Once asked: Why do you want to grow these plants? Because I am besotted with them… and it is still the case. Even now I could find the exact spot of the first wild Leucojum vernalis, accompanied a bit further down by pink and blue hepaticas and later-on across the gorge the Aruncus silvester clumps, or in another area Mattheucia struthiopteris and digitalis interspersed with belladonna. When other children bonded with people I bonded with nature and plants, having worked in this profession in Germany, France, Switzerland and our Southeast. We love to nurture and promote life. For this very reason we choose to grow reliably recurring perennials that will give years of joy to share with friends and family.
We are slowly reconstructing our perennial nursery. The ice storm in February 2014 totally destroyed our house, greenhouse, sheds, fishponds, pumps, irrigation and most plants plus forced me to search for a new location and a house without catch basins in the beds. It was pretty bad. With a lifetime of experience, I should know how to grow plants by now. Yet, this place offers a totally new learning curve. Flat, heavy duty clay that had residual agricultural pesticides retained from the fourteen dry years, getting stone hard in areas without irrigation and melting to a brown squashy, geechy-goochy soft pudding during periods of heavy rain despite having created effective ditches, pond and well draining rain-basin. Being in the Lowcountry, the tides influence the rivers and creeks about 20 miles from the coast. That water-pressure expresses and spreads itself throughout the ground in nearby areas. Surprisingly, it dries rather fast when the Northwest wind blows its cold air.
We garden in Zone 8a on the East Coast of the USA. 33.7 N and 78.8 degrees W. We have wide temperature swings, from the rare 0 degree to the rare 106 degree F. We have unpredictable dry or wet seasons. Please keep in mind that Zone 8 on the West Coast is an entirely different climate than the Southeast. Having collected plenty of experience over the years I was subjected to the adage: "Old dogs learn new tricks” ( learning curve we say now-a-days). This particular new site, about 25 miles in-land from the coast, exposed to high winds, has winter temperatures to zone 7b and summer highs of zone 8b to 9a, not the gentle 8a as listed. The ground was poisoned with agricultural chemicals that did not leach out during the previous dry years. It has been healing now for five years. But, being in the low country, although above the flood zone, the ground gets saturated and flooded to 2”+ during heavy or prolonged rainfall; despite a large rain-garden with overflow pipe, big pond drainage pipes and ditches. This translates to most of the beds with stock-plants have to be raised. The clay berms from the pond excavations had to heal from the chemicals to grow plants. The normal approach with gypsum and/or natural soil amendments did not work fast enough or in depth.
Of course what grows well here may behave slightly or entirely different in an other area. Therefore we cite the hardiness zones conservatively. You can always experiment and gain new experience to share with us.
Pee Dee Area, South Carolina, United States
Woman Owned and Managed Business
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