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JC Raulston Arboretum e-Update

December 2008

In This Issue

A Fond Farewell

It is with regret that we announce that Denny Werner, Ph.D., has decided to step down from the position of director of the JC Raulston Arboretum to pursue his interest and passion in plant breeding in the Department of Horticultural Science.  During his three-year tenure at the JCRA, Denny made significant improvements to the Arboretum and its programs.  Under his direction, the new JCRA Master Plan was developed through a collaborative effort of Arboretum staff, volunteers, and members.  The Master Plan serves as a guide for the future plant collections, new garden exhibits, and infrastructure improvements in the Arboretum.  Of significant note has been the installation of the new Scree Garden and Xeric Garden; the rooftop gardens were completely renovated; a Geophyte Border was created; and more recently, a renovation of the Asian Valley has been initiated.  Consistent with the Master Plan's focus on accessibility, a central path was installed from the rooftop to the Necessary.  Denny has also improved the Arboretum's relevance to students and the public by nearly doubling the educational programs offered by the Arboretum and adding interpretive signage in the garden.  In addition to the improvements to the grounds and educational programs, Denny has helped to ensure the long-term stability of the Arboretum by increasing the JCRA Endowment for Excellence threefold to over $190,000.  Overall endowment funding now exceeds one million dollars.

Although Denny will be greatly missed at the Arboretum, he will remain a vital part of the Department of Horticultural Science at NC State where he will continue to teach and build on his successful breeding program in Buddleja and Cercis.  Thanks to Denny's great generosity, this program will, in turn, help to build the JCRA endowments even more.  We will miss his passion for the Arboretum, and wish him well. – Julia Kornegay, Ph.D., Head and Professor, Department of Horticultural Science, NC State University and Mark Weathington, Assistant Director and Curator of Collections 

Golden Chinese Holly

Ilex cornuta 'Sunrise'Hollies tend to be the understated evergreen backbones of the garden content to provide a background for other showier plants until they are allowed to shine with fruits at the end of the season.  The tough constitution, attractive habit, and handsome foliage have made them indispensable workhorses in the landscape.  Occasionally, one, such as the golden Chinese holly (Ilex cornuta 'Sunrise'), rises above the others and screams “Here I am!” across the garden.

The golden Chinese holly in leaf shape is much like the popular Burford holly meaning its spines are limited to a single one at the tip of the leaf.  Although this spine is very rigid and sharp, the overall character of the plant is not as fierce as many other Chinese hollies.  The foliage is bright yellow near the tips, fading to green at the leaf base and along the margins.  The center of the leaf is often mottled yellow, chartreuse, and green.  Shaded leaves on the back of the plant or the interior will often be mostly green.  The ultimate size is 10' to 15', but more commonly in the landscape it grows only to 6' or 8' tall and nearly as wide creating a nice mounded form.  ‘Sunrise’ is typically a very dense growing shrub.  The deep red fruits of this gilded holly form an excellent contrast.  The fruits are held in clusters and individually are about 0.25" in diameter making them some of the largest of the hollies.

Full sun will bring out the best color in golden Chinese holly although it will tolerate lower light levels.  Hollies are adaptable to many soils as long as they are well-drained.  This has led to their extensive use in the landscape.  Ideal conditions are a rich, moist, well-drained site with plenty of organic matter.  In cooler areas, protection from winter winds is advisable to prevent desiccation.  Once established, a spring fertilizer addition will ensure a robust plant.  Hollies are not particular about fertilizer and a balanced fertilizer such as 10-10-10 will do fine although an acidic fertilizer is perhaps best.  Berries will only be produced if a male plant is in the vicinity.  A good, compact male selection is ‘Hume’.  Plants should be pruned only if necessary to control size.  Prune in late winter to early spring.  If a plant becomes overgrown, it can be pruned back hard.   Scale can be a problem and should be treated in mid-spring when the young scale emerge or over the winter with a dormant oil spray.

This holly looks fantastic when given a good evergreen or red brick background to showcase its exceptional color.  It can be used as a large foundation plant anchoring a corner of a house or even as a brilliant hedge.  Its rounded form limits its use as a specimen plant, but it does make a shrub or perennial border pop with color and provide winter interest.  It has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for fevers, back pain, and kidney ailments. – Mark Weathington, Assistant Director and Curator of Plants

Top Performers

Buddleja 'Miss Ruby'The results of the Royal Horticulture Society's all European Buddleja trials were announced in early November, and Buddleja 'Blue Chip' and 'Miss Ruby' were selected by the public as the best by a large margin. RHS' trials took place from July 31 through August 20, 2008, and included 107 cultivars found commonly in the trade. Tim Wood, Spring Meadow Nursery, reported that the trial's coordinator said when the voting was completed, the only Buddleja still in flower was 'Blue Chip' so it most likely would have had even more votes in it's favor if the voting continued. 'Blue Chip' was still in full flower here at the JCRA in mid-November. 'Blue Chip' and 'Miss Ruby' were bred by our very own Denny Werner and Layne Snelling. Buddleja 'Miss Ruby' was named in honor of Ruby C. McSwain who helped make the building of the Ruby C. McSwain Education Center possible with her 1.2 million dollar donation.

Coming Attractions—Highlights of December

Illicium floridanum 'Florida Sunshine'Conifer Collection
Cedrus deodara 'Glacier Blue' – dwarf Deodar cedar
Pinus armandii  – Chinese white pine

Klein-Pringle White Garden
Acer palmatum [Dissectum Atropurpureum Group] – red lace-leaf Japanese maple
Cedrus atlantica 'Glauca Pendula' – weeping blue Atlas cedar
Fatsia japonica – Japanese fatsia
Lagerstroemia 'Natchez' – hybrid crepe myrtle

Japanese Garden
Acer palmatum 'Sango kaku' – coral-bark Japanese crepe myrtle
Phyllostachys nigra – black bamboo

Lath House
Castanopsis cuspidata var. sieboldii 'Angyo Yellow' – variegated Japanese chinquapin
Mahonia ×media 'Underway' – grapeholly

Mixed Border
Cupressus arizonica 'Limelight' – yellow Arizona cypress
Daphniphyllum macropodum – false dahpne

Paradise Garden
Corylus avellana 'Contorta' – Harry Lauder's walking stick
Gardenia augusta – cape jessamine

Winter Garden
Camellia 'Winter's Charm' – Ackerman hybrid camellia
Ilex cornuta 'Sunrise' – golden Chinese holly
Mahonia ×media 'Winter Sun' – grapeholly

Other Areas of the Arboretum
Acer negundo 'Winter Lightning' – yellow-twig box-elder – W11
Camellia 'Carolina Moonmist' – Cochran hybrid camellia – E43b
Cercis canadensis subsp. texensis 'Traveller'– weeping Texas redbud – E43a and W01
Chimonanthus praecox – fragrant wintersweet
Prunus mume 'Trumpet' – pink Japanese flowering apricot – E43b
Salix 'Flame' – willow – Su7

This show is free. Visit often. – Nancy Doubrava, Interpretive Specialist

December Calendar

Tree Care Demonstration – December 2, 2008 (Tuesday) – 10:00 AM – Free

The tree experts from Bartlett Tree Experts will discuss the total tree care program they have implemented to restore the health of one of the Arboretum's signature trees, the fastigiate Quercus robur. This tree resides near the entrance to the Klein-Pringle White Garden. The tree has been negatively impacted over the years due to its proximity to the old gravel parking lot, suffering from soil compaction and other stresses. The Bartlett staff will discuss their ongoing program to restore the health of this tree, including soil sampling and nutritional management, pruning strategies, insect and borer control, and compacted soil remediation. Included in this program will be a demonstration of "air spading," the use of high pressure air to alleviate localized soil compaction. Please join us for what promises to be an interesting program.

Friends of the Arboretum Lecture – December 4 (Thursday) – 7:30 PM – Free for members, $5.00 for nonmembers

"Apples in North Carolina: What's New?" presented by Michael Parker, Associate Professor, Department of Horticultural Science, NC State University. Mike Parker is an authority on apples, peaches, and alternative fruit crops. He'll discuss the culture and management of apples in the home garden, and share his recommendations on the best varieties to grow. Join us to learn about how easy it is to grow and enjoy this healthful fruit in your home garden. Remember, an apple a day keeps the doctor away. This FOA Lecture was scheduled to take place after the apple harvest in North Carolina so Mike could bring some apples to try.

Poinsettia Open House – December 7, 2008 (Sunday) – 1:00 PM-5:00 PM – Free

NC State Floriculture is part of a national poinsettia program that tests poinsettia cultivars to determine which ones are best for consumers and for producers. You will have a chance to see these cultivars yourself and vote for your favorites. Over 110 different cultivars of poinsettias – including new experimental cultivars – will be on display. Stop by to see the famous 9' tall poinsettia tree. Enjoy poinsettia gardens and decorated poinsettias. Help us decide which poinsettias are North Carolina's favorites by voting for your favorite poinsettias.

"Holiday Landscape Plants" Tour – 2:00 PM

Plantsmen's Tour – December 9, 2008 (Tuesday) – 1:00 PM – Free

"Winter Perennials" led by Mark Weathington, Assistant Director and Curator of Collections. Not all of the JCRA's collections are trees and shrubs. This tour will look under our woody collections at the herbaceous layer that is strutting its stuff despite the cold.

Please visit the "Calendar of Events" section on the JCRA Web site for a complete listing of our upcoming programs.

Recent Members Only Additions

Two new videos were added to the Members Only section on the Arboretum's Web site in November and are now available for viewing.

Content in the Members Only section is password protected and is only available to Arboretum members. In order to access these special features, members need to know the password that was printed on the label of the latest Friends of the Arboretum Newsletter or included at the end of the e-mail with the latest monthly JCRA e-Update attached to it. The end of the e-mail is after Chris's signature line. The user name needed to log in is always "jcra."


JC Raulston Arboretum e-Updates are published electronically every month for everyone interested in the Arboretum and are e-mailed to the Arboretum's members. If you are a member and need to update your contact information or wish to be removed from this mailing, please contact Chris Glenn.

© December 2008, JC Raulston Arboretum


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