Mountain Laurel


My wife is on government business this week on Cape Cod. My son and I are accompanying her for the trip.

In passing through Connecticut today, we stopped at Broken Arrow Nursery in Hamden. The place is owned by Dr. Richard Jaynes, former Yale horticulturalist and leading expert on mountain laurel (Kalmia latifolia) as well as chestnuts (Castanea). Having grown up near the Pennsylvania Poconos, I am a huge fan of both species.

I reserved two cultivars of mountain laurel to add to my backyard.

“Carousel” Mountain Laurel (Kalmia latifolia)

“Sarah” Mountain Laurel (Kalmia latifolia)

We walked the grounds to observe the other specimens, most of which were in full bloom.

They also had some enormous potted pawpaws for sale, including some rare varieties as well as the better known “Sunflower” cultivar.

The place is a gardeners’ paradise. The blooms on this Abelia mosanensis bush filled the ambient air with a heavy perfume.

The trip was long overdue and I’m glad I stopped in. If you love mountain laurel like me, then you know this place is a pilgrimage.

On the way, we passed close to @alan’s, @BobVance’s, and @mrsg47’s. In fact, we drove right through Newport and coastal Rhode Island.


Why didn’t you call or stop? Our house phone is public!!! Stop on your way back!


I’ll try to get away from the wife (she’s the boss).

Not sure you want my five year-old son romping around your place.

I’ll be here all week.

PM me your address or phone#.


Let me know when you are driving back- you may be within a quick detour of my place.

Any pics of the paw paws? I do appreciate flowers…when they can turn into fruit :smile:


I didn’t take any pics of the pawpaws, but they had a few GIANT specimens in respectably-sized pots. I cannot remember, but I think those were Sunflower. Price was over $100 per tree if I am not mistaken. These were BIG pawpaws. Trunk diameter over an inch.


Matt was supposed to be a pm!


What passes for Mountain Laurel here in all of California plus southern Oregon is Umbellularia californica {PDF}.


That is not my Mountain Laurel. Will send pics when it blooms.


This is the mountain laurel already planted in my backyard- another Jaynes introduction- a dwarved variety called “Elf.” Photo May 2016.


Mine is pink!


Agreed. It’s just a plant that the nursery business out here hoped would entice western gardeners. It’s ugly by comparison. The same issue exists with what is sold as “California Lilac” – which is not related to true Lilac but rather several species of Ceanothus.


Dear Matt, I don’t mind if guests miss my place in spring- I’m not much of a host when under the fever of spring-mania. But if you are ever in the area during harvest season- especially stone-fruit, even your wife might have a good time if you stop by.


I know this is your busy season. Enjoy this spectacular weather we’re having.


Now 90 temps are cutting their flowering season short.


Are you around tomorrow at 12pm Noon?



You’ve been at the Cape at the perfect time, weather-wise. You’ve got the beach weather.

You lucky duck :smile:


Yes call for address, please park in front and not back entrance. Great can’t wait iced tea?


Matt pm me your last name!


For what it’s worth, I’m also a big fan of mountain laurel and American chestnut. Sometime I’ll tell the story (along with photos) of the large, old, native American chestnut that lived on my property until it succumbed to the blight last summer. Pieces of it now reside inside the house as furniture. This is a hoosier that I had built for my wife from some of the lumber. Excuse the poor quality photo. Panels on the bottom doors and the drawer above are curly and birdseye maple that I had laying around here.


Chestnut is so beautiful. :slight_smile: