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Friends of the Arboretum Newsletter

Number 2

March 1981

J. C. Raulston

Dear Friends of the NCSU Arboretum (now the JC Raulston Arboretum):

The west coast sabbatical is going very well and I am seeing and learning a great amount about landscape plants and have obtained quite a few exciting plants for our arboretum. Most of my time is spent in the San Francisco area where i am living but I have managed one trip south to San Diego and one north to VAncouver to see collections and visit nurseries. Hopefully, many of you will remember the lecture on April 2 announced in the first newsletter as I am anxious to share some of the sights seen with you. For those that cannot make it to the talk, some of the most interesting highlights have included: the magnolias of the Strybing Arboretum in San FRancisco - one of the finest collections in the U.S. with many tender species not grown elsewhere. The arboretum is famous for M. campbelli from Nepal with large white to pink flowers. It is quite tender and requires 20-25 years to bloom from seed; the University of California at Santa Cruz arboretum - one of the largest collections of Proteas in the world, named after the ancient God Proteus who could change form to any shape desired - the plants are enormously varied and have some oft eh most fantastic flowers of any plant group. Coming from South Africa and Australia, none are hardy in N.C.; the great interest of people in the native plants of California with excellent collections at the Tilden Botanic Garden in Berkeley, the Santa BArbara Botanic GArden and Rancho Santa Anna in Claremount - the tremendously varied climatic areas of California have evolved one of the most diverse groups of plants in North America; many fine Japanese gardens - the famous one in San Francisco, an old one Hakone in Saratoga, a brand-new one in Hayward, a superb private one in Beverly Hills, and the wonderful one in Portland, Oregon; the bizarre bit of folk horticulture in Scotts Valley, California where an individual sculpted living trees into incredible shapes - unfortunately about to be bulldozed and lost; a visit to the Mitsch, the daffodil grower mentioned in the last newsletter to see the dozens of beautiful new varieties in flower (we will plant over 100 varieties in the arboretum this fall from their listing); a visit to Roger's garden center in the Los Angeles area - the finest garden center in the world - handling everything but specializing in planters and hanging baskets (one priced at $5,000!); many superb retail nurseries that are wonderful but frustrating since I cannot buy all the things I would like, nurseries carry a much wider range of plants - often 700-1,000 different things - and very reasonably priced because of the huge nursery industry there and good growing conditions. My favorite has been Monte Bello Nursery which you will see frequently on the attached plant list, they sell many rare things in small sizes (often just rooted cuttings) for $.80 to $2.00 - a good way to get things inexpensively. Unfortunately the owners retire in June and their children have no interest in horticulture and it will close at that time.


Acer palmatum (Japanese maple)

The red-leafed Japanese maple was chosen as a symbol of the NCSU Arboretum (now the JC Raulston Arboretum) because it represents an improved cultivar of an exotic plant well adapted to north Carolina - the main goal of the Arboretum in type of plants we want to display. Japanese maples are long-lived small trees with few problems once established in the home landscape - rarely growing over 20' tall and thus staying in scale for a residential lot. The species has palm-shaped green leaves but many variations in leaf color and shape have been found among the many millions of seedlings that have been grown by nurserymen. The best or most unusual of these have been named and are propagated by cuttings or grafting to maintain the special characteristics desired. A recent very beautiful (and expensive $40) book, Japanese Maples by J. D. Vertrees - has color photos of dozens of the named varieties and is by far the best guide to this group of plants. Among the most commonly available cultivars are Bloodgood - a dark red leaf retaining its color well in the summer, Crimson Queen - a red cutleaf, a dark red leaf retaining its color well in the summer, Crimson Queen - a red cutleaf, Butterfly - with white marked variegated leaves, Snago Kaku or the Coral Twig Maple - with bright coral branches in winter, and many, many others. You can see about 20 named cultivars in the Arboretum. In North Carolina most nurseries carry some Japanese maples and the best sources for unusual cultivars are New Bern Nurseries and Nelson's Nurseries - both listed in the catalog sources handout from the visitor center. Other North Carolina nurseries are also beginning to propagate different cultivars and more will be available in the near future. Excellent mail-order sources are Greer Gardens - also in that catalog listing and Maplewood Nursery, 311 Maplewood Lane, Roseburg, OR 97470. Unusual cultivars will cost $7.-35. depending on size and rarity.

Perhaps the most common complaint comes from people who buy red-leaved plants that turn green in summer. These are seedling plants that vary greatly in their ability to retain the red pigment through summer heat. In a group of seedlings in the spring, there is no way to distinguish among the plants as to how well they will retain color. Two methods may be used if the red is definitely wanted - (1) buy a vegetatively propagated cultivar such as Bloodgood which was chosen for its ability to stay red. These plants will be slightly more expensive because grafting is more difficult and expensive than growing seedlings or (2) go to your nursery and pick out the darkest colored plants in late August or September after they have gone through the summer heat - if they show good color they will continue to do so in the home garden. But you cannot select seedlings in the spring. Many people are hesitant to buy container maples after midsummer or in the fall because the foliage is burned and scorched - there is nothing wrong with them - the scorching is a temporary problem resulting from container culture and after planting in the ground the scorch will not return the following year. Also very important - the best color develops only in full sun - a red leafed cultivar will become green if planted in heavy shade (same thing is true on the branches of the coral bark maple). Yellow, cream or white variegated cultivars required light shade int eh hot N.C. sun or they will burn badly.

Although somewhat expensive, improved cultivars of Japanese maples will provide decades of pleasure as a quality garden plant with few problems.


Recently received a 4 page mimeo listing of dwarf plants for bonsai culture - most ranging in price $2.-$15@. Only 32 different plants listed but several but several somewhat different things (e.g. - weeping Japanese larch, Japanese hornbean, Malus zumi, grafted Cork bark Japanese black pines). The address to receive the listing is: Dwarfed Tree Nursery, 17771 Snyder Road, Chagrin Falls, Ohio 44022.


With reductions in federal budgets, and thus to university appropriations, many programs are being cut or reduced. This has resulted in reduced funds for the operation of the Unit 4 horticultural farm where the Arboretum is located and less labor is being hired this summer than in past years. To replace this labor, I am using monies from several sources including our membership fees to hire a student to work in the Arboretum from April through October this year. We have a great need for more support and what I would like to ask is that each present member make an effort to recruit one more member (surely you have one horticultural friend that would enjoy membership). If we could get 70 more members (double our present membership), it would pay for the increased support needed to hire maintenance labor this year. Please consider passing the work and encouragement to your friends (perhaps birthday or other gifts?) - many thanks.


A low of 4°F was reached in the arboretum during the 80-81 winter, and a severe drought also provided extra stress on plants. Some surprising injury patterns developed with severe damage or killing of some plants that had gone through colder winters, and happily, some plants survived well that showed damage in other years or that were not expected to be hardy. Plants killed that survived through previous winters included Laurus nobilis, Ceanothus Skylark, Sequoiadendron giganteum, Davidia involucrata (a major disappointment - had 3 good years of growth on the Dove Tree), Ilex dimorphophylla (no injury in previous years), Viburnum suspensum. Plants severely damaged that will likely sprout back from trunks or the roots include quite a few Buxus, Gardenia radicans, Escallonias, Pittosporum Wheeler's Dwarf (which had never shown injury before), Carex morrowii variegata, all the mondo grass cultivars, Agapanthus, Feijoa sellowiana, Quercus suber, and Myrica californica. Others still await later evaluation to see their status. For good news - and this is one factor all gardeners fully appreciate - as we plant a wide range of things some do fail, but there are also the successes. And they re even more appreciated when uncertain or unexpected. Unknown new plants that were doubtful but have survived include Fitzroya cupressoides (a conifer from Chile and probably the only plant in the eastern U.S.), Cupressus macrocarpa aurea (the golden Monterry cypress), Glyptsotrobus lineatus (a rare deciduous conifer related to bald cypress and the Dawn redwood), Sarcocca ruscifolia (a broadleaf evergreen small shrub_, Taxodium mucronatum (the Mexican bald cypress), Baccharis pilularis Twin Peaks (a California ground cover) and Pinus eldarica (a fast growing pine promoted for Christmas tree use in the west).

As in the past, this year we have beautiful evidence of the value of deep mulching of marginal materials (6-10" deep around the stem with pine bark) in overwintering plants. Plants may be killed back to the mulch but new growth can resprout from the trunk or roots. This is how we saved Euryops, Agapanthus, oleander and other similar marginal plants. It is best to remove the piled mulch as temperatures warm in the spring and new growth begins.


Taking advantage of the opportunity to deal with west coast nurseries has allowed me to purchase some long wanted material for the arboretum. So far, about 150 new plants have been sent to Raleigh and most are now being grown in containers in a nursery for planting out this coming fall. Among some of the interesting plants for your future enjoyment are 3 species of Hellenorus, the Christmas Roses blooming December-April; 6 cultivars of tree peonies imported from Japan; 12 cultivars of the japanese Apricot, Prunus mume (described in the last newsletter - I understand the one in the arboretum was spectacular in February); 10 cultivars of Wisteria (planted at the posts behind the French Parterre and will be grown tree form); 12 cultivars of flowering quince, Chaenomeles, white, pink and red flowers on the same plant; 4 Nandinas from a dwarf japanese cultivar, Tsukmo, never over 6" tall to Umpqua Chief - reaching 8 feet; 4 new Blue Hollies, Ilex x meserveae hybrids, of extreme hardiness with good berries and foliage; 6 dwarf weeping groundcover Crepe Myrtles; Parthenocissus henryana, a beautiful grey-veined vine for walls; Betula jacquemontii, the most beautiful of white barked birches, from the Himalayas, and Betula nana - a dwarf birch 6" tall from the Arctic; Quercus ilex, an evergreen oak with foliage that looks like a holly; a variegated Rohdea, a hobbyist collector plant of Japan; 4 species of Corylopsis, February-March yellow-blooming shrubs of great beauty; Stachyurus praecos, a showy flowering shrub with drooping racemes of flower in February; and many others.


In June I will conduct a 10 day tour for the North Carolina Association of Nurserymen to the east coast to visit a wide variety of arboretums, public gardens and nurseries. A few spaces are still available and would be open to Friends of the Arboretum. The tour beings in Vancouver, British Columbia and progresses down the coast with major stops in Seattle, Portland, and concluding in San Francisco. Dates are June 15-24 and the cost is $1,250 per person covering round trip airfare from Charlotte, hotels, transportation and admissions. If interested, please contact Mr. Bill Wilder, Wilder's Nursery, Knightdale, N.C. (919/266-2835) for details.


If you are looking for an out-of-print horticultural book, chances are you can obtain it from one of the following 2 firms. Two of the best in the U.S. - they often provide books to English sources hunting hard-to-find items.

Bell's Book Store Booknoll Farm

536 Emerson Street Hopewell, NJ 08525

Palo Alto, CA 94301 (609) 466-0522

(415) 323-7822 c/o Elisabeth Woodburn


The following pages of plant listings is a third attempt to develop a checklist of the landscape plants on the NCSU campus and those in the NCSU Arboretum (now the JC Raulston Arboretum) collections. This list has been expanded from the December 1979 list and includes new plants, new classifications, and elimination of a number of plants which did not survive or were found to be named improperly. In addition, the listing has been expanded to include a general location, year and place of acquisiton, if known, and approximate height. The list is incomplete and has many errors or outdated information needing checking, but has been issued as is due to time deadlines and should be considered a working document for modification and change. More detailed mapping of mapping to specific location at the arboretum site will be done during 1982 and further refinement of the taxonomy of the collection will improve this listing. The list will be continued in the summer newsletter.

If available, material for propagation is readily shared with nurserymen, public park departments, and other arboreta and botanical gardens. In addition, anyone with species not included in this listing that would be willing to contribute plants or propagation materials would be welcomed. With little budget for plant purchase, such contributions are essential for continuing expansion of the collection.

The following code is used in the listing Locations

C - NCSU Campus. The letter and digit included after "C" codes to grid maps in a publication on campus plant locations.

G -Gardner Arboretum on the NCSU Campus

M - Method Farm - NCSU Arboretum (now the JC Raulston Arboretum)

N - Nursery or greenhouse - still in a container


HP - Herbaceous perennial dying back to ground annually

GC - Ground cover, spreading and generally under 6"-1' tall

V - Vine growing on trellis

HA - Herbaceous annual requiring greenhouse overwintering and replanting


Compiled by J. C. Raulston

Scientific Name, Year Acquired & Original Source, Height, Location

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