard to find the very best accomodations, gardens and other points of interest to make these trips fun, relaxing and beautiful!

Hope summer is treating everyone well, so far. Our thoughts are with the folks in the upper midwest who are living with the terrible flooding and those back home who have been the victims of numerous tornadoes and other foul weather in the past few weeks.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Butterfly Weed

Growing up on the Kansas prairie, butterfly weed (Asclepias tuberosa) was a common and favorite sight along the roadsides and across the grassy plains. For those of us who were in tune with these kinds of things, the flowering of the butterfly weed was the official harbinger of summer. It's brilliant orange flowers were impossible to miss, usually in individual splashes here and there in the roadside ditches, but occasionally in brilliant rivers flowing down the hillsides and across the open grassland. These memories from many years ago are still with me today.

I am reminded of it each day as I pull into the driveway and there in full bloom is one of the most spectacular clumps of Asclepias tuberosa I have ever seen. So spectacular, in fact, that I am considering giving it a name and introducing it to the nursery trade. It's a plant that I found a number of years ago that seemed much more robust and a LOT more profuse in its flowering than any other that I had ever seen, so I planted it out to see what would happen. I've kept an eye on it over the years and am convinced that it really does have serious garden potential. It will even re-bloom later in the season if it is deadheaded and given a light dusting of fertilizer after it finishes its initial flowering. I've seen flowers on it as late as September, which is at least two months after most of the others have finished.

When I pulled in this afternoon I noticed a beautiful butterfly fluttering and floating just above the plant. I just happened to have the camera with me and was able to get a couple of good shots before he or she flew off in search of the next great meal. Enjoy!