Celebrate 20 Years of Great Plant Picks

at our 2015 Plant Sale May 1-3

The Friends Sale has been known for introducing new and unusual plants that work in our climate. This year we will look back on some of the exceptional plants introduced to northern New Jersey over the past 20 years and feature a superior selection of exciting plants to add to your garden.


Lavender & Digiplexis


Lavender ‘Phenomenal’

Look at this photo and you can see that the name says it all. Lloyd Traven, owner of Peace Tree Farm in PA, introduced this lavender three years ago and everyone has raved about it since then. We’re lucky to have Peace Tree as one of our suppliers so we will have a great supply of this wonderful herb. The shape and hardiness of this lavender is better than any other varieties that can be grown in our area. About the only one who doesn’t like this plant are the deer browsing in your neighborhood.


Actaea Simplex ‘Atropurpurea Group’ - Tall Dark and Handsome

Actaea Simplex ‘pink spike’

One charming common name for Actaea Simplex ‘Atropurpurea Group’ (formerly Cimicifuga) is Fairy Candles. Some call it Bugbane which refers to the insect repellent properties of the plant.


Gladiators of the Garden – Hellebores

Helleborus niger Potter’s Wheel

Leftover snow is still on the ground, we’ve celebrated St. Patricks’ Day but for gardeners it is a time that we anxiously peek outside to see what has survived winter’s wrath.


Shady Ladies

Thalictrum ‘Elin’

My yard is dominated by large trees of varying types. Oaks, hickories, maples, white pines; beautiful majestic beings that provide coolness in summer and protection from harsh winter winds. As a gardener, I have learned that while the shade these trees provide limits my choices from plant lists, I can still create a beautiful garden where soft colors weave in and out and create an atmosphere of coolness, serenity and calm.

One important technique to achieve visual interest in the shade garden is variation in elevation. I love Thalictrum ‘Elin,’ with its height up to seven feet and its soft, lacy leaves. Purplish stems topped with lavender flowers and blue-green foliage give color variety as well as height. ‘Elin’ will be happiest with a few hours of sunlight. Find a spot under a high tree canopy and you will be rewarded by her charms.


2015 Plant Dividends

Gladiolus rosebud

Once again, our Members receive an annual Plant Dividend. This year choose from a variety of Cladiums or Gladiolus.

Select one cultivar of Caladium and you’ll get two nice sized bulbs to fill a pot or a shady nook to color and texture.

Select one cultivar of Gladiolus and you’ll get 5 healthy corms to make a create a tall, sword-like stand at the back of a sunny bed or in a container.


Everything Old Is New Again

Fuschia Gartenmeister

You know what they say "Everything old is new again" so here are some great "old" annuals for containers and garden beds.

I always have at least one container that has Fuschia Gartenmeister in it. First of all it is an upright fuchsia growing to about 18 inches. It blooms with salmon colored flowers that appeal to hummingbirds, all Summer long. And finally, it plays well with others. It looks great with dark-leaved coleus or chartreuse Ipomea.


-- A Cornus for Every Garden

There is a Cornus or dogwood for every garden that will provide beautiful flowers, great bark, berries, good Fall color or all of the above.

Let's start with a Cornus alba Ivory Halo that adds brightness to any shady corner with its variegated leaves and winter interest with its bright red twigs. it is a rapid growing (to 6 ft.) deciduous shrub and its blue drupes are attractive to birds in the Fall. This is great shrub for year round interest.


Have You Ever Grown Bay Laurel?

Have you ever grown bay laurel? It’s such a dignified plant.

Reserved in its rate of growth, a bay laurel grown in a container will not need replanting for 5 years or so. Bay is often kept pruned, either to keep the size in check or to create a more ornamental tree. Pruning is usually done in the spring, as new growth is just beginning. You can prune as much or as little as you like, to keep the tree small or to create a topiary artwork.


Pleasing Plant Combos

Pleasing Plant Combos
Brunnera variegata

For Shade

Here is a great combination for the shady garden with the added bonus of deer resistance.

The early Spring blooming Brunnera variegata offers delicious sky blue flowers in May and white flecked, heart shaped leaves for interest the rest of the Summer. Combine this with the textural foliage of the pink flowered Astilbe Rythm 'n Blues which has plumey pink flowers from June to August. For another unique textural element add Rodgersai Fireworks with its large, leathery, copper edged leaves and glowing pink flowers in June and July. Fill in with Lady ferns (Athyrium Lady In Red) for a picture perfect garden grouping.



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