After managing to spend all but one night at home since the beginning of the year, I kicked off 2013 travel with relish by visiting Camellia Forest Nursery in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, on my way to a family weekend in Virginia. Only a few miles off my usual route, I was eager to examine the camellias and other winter-blooming ornamentals offered by this highly-regarded plant nursery.
Camellia Forest, along with Plant Delights and Pine Knot Farms, are opening their doors for winter visitors over the next two weekends (Feb 22-24 and March 1-3) and are expecting the usual deluge of gardeners from the Southeast, from Maryland to Georgia, and even points further afield. (Please check nursery websites to confirm days and times.)
Lucky for me, I had the opportunity sneak in before the crowds. With the help of Brie Gluvna, Cam Forest’s knowledgeable and vivacious propagator and grower, I chose three plants for my (mostly shady) Greenville garden: Choisya ternata Sundance (Mexican orange), Ardesia japonica (Marlberry), and Primula vulgaris ‘Drumcliff’ (primrose) from the Kennedy Irish Primrose collection.
I wrote a profile on Choisya termata recently for The Greenville News after seeing the eye-catching shrub at the SC Botanical Garden in Clemson. The young leaves of Sundance are a brilliant yellow, and since they are arranged at branch tips, the brightly-colored foliage is as decorative as flowers.
The Ardesia japonica with its cheerful berries was selected as a ground cover for dry shade, while the Primula was picked for its handsome dark foliage.
I’ll be on the road again this week and next for top-notch gardening events, so stay tuned to see where I land next. You won’t be disappointed, I promise.