Warm winter greetings from the JC Raulston Arboretum! I hope your holidays were as gratifying and relaxing as they were for me. What a great time of year to enjoy plants in the garden that display unique and special ornamental features. As a child growing up in New England, I loved to go outside immediately after a heavy snowfall. I would venture down to the pond in the meadow behind my house and lie beneath the three huge white pines that were growing on the shore. The sound of the cold winter wind passing through the fine textured needles created a soothing, magical sound that I will never forget. I also enjoyed climbing those very same trees so high that I was hidden from view amongst the branches. Pinus strobus is a great climbing tree because of its "wagon wheel" branching pattern along the main trunk. Each set of branches is about four feet apart making it perfect for easy climbing. You cannot help getting pine resin all over your hands, a one to three day reminder of your climb. So let's be extra observant in our gardens this winter. We might discover, or even re-discover some wonderful winter feature just waiting to show itself to us. That is exactly one of the things I will be doing at the arboretum this winter, observing and photographing ornamental features of plants.
I am excited about the new year and all it has to offer the arboretum. Our emphasis will continue to focus on what I am calling the "Three P's": plants, people and programs. To that end, I will be able to devote more time to my responsibilities as director. My teaching duties for the spring semester have been significantly reduced. I will be teaching one introductory horticulture course and still serving as Undergraduate Coordinator.
My plans for the winter and spring include spending one day a week in the garden collecting, propagating, planting, and evaluating plants. I will be assisting the staff and volunteers on many of the garden projects, leading tours and meeting with visitors. Another goal will be to photograph plants that show seasonal interest by month, resulting in a library of plant slides displaying unique features from January to December. Jonathan Nyberg is calling me the "Curator of Beauty!" I will also be working on putting together two or three new topical self-guided tours. I look forward to working with curators and the many volunteers who donate countless hours to the growth and maintenance of our garden. This also includes working with the many faculty members in the Department of Horticultural Science who use the arboretum for teaching, research and outreach. My plans include talking with and visiting many of the growers that JC worked with over the years to continue to cultivate these very special relationships.
Jonathan has put together a fantastic Friends of the Arboretum Lecture series for the winter and spring season. Be sure to check the calendar of events and mark the dates. I will look forward to seeing you there! Be sure to keep Sunday, May 3rd open on your calendar. You don't want to miss the Gala in the Garden, a tremendous garden party event for all friends of the arboretum.
It is time to highlight a few people and direct your attention to some of the activities in which they have been involved. Kudos to Viv Finklestein who developed a new winter self-guided tour of the arboretum. Be sure to check it out before the season ends. Keep an eye on the Lath House; our new curator, Charlotte Presley, is busy improving that garden. For you web surfers out there, be sure to check out the JC Raulston Arboretum World Wide Web page. You will be amazed to see what is available there. What's more amazing than the web page itself is that it has been created and is maintained by Dr. Art Kelley. Art is a volunteer; oh yes, he is also a faculty member at NC State in Electrical Engineering. Art has worked diligently to create one of the best web pages I have seen for a botanical garden or arboretum. Thanks Art, for your dedicated service to the arboretum. The web page address is: http://arb.ncsu.edu
Special thanks and appreciation also go to Mitzi Hole, the arboretum technician, who has spent the past year working tirelessly to keep the garden in fantastic shape. She has coordinated many new garden changes that you will want to read about in her article in this newsletter. Mitzi is very dedicated to the arboretum and will do whatever it takes to get the job done. Thanks Mitzi for all you do!
To conclude my comments, I would like to mention a couple of plants that we are planning on propagating and growing. First, I am planning to visit Maymont Park in Richmond, Virginia again this spring to take cuttings from an incredible specimen of Enkianthus perulatus. White enkianthus is a deciduous shrub that grows about 6'x9'. It is more spreading than Enkianthus campanulatus and has phenomenal red/burgundy fall color. Flowers are white and urn shaped, but what is so striking is the incredible deep rich fall color. We will see how it performs at the arboretum; the one plant we currently have is a scrawny thing that has been in shade most of its life.
The other plant sits in the west arboretum and it blew me away on a cool late November day. Lindera umbellata is a multistemmed, medium sized deciduous shrub that originated in Japan and central China. A bit straggly as an established plant, the fall color this year was an iridescent yellow/orange/rose and stopped me and two visitors in our tracks when we saw it. So we will see how it propagates and grows in some different spots. Watch for next year's fall color. Lots of other things in the works; we will keep you posted.
I want to thank all of you for your continued and faithful support. I especially appreciate the calls and correspondence you have directed my way offering words of support and encouragement. I hope to meet many of you in the coming year and look forward to the wonderful plants, people, and programs that the JC Raulston Arboretum will bring together! n
Diane Flynt, formerly on the Arboretum staff and always one of our best supporters, was awarded the Garden Design Magazine Golden Trowel award for her garden in Greensboro, NC. Congratulations, Diane!! Take a look in the Dec. 97/Jan. 98 issue for a peek at her award-winning garden. She also wrote a nice article that begins, "I garden with ghosts." Great first line.
From the CENTS trade show listing, "Dr. Treevorkian will discuss his top ten methods of assisted herbicide." (Jim Chatfield, Ohio State Extension)
For people with time during the day and a desire for education, you couldn't do much better than the Encore, Center for Lifelong Enrichment program at the McKimmon Center on NC State Campus (plenty of easy access parking). Classes are on a wide range of topics and taught by NC State professors who donate their time. Samples include: Adventures of a Botanist in Italy, An Overview of the Geology of North Carolina, Wine Sensing, A Woman's Guide to Investing, Environmental Ethics, The Bizarre World of Paracytes and a Tour of the Maymont Flower and Garden Show. Many, many others. Phone: 919-515-5782. Fax: 919-515-5778. e-mail: WWW: http://www2.ncsu.edu/encore/.
A recent news release by NC State information services announced our Holidays Decorations Workshop being taught by Kathleen Turner! Kathleen Thompson is reportedly enjoying her new persona.
The following are book catalogs received this fall, as if you didn't have enough to tempt you already.
The last issue of the Newsletter listed a plant as Liquidambar styraciflua 'Starlight'. This plant has definitely been determined to be the same plant as L. styraciflua 'Frosty', selected by Tony Avent.
by Mitzi Hole and Bryce Lane
The Green and Growin' Show is an annual conference and trade show for nursery professionals, landscape contractors, commercial flower growers, and other members of the green industry. The following plants were displayed in the Arboretum booth at this January show in Winston-Salem, NC. These plants are under evaluation for landscape potential at the Arboretum.
by Laura G. Jull
Atlantic white cedar(Chamaecyparis thyoides (L.) B. S. P.) also known as southern white cedar, swamp cedar or white cedar, has a wide distribution. This evergreen tree grows in a narrow coastal belt, 80-209 km wide from the southern coast of Maine to South Carolina, with isolated stands in Georgia and eastern Florida, and a large stand occurring from the panhandle of Florida to Mississippi. According to Dirr (1990), this species of Chamaecyparis is the only one native to the eastern United States.
The narrow, conical form of the tree supports horizontal to pendulous branches with soft foliage. The tree reaches a height of 12-22 m with mature trees devoid of branches for 3/4 of its height. Mature cones are only 0.6-1.3 cm in diameter, spherical, bluish-purple turning brown when mature. Each cone consists of 6-10 scales with each scale bearing 1-5 rounded, 3 mm long seeds with thin marginal wings. The seeds mature at the end of the growing season in September to October and are dispersed from October to March.
Although Atlantic white cedar occurs over a large area, pure stands are relatively small. The tree occurs on wet sites in acidic, fresh-water swamps and bogs near sea level and along stream banks. They usually grow on hummocks slightly elevated above the forest floor. Stands of Atlantic white cedar occur on shallow peat covered soils. Cedar wetlands provide a refuge for rare, endangered, or threatened species of plants and animals. Seedlings are also a favorite browse for deer, rabbits, and meadow mice. Excessive browsing by deer has been attributed to reduction of Atlantic white cedar regeneration in the New Jersey Pine Region following clear cutting or wildfires.
The yield of white cedar in pure stands is large, due to its long trunk and narrow crown. The wood is so extremely resistant to decay that old trees, buried in peat bogs, are harvested for use. Because of this property, the wood is used for house siding and outdoor furniture. It also has potential for use in wetlands reclamation, as an ornamental and for Christmas trees. Understocks from Atlantic white cedar can also be used to graft superior cultivars of other species of Chamaecyparis Spach (Raulston and Tripp, 1992).
Throughout its range, natural stands of Atlantic white cedar are diminishing rapidly. Acreage of white cedar in North Carolina alone has declined by as much as 90% within the last two centuries. Stands are diminishing due to extensive drainage, agricultural clearing, wildfires and logging. This destruction has been followed by inadequate regeneration measures and changes to the hydrology of the land. Reproduction of Atlantic white cedar is primarily through natural seeding with some sprouting occurring in areas browsed heavily by deer. However, white cedar usually fails to regenerate naturally after logging when no measures are taken to control competing vegetation. Attempts at artificial regeneration have failed due in part to the inability to produce enough seedlings on a production scale due to a very poor seed to seedling ratio.
Due to extensive reclamation efforts, there is increasing demand for transplants of Atlantic white cedar. According to Hinesley et al. (1994), propagation of Atlantic white cedar by cuttings is easy with nearly 100% rooting for softwood cuttings and 83% for hardwood cuttings. IBA treatment was unnecessary for stimulating rooting, but it increased the number of roots.
Seed germination requirements depend on the provenance (geographic seed source). Thus, stratification (moist pre-chilling), temperature and light treatments needed to maximize germination will vary with the provenance. In general, stratification at 4 degrees C. for 60 to 90 days is necessary to maximize germination. After stratification, seed germination can be maximized using alternating temperatures of 30/20 degrees C. and photoperiods greater than or equal to one hour. Seed viability is inherently poor, thus requiring rigorous seed grading prior to sowing. Nurserymen are cautioned not to cover the seeds following sowing since they are relatively small and require light to maximize germination.
by Mitzi Hole
Editor's note: For the past year, Mitzi has shouldered the awesome responsibility of maintaining the grounds at the Arboretum. This includes several greenhouses and the nursery area. Mitzi is the only full-time staff member of the Arboretum. Even with part-time help and volunteers, maintaining eight acres of intense plantings is a lot of work. Thanks Mitzi, for all of your hard work and leadership in keeping the plants (and cats) alive and looking good!
The West Arboretum has a new look. You will recall from the summer Update that we decided to eradicate the bamboo in the far-west part of the Arboretum. We cut it back to the ground, and treated it with Round-up, but there were still stubs. This fall, NCSU campus maintenance put in a computer line from the back of the research station to the Cercis collection at the manhole. This was quite a construction nightmare, with cement trucks and backhoes digging 5' trenches and pouring concrete. We had to dig several trees in order for them to get the trucks in here. While they were back there, they automatically dug up some bamboo roots and stubs. Paul Lineberger, the farm superintendent, asked them if they would be willing to dig up the rest of the bamboo roots. Thankfully, they said yes. We then sowed grass to make a path where the computer lines were put in. In case something has to be dug up, we won't have to remove any woody plants again.
Karen and Mitzi bag a six foot black bambo rhizome (B/W photo)
We are also planting a hedge along the fence to screen the businesses on the other side. We are planting a mixture of fast growing conifers, deciduous trees and dwarf conifers – only about two or three of each kind. One thing of interest are some oak seedlings from seeds that were collected by Yucca-Do Nursery on a recent Mexican trip. We also installed aluminum siding along the fence in hope that it will keep the bamboo roots on the other side of the fence from coming over into the West Arboretum. Of course we know that it's probably a big joke. It's going to be an ongoing battle back there, but hopefully, it is one that we can stay ahead of now since we've done all this work getting out most of the bamboo roots. Thanks to everyone from campus maintenance that helped us out in this project. Special thanks are due to Paul Lineberger for help on this, and so many other things – I don't know what we would do without Paul.
Another major undertaking has been the removal of Magnolia grandiflora cultivars in the East Arboretum behind the Necessary. Pat McCracken, the magnolia curator, wants to try new magnolia cultivars. We are hoping this area will be planted soon. It looks a little bare right now when you're used to that area being so thickly planted, but that is part of what the Arboretum does: plant, evaluate, dig-up, and plant again!
Another recent change has to do with the Leyland Cypress at the entrance to the Japanese Garden. They had gotten large and unsightly. Several fell when Hurricane Fran went through and some of them were still leaning. We decided to remove them and do another planting in that little entrance way. We've got some nice Japanese maples and dwarf conifers that were given to us by Rob Means of Yackinville Nursery. We're hoping to make that area more attractive.
The Southall Garden area, until recently, suffered from Hedera helix growing up into the trees and the plant beds, making it difficult for other plants in the bed to grow. I've been having students and volunteers remove the ivy. We did a planting of boxwood in there, and it looks very different without the ivy. Volunteers and students have also been removing ivy in the parking lot bed around the two Quercus phellos. We've planted several deciduous azaleas from the Lath House in that bed and are hoping that the removal of the ivy will give them a chance to thrive.
The Klein-Pringle White Garden has seen a lot of changes, too. Co-curators Karen Jones, Ann Owens and Jeff Briggs have planted extensive hedges of dwarf yaupon holly where originally they had plans to put in a rock wall. The hedge gives the garden a nice feeling by helping to connect all the White Garden. We were so ecstatic that the Illicium floridanum 'Alba' we dug and moved from the West Arboretum thrived beside the pool. It was almost totally defoliated by the time we planted it, but it leapt out this summer and was just absolutely spectacular! It has several new buds on it, so I think it will be beautiful next spring and summer.
The White Garden is not only white. It has had wonderful fall color. The Hydrangea quercifolia, Fothergilla 'Mt. Airy' and Itea virginiana 'Henry's Garnet', have had spectacular red-bronze fall color. At this moment, the Camellia oleifera is in full bloom. This camellia was dug by the DOT tree spade from one part of the White Garden and transplanted to the entrance of the grass lawn that goes to the gazebo. We were all keeping our fingers crossed because it is such an integral part of the garden – and it's so beautiful. It looks like it is going to survive.
Another spectacular feature of the White Garden is the Styrax japonica 'Emerald Pagoda'. It was transplanted by tree spade from the field nursery. It is near the path coming from the perennial border. It was in full bloom last spring. When the petals fell, it looked as if it had snowed on the ground – breathtaking! I had more questions about that Styrax than anything else at the time. Be sure not to miss it this year.
Patricia Highland and Nancy Knight are changing the Almanac Garden into a butterfly garden. They spend a lot of time taking plants in and out of there. Keep your eyes on that garden, it's going to be very interesting. We're looking forward to seeing the results of their design.
In the Mixed Shrub Border, you will notice that we are digging up many ornamental grasses. The grasses currently planted have been around a long time and have all grown together. Many of the labels are missing and they just aren't looking that good. John and Jill Hoffman, of Hoffman's Nursery, have volunteered to curate a new grass garden. I've been getting students and volunteers dig up and remove grasses so John and Jill can plant their new selections. That's another area that looks like it has been devastated, but like everything else here – out with the old and truck in the new.
I want to give you an idea of the scale of propagation and plants that we have for different programs. We have one fiberglass and one poly greenhouse that are packed full with plants for the winter. We have two greenhouses that NCAN provided, one of which is full with cuttings taken for our joint venture, the JC Raulston Selections. The other house hasn't been installed with bottom heat or a mist system yet, so we've been letting plants that we just potted up harden-off in there. On campus we have a propagation house with two beds for rooting cuttings. After the fall semester is over, we get eight more beds which the propagation class has used in the fall. We keep these beds pretty much full of plants as well as a large number of seed trays for germinating seeds.
We get seeds and cuttings from many sources: Shanghai Botanical Garden, Yucca-do-Nursery (from another Mexican trip), and individuals such as Tony Avent (from his China trip) and Valerie Tyson – just to name a few. We are very lucky to have a lot of input from nurseries and friends. We're keeping the plant sharing alive. When we did the NCAN distribution in August, we distributed 120 packages of plants that we had grown. We also mailed out 50 boxes of plants to nurseries, universities and arboreta across the country. In the past, some of the plants were freshly rooted cuttings. This year many of them were larger. I had wonderful volunteer help to bag those plants up and get labels on them. Valerie Tyson and Catherine Gaertner were great in helping me come up with labels. We actually had a printed label with a little blurb of information on each plant.
I'd like to say how wonderful my help has been this summer and fall, especially Karen Jones. I had two students that had to do volunteer work through the parks and recreation class. They were just great. All of the volunteers, as usual, have been wonderful. I don't know how we would do things here if it wasn't for the volunteers. I am constantly amazed at how well they work together. Their enthusiasm and good ideas keep me going more than they know. Val and Catherine Gaertner have been so helpful with labels. They have kept me on track about recording on our maps where we plant and remove. We will miss Catherine Gaertner when she is gone. What a good job she has done with mapping, helping the volunteer labelers and curators find plants in the Arboretum.
That's all I have for this newletter. I hope everyone will come out to see us this year.
On October 14, 1997 Mitzi Hole and Catherine Maxwell presented Karen Jones with the Klein-Pringle White Garden Internship, a special award in recognition of her leadership in renovating the White Garden.
"We want this to be in remembrance of all the work done in the Klein-Pringle White Garden through cold, rotten weather and other adversities," said Mary Jo Pringle. "We really appreciate Karen, Mitzi, Jeff (Briggs), and Catherine for the planning, digging, planting, telephone calls, coordination, and all the work it took to complete the garden."
Karen became the curator of the White Garden in the fall of 1995, when she was a student in horticulture at NC State. Right away, Karen began her drive to renovate the declining garden. She continued in that volunteer role after starting work at the Arboretum later that winter.
Karen recruited landscape architect Jeff Briggs to create the plan for the renovation. JC Raulston was delighted with the plan, and announced at the Gala in the Garden in May that he would find funding and complete the garden in time for the 1997 gala. Thanks to the generosity of the Pringles and the hard work of all involved, his words proved prophetic.
Karen continues to care for the Klein-Pringle White Garden with co-curators Jeff Briggs and Ann Owens. They are now working to fine tune the garden, and promise even greater things for the spring of 1998.
The days are getting longer, and spring is closer than you think. The Gala in the Garden is only weeks away! Mark you calendars for May 3, and start shopping for the perfect spring hat. The 1998 Gala in the Garden Steering Committee has great things in store.
by Nell Lewis
The High Point Friends of the JC Raulston Arboretum at NC State held a dinner at the Emerywood Country Club November 5. Approximately 175 gardeners came to hear speaker Tony Avent, owner of Plant Delights Nursery in Raleigh, and a close associate of Raulston's.
They came from Salisbury, Lexington, Thomasville, Kernersville, Greensboro, Randleman, Asheboro, Burlington, Reidsville, and points in between. They were people who knew and appreciated Raulston and who still mourn his death. They came to enjoy the speaker who shares a wealth of knowledge – with delightful humor.
He indicated beforehand that he usually showed slides, and he seemed a bit concerned about his program. Not to worry. Without props, without notes, he kept the rapt attention of his audience.
He stressed organic gardening, noting that chemical fertilizers can mean death to plants. Without man's interference, plants thrive on the buildup of organic material that nature provides.
"I consider a plant hardy until I have killed it myself – three times," Avent said. We need to experiment with plants. If one is not zoned for your area, exactly, try it anyway. You may find that it does just fine. And you haven't lost much if it dies."
Avent suggests trying new plants, and like JC Raulston, he travels the world to find new plants to grow at his nursery. When he has decided that they will adapt to our gardens, and when he has sufficient supplies, he offers them to the public.
Our thanks to event chairman Shirley Duncan, and committee members Doris Deal, Marianne Hayworth, Mary Grace Megginson, Vera Fick, Ginny Fick, Evelyn Wood, Joe Minchak, Mary Louise Stone, Hilde Errico, Karen Noble, Georgia Orr, Irma Price, Norma Horney and their committee in High Point for sharing a delightful evening.
by Valerie Tyson
As the year ends, we find ourselves in much better shape with regard to plant records and maps. Catherine Gaertner joined us last March, taking on the huge task of getting the rest of the Arboretum beds onto the computer maps. Using the results of the Mapping Extravaganza last January/February, and old maps and lists we had on file (most unbelievably unreadable–I'm sure some of you remember those), and prevailing on visiting and local experts to help with identification, she chipped away at an overwhelming job. The East Arboretum beds had been done once, so she started in the Parking Lot, moved to the West Arboretum, switched over to the Lath House as Rosemary went into intense renovation mode, moved back to the west beds, then on to Southhall, the Japanese, Theme and White Gardens. Now she is leaving us for a better pasture, but the news is not all bad. The company Catherine will be working for offers educational and programming services for the mapping software we use, so she will be learning more about how to make our life easier. Not only that, she negotiated spending some of her time each year working with us! So, kudos and thanks to Catherine for all her hard work, past and future, and for sharing her plant encounters with us in the last newsletter as well.
Joel Schuman has joined the Arboretum staff to help maintain the map records that Catherine set up. He's a horticulture graduate student studying strawberries, and seems very comfortable at the computer. Welcome, Joel!
Martie Walsh has recently begun our Narcissus identification and mapping project. Brent Heath of The Daffodil Mart has offered to identify our Narcissus if we send him pictures of them. This sounds simple on the surface, but we have records of over 500 bulb plantings throughout the Arboretum, and they refuse to bloom in a neat and orderly schedule. Anyone interested in helping Martie organize all the different map, photo and name information, or even just going on "bulb patrol" to watch for new blossoms should call Martie at 833-2462.
by Tony Avent
Editors note: I'm excited that Tony is allowing us to publish these field notes of his recent trip to South Korea. They give an excellent first-hand account of what it is like to be a modern day plant explorer – just perfect for those of us who are getting our travel thrills vicariously these days. Look for more installments in upcoming newsletters and be sure to attend Tony's FOA lecture April 16, 1998.
Mission Statement: Our goal was to explore and bring back new plants or plants in short supply from Korea that have potential ornamental value in the United States, with a strong emphasis on perennials. There must be clear indication that the plants brought into the US have no inclination to become potential invasive pests. All plant specimens are to be clearly documented as to collection location, habitat, etc. via the use of GPS (Global Positioning System). Only seed and plant samples are to be taken, and in no instances will a wild population be decimated. It is our goal that these plants be evaluated as needed, then quickly as appropriate be introduced into the US horticultural trade.
In 1985, Dr. JC Raulston accompanied by Barry Yinger, and the late Dr. Ted Dudley of the US National Arboretum went on the first of seven proposed collecting trips into much of the horticulturally unexplored regions of South Korea. This first trip, from August to November of 1985, concentrated on the West coast, and the islands off the Southwest corner of the mainland. Due to political complications, the remaining six proposed expeditions were cancelled. Our expedition was designed to quickly traverse the mainland, and at least two of the main islands, Cheju and Ullung. Our exploration group consisted of the following:
I departed Raleigh-Durham, early in the morning on September 25, en route to Seattle. Here, I met the other two Americans on our trip, Dan Hinkley of Heronswood Nursery and Darrell Probst of Boston. By 2 p.m., we were on the plane to Korea, via Tokyo.
We arrived in Seoul at 10 p.m., making quick forays through customs and immigration. Our hotel for the night was to be the Airport Tourist Hotel, only a short 5 minute ride via shuttle from the airport. At 73,000 yuan per room this was to be the nicest and by far the most expensive hotel for the trip. After all, they had all the amenities: air conditioning, shower curtains, and best of all...beds!
Arising early the next morning, we again took the shuttle back to the airport to pick up our rental van, which was indeed a chore as the rental agent spoke only broken English. With van in hand, we had only to wait for our other participants to arrive, Bleddyn and Sue Wynn-Jones of Wales. By 9:30 a.m., we assembled the group, became acquainted and headed south for our trip to the Chollipo Arboretum. Bleddyn offered to be our designated driver for the trip, since as Sue put it, "he makes a terrible passenger." I can only tell you that if Bleddyn ever gets tired of the nursery business, he will make a great race car driver.
If you've ever tried to drive in Seoul, then you can imagine what I mean when I say that we got really really lost. In fact, we turned the four hour drive to Chollipo into an adventurous seven hour trek. Thank goodness the road signs were printed both in Korean and English. It's too bad however that the signs didn't always match our maps.
We encountered our first and only rain storm during our drive, which would have certainly been our choice. Without a guide to help with menu selections, we stopped for our first meal at a local restaurant and sampled Korean cuisine. I'm still not sure what we ate, but I did recognize the rice. The one Korean food that you quickly come to recognize however is Kimchi. Kimchi is eaten at all three meals by the Koreans and consists of cabbage and assorted seasonings that is stored in large ceramic jugs on the outside roof or stoop until it is well fermented...sort of like Korean Sauerkraut. Another sign of things to come was no shoes in the restaurant and no chairs. I guess Koreans all have good knees and limber legs, but for gangly Americans, this was not what I'd call fun.
After lunch we were on the road again, finally arriving at our destination at 4:30 p.m. Chollipo is a private arboretum on the western coast (Yellow Sea) of Korea near the town of Taean. Chollipo was started in the 1970's and is still run today by American Ferris Miller. He is an investment banker by trade, who moved to Korea in the 1950's and began buying up 160 acres of land on the coast near Taean. Miller is now in his 70's and recovering well after a near fatal stroke in 1993. He is attempting to open the arboretum to the public, so that the plant collections can be enjoyed after his death.
We were allowed to stay in one of Miller's guest houses, the Magnolia House. It was absolutely stunning, constructed in the authentic Korean style with the common sunken roof line. After a short rest, we joined Ferris for dinner at a local restaurant back in Taean (nearly 30 minutes away). Again, a wonderful meal with meat on the grill, all kinds of sauces, but alas...sitting on the floor. Also, forget finding a no smoking section.
We got up early in order to share the one bathroom in the Magnolia house. We then opted to get our bearings in the wild quickly, so off to the woods we went. Driving up the road from Chollipo, we found wonderful coastal pine forests. Within just a few minutes, we were finding such treasures as Disporum smilacina, Disporum flavens, Convallaria keiski, and a number of terrestrial orchids. The forest floor was a virtual carpet of the wonderful Hepatica asiatica, and one of my favorite and heretofore rare woodlanders Syneilesis aconitifolia. This was also my first opportunity to see the wonderful solomon's seal, Polygonatum involucratum with flower bracts resembling small handkerchiefs hanging below the arching stems.
Further down the road, we found a forest full of one of my favorite conifers, Juniperus rigida. It's hard to find anything in the US other than the pendulous forms, and these were stunningly upright, and fortunately loaded with seed. Here, we also found a wonderful 3' tall aconitum with soft yellow flowers that excited us all, Aconitum albo-violaceum.
The next thing we knew it was time for lunch, which Ferris had prepared for us back at the Magnolia House. Again, a magnificent spread and more food that we could possibly eat. After lunch, we were given a quick tour of part of the Chollipo Gardens by the Head of Plant Collections, Song Ki-Hun. Ki-Hun has worked at Chollipo for nearly 20 years, and had spent time at the Longwood Gardens program here in the US. His English was fabulous, as was his plant knowledge, and we werequite excited to find that he would be our guide through most of our trip.
The gardens, which specialize in two of Ferris's favorites, hollies and magnolias, are a plantsman's dream. If I had to pick one favorite (as the magnolias were not in bloom), it would have to be a spectacular maple, Acer insularis. This 25' specimen of a little known maple (aka: Acer morifolium) has lovely foliage resembling a carpinus, and a beautiful shape. I only wish we had more time, as at least 3 days is require to completely view the entire garden.
At 9 a.m., we departed to our first destination of Mt. Sorak, a mountain range near the east coast, bordering the DMZ to the north. The drive actually went faster than expected, as we were able to travel on interstate toll roads most of the way. The road system in Korea rivals anything we have in the US, including "service area" where fast food was plentiful. New and expanded interstate highway construction is a sight that we literally saw along our entire route.
Along the route, most of the flat land was used for agriculture, primarily food crops. The production of rice rivaled China, but the harvesting was all mechanized, as we watched miniature combines make their way through the rice paddies as harvesting was in full swing. Also fruit production and quality was staggering. Throughout the rest of the trip, we enjoyed some of the finest fruit that we have ever eaten including Fuji apples, giant Asian pears, and fabulous seedless tangerines. Highway beautification was not foreign to Korea, although the miles of hybrid coreopsis seemed a bit of a strange choice.
In addition, I don't think we traveled one mile on flat ground that we didn't see hundreds and thousands of greenhouses. I would venture a guess that there are easily more greenhouses in small country of Korea than there are in the entire US. Virtually all of the greenhouses, however are used for vegetable crop production, and of course, one of their major imports, ginseng.
The one thing that we quickly noticed about Korea is the cleanliness of the country. It was virtually impossible to find any trash on the ground that was not being picked up as soon as it hit the ground. Along every street, workers reminiscent of those at Disney World would stand poised to dart out in traffic, with broom in dust pan in hand if any remnant of trash should come their way.
We arrived in the town of Sokcho at 5 p.m. after a hard day on the road, we had no trouble finding a cheap hotel....actually it was the same one that Bleddyn and Sue had used on an earlier trip. The only thing horticultural here was a struggling jujube (Zizyphus jujube) in full fruit growing out of a crack in the asphalt. I would quickly learn that some members of our group were...shall we say, overly cost conscious, and would gladly sacrifice comfort for price. We did beg for a restaurant with chairs, and were fortunate to find a nice Chinese establishment near the hotel.
We also noticed that there are very few private phones in Korea...not in hotels, and not in businesses. Korea, it's people and it's businesses operate on cellular phones. The best we could manage in our rooms was a room-to-room connection. For calls back home, we would have to venture out to try and find a nearby pay phone.
At 9 a.m., we departed Sokcho to Mt. Sorak. We made several stops along the road, where we found such gems as the hardy dutchman's pipe, Aristolochia mandschuriensis (although I had to recall my tree climbing skills of youth to reach a rare cigar like fruit). I found my first large populations of Arisaema peninsulae, acres of Clematis heracleifolia, and the most spectacular of the cimicifugas, C. dahurica. Seeing this 7' tall gem in person was indeed a special moment. Also, growing along side the road was Astilbe koreana, an astilbe that preferred dry sunny road cuts to the moist lowland of typical astilbes.
As we journeyed further from the road, we found such treasures as Asarum sieboldii (deciduous), Paris verticillata, and a stunning array of ferns. The ground was again carpeted with Hepatica asiatica and the commonly found Carex siderosticha. It was time now for our daily lunch stop...Spam or Tuna sandwiches, Vienna sausages, and the choice of Korean's everywhere...Pringle's potato chips.
Further down the road at a similar stop, we had to traverse two rivers that were not equipped with the usual stepping stones. Removing shoes, socks, and in some cases pants, we each made our way across two streams to the treasures that we hoped awaited on the other side. If nothing else, this stop provided some great Kodak moments in river crossing.
The dominant tree in this entire stretch was none other than Magnolia sieboldii. These stunning specimens were each loaded with pods of bright orange colored fruit. Other trees in the area in great abundance were Styrax japonicus, Styrax obassia, Lindera obtusiloba, Betula dahurica (identical to our native B. nigra) and a variety of maples, especially the lovely Acer pseudosieboldianum. n
Our final stop of the day was the Sorak Mountain National Park. Walking along the road up to the top, we saw a nice array of euonymus in fruit, including E. oxyphyllus, and the wonderful E. pauciflorus whose seed capsule hung as to appear that it originated in the actual leaf. Aralia continentalis, one of the deciduous aralias was in full fruit, as was the spectacular Angelica gigas.
I was excited seeing the silver patterned Asarum maculatum for the first time as well as the wonderful shade garden composite, Ainsliaea aceriphyllum. Hanging from the rocks along the road was another plant I'd grown for years, Aceriphyllum rossii alongside some wonderful selaginellas.
We returned to the bottom of Mt. Sorak at dark for treacherous steep winding drive back to the hotel. We opted for the same nearby restaurant for dinner, as this was going to be a long night processing collections.
Ki-Hun had told us of a nice woodland walk along a river on our way to Chinbu, so off we went. After turning off the paved road, we bounced around, making occasionally "quickie" stops including forging one river in the van until the road abruptly ended. Even along the road, we passed a few scattered gems including a giant Cornus controversa (50' tall) in full fruit, along with big patches of Clerodendron trichotomum. As we passed farm after farm, we were alarmed to see crops rotting in the field. Ki-Hun told us that there was such a glut of food in the market that prices were depressed and the farmers had chosen not to harvest. This is a stark contrast, where only a few miles to the North, their are claims of famine in North Korea.
From here, we walked thru a mile of fields until we entered the forests along the river.
Even in some of the grown over meadows that we passed, the vegetation was exciting with finds such as Tripterygium regelii (a hydrangea look alike) and thousands of Patrinia scabiosifolia. Much of the walk was on a worn down path thru the short bamboo, sometimes on flat ground and sometimes on the edge of the cliff. The woods were anchored with Cornus controversa, linderas, and a variety of maples.
Our first truly exciting find was the rare Hanabusaya asiatica. These wonderful and hard to grow campanula relative was in full flower along moist slopes. The woods were also filled with Arisaema peninsulae, although most of the plant had suffered miscarriages (ripe seed heads but no viable seed). Other interesting woodland gems included a variety of terrestrial orchids, veratrums, ferns, and even a asian skunk cabbage (Symplocarpus nipponicus) found by Darrell.
Tuesday night, we completed the drive 2 hours south to the small village of Chinbu, adjacent to our next site, Mt. Odae. This must have been the hardest floors yet, or else my bones were beginning to protrude from my body.
Off we went in the early morning to Mt. Odae, another National Park complete with monastery, monks...the whole bit. We hadn't driven along the road far, when we spied a large patch of trillium and cephalanthera orchids. Each plant of the Trillium kamtschaticum had a foliage spread of 2-3'. One of the more dominant ferns was an exact look alike to our native Osmunda cinnamonea, which indeed occurs also in Korea.
We made numerous stops along the ridge, either climbing up or down the steep 50-70% slope, to find more wonderful treasures including a forest of the evergreen Rhododendron brachycarpum and the deciduous Rhododendron schlippenbachii. I was quite shocked to find the hillside chocked full of military bunkers from a war that still hasn't ended.
From the same hotel, we headed southeast to our next stop the port city of Pohang. Driving along the coastal highway, we watched the squid harvest in full swing. As the squids are returned to land, they are cut open and hung on close lines to dry along the highway...what an aroma. We made a lunch stop after a half day of driving on the shore (Sea of Japan). Instead of preparing sandwiches, we all left Sue at the van as we checked out the coastal flora. I was thrilled to find many of our most popular ornamental grasses all native to one area, Miscanthus sinensis, Pennisetum alopecuroides, Imperata cylindrica, and Calamagrostis brachytricha.
We arrived in Pohang, and immediately went to the post office for our first shipment home. Express mail made everything fairly easy, especially since the post office also provided the require brown paper wrapping and string. After the post office stop, everyone was running low on money, so we walked to the bank several blocks away.
Changing money was easy for everyone except Sue, who tried unsuccessfully to get money with a credit card. Due to translation problem, we still don't know what the problem was. During this time, Ki-Hun was phoning to make hotel reservations on Ullung Island for the following day.
While everyone was finishing in the bank, I went to check out the familiar "golden arch" sign that I'd seen on the street nearby. After 3 block in every direction, I stumbled into a nice, but well hidden McDonalds. Unfortunately, the menu wasn't in English and "hold the pickles and the lettuce" didn't translate well. I quickly found that pointing to a #3 value meal was just the trick. Upon returning to the bank, I discovered that I wasn't the only one longing for a stomach settling meal, and subsequently escorted Darrel back to the golden arches.
As we wound up back at the van, Ki-Hun had found that all of the hotels were filled on Ullung island (National Holiday) for Friday, so time to change plans (which had become a common occurrence). We would use the next day to visit Mt. Chuwang, just north of our hotel. As we were having trouble distinguishing the odor of the drying squid from ourselves, we thought it best to drop off our laundry, so after dinner we passed our smelly apparel to a professional cleaner.
We set out for the 1.5 hour drive back north to Chuwang, for the hike to the top of Mt. Chuwang. Along the initial part of the trail was nearly a mile of vendors selling everything from carved statues to roots of many of the native plants. Finally we reached the trail and started upward. The giant sheer rock cliffs were indeed the most spectacular sight so far on the trip. To say the vegetation along the trail was desolate, however might be sort of like calling the Pope Catholic. We quickly decided that to find anything interesting here, we would have to detour from the trail. Cutting off the main trail, we followed the river and were quickly in a wonderfully rich area of Asarum sieboldii, various polygonatums, disporums, and smilacinas, along with a large population of Lilium tsingtauense. This was also one of the only sites that we would find Arisaema robustum.
One of the highlights of this mountain was the wonderful sedum, S. rotundifolium, which hung vicariously from the faces of the rocks that comprised this giant mountain. The sedum was in full flower, as the attractive bright pink blooms hung down for viewing. The other highlight had to be the one small bank of Jeffersonia dubia, discovered by Bleddyn.
This was probably the busiest of the National Parks that we had yet to visit, and certainly one of the most spectacular. The giant sheer cliffs and fabulous waterfalls certainly brought back memories of the Great Basin region of the Pacific Northwest US. The Korean culture has only recently embraced leisure, and Koreans are certainly making the best use of their National Park System. I had begun making informal counts of folks that passed us on the trail and found an average of 35 people per minute passed me on the trail. Groups on the steep, virtually rugged paths were both school kids (all in their school uniforms), old men, couples, as well as lady's days out...complete with makeup and jewelry
We departed Pohang around 830 with tickets in hand to catch the ferry to Ullung Island, some 216 km to the east. I was quite surprised at how nice the ferry is, with comfortable seats (by this time, any seats would have been a relief) and a big screen television. This was nothing to our surprise when the movies that they showed were all in American, and subtitled in Korean.
After a smooth and relaxing ride, we arrived at Ullung Island at 130pm. The steep volcanic rock cliffs surrounding the island gave way as we rounded the corner to a small depression into which the village had been sandwiched. The port was docked with squid boats, surrounded literally by miles of close line hanging with fresh squid. The families of the fishermen would work frantically killing, cleaning, and hanging the squid before the next shipment arrived.
As we de-ferried, we were scurried away to the military office at the ferry. We were asked our intentions, for identification, and other questions that we didn't cherish. After being told that we needed to fill out special forms, the office clerk gave up when he found that the office had run out of the needed forms. Of course, he promised to "get with us later" which never happened. Most of the islands, such as Ullung are still heavily used as strategic military bases, although I can't imagine we looked like North Koreans.
We made the short walk to our hotel, only to find that the guests that had been there the night before decided to stay, and they had no more rooms. After Ki-Hun and the desk clerk had a heated discussion, we discovered that they would send us to a nearby hotel up the road. We were escorted to the hotel, as our bags followed later by vehicle. The rooms were not bad, although the lack of a sink in the shrunken size bathroom made seed cleaning difficult at best.
Discontent with the room quickly faded as I stuck my head out the window to view steep volcanic cliffs full of Ligularia tussilaginea (Farfugium japonicum) just coming into flower. Being one of my favorite plants, this was indeed a thrill. While others spent the afternoon investigating the village, Ki-Hun and I hiked up the mountain behind the hotel...I wanted to walk thru the ligularias.
There was no part of the village that even approached flat, and it got steeper the further we walked. Even walking across a farmers field on a 40% slope got me winded. The farmers on this island had gone as far as constructing their own chair lifts to move the produce and other items too and from the mountainous fields.
Arriving at the top, not only the ligularias greeted us, but wonderful trees such as Camellia japonica, Neolitsea sericea and Machilus thunbergii. All along the treacherous walk back down an adjacent valley were fascinating plants including a variety of native artemisias, chrysanthemums, and a giant native stand of Pennisetum alopecuroides 'Moudry'. Arriving back at sea level, there was still another few miles to the hotel, but this part of the journey was on a relatively flat boardwalk (that circled the entire island) perched between the cliffs and the sea.
We awoke to sunny skies, despite the weather forecast for a day of rain, and departed by bus from Podung to a larger fishing village further along the island, called Chowdung. We arrived just in time to board the ferry (The Chung Mu) for the journey further along the island to a small village called Chonpu (The sheer cliffs don't allow a road all the way around the island). This was the impression of a ferry that I had pictured before the trip. The small ferry held about 1 vehicle along with 50 people, some in a small cabin, and the rest of us standing on the top deck.
Although we didn't get the promised rain, we did get the wind and associated choppy seas. About _ way thru our journey, and after slowing several times for the rough seas, the boat was hit broadside by a wave that sent the boat well into a 45 degree lurch. I still don't know what the screaming Koreans beside us were yelling, but from the look on their face, this was not supposed to happen. After the rocking subsided, the boat was reoriented and we continued, albeit a bit slower. We finally arrived at Chonpu to catch yet another bus to the village of Chukan. The bus, speeding around the curves on the edge of the cliff wasn't great, but it couldn't compare to the now memorable boat ride.
Our trail upward began by following an steep road up past farm fields. At the first turn off, only 1000' feet up the road the vegetation began to change. The first thing I noticed was Disporum flavens...not just a few plants, but it was everywhere. And best of all, it was covered in fruit. Only a curve further and there were arisaemas...not just a few, but hundreds and many of them were loaded with fruit. This is the only island where many of the Arisaema peninsulae have dramatic silver patterns to the leaves, and sure enough, there they were.
As I was stumbling thru the disporums, I spotted another of our target plants for the trip, the giant hepatica, H. maxima. It was hard to imagine that this plant was going to live up to its advance billing, but there it was...18" wide clumps of glossy dark green leaves that were as large as the palm of your hand. While we only found a few plants at this point, we would soon arrive at areas, where it literally carpeted the ground.
Further along the road, as the hepatica thickened, so did the arisaema seed heads and another surprise, Trillium kamtschaticum. I'd grow this trillium just for the arisaema like foliage that could span 2-3' in width.
After a refreshing 3.5 hour hike, we arrived in the village of Nari, a small farming village in the center of the island at 1406' (an old volcanic crater). The crops being grown in the village surprised us, including giant fields of platycodon (balloon flower) and codonopsis. After a delicious lunch of cold Spam sandwiches, we were on our way again, for what we had been warned was the most difficult part of the hike.
The climb was gradual and the woods were extremely rich with flora, especially ferns. It wasn't far before I found both Adiantum pedatum (maidenhair fern) that appeared identical to our US native, and Phyllitis scolopendrium (the popular Hart's tongue fern) growing nearby. The woods were filled both with spectacular arisaema peninsulae specimens as well as hundreds of Lilium hansonii specimens (dormant except for seed pods on 3' stems).
Another find that really excited me was a giant clump of ophiopogon. All of the ophiopogon that we had seen on the trip was typically running, but here was a solitary clump, nearly 2' across and 1' tall with narrower than normal foliage. Time will only tell if this is as good as it looked.
Suddenly the climb steepened until we were climbing what must have been a 70-80% slope. Ropes were in place to help climbers scale the logs, precariously driven into the slippery bank. To make matters worse, the clouds thickened and the winds howled, as we were sure that a storm was approaching. For over 3 hrs, the trek continued in the same conditions, as the seemingly unreachable peak actually got closer and closer. This is one of those times that causes you to seriously question why in the heck you agreed to come on this trip, and how will they rescue you with the helicopter.
Although the woods in this virgin forest (1 of 4 in Korea) were filled with arisaema, hydrangea, schizophragma, and smothered with a gorgeous running lacy leaf fern, I was afraid to stray far from the main path. The dominant trees at this point included Sorbus commixta, Acer takesimense, Tilia insularis, Fagus multinervis, and Tsuga sieboldii. Finally, Song-Inbong Peak was reached, and after a quick view from the lookout point, it was time to head down, albeit with wobbly knees, numb feet, and a greatly reduced sense of balance. The backpack that started out as an insignificant bodily attachment now figuratively, if not literally weighed a ton.
Most of the pathway down was lined with bamboo (Sasa kurilensis), so now that I could focus again on the plants, they were less to be found. After again finding the courage, but still lacking the footing, I made my way down one of the steep side banks to find dozens of giant silver leaf arisaemas, many of which bore giant seed heads. Even a giant patch of goodyera orchid greeted me as I came out of one downward skid on the slippery hillside.
After another 3 hours of slipping and sliding on the 30-60% slope downward, I arrived (at least in spirit) back at town. Fortunately Darrell and Ki-Hun had waited about an hour from the end of the trail for me, or I might still be on the side of the mountain. I don't remember much else about that night, except that the hard hotel floors felt unusually soft.
Awaking with a body that creaked like an old truck I used to have, Darrell and I both opted to remain at the hotel to rest and process collections from the day before. As it had turned out, we were able to finally secure rooms at our original hotel on the waterfront during the day before, and somehow we had all managed to make it to the right hotel the evening prior, although it is still foggy in my memory. Dan, Ki-Hun, Bleddyn and Sue took a similar trek as the day before, except starting from a different village, and thank goodness less wind during the ferry ride. They returned around 4pm to report similar flora to the day before.
Ullung Island was in the midst of their cultural festival which was also taking place in the harbor, so while working ,we got the enjoy the awards ceremony, some incredible kite flying exhibitions, lots of singing, and even a flower show. At night, the squid boats, each complete with hundreds of lights for attracting squid, would launch, providing a truly indescribable show as they lit up the ocean for hundreds of miles like a giant ball stadium. Of course, when they returned at 1 am, they lit up our rooms as well.
While most of the group stayed at the hotel to process and pack, Bleddyn and I decide to back track our steps back up the "hike from hell". We quickly found that starting from the back side of the trail is the way that most folks traverse the mountain...taking the steepest part first, while they still have some energy. The number of groups using the trails are absolutely amazing, even groups of Buddhist nuns. The nuns befriended us on our journey, giggling endlessly as I stopped to catch my breath, then later tugging on my backpack from behind to get another chuckle. We would see them again, later on the same ferry returning to the mainland.
After reaching the 2.5 km point, I took off down a steep bank to search for more silver centered Arisaema peninsulae. After finding a number of seed heads, I spotted what appeared to be a couple of clumps of liriope on the hill. Upon moving further, I found this to be instead Cymbidium goeringii, one of the many endemic orchids to Korea. By now it is just after noon and time to return to the hotel and check out for our afternoon ferry ride back to the mainland. Departing at 4pm, we arrive back on the mainland around 730, with the highlight of the ferry ride being a chance for the group to see their first Jackie Chan movie (comedic Bruce Lee style film). After deboarding, and picking up our van (no vehicles allowed on this ferry), we headed back to our same hotel in Pohang for the evening.
After a quick dinner in a local eatery, and our nightly ritual of shopping for our in-room breakfasts of toast with jam, bananas, and re-heated noodles, it was in for an early night to prepare for an early start in the morning.
As we prepared to leave the hotel, Darrell spotted a very large gold leaf kerria beside the front door. The owner was kind enough to allow us to each take a piece...only hope it is really as good as it looked and not colored because of some toxic waste dump.
After the brief excitement of the kerria, we departed Pohang very early in the morning for the long drive to the Southwestern port city of Wando to catch the ferry to our next stop, Cheju Island. We arrived shortly after 1pm to find that the ferry is not only filled for today, but booked for the entire next week. By now (2pm) we are starved, so we find a small restaurant in Wando and after dining and stopping at the Post Office to mail our second package back home, we head north to big port city of Mokpo.
Along the way, we stopped by a cut over hillside, where Bleddyn had found some interesting items 4 years earlier. The trees had begun to regrow (mostly Euscaphis japonicus) and were already in full fruit. On this seemingly dry bank, we found real treasures. Several of the native orchids were in abundance including both Calanthe striata and Cymbidium goeringii. Darrell was excited, as we found a small patch of Tricyrtis macropoda (dilatata). Under the thick weeds was also an stunning array of silver mottled Asarum maculatum...a seemingly unlikely place.
Riding up to Mokpo, the rice harvest in the region was in full swing. Unlike our visit to China a year earlier, all of the rice was harvested by miniature combines, which maneuvered perfectly in and out of the muddy rice patties.
Arriving at Mokpo, we managed to find our tiniest rooms yet, obviously constructed by a jack-leg carpenter, with features including no square walls, poorly attached linoleum, a missing sink, stopped up toilets, a tub that drained onto the floor, and doors installed side by side that wouldn't allow each other to open fully. I'm still fascinated by the total lack of show curtains in Korea...must be something cultural. Even in the poorest quality room, however, don't even think about entering the room without first removing your shoes...another cultural thing!
The only way these low end motels stay in business is that the owners run up and down the street knocking on cars and directing the occupants to their respective hotels (usually 10-30 rooms). With an overpopulated country, seemingly everyone had found their own niche in which to open a business.
We were able to get tickets this time, although it took running back and forth between three different buildings. We discovered, however that the ferry did not return on Monday...our preferred departure date. As time was running out for the expedition, we again changed our plans and book the 5pm return ferry for Sunday.
We departed from the hotel just after 6am for our next ferry adventure on Cheju Island, and a site that Bleddyn promised would be the richest yet.
The giant old boat was used primarily for freight, and was missing the comforts of home like chairs. After loading the van, we had to return to the terminal and board through another passenger gate. As the gates opened, folks pushed their way onto the boat, securing their spot on floor of the enclosed passenger deck. It didn't take long after our 9am boarding for us to realize that this ferry was not at all like our Ullung experience.
Entire families and groups of friends frowned at us for evidently interfering with their "space". For the nearly 6 hour journey to Cheju Island, you had the option of sleeping on the floor (no mats), watching the ocean, or watching a movie. Also, unlike the ferry to Ullung, no one seemed to observe the no smoking sign, especially the older men, and we were all soon coughing and gasping in the smokey cabin.
We did meet a nice Indiana couple on the boat...one of the few Americans we had seen since leaving Seoul. She was a Korean native, and he was here in service. It was fascinating to hear his stories of how backward Korea was in the 1960's with no paved roads outside of Seoul. He was truly stunned at the changes that had taken place as Korea had made the transition to a modern technological society. They also introduced us to the pleasures of cantaloupe ice cream popsicles, which would become our after dinner treat for the remainder of the trip.
After an extremely uncomfortable journey, we arrived on the north end of Cheju Island. As most of our collections would be on the south side, we headed there to the town of Sogwipo to search for a hotel. The 45 minute drive skirting the base of Mt. Halla (tallest peak on the island) was a fairly easy trek...then off to search for hotels.
After checking out 4 hotels, our reconnaissance team chose the Hotel Napoli...certainly the nicest hotel since we had left Seoul. Checking in wasn't as easy as planned, since although the hotel accepted credit cards, their machine rejected at least one from everyone in the group. Finally, by pooling our resources, we managed enough cash for our 3 night stay.
After departing the hotel at 8am, we dropped off our dirty clothes at a local laundry, then backtracked along the road which we had driven from Cheju City to Sogwipo. We dropped Darrell, Bleddyn and Ki-Hun off to collect, while Sue, Dan, and I returned to take care of some banking business. Changing funds in a bank in a large city proved quite easy. I the had to also try to secure an airline ticket for my flight back to Seoul. Fortunately, the travel agency was near the bank and Ki-Hun's Korean paper saying, "I want a flight from Kwangu to Seoul at 5pm) worked great...and for only $34.
We returned to the first collecting site around 930 and found an incredibly rich area. Both sides of the road were both moist and gently sloping. Almost as soon as we entered the woodland from the road, we were greeted with arisaemas, both A. ringens and A. peninsulae. While seed on A. peninsulae was plentiful, seed on A. ringens was quite a bit more scarce and all still quite green. Again, the ground was covered with hepaticas, but this time it was Hepatica insularis (a virtually non-existent species in US gardens). This species was smaller in stature than H. asiatica that we had found earlier, but the patterns of silver were much more striking.
Further away from the road, I discovered a site that was to become common place along this road...hostas growing with ophiopogon (narrow leaf form) and many different terrestrial orchids. The only hosta known to grow on Cheju Island is H. venusta, so it will be interesting to see what results from our varied collections. The hostas that we found in this region were growing in dense shade usually on dry cliffs. Near the hostas was another special find, a particularly dwarf form of the partridge berry, Mitchella undulata...complete with dwarf red berries.
It wasn't far from the hostas, that I began to find large patches of goodyeras, and boy were they spectacular. First we discovered forms (species?) with beautiful silvery netted foliage, but it was the next species that drove us over the edge. This goodyera had velvety black leaves with a dramatic pink stripe down the center of each leaf. What I initially thought to be a rare find turned up everywhere we visited along this same road.
Our next stop was a bit further up the same road, and the vegetation was for the most part similar to the first. Very common in the woods along this road were patches of the deciduous ginger, Asarum maculatum...all with lovely silver leaf patterns. Also the woods were filled with a nice small ligularia....probably L. fischeri.
Stop 2 was also particularly well endowed with patches of the hardy orchid Calanthe striata...some patches as large as a typical bedroom. The woods here also presented a nice assortment of solomon's seal including Polygonatum odoratum, P. falcatum, Smilacina japonica, and Disporum smilacina.
By the time we made stop 3 along the same road, we were all so tired of seeing Arisaema peninsulae that we simply passed by ripe seed heads laying in our path by the hundreds. I never thought I would say such, but the prospect of having to clean thousands of arisaema seed before shipping them back to the US didn't excite anyone. This site again provided more of the same, but with some particularly nice dryopteris (ferns).
Our 4th stop provided one of the nicest finds of the day, a wonderful silver speckled Arisaema peninsulae growing by itself in a dry creek bed...one of those one of a kind finds. Nearby was a large patch of veratrums (in full seed), a plant that we would later find hundreds of during the expedition. I think we were all stunned by the ferns, especially the spectacular specimens of Osmunda japonica (the nearly identical counterpart to our US native O. regalis).
Also at this stop, we were thrilled to find Aruncus aethusifolius growing in the wild among the mossy rocks in a dry creek bed alongside aconitums and hosta. The plant that probably surprised us most was a wonderful euphorbia that we found dotted throughout the woods. Although the flower head was similar to E. robbiae, the foliage was much narrower.
There was also a neat ivy, Hedera rhombea that we found occasionally in the woods, often in the adult form as it climbed to the top of the canopy. Hopefully, this can be rooted and eventually introduced.
On Saturday, we dropped half of the group (Dan, Sue, and Ki-Hun) at Mt. Halla for an all day hike, while the rest of us (Tony, Darrell, and Bleddyn) explored around the base of the mountain. We journeyed back north of the mountain and took road 1117 around the base.
The first site was a road cut, below which we found a spectacular specimen of Euscaphis japonica in full fruit...WOW. I can see why JC Raulston was so excited about this tree when he first saw it in Korea in 1985. Nearby another spectacular tree from which JC had collected seed, Meliosma oldhamii...25' tall and smothered with terminal spikes of orange berries.
Further down the same road, we found a splendid Kodak moment as an entire roadside bank of Parnassia palustris was in full flowers. Other than this wet bank, the roadsides were particularly dry, in part due to the extended drought from which the region was suffering.
After lunch in the Mt. Halla parking lot, I opted to explore the region across from Mt. Halla in the hopes of finding more seed of Arisaema ringens, while Darrell and Bleddyn headed toward one of many volcanic craters on the island.
My trek to the top of the mountain across the street from Mt. Halla was extremely successful, as I got to see some of the largest Arisaema ringens that I've ever seen, along with more hostas, solomon's seal, and plenty more goodyeras.
Further down the road, Darrell made two exciting finds, Liriope platyphylla, and a larger leaf hosta that appears to be stoloniferous...we will have to wait and see, but it certainly didn't look like any H. venusta that I've ever seen.
By 5pm, it was time to pick up the group at Mt. Halla and return to do our grocery shopping prior to dinner. We departed at 715 for dinner with England's John Gallagher, a friend of Dan and Ki-Hun who was in town and had invited us to dinner. We enjoyed a wonderful dinner at a splendid restaurant near the 5-star Paradise Inn at which John was staying.
Returning to the hotel at 10pm, the rest of the group (who had greatly enjoyed copious amounts of adult beverages) decided to go to a local night stop to do some "bopping" as Sue called it. I don't remember what time they returned, but do remember that they were all strangely quite the next morning.
We checked out of our hotel and were joined by a local friend of Ki-Hun, who was also quite a plant nut. He escorted us to the east side of the island to see some rather unique botanically interesting sites. After a hour drive through sites such as a preserved authentic village with thatch roof huts, and back roads, all lined with spectacular Cryptomeria japonica, we arrive in the midst of an open field...the Abourum Crater.
After climbing under a barbed wire fence, we started the hike up this seemingly uninteresting hill. It didn't take long before we began to notice all kinds of little gems nestled in the grazed hillside. The most abundant was a cute little adenophora that was in full flower...tiny purple bells. Also, a nice purple flowered allium quickly caught everyone's attention. As we crested the hill, and began our descent in the crater, the group scattered.
Darrell yelled that he had discovered hostas on this barren sunny bank, about the same time I found Lygodium japonicum on the other side (Japanese climbing fern). Others had found treasures including an unidentified gallium, and a spectacular pink flowering stellera, S. rosea.
After a quick hour and a half, it was again time to move on.
Our next stop was Pija-Rim, a nearby national park of Torreya nucifera. Being one used to seeing torreyas as small nursery grown plants, it was truly incredible to see a preserved stand of 2,750 trees, each between 300-800 years old, and with a diameter of 10' +. It would have been quite easy to stand underneath these trees and scoop up seed from the ground all day, but it wouldn't have taken long to exceed the weight limit of our van, so we tried to show a bit of restraint.
Our final stop, before heading to the ferry was to see a native stand of Crinum asiaticum. This white star flowered crinum occurs only on the sea coast, where it is native on rocky outcrops in the ocean, just off the coast. Although we found the crinums growing nicely, there were no seeds to be found this time and no time to take a boat out to further populations. While here, I was pleased to find Vitex rotundifolia in the wild...a plant that JC Raulston had highly promoted for beach dune stabilization.
By 245, we arrived at the ferry terminal to purchase tickets and get the van loaded on board. Then, it's off to the soda counter inside the terminal for a late lunch, and then hurry up and wait for the 530 ferry departure and another ferry ride from hell.
After choking and coughing for another 6 hours, we arrive back in Mokpo at 1130. Fortunately, we had reserved our same hotel, just across the street, so with a minimum of trouble (waking the hotel owners), we were in our room and crashed for the night.
Today was the day that we had all dreaded, as we would loose our valuable tour guide Song Ki-Hun, who needed to return to Chollipo. We now have as our guide, Kim Un-Chae, who arrived by train late last evening. After dropping Ki-Hun and the train station, we are off to Wolchulsan National Park, just 1.5 hours away.
At 10am, we arrive at the park and disembark at the south end of the mountain. As we have been warned about the severity of the hike (vertical climbs up the face of the mountain on metal ladders and rope bridges from peak to peak), Darrell and I gladly offered to stay around the base, and then drive the van to pick up the rest of the group at the north end of the mountain.
The base of the mountain was extremely dry, but still yielded some exciting finds including more Hemerocallis longituba, different terrestrial orchids, and a very exciting find of Davallia mariesii (Rabbit's foot fern) growing on a sunny rock. Hosta were also quite plentiful here, as Hosta capitata was the dominant species. The specimens that we found were quite a bit larger than normal, with leaves to nearly 8" long...found on the dry partially sunny banks.
By 2pm, it was time to head to the north side to pick up the group. Un-Chae had agreed to join us in case we got lost, which was probably a good idea. Once we arrive, we meandered around the base, except for the energetic Un-Chae who climbed the trail to meet the rest of the group. The only real exciting find at this end was Iris rossii, which Darrell found in several locations along the dry trail.
After the group arrived at the bottom at 5pm to report a very dry and fairly unproductive trek, returned again to our Mokpo hotel. Even the drive back to the hotel was eventful today, however as we were stopped by the police (not for speeding, which we had done excessively throughout the trip), but for driving in the passing lane...hadn't heard that one before. Frustrated by his inability to read the English on Bleddyn's international driving license, he finally allowed us to continue.
As we walked to dinner from our hotel on the waterfront, we were alarmed to find armed guards on every street corner near our hotel, complete with riot gear and machine guns. While we weren't able to determine the problem, we ate quickly, then scurried back to the hotel.
Departing our west coast Mokpo hotel for the final time, we made a quick stop at the post office for mailing our third packages, then to the bank to exchange more currency. We were now off for a 6 hr drive to the east to Mt. Chiri, and our stop for the night in nearby Kurye. Again, we were stopped by the police, who again was frustrated by trying to read English and sent us on our way. Something got lost in the translation, and we still don't know why we were stopped this time.
The longest time was spent trying to make our way around the large city of Kwangju. It had been obvious during the entire trip, that the increase in the number of vehicles was far out pacing the abilities of the highways to keep pace....hence the amazing amount of highway construction. Gasoline prices were comparable to the US, except for diesel that was available everywhere at the US equivalent of $.50/gallon.
The increase in vehicles is so new, that all of the cars on the roads were of very recent make. This has led to terrible traffic jams, such as the one we encountered trying to make our way around Kwangju. The traffic problems are caused both by the volume of cars and a the lack of many stoplights. Only the busiest intersections in the busiest towns have any stoplights, and even then it is certainly not enough. Everywhere else, it's a vehicular free for all, with seemingly no traffic rules...thank goodness they drove on the right side of the road.
The other problem is parking lots, which are virtually non-existent, forcing drivers to stop in the middle of the road, making problems even worse.
By 3pm, we had arrived in Kurye, found a hotel and unloaded our gear. Just wanting to get out and walk, we opted for a quick reconnaissance trip up Mt. Chiri. After driving over the peak, we drove along until we found a spot to pull off the incredibly steep and winding road. Dashing up the hill, it was sight for sore eyes...tricyrtis...everywhere. As I yelled for Darrell (our resident tricyrtis nut), Dan was doing the same from below the road. As it turned out, we had stopped right in the midst of a 2 acre patch of Tricyrtis macropoda...complete with plenty of seed. What appeared to be a dry bank had grown the largest leaved T. macropoda that I've ever seen.
The woods at this quick stop were absolutely loaded with interesting plants...hemerocallis, Asarum maculatum, Hosta (either H. nakaiana or H. capitata), veratrums, polygonatums, orchids, and a host of wonderful ferns). Although syneilesis (like a cut leaf ligularia) was abundant throughout Korea, this was one of the only times that we were able to find a patch in seed.
Returning for dinner and our nightly shopping, we eagerly anticipated the upcoming day, back on Mt. Chiri.
Today, we chose to hike the main trail up to the temple. Immediately, we could tell as we hiked that this was not going to be as rich as the day before. Most of the rock woodland to each side of the trail was solid bamboo (the 5' tall kind). As I reached near the top, I opted to go over the edge of the cliff to the right and climb downward looking for moisture. Darrell took off early in the trail and climbed to the lower part of the ridge, while the rest of the group opted to go over the top of the cliff to the left near the temple and down into the next valley.
After climbing downward for about an hour, I stumbled on a beautiful forest of Rhododendron schlippenbachii (Royal azalea) with a solid ground cover of hosta beneath.
Climbing just below the steep rock cliff face, I found an incredible patch of Clematis heracleifolia. This form was much different that what we had been finding, with a thick woody trunk and a much stouter appearance. Also in the same area, was more of the spectacular Cimicifuga dahurica with it's faded 7' spikes.
There were plenty of hostas everywhere I turned in this deeply shaded valley, from growing in moss on sheer cliffs to flat spots on the top of cliffs. The area was also filled with Astilbe koreana...an incredibly tough plant that I would love to see in flower. Every now and then an interesting fern or solomon's seal would appear, but after 3 hours of going down the bank, it was time head upwards again. Sometimes, just grabbing trees for balance had been unpleasant...especially when in a forest of the spiny Aralia elata, but here, grabbing the trunk of a Stewartia pseudocamellia was something special. I even had to stop for a few photo op's every time I encountered one of those 2' diameter stewartias with the wonderful mottled bark.
Still heading forward and looking for a place between the cliffs that was climbable took a while, but I finally was able to turn upward. The forest had now become filled with a scrubby oak, Quercus mongolica, although still with occasional hosta patches beneath. As I climbed higher, patches of polygonatum with fruit began to appear...an all too rare occurrence on the trip. As the cliff steepened, daylilies again began to appear...even a few in seed.
After another 2-3 hours of climbing...some virtually vertical, I managed to crawl over the final giant rock to the top above the tree line to find a meadow of hosta, solomon's seal, and daylilies. Bright full sun above the tree line is not exactly where I anticipated finding a field of hosta, solomon's seal, and daylilies, but the abundance of seed on the daylilies was much more than anything I'd seen previously.
Back down the main trail, I was still amazed at the amount of people that used the Korean park system...again 30-40 people every minute went passed. This was to be my final night in Korea, as I was abandoning the rest of the group to head back to responsibilities in the US. The night was spent with final collection processing and getting a last package ready to mail.
Having to be back in Kwangju for a 5pm flight, I opted to join the group for a morning foray back to the top of Mt. Chiri. Passing our site of Wednesday, we journeyed first to a public parking lot several miles further up the mountain. This was an unusual site...a meadow of miscanthus and brambles, fading into a young pine forest.
Almost immediately, I encountered a small, but nice patch of Tricyrtis macropoda, followed by seed on several nearby lilies. As I wandered further out in to the meadow, I stumbled across several clumps of Iris ensata v. spontanea growing right beside hostas. As I passed into a large patch of brambles, I looked down to find a giant patch of Disporum viridescens...the first patch that we had seen on the trip...and loaded with seed. We quickly finished up at that site, then headed even further down the road to a promising stop near a small waterfall.
This site was not particularly rich, but did yield a nice patch of Disporum flavens, as well as some hard to find seed on Actaea asiatica. What this site did yield was one of the funnier moments on the trip. Dan and Darrell had climbed upward to top of the ridge and were entranced in the flora of the region, when a Korean fighter plane breaking the sound barrier, swooped up from the adjacent valley. Diving down again, just above the tree tops, the sonic boom just above their heads sent them diving to the ground to avoid the seemingly imminent crash. They returned to the van visibly shaken...but fortunately in the mood for a variety of airplane jokes.
We stopped for a quick lunch along the route, and left Bleddyn, Sue, and Darrell behind as Dan and Un-Chae took me back to the bus station. We arrived at the station with about 30 seconds to spare before the 1pm bus departed for the 1.5 hour ride to Kwangju. Upon arriving at Kwangju, I ventured out to the street and hailed a taxi, which with the number of taxis in Korea isn't very hard. My prepared note of "take me to your post office" made for a quick drive. After mailing my final package, it was taxi time again. Once more, as I pulled out my "take me to the airport" note. After a fast paced 30 minute drive to the airport, it was hurry up and wait for my 5pm flight back to Seoul.
Arriving at Seoul at 6pm, it didn't take long to catch the free shuttle back to the nearby and "bed endowed" Airport Tourist Hotel. Cleaning the remainder of my accessions for inspections didn't take long, so all that remained was repacking for the flight home.
The flight from Seoul to Tokyo departed at 10 am and arrived in Tokyo at 1pm. After a 3 hour wait, we were ready to take off for the US. Arriving in Seattle after a smoke filled flight on Northwest (one of the few airlines that still allow smoking), we landed. We were greeted by a plant sniffing dog, that must have had a cold, or simply wasn't interested in the open package of beef jerky that I'd forgot about in my carrying case. After a quick and non eventful trip thru agriculture inspections, I was off for my connecting flights back to NC...wondering if I'd ever be able to decipher my notes enough to write this log. I guess, all ended well.
June 6 and 7, 1998
Led by Catherine Maxwell and Jonathan Nyberg, Arboretum staff
Saturday, June 6, 1998
Price: $145.00, includes: bus transportation as outlined above, lunch on Saturday, all garden entrance fees, double accommodation Saturday night.
Without accommodations: $115.00. Single accommodations: $175.00.
Minimum 25 participants, maximum 45 participants.
To register, send your name, address, phone number (day and evening) and payment (made out to: NC Agricultural Foundation) to: JC Raulston Arboretum, Asheville Tour, Dept. of Horticultural Science, Box 7609, NCSU, Raleigh, NC 27695. Phone: 919-515-3132 for further information. Thank you. n
July 23, 1998 – August 3, 1998
Led by Bryce Lane, Director.
This tour was designed by JC. The only change we made was adding a day of leisure in Italy (please forgive us JC). You should expect the same frenetic plant-crazed pace of previous Arboretum tours. Here is a brief itinerary. Phone the Arboretum office, 919-515-3132, to obtain the complete itinerary.
Price: $2,925, includes airfare from Charlotte, Atlanta or New York, Dbl occupancy rooms, 10 nights accommodations with private facilities in superior tourist class hotels with continental breakfast , ground transportation, $200 donation to Arboretum in lieu of tips for Arboretum staff (one other Arboretum staff member will accompany tour), all tips except bus driver, 25 participant minimum. Single supplement is $350. To register contact: Marti Ehrlich, Ronningen Travel Center, 226 East Sixth Avenue, Hendersonville, NC 28792. phone: 704-693-1922. fax: 704-693-1967. n
Napoleon to Josephine,
"Home in three days, don't bathe."
by Harriet Bellerjeau
Last October, Rosemary Kautzky moved to Des Moines, Iowa. In the year before leaving, she contributed over 300 hours gardening at the Arboretum. We remember her energy, enthusiasm, hard work and easy smiles. Early in the spring of 1997, before taking on full responsibility for heading up a team of gardeners in the Lath House, she worked in the Mixed Border. But it is her effort with the Lath House that we remember so often. It underwent major renovation when Rosemary took it on. Mulching, removing, identifying and labeling all of the plants, Rosemary and her crew made this area into one of the Arboretum's most precious gems.
We've heard that the early snows in the mid-west have made for difficult gardening. She's already gotten a head start this fall designing her new garden, and most of the plants she carried to Iowa from her own garden here in Raleigh have been transplanted. A number of these were arboretum trials being given yet another opportunity for us to "wait and see" how they adapt.
Our heartfelt thanks to Rosemary for her special devotion to carrying on the tradition and legacy of JC Raulston in planning and planting for a better world. n
When Rosemary Kautzky moved away there was an uncomfortable tug at our sleeves. Who would be able to fill her muddy shoes? Who would know enough and be devoted enough to take up where Rosemary left off? Rosanna Adams and Tena Oberle urged the third member of the Lath House team to take the lead. So Charlotte Presley is now moving forward with new richness and dedication. She and the team have just finished laying stone and artistically arranging large rocks along the front of the lath house. Many new acquisitions are needed to continue the work. Just for starters a list of about 25 woody plants have been envisioned, and this does not include the shade loving perennials and moisture loving cultivars.
There's every indication that at this point funds are needed for the purchase of these additional plants and to replace those which have died. Should you wish to help, please contact the Arboretum Office 515-3132 and earmark your contribution for the Lath House or contact Charlotte directly at 851-0555.
In response to an ever growing need (no pun intended), several interest areas at the Arboretum were identified in the last newsletter in hopes that a curator would come forward. Guy Meillieur has done just, accepting responsibility for the conifer collection. He will begin working in the Conifer Garden on Wednesday mornings from 9 a.m. till noon. Guy will need assistance for mulching, aerating and extension of a footpath. Please see feel free to contact him directly at 387-7045.
December brought some wonderfully mild weather and also brought several volunteers together in the Japanese Garden. Dan Howe, the new curator, is anxious to bring this area some attention. The greatest needs will be for the lumber and labor to take off and replace the old boards. We're looking for a carpenter to head up a small team of folks. The work shouldn't take more than a day or two. As well, if there is anyone out there who is skilled in the art of fine pruning we would sure love to have you donate some hours. Please arrange your interest with Dan directly at 848-5462. n
Volunteers are currently needed in the following non-gardening areas:
mailings, Gala in the Garden, the Raleigh Home and Garden Show, telephone tree, drawing plants on the computer map, volunteer activities, children's materials for the web-site, photographers, graphic artists, carpenter, grant writers and Volunteer Office (Looking for Saturday all day and Sunday afternoons). Please call Harriet at the Arboretum office, 515-3132. For gardening opportunities, see the boxed list of curators on page 13.n
Many thanks to all who shared their cookies, recipes and ornaments for the JC Raulston tree during the Christmas holidays, December 11th. It was a wonderful and beautifully sunny event. We hope to have more of these get togethers in 1998 – look for the postcards! n
by Vivian Finkelstein
The Arboretum could use a few more tour guides for 1998, especially folks who are available on weekdays during the day, when the majority of guided tours are scheduled. Consider training to become a guide. It's probably the best way to learn and keep up with the plants and happenings at the JC Raulston Arboretum.
You think you don't know enough to give tours? Think again. If you love the Arboretum, can learn a little about its history and major collections by attending the training sessions and reading the training manual, and can remember a couple of dozen plants, you will be able to give a good informative tour. Be a host, teacher, welcomer, and ambassador for JC's garden by joining the volunteer tour guides in their work. You can spend as little as 10 hours a year or 20 hours a month, as your own schedule permits, and the times are very flexible.
All kinds of groups schedule private tours for their members –garden clubs, school groups, senior citizen clubs, plant societies, Master Gardener trainees in all the NC counties, book clubs, church groups, you-name-it. In addition to over 100 privately scheduled tours given each year, we conduct public tours every Sunday afternoon at 2:00 in April through October.
Call Fran Johnson at 847-5274 or Viv Finkelstein at 847-3658 if you can volunteer as a guide, or want to learn more about it. New guides should attend all three training sessions in March. Call us by February so we can get a manual and keys to you before the training begins. Current or former guides can attend one or more sessions to refreshthemselves, sign-up on the tour calendar, and catch up on new events, plants, people, and policies.
Training sessions for 1998 will be held in March, as follows.
Then, the first two Sunday public tours will be given by experienced guides, so new guides who want more examples can tag along.
Please call Fran, Viv, or the Arboretum Office at 515- 3132 to express your interest well in advance of the training sessions. And do consider joining in the fun of sharing our great treasure with the public.
The following is a list of all current curators and the areas in which they serve. Those with an asterisk * are in need of your assistance. Volunteering is a great way to learn more about gardening and to work with others to share the treasure and tradition of the Arboretum. Our apologies to Doug Ruhren, whose phone number was incorrectly printed in the last newsletter.
There is nothing more humbling for a newsletter editor than getting the latest copy of Allen Lacy's Homeground (PO Box 271, Linwood, NJ 08221. Quarterly, $38/year). It is top-quality in every way one can measure a gardening newsletter, the most important being quality articles about plants. The fall '97 issue has an article by Nancy Goodwin of Montrose about Cyclamen that includes step-by-step seed germination. I'd recommend trying out Homeground if you're interested in reading about plants and the horticultural world (which I'm sure includes everyone who is reading this!)
Garden Therapy, One to Grow On, Inc., PO Box 5372 Virginia Beach, VA 23471. Phone: 888-383-2240. This is a newsletter whose motto is "We believe gardening should be good for the soul and not hurt the body". It has various tools that make gardening less stressful for the body.
HortIdeas, by Greg and Pat Williams, 750 Black Lick Rd., Gravel Switch, KY 40328, continues to be a great clearinghouse for horticultural information. I can't imagine the publications they must look through. It is now available online, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
HerbalGram: the Journal of the American Botanical Council and the Herb Research Foundation. PO Box 201660, Austin, TX 78720. Quarterly, $25/year. Phone: 512-331-8868. Probably the best collection of books for sale on medicinal plants, herbals, ethnobotany, essential oils, and general botany for both the lay and scientific reader. In fact, this is just an outstanding publication. You'll be surprised how many interesting articles you'll find. The recent issue, #40, has a thorough monograph on Hypericum perforatum, St. John's Wort, which is becoming very popular for the treatment of mild depression. I would highly recommend anyone taking St. John's Wort, or thinking about it to read this article. Also in the same issue is, Phytomedicines Outperform Synthetics In Treating Enlarged Prostate, which informs us of scientific studies from Europe that show Saw Palmetto (Serenoa repens) extract works very well to shrink enlarged prostrate. In the Triangle area, this magazine is available at Barnes and Noble and Wellspring Grocery.
Many years ago I lived in a self-proclaimed anarchist collective – not for any ideological reasons, but the only person I knew in town lived there and rent was cheap. The anarchists were big into alienation, and a member gave me an article entitled, "Agriculture: The Roots of Alienation." Since I was studying horticulture at the local university, he felt it only right that I realize what evil I was involved in. The article introduced me to the idea that the hunter-gatherer lifestyle, usually characterized as being "brutish and nasty", was actually much better than the one we have today. According to the article, hunter-gatherers spent less of their time getting food and other necessities, and therefore had more leisure time. Also, since they had little surplus food, everyone had to contribute to the hunting and gathering, making society quite egalitarian. But with agriculture came food surpluses which could support an upper class, providing they could get enough food from the farmers, usually in a coercive manner of some kind. So, the author said, human culture went from being entirely hunter-gatherer, and not alienated from the land or themselves, to being mostly agricultural, and alienated from the land and themselves.
This was very interesting to me and I decided to research the beginnings of agriculture for myself. For several years I went to libraries and bookstores, hoping to find that one elusive book that would tie everything together. There's little doubt agriculture is more work. Why did people switch from hunting-gathering to agriculture? Was it climate change? Or population pressure? Yet, most people seemed to think that it was agriculture that increased the population, not the other way around. Well, I read enough to satisfy my curiosity about the beginnings of agriculture, and throughout the years I continued to scan books to see if I could find any new information.
Last month at the Regulator bookstore in Durham, I saw a book titled Guns, Germs and Steel /The Fates of Human Societies, by Jared Diamond. It had a painting on the cover of what looked to be a Spanish soldier with his sword raised against an Aztec or Incan chief. Well, I thought, maybe it has something about agriculture. I turned to the table of contents and was amazed to see seven chapters under the heading, "The Rise and Spread of Food Production." My heart was beating a little faster as I turned to a chapter, "To Farm or Not to Farm." Several pages later, I closed the book, walked to the checkout counter and bought it.
I really don't know what to say about the book after one reading - except read it. If you have any interest whatsoever in why societies developed the way they did; why Europeans conquered native people around the world and not the other way around; the beginnings of agriculture, technology, writing and government; why Europeans had better germs than other people; why racist theories of cultural dominance are incorrect; in short, if you have any interest in anything that has happened in the past 13,000 years, then you need to read this book. I guarantee you won't look at history the same ever again. And, it might even change the way you look at the people down the street. I've already sent a copy to my anarchist buddies.
Another book I picked up that same productive day at the Regulator is The Decadent Gardener, (Dedalus Ltd., Distributed in the US by Subterranean, PO Box 160, 265 S. Fifth St., Monroe, Oregon 97456). The authors are listed as Medlar Lucan and Durian Gray. This is only the first deception of a brilliant, clever book–probably written by editors Alex Martin and Jerome Fletcher. I say probably because I truly don't know exactly what is fact and what is fiction in this book. I take it all as fiction until proven otherwise. But it really doesn't matter. This book makes me laugh.
It is the story of garden designers Lucan and Gray as they work for the wealthy Mrs. Gordon of Montcullen. After meticulous research, they find themselves inspired by people like Humphrey Repton, of which Mr. Gray wrote:
"His greatness lay not in his ability to create acres of tedious English parkland, but in his ruthlessness. As a gardener he was without mercy. He was quite prepared to flatten an entire mining village because it spoilt a particular sight line."
Their final garden plan includes: The Sacred, or 'Blasphemous', Garden; The Garden of Venus; The Cruel Garden; The Garden of Oblivion; The 'Paradis Artificiel'; The Fatal Garden and Gardens of the Mind.
From the back cover:
"They reveal the darkside of another suburban activity which is still widely thought to be the preserve of old ladies in sensible shoes. The aim of Lucan and Gray is to return gardening to its Priapic roots, to reveal a world which is founded on sex and death, decay and sensuality, where the stench of corruption mingles with the cloying scent of fecundity, where acts of cruelty and violence are everyday occurrences. It is destined to become an indispensable manual for the thinking gardener."
It might go very well with your Martha Stewart collection. I do feel a need to point out that this is not a book which would receive funding from the National Endowment for the Arts without protests from certain politicians and civic groups–especially the chapter describing the Garden of Venus. But for others, it is as one reviewer wrote, "A scholarly work, cleverly disguised as a very amusing read." n
By Barbara Scott (reprinted from the Trillium)
What I noticed first about the monks was their concentration; they seemed oblivious to the flow of spectators around them. What I noticed next was their shoes, which were obviously donated. Brown leather oxfords and topsiders from the West looked out of place with the traditional robes the monks wore draped around their shoulders. I could imagine someone gardening in those shoes.
The lamas fromTibet's's Sera Je Buddhist monastery worked around a small table in pairs, taking turns tapping brass funnels filled with colored sand. Grain by grain, they were creating a picture composed of patterns and squares, animals and plants. A video in the museum where they worked showed their sand painting, a mandala, being built in three dimensions. Making it involves a ritual that represents all creation, both human and divine. While the mandala exists, the creatures depicted in it are homes to the spirits and gods they represent.
As I watched the lamas lay sand upon the table where they had chalked a design, I thought of making a garden: defining a space, laying down seeds like grains of sand, repeating the same tasks again and again. The monks attended to their work the way that I would like to garden; their attention never wavered. When such concentration comes over me in the garden, all of the distractions and concerns that make up living in a city fade. For a few moments, only soil and air occupy me.
The monks seemed to live completely in their task. In spite of that, to represent their lack of attachment and to fulfill the mandala's meaning, they would destroy it the day after its completion. When that day came, the museum filled with all the people who had watched the mandala being created during the preceding week.
Despite all the clamor of people and cameras, the monks' demeanor did not change as they prayed and chanted, sometimes in unison, sometimes separately, to sanctify the mandala's destruction. The final moments came quickly. One lama pinched sand from the painting between his fingers to destroy creatures on the mandala and release the spirits living in them. Then he divided the mandala into sections with a pointed brass tool. Taking a piece of cardboard in hand, he swirled the cut design into circles and swept the sand into a glass vase.
Watching the destruction from behind the ropes that separated me from them, I wondered at the monks' composure. I struggled to maintain mine. Their act evoked such sadness in me–images of gardens built and left behind and memories of friends found only to be lost.
A final step remained. The mandala, now a vase of sand with no distinct colors remaining, would be dispersed in water. In their red and gold robes and incongruous shoes, the monks walked together in the sunshine to the meadow outside the museum. There they scattered the sand in a pond, dissolving all their labors.
This happened at the North Carolina Museum of Art last October, just a month after a hurricane wiped away trees at random, leaving one street untouched, another fragmented. At the end of the year, an accident at Christmas would claim J.C. Raulston without warning. The focus that marked his work at the Arboretum in Raleigh takes on new meaning when one looks at pictures taken of him during the last months of his life. He had taken to shaving his head, monk-like, calling to mind a brotherhood of the spade. That brotherhood seems to exist as his colleagues and all the gardeners who support the Arboretum continue their work.
Perhaps the monks can be dispassionate about destroying their gardens of sand because they know other mandalas will be made, that life lies in the act of making rather than in individuals or in creations. Perhaps this is what makes me garden, despite knowing that some plants will succumb every year to my inattention or ignorance. And despite knowing that every garden I make will change in unforeseen ways and someday disappear. n
For a copy of Jim Wilson's 1996 hour-long interview with JC, filmed at the Arboretum, contact: Great Gardens, Episode 102, HGTV, PO Box 50970, Knoxville, TN 37950
Edith Eddleman in the summer border
Hey, the Arboretum staff together in one place. Now there's an event! From left to right; kneeling: Jonathan Nyberg, Val Tyson; standing: Catherine Maxwell, Bryce Lane, Mitzi Hole, Karen Jones, Catherine Gaertner, Pamela Christie
Tina Belmaggio shows off her wreath and table centerpiece made during the holiday decorations workshop.
Larry Mellichamp and Peter Loewer visit the Agave in the Garden of Winter Delights at the Arboretum.
You are probably aware that much of the Arboretum's support comes from your membership contributions. We thank you for being a part of the Arboretum and making its work possible.
Over the past year, we asked members what they wanted in return. The answers came down to two things: more educational opportunities and more plants! The new benefits listed below were developed in response to those requests.
We hope you'll consider sharing membership with a friend. If each member could get one person to join we could double our membership! Ask one of your gardening friends if they would like to help support the Arboretum and its continuing mission of enriching and expanding urban and residential landscapes by promoting a greater diversity of superior and better adapted landscape plants.
The purpose of the Friends of The JC Raulston Arboretum is to encourage and support NCSU in establishing a significant arboretum of high quality at the University to enhance teaching and research programs in Horticultural Science, and to serve the public, nursery and landscape industries as a place of continuous learning and inspiration. Membership fees and donations are used for construction of new facilities, purchase of plant materials, and for maintenance. All contributions are tax-deductable.
As a benefit of membership, the newsletter is accepting classified ads under the following heading. There is no charge for this service. We reserve the right to edit. Send your brief ad to: Classified Ads, JC Raulston Arboretum, Box 7609, Raleigh, NC 27695-7609.
Plants or Seed for Sale/Swap
Friends of the JC Raulston Arboretum
Newsletter is published four times a year.
Jonathan Nyberg, Editor
The JC Raulston Arboretum at
NC State University
Department of Horticultural Science
Raleigh, NC 27695-7609
Arboretum office: 919-515-3132
Development office: 919-515-2000
World Wide Web Address: http://arb.ncsu.edu
Bryce Lane, Director
Catherine Maxwell, Director of Development
Mitzi Hole, Arboretum Technician
Pamela Christie, Secretary
Valerie Tyson, Plant Recorder
Karen Jones, Gardener
Doug Ruhren, Horticultural Advisor
Jonathan Nyberg, Program Coordinator
Harriet Bellerjeau, Volunteer Coordinator