Search Results for: by Tony Avent

Tree of hearts

by Tony Avent illustration by Ippy Patterson I was first introduced to Aleurites fordii (also known as Vernicia fordii) through the wood sealer called Tung oil, which is made from the plant. That was long before I met Aleurites fordii in person….

Attention getter

by Tony Avent illustration by Ippy Patterson Who doesn’t know scheffleras? Whether you’ve abused them as houseplants or strolled underneath them at your favorite Florida theme park, most of us have had a personal experience with scheffleras. Scheffleras are members of the…

Alabama wild ginger

by Tony Avent I grew up in a wooded section of west Raleigh. As a shy kid, I spent most of my spare time roaming through the woods along Crabtree Creek, where Crabtree Valley shopping center would eventually sprout. One of…

Wings of a fairy, horns of a goat

by Tony Avent illustration by Ippy Patterson Epimediums, or fairy wings, are perennial members of the barberry family, which have been popular since at least the mid-1700s. This woodland shade perennial flowers in early spring, and can trace its popularity to an…

A bouquet of silver

by Tony Avent illustration by Ippy Patterson Pulmonarias, or lungworts as they are commonly called, are bold-textured, clumping woodland perennials, prized for their unique silver-spotted, deer-resistant foliage. Long a favorite of shade gardeners in temperate climates, Pulmonarias flower in late winter…

A fig to give

by Tony Avent When most folks decide to grow a fig, they opt for something like brown turkey fig, or at least something relatively edible. Me, I’m more interested in the ornamental figs – all members of the plant genus…

The Sun King

by Tony Avent illustration by Ippy Patterson I’ve long been fascinated with the genus Aralia, beginning with my love of house plants as a young child. A few years later, I met the native “devil’s walking stick,” Aralia spinosa, in…

Evita!

by Tony Avent Gesneriads have long been a personal favorite of mine, starting from my days growing and selling African violets (a member of that family) as a young teenager. Like any addiction, African violets led me too other gesneriads:…

Southern maidenhair fern

by Tony Avent illustration by Ippy Patterson I’m not sure why gardeners are so attracted to maidenhair ferns, but odds are the plant’s romantic common name – which aptly describes its dainty foliage – has something to do with it….

Pig butt arum

  by Tony Avent illustration by Ippy Patterson It’s not until you come face-to-face – or perhaps I should say nose-to-nose – with a pig butt arum that you realize it isn’t a grand horticultural April Fool’s prank. Indeed, I…

Bird’s-Foot Violet

by Tony Avent illustration by Ippy Patterson At some time in most gardeners’ lives, they become enchanted with violets. Some with well-behaving violets, and others with the less-stellar members of the clan. I, for one, have always had a tenuous…

Nothoscordum sellowianum

by Tony Avent I’ve grown many bulbs in my gardening life, but rarely has any plant enchanted me like the miniature Nothoscordum sellowianum. My love affair started in 1995 as I perused one of the obscure botanical journals (which qualify…

Foetid Toadshade

by Tony Avent illustration by Ippy Patterson I don’t remember exactly when or why I became enamored with trilliums, but it was certainly at an early stage of my planthood…I mean, childhood. There always seemed to be something magical about…

That’s some asparagus: Rohdea japonica

by Tony Avent illustration by Ippy Patterson I first became enamored with Rohdea japonica back around the time President Richard Nixon uttered that immortal line, “I am not a crook.”  As I was always on the lookout for new plants…

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