Old-fashioned shrubs/trees

faithnkidsApril 16, 2007

I'm working on turning my yard into the old-fashioned kind I grew up with - Sweet Betsy, spirea, crabapple,giant azaleas, not these wimpy little varieties, spider lily, carolina silver bell, lily of the valley etc. I'm interested in hearing peoples' favorites, mainly shrubs and trees but also some perennials, and also SOURCES - where to get these specimens in a world where nurseries all seem to carry the newest of the new. I'm in the Durham area. I have the Pass-Along Plants book but want more info! Thanks.

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Me, too. Since we moved to the country I have put all thoughts of formal boxwoods and manicured lawns and knife-edged beds behind me.

I am working on incorporating plants I remember from my Daddy's and my Gramma's gardens - cleome, old fashioned zinnias, surprise lilies, 4 o'clocks, tiger lilies, butterfly bushes, wisteria. I was delighted to find an old fashioned mock orange here when we moved in. It was in too shady a spot so I limbed up a few trees and removed a couple of small ones so that it could have some light and it's looking fantastic. I also lucked into one of the old fashioned bridal wreath spireas - with the tiny, round clumps of white flowers. I remember it as one of my Daddy's favorites. Unfortunately the nursery where I bought it has closed.

I've had the best luck finding these old fashioned plants in small, independent nurseries and greenhouses in more rural areas. There are several tucked away in the county where I live that do their own propagation and planting rather than just buying from the big wholesalers.

I'm still looking for an old fashioned deutzia (another of Daddy's favs) and a source for the old fashioned type of iris that are lavender and have such a fantastic scent.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2007 at 9:04AM
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rootdiggernc(Z-7A NC)

We were just talking about Spiraea prunifolia/Bridal Wreath bush a week or so ago on this forum. It's no longer in production so you have to get it as a passalong. Beautiful and no real need to do anything to it. I cut mine back once in a blue moon (maybe every 4 or 5 years) to thin it out a bit. This is not Vanhouteii, it came along later, but it's now called Bridal Wreath Spirea.

Here is a link that might be useful: Spiraea prunifolia

    Bookmark   April 16, 2007 at 9:05AM
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Lindakimy there are many iris vendors that sell historics, and for not much money. My favorite is Superstition Iris. The iris you're thinking about sounds like Iris pallida Dalmatica, although there are several pallida cultivars and they all smell wonderful.

Here is a link that may be useful: Superstition Iris

    Bookmark   April 16, 2007 at 9:26AM
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Faithnkids, check out Woodlanders; they may carry deutzia, spirea and some of those other big shrubs. Your best bet for the best spider lilies (durability) and sweetshrub (fragrance) are passalongs, so you may want to come to one of the GardenWeb swaps. There is one next Sat. at Lake Crabtree (see exchange page).

    Bookmark   April 16, 2007 at 9:36AM
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Dibbit(z7b SC)

I saw several of the Spirea prunifolia as someone's commercial production at the IGA in Tryon, NC. I know it's odd, but the manager there usually has very nice and a little odd (the above, a golden Leyland, etc.) trees and shrubs as well as the usual bedding plants. It had a printed tag, so I assume it was commercial. I was in a hurry, off for the afternoon and it was one of the hot days before Easter, so I didn't get one, not thinking it would like sitting in the car for hours. I will have to check it out and see if there are any left.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2007 at 10:12AM
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Lazy S's farm nursery list Spiraea prunifolia 'Plena' - Bridal Wreath Spirea ,Sunny Gardens
also has it


    Bookmark   April 16, 2007 at 10:37AM
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Niche Gardens in Chapel Hill has pearlbush, beautybush, and single-flowered kerria. They have carried Carolina silverbell in the past. They may not carry enough to list in their online catalog so it'd be worth asking if they have any.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2007 at 10:52AM
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There are some 'spirea plenifloria' at some of the wholesale nurseries.

Silk Hope Nursery near Siler City is supposed to have natives and old-fashioned plants.

I used to go to Lilywell Farm near Hillsborough for the old-fashioned plants, but I've not been there in a number of years. They are still listed as a nursery if you google the name.

If you want old-fashioned azaleas, look for these:
R. canescens Piedmont azalea
R. periclymenoides Pinxter Azalea
R. viscosum Swamp Azalea

Although it is a new introduction, I love the x Sinocalycalycanthus raulstonii 'Hartlage Wine' that is a hybrid between Calycanthus and Sinocalycanthus crossed at the J. C. Raulston Arboretum. It has wine-red flowers.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2007 at 10:56AM
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typo -- spirea prunifolia!

    Bookmark   April 16, 2007 at 11:00AM
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where abouts in Durham are you? I saw bridalwreath spirea for sale at witherspoon rose culture (on 15-501) last week. I got my sweet betsy and a lot of my old fashioned plants as cuttings from my husbands grandmother so I can't help you with that. I would try the Durham farmers market, there have been plenty of people with plants the last couple weeks, lots of vegetable starts but also a good number of perennials. I've also had good luck at For Garden's Sake on 751.
The Southern Bulb company has some very nice things including spider lily (they are only listing the spring planted bulbs right now) and Old House Gardens has spider lily, snowdrops, suprise lily, and silver bells.


    Bookmark   April 16, 2007 at 12:08PM
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Online- check out forestfarm dot com. They have two pages of spirea (!) including prunifolia. Looks like they have a LOT of stuff!

    Bookmark   April 16, 2007 at 6:34PM
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Tammy Kennedy

if you are ok with starting from cuttings i can supply the soirea, deutzia, carolina allspice/sweetshrub, some old roses, and some others. i also have lycoris (spider lilies), many old fashioned iris- tall bearded and table, which are a smaller version of the tb, old varieties of daylilies, etc. the woman i consider my garden mentor is into old fashioned/antique varieties- mostly iris, daylilies and roses, and that's where i got a lot of my starts. i'm in the garner area; just let me know if you're interested. thanks, tammy

    Bookmark   April 16, 2007 at 7:36PM
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I found sweet betsy at the garden center at the Farmer's Market in Raleigh, which I believe is now closed. I have the same goals as you - I want a lot of those old-fashioned plants, like snowball bush and gardenia, sweet betsy, and hydrangeas, to really anchor my yard.
Last year after I planted the sweet betsy, a wasp nest appeared on one of it's branches, and my husband, who thought he was helping, bless his heart, sprayed it with something that turned the whole side of the bush brown and dead. I was holding my breath that the rest of the plant would make it through, and it did. This year it's coming back with a vengeance.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2007 at 8:32PM
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Pamela Church

I got a sweet shrub for a very good price on Ebay, from a vendor in Georgia. It was very well packaged, and although it looked like a bundle of sticks when it came, within two weeks had foliage and a couple of buds. She had quite a variety of southern shrubs.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2007 at 6:06AM
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You may already know this, but it's best to buy sweetshrub in bloom -- there is a lot of variation in fragrance, with the worst smelling like straight vinegar!

    Bookmark   April 17, 2007 at 8:48AM
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I am looking for spirea prunifolia plena about 15 plants. Is this the same as double bridal wreath spirea as posted on this web site?http://www.magnoliagardensnursery.com/productdescrip/Spiraea_Bridal.html

Any help would be great.

Here is a link that might be useful: Magnolia

    Bookmark   July 12, 2008 at 12:53PM
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