Peggy Hill is a garden consultant, writer, speaker and plant ho. She blogs about her garden shenanigans at Peggy is also working to preserve 435 acres and 25,000 feet of magnificent shoreline on Smith Lake in North Alabama as part of the Forever Wild Land Trust. For more information and to register your support, visit


New Plants from Terra Nova Nurseries
by Peggy Hill - posted 06/24/15

I wrote four articles for the July issue of Alabama Gardener. My favorite was the back-page article about my trip to California with Dan Heims, President of Terra Nova Nurseries. It was a fun vacation, that included three days of Spring Plant Trials. Ever since I got back, I've been running a series of posts on this blog about the plants we saw at Spring Plant Trials. In celebration of the magazine arriving in my mailbox, and Dan being the subject of what is probably the best article I've ever written, titled 'Peggy's Big Adventure', I thought I'd write this week's post about Dan's plants.

Terra Nova was the only place we stopped where I got to interview the President of the company, so I know a good bit about their new plants. When I asked Dan which plant he's most excited about he replied, "Ugh. Which is YOUR favorite child? However, I am real excited about our whole line of poker plants (Kniphofia). They just bloom for sooo long, nice foliage too!" I took pictures of three of their poker plants: 'Ember Glow', 'Mango Popsicle' and 'Fire Glow'.

Red hot poker, Kniphofia, Ember Glow

Popsicle Mango red hot poker

Glow Fire red hot poker, Kniphofia

Dan's a big guy, but he stood even taller when he talked about their shasta daisies (Leucanthemum). He explained that most plants are treated with plant growth regulators (PGRs) to keep them small. It has a lot to do with fitting plants on the racks they use for delivery. He said I could quote him that 18 inches is the "sacred" height. The problem is that it's a little unfair to the consumer who buys it thinking that it'll stay that size. The PGRs eventually wear off. Terra Nova is breeding plants that are naturally dwarf and don't need PGRs. Their line of Leucanthemum x superbum is an example. From left to right is 'Macaroon', 'Luna' and 'Belgian Lace'.

  Shasta daisy, Leucanthemum  

They're also adding new colors to their line of Agastache, and they have more cold tolerance.


Terra Nova has some pretty coleus.

Terra Nova plants

The one that I liked the best was this next one, 'Cuckoo'.

Coleus Terra Nova Cuckoo

They also have some amazing Begonias, and a little bird told me that they have even more in development. These are part of their T Rex™ series. From left to right is 'St. Nick', 'Ruby Slippers', 'First Blush' and 'Painter's Palette'.

Begonia, T Rex series

I can't decide which one I like best. The one on the right in the last picture or this next one, Begonia 'Fireworks'

T Rex Begonia

From left to right in this next picture is Begonia T Rex™ 'Painter's Pallete', Coleus Terra Nova 'Marrakesh' and Sedum 'Desert Red'.

Terra Nova plants at Spring Plant Trials

One of the articles I wrote for the July issue was about the new plants I saw at Spring Plant Trials. It was titled 'Spice it Up! New and improved plants for your garden'. It included two Terra Nova plants. I talked about their revolutionary cross between a Mukdenia and a Bergenia that they call x Mukgenia Nova™ 'Flame'.

    x Mukdenia from Terra Nova    

The article also featured, my favorite Terra Nova plant at Spring Trials, Red Lightning coral bells (Heuchera 'Red Lightning'). I can't wait to try it in my garden. Dan told me that it should perform well here in Alabama because it has strong H. villosa in the breeding, so it can take the heat and humidity. 

Red Lightning coral bells, heuchera

Isn't that picture gorgeous? I had to caption it for the article. Writing is difficult and after an hour I typed this drivel, "...If you stare at it long enough, you get lost in the pattern." The next morning I rewrote that because I decided it had more to do with the fact that I was a few glasses into wine-time than it did with the plant.

Legally I must tell you when I post about something that I was given for free. Well, Dan has been sending me plant samples since we met at a Garden Writers symposium in 2011. In fact, Dan's the one who nick-named me Plant Ho. - But that's another story. - I have one of his Kniphofia, Agastache 'Violet Vision', Leucanthemum 'Belgian Lace' and x Mukgenia Nova™ Flame. 

In addition to this blog series, over on I'm wrapping up a series about the other aspects of our trip to California. It starts with one titled, 'What's in Peggy's Suitcase'. Here's a link. I wrote it to go along with all the teasing I gave Dan in the back-page article. He talked me into buying dozens of plants, and I accused him of using me to stimulate the California nursery industry. But seriously, one of Dan's most endearing qualities is his passion for plants, and he really just wanted me to have some wonderful things to put in my garden. I think that's why he's so proud of the new plants from Terra Nova.



RSS | Print

Share this story on: