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A Year of Extremes: The Earth-Kind Research and Demonstration Gardens at Myers Park 2021

Cupcake Cherry Baby Purslane

A Year of Extremes: The Earth-Kind Research and Demonstration Gardens at Myers Park 2021

There have been several extreme weather incidents at Myers Park this year. In February there was ice, snow and very low temperatures. Spring and early summer brought rain and more and more rain. There was also a very late freeze in April.

Many people in the county lost plants in the February freeze, but Myers Park gardens suffered few losses, although there was more than the usual amount of pruning.  Many of the crape myrtles had more than the usual amount of winter die back. The dead branches were pruned out once it was clear the leaves were not going to return. Some shrubs needed extra pruning. Our fig trees had to be cut down but they have regrown. The Orange Zest in the perennial garden was cut to the ground but they have all grown back to nearly last year’s height. All in all, we were very fortunate.

Then the rains came, and it just kept raining. We missed multiple days of work in the gardens and many of our drought tolerant plants that need exceptionally good drainage declined or died. The excessive moisture damages the plant roots and some of the plants couldn’t recover. This has happened in other very wet years also.

The costliest problem was the April 21st freeze.  The annual research garden had just been planted the week before, and over half of the plants died or were severely damaged. Most of the damaged plants were no longer available so we tried to find replacements. The cost was prohibitive so we had to leave some of the damaged plants in the garden. It wasn’t until July that the garden fully recovered and now the annual research garden is filled with beautiful large plants. We’re amazed by how many of the plants overcame the damage and flourished. We have several new plants this year that are doing very well.  Cat Whiskers (Orthosiphon aristatus) is about 30” tall and wide with white tube-shaped flowers with stamens that extend outward up to twice as long as the flower, giving the impression of cat’s whiskers. The plant would appreciate a little afternoon shade but is still doing well in our full sun garden.

Hot Blooded Bandana Lantana (Lantana camara ‘Bandana Hot Blooded’) forms a compact mound 18” – 24” tall and wide. It’s covered with reddish orange flowers. Its small, neat round shape sets it apart from other lantanas. It’s very attractive to butterflies and hummingbirds.

Cupcake Cherry Baby Purslane (Portulaca oleracea ‘Cupcake Cherry Baby’) has large cherry red flowers with yellow centers. The flowers are larger than those on many other purslanes. The plant is just covered in blooms. It grows about 6” tall and 2 feet wide. We also have Colorblast Double Guava Purslane (Portulaca olaracea ‘Colorblast Double Guava’). It has a double flower that is yellow on the edges and orange and pink in the center. The flowers are not as wide as Cherry Baby but the bicolor double flower is beautiful. It is about 6–10“tall and 18” wide.

There are many great plants in the annual garden along with these that are new to Myers Park this year. In spite of all the weather issues this year, the gardens are beautiful to see.

We hope you will come to Myers Park to visit all 10 of our gardens. The Park is open weekdays from 8:00 – 4:00. Visit for more information about the gardens.  Group tours may be arranged by contacting the information center via the website.

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