Like many gardeners, I've long been fascinated with the pineapple lilies (Eucomis spp.) especially since the appearance of the dramatic purple form called 'Sparkling Burgundy' selected by Tony Avent at Plant Delights Nursery in the mid-1980s. Since that time, I've gotten to know many of the different species of these mostly South African bulbous perennials and found them to be excellent garden plants. In all, the JCRA has about 14 different taxa of pineapple lily. The common name is derived from the appearance of the flower stalk with its topknot of leaves over the basal rosette of strappy foliage. The overall appearance is reminiscent of a pineapple plant to anyone who has never stumbled into a true pineapple and has the scars to prove it.
Two hybrids from New Zealand breeder Eddie Walsh have especially taken my fancy recently. The first is 'Reuben' named for Eddie's son, not the sandwich. The basal foliage and topknot is green much like the typical Eucomis comosa but the flowers are rose colored and contrast wonderfully with the foliage. As an added bonus, the seed pods are dark burgundy as well, extending the season long beyond the flowers. The other Walsh hybrid I've taken a shine to is the chartreuse budded, white flowered, 'Tugela Jade'. The bright buds are eye-popping while the pure white flowers are a definite improvement over the typical species.
Both plants were originally bred for the cut flower trade and make excellent additions to the cutting garden. In the garden, the flower stalks stand up straight, 14–20" tall on sturdy stalks. They are hardy into Zone 6 and tolerate average to dry conditions. They multiply quickly and a single bulb will have many flower stalks in just a few years. Check out our specimens planted only two years ago near the Bobby G. Wilder Visitor Center on either side of the stone path as well as other species in the Scree Garden, Geophyte Border, along the pedestrian entrance path, and throughout the Arboretum. – Mark Weathington, Assistant Director and Curator of Collections
As the temperature begins to climb, the Bedding Plants Trials becomes a kaleidoscope of colors the Perennial Border is filled with flowers of Canna, Hemeorcallis, Hibiscus, Monarda, Liatris, Phlox, Rudbecki, Salvia, and Verbena. In the Mixed Border, you can find ideas for summer color with really fine specimens with variegated foliage color, Cornus mas 'Variegata', Cornus controversa 'Variegata', Spirea thunbergii 'Ogon'.
Aesculus parviflora 'Rogers' – bottlebrush buckeye
Alstroemeria species and cultivars – Peruvian lily
Buddleja species and cultivars – butterfly bush
Callicarpa species and cultivars – beautyberry
Clethra alnifolia cultivars – summersweet clethra
Echinacea species and cultivars – coneflower
Eupatorium purpureum 'Big Umbrella' – sweet-scented Joe-Pye weed
Hemerocallis 'Colonel Southall' and other cultivars – daylily
Hibiscus species and cultivars – mallow/rose-of-Sharon
Hippeastrum 'Milady' and other cultivars – garden amaryllis
Hydrangea species and cultivars – hydrangea
Hypericum species and cultivars – St. John's-wort
Lagerstroemia indica cultivars – crepe myrtle
Magnolia grandiflora cultivars – Southern magnolia
Millettia taiwanensis – summer wisteria
Punica granatum – pomegranate
Rosa species and cultivars – rose
Tetradium barberi – Baber's beebee tree
Vernonia noveboracensis – ironweed
Visit the new feature on the JCRA Web site, Showtimes, for more plants in flower in July. – Nancy Doubrava, Interpretive Specialist
Guided Tours – July 5, 12, 19, and 26, 2009 (Sundays) – 2:00 PM – Free
We invite you and your friends to join us for free guided tours through the Arboretum. Learn about the Arboretum's history, plants, and more. Tours are available to the public free of charge every Sunday (with few exceptions) at 2:00 PM from March-October. Tours are led by a dedicated group of volunteers and last approximately one hour (rain or shine).
Plantsmen's Tour – July 14, 2009 (Tuesday) – 9:00 AM – Free
"Annuals, Tropicals, and Tender Perennials" led by Mark Weathington, Assistant Director and Curator of Collections. Let's take a look at these plants before they die an untimely death. Included in this tour will be a stroll through the annual trials to see which new selections are worth planting for a season.
Please visit the "Calendar of Events" section on the JCRA Web site for a complete listing of our upcoming programs.
Three new video was added to the Members Only section on the Arboretum's Web site in June and is 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. If you receive the JCRA e-Updates via e-mail, the end of the e-mail is after Chris's signature line, not at the bottom of the e-Update itself. 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 Judy Morgan-Davis.
© July 2009, JC Raulston Arboretum