Too many months since the last newsletter, thankfully Tom Foley has kept information flowing to our membership through his regular Updates. So much to cover and say - each day in the life of the arboretum brings new observations and experiences, people and institutional contacts, challenges and opportunities, changes. Three major organizational interactions since the last newsletter in October are worthy of mention. The fall brought our "once in a lifetime" opportunity to host (with SNA and NCAN) the Southern Plant Conference which travels from state to state through the southeast U.S. every other year - our once in 32 years chance. Great meeting with lots of excitement from participants from across the U.S. - outstanding speakers, and a thrill to share the arboretum collections with the visitors. Many fine new connections to share plants for commercial production developed from the meeting - always our goal.
In the December Update a brief notice about the fall visit of a group of Japanese nurserymen, and a subsequent visit by me to Japan to address a national nursery conference there about the plants and programs of The NCSU Arboretum (now the JC Raulston Arboretum) gave an erroneous impression that needs correction. The article unfortunately implied that it was knowledge and fame of the arboretum which brought the nurserymen to us - in reality it was only through the very active involvement of Mr. Barry Yinger that they knew of us at all, and eventually were convinced that they should visit our program as one of many seen while in the U.S.. Barry is today one of the key players in world horticultural circles (see The Collector's Garden - book review section to follow) and has been an essential part of The NCSU Arboretum (now the JC Raulston Arboretum) program at every stage continually for the last 15 years - sharing philosophical advice on institutional concepts and goals, and plants from his programs at Brookside Gardens, the U.S. National Arboretum, the Leonard Buck Garden, and his own personal garden. It was only through his efforts that we were involved in the 1985 U.S. National Arboretum Korean expedition which resulted in so many introductions from our programs from the germplasm collected there. Later he was chair of our National Board of Advisors, and more recently has brought in significant corporate financial support to help our program. A lifetime of developing professional plantsmen and nursery contacts throughout Japan gave him the opportunity to proselytize on our behalf there to convince the Japanese to visit us and support our efforts - without his efforts it would not have happened and we are deeply appreciate of this support - and all the rest through so many years. We apologize for our oversight, and thank you for all you do Barry. If I can ever get my writing life in gear (and from decades of experience - you readers know how likely that is!) - I hope sometime to do a newsletter article travellog similar to the European sabbatical about this trip to Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong, Zurich and London - we'll see (sure, sure).
At any rate - the third event was the hosting of the International Dendrology Society as a small part of an overall visit of this group to the Eastern U.S. with their main meeting in Asheville, NC. We appreciate the efforts of John Palmer, conference coordinator, in including us in the rather amazing (and exhausting!) pre and post meeting tour itinerary of this distinguished international organization. The organization is comprised of passionate and knowledgeable distinguished plantsmen from around the globe who focus on fine trees - and the pursuit of them through many meetings and tours worldwide. This was their first visit to N.C. in many decades - again a once in a lifetime opportunity.
We had an hour and a half to share the 5,000 taxa of the arboretum with them - and it was a sprint to do so. What do you show world plantsmen who have been everywhere and seen everything? - who often own their own arboreta and have huge estates? We tried to focus on the exceptional and/or unique plants which they would likely have not seen elsewhere in their travels - the record trees, the NCSU Arboretum (now the JC Raulston Arboretum) introductions, and plants which are likely not in overseas collections - in short, the plants that most uniquely define us. The "core plants" of this tour (along with hundreds of others pointed at wildly as we sailed by) included the following (in the order viewed):
We also hosted the group for a dinner the evening they were here - a daunting prospect as these people travel absolutely first class everywhere in the world - the finest resturants, food, entertainment (how do you follow a huge formal banquet in the Biltmore house?). So we did "down home informal N.C. comfortable" - dinner balanced on knees at my home - with a "do-it-yourself" Raulston banana split assembly party (see cookbook - new books section to follow) - unique to this group's experience certainly. My most lasting memory of the entire IDS experience is of Lady X squirting a can of pressurized whipped cream at Lord Y and Viscount Z and giggling like a teenager! A grand group to meet - a pleasure.
1996 has been a unique year of pressure with a six month vacancy in the technican position for the first time since the arboretum began - and the pressures of building The Necessary, the Paradise Garden, the Labyrinth during the period. Tom Foley has borne the primary brunt of this heavy load with incredible hours in the garden to bring it all about. And it continues with building of a new propagation greenhouse (recently funded with a $9,200 grant from the North Carolina Association of Nurserymen - detailed story in the next Update this fall) to more efficiently produce much larger quantities of plants for our distribution program; and a major redevelopment of the entrance to the arboretum in the White Garden (again - details later) to start soon. Having Mitzi Hole on board as the new technican will relieve some stress - but the loss of Tom with some months before a new Assistant Director is hired will offset that for awhile. Thank heavens for our wonderful student workers - Karen Jones, Richard Olson, and Ian Simpkins who have been so invaluable during this time.
On a personal note - it has been a unique "readjustment" year for me as well. 1995 was some kind of burnout overload year - out of the state some 43 weeks of the year and and an average of 3 nights a week at home; too much lecturing, too much fundraising, too much teaching, too much too much. 1996 was/is to be a year of less everything in every category - with a vow of not boarding a plane or crossing a state line this year (talk about total withdrawal programs!) - and so far have kept to that in spite of so many wonderful opportunities to go to do so many fascinating things everywhere. (A discarded goal of shifting from 100 hour weeks to 40 hour weeks proved to be a pure fantasy - but at least reduced). One unusual category of the "less year" currently startling people is encountering the look of my totally hairless shaved head!
We have a goal to "get things in order" this year at the arboretum - with an overall basic objective to simply "know what we have in the collection, and where it is." Sounds so simple and logical - but a very long journey to get there. We've been working hard for months on both arboretum and nursery collections - discarding and chainsawing the unknown plants we no longer have an identity on - chipping mountains of pruned brush; planting out as many things from the nursery as possible; mapping the collection and getting records in our computers with monumental efforts of Val Tyson on the computer and the endless work of the grounds mapping and labeling crew volunteers, Tom Bumgarner, Prep Maynard, and John Scott. We have finally abandoned our previous computer records program that did not work effectively, and Val and Dr. Arthur Kelley are "inventing/developing" a completely new system which looks to be superior to any other existing system in public gardens use in the U.S. today (BG-Base is now the national "standard" - but we haven't had the staff or money to get/use it). All of this is mostly invisible to the public - but critical to our managing the garden and making it useful for our research and audience use. Huge progress has been made and we're excited about that. We've been more weedy than usual this summer, and we apologize for that and ask you to bear with us until we're fully staffed and things are under more control again this winter - an exciting new arboretum is under pretty major redevelopment.
As a last note - perhaps the most exciting moment of The NCSU Arboretum (now the JC Raulston Arboretum) year has been a truly unique "plant experience" (appropriately so, with our focus on plants, not paving) with our first flowering of a new plant which has not previously existed in nature. We have been noted (unfortunately) for our work with Leyland Cypress, X Cupressocyparis leylandii - a cultivation origin plant created first in England with the crossing of two different genera - Cupressus and Chamaecyparis - termed a bigeneric hybrid. Such bigeneric cross plants do occur rarely in nature, and have at times also been artifically created in the horticultural field - e.g.: X Mahoberberis from Mahonia X Berberis; X Fatzhedera from Fatsia X Hedera; X Solidaster from Solidago X Aster, etc.
The NCSU Arboretum (now the JC Raulston Arboretum) can now proudly announce a new such hybrid created for the first time with a cross of the southeastern U.S. native Sweetshrub, Calycanthus floridus and the newly introduced genus from China called Sinocalycanthus chinensis. The cross was made a few years ago by our undergraduate student, Richard Hartlage, while he was working at the arboretum. Many of you know him from his dramatic floral arrangements made for our arboretum events, his design workshops, and fine lectures - Richard is now Director of the Elisabeth Miller Botanical Garden in Seattle, WA. One day we were looking at the two plant species flowering in the west arboretum and I said that although the flowers were so very dramatically different (broad white petals vs. narrow maroon petals), the fruit are so virtually identical as to be almost impossible to separate visually - and that it seemed possible they might conceiveably be crossed. So Richard took it on as a curiosity project - and made reciprocal crosses using the two parents.
From his trials, only one seed pod eventually developed - on the Sinocalycanthus parent, and this yielded 6 seeds which all germinated readily after stratification. The young plants were grown on, with 2 eventually dying (from cultural stress). Of the remaining 4 plants - 3 looked identical to the Sinocalycanthus parent - but the other one seemed more intermediate in foliage characteristics between the two parents, and also intermediate in growth habit and environmental tolerance. (Calycanthus is full sun tolerant; Sinocalycanthus is much happier in light shade).
This spring the plant finally flowered - with daily eager watching the buds develop and unfold during the week of April 23 - and finally on April 30 the first flower was fully open - and it was indeed an intermediate hybrid - with flowers of maroon petals about half way in shape between the two parents and flowering midseason between them. Most observers have felt the flowers are quite spectacular, and it has created considerable excitement as word has spread in very limited plantsmen circles (the IDS tour group went beserk, crowding and pushing to get photographs like rock star paparazzi!). We will be working to formally publish a full description and further information in a "real, legitimate" horticultural publication - but felt it would be good to share the news here as soon as possible with our membership who make all the arboretum does possible with their support. We look forward to the day when we can then share plants of this exciting new plant as well throughout the plant world. The name? Well that is yet to be determined - generally bigenerics are named from the first half of one genera name with the second half of the other and preceeded by an X - perhaps X Calysinocalycanthus or X Sinocalycalyanthus (or since some botanists consider them both species of the same genus - Calycanthus, we may lose the "bigeneric honor" and "just" have a Calycanthus hybrid) - either one being a tongue twister.
And one last " back to reality" note - no matter the plants, the programs, the goals, the politics of gardens - nature still constantly slaps at all gardeners to keep their full attention. We're newly learning what people around us have been talking about all these years with their vole problems - miniature beavers wired for total destruction. New to us and what a nightmare! Those spaceships in Independence Day have nothing on the power of these beasts! Happy gardening. jcr
NCAN Short Course and Trade Fair - Asheville, NC - August 26-27, 1995.
Each year a selection of plants from The NCSU Arboretum (now the JC Raulston Arboretum) is made for propagation and distribution to N.C. nurserymen at the NCAN summer short course as a means of spreading new or uncommon plants through the state for trial observation and possible commercial production. This program has been underway since 1980 and ca. 67,000 plants of 350 different species and cultivars have been given to growers in the past sixteen years since its inception.
Selection of plants is based on ability of the plant to be propagated when the Department of Horticultural Science propagation benches are empty, adequate size of stock plants in the arboretum to allow taking of 200-300 cuttings, and absence in the existing commercial industry. Plants will vary in commercial potential with some having great potential - others merely curiosities for adaptation study or hobbyist collector-type items. The plants provided for growers represent just a small sample of the 5,000 species and cultivars presently growing in The NCSU Arboretum (now the JC Raulston Arboretum).
Commercial growers are most welcome at any time to come to the arboretum to collect propagation material to provide stock plants for their operations. We do request that nurserymen who are collecting cuttings from the arboretum for the first time make an appointment (call 919-515-1192 for J. C. Raulston, 515-5361 for Tom Foley, or 515-7641 for Mitzi Hole) to coordinate which materials may be collected and our general guidelines for collection procedures. Dozens of growers now gather many hundreds of thousands of cuttings annually in this manner.
A reference propagation manual was written in 1993, with periodic updates since, and is now available at the arboretum office for use by visiting growers. It lists every plant in the arboretum and gives information on when each should be propagated and the recommended method to be used. Please, please use this manual for information - we recently had the unfortunate experience of a nurserymen taking all possible cuttings of all our plants of a very valuable cultivar at a time they absolutely cannot be propagated (as indicated in the manual) - thus totally wasting an entire year's potential "crop". (Also - please never harvest such large quantities - not over 10% of the cuttings on a given plant so others can also share - and so we can see what the plant looks like).
We very much appreciate the long, diligent efforts of a whole team of Friends of The NCSU Arboretum (now the JC Raulston Arboretum) Volunteers who spent a full week individually labeling, wrapping, and bagging the 6,000 plants in this year's distribution. Many, many thanks to all who have helped in this process, and especially to Rosanna Adams, Mary Edith Alexander, Anna Berry, Ann Bloom, Wayne Brooke, Harvey Bumgardner, Tom Bumgarner, Ann Clapp, Mary and Claude Caldwell, Diane Clinton, Genelle Dail, Vivian Finklestein, Peg Fisher, Dollie Glaum, Amelia Lane, Prep Maynard, Doris Mills, Ray Noggle, Charlotte Presley, John Schott, Lisa Stroud, Bee Weddington and Ginny Welton for your incredible help.
Kim E. Tripp and J. C. Raulston - (Original version in Proc. SNA Res. Workers Conf. 38:346-348. 1993).
Foundation plants are critical to both landscape and nursery professionals throughout the southeast. The search for a tough, easily produced and maintained, yet handsome foundation plant with good consumer appeal is an ongoing process. In the southeast, the challenge is intensified by the demands of the regional soils and climate which preclude the widespread and long term use of many nationally popular foundation plants like the northern nursery standard, Taxus. Taxus is not only a favorite of the northern segment of the industry, but is also a favorite of deer, an increasingly serious pest that will likely only become more of a problem with time. In addition to the demands of tough, deer-infested sites, foundation plants are also often subjected to at least partially shaded growing environments in the close confines of tight suburban developments - this is especially a problem as many of the more popular foundation plants that will tolerate some shade are not the best choices in the compacted clays of southeastern urbanized settings.
In trials at The NCSU Arboretum (now the JC Raulston Arboretum), a variety of Cephalotaxus selections with forms ranging from strongly upright, to low and spreading, have proven to be well-adapted to sun or shade sites in heavy Piedmont soils. In addition, Cephalotaxus has remained completely undisturbed by deer in other, unfenced arboreta and trial sites. Easily produced from cuttings, Cephalotaxus is not only a successfull alternative in the southeast for the landscape and production niche generally assigned to Taxus, but is also an excellent foundation plant in its own right for a diverse array of landscape settings.
Results and Discussion: Cephalotaxus selections in a variety of forms have performed well in full sun, partial shade and full shade even in heavy clay soils. All are hardy from zone 5 - 9 and are easily propagated from cuttings and rooted under mist. In general, Cephalotaxus is moderate to slow growing, with growth rates slowing as shade is increased (without any overall detriment to the plant). It prefers moist, well-drained soil but appears to thrive in almost any soil if adequate moisture is provided. Foliage may yellow and scorch somewhat in exposed locations with bright winter sun or strong winds. While one or two cultivars of Cephalotaxus are currently in general production, there are many other forms that are equally, or more desirable.
Some of the best selections from trials at The NCSU Arboretum (now the JC Raulston Arboretum) are described below , as well as brief notes on other forms of interest (either for reference or to avoid nomenclatural confusion). Cephalotaxus is dioecious with male and female flowers on separate plants. The large, berry-like fruit are of interest developing as 1-2" olive-green ovals and maturing to a purplish-brown. Certain named cultivars are separated by their male or female character. The nomenclature of Cephalotaxus has been historically varied and inconsistent between the UK and USA. Names used below reflect the most general consensus of current literature available to the authors (1,2,3,4,5,6,7).
Other species of Cephalotaxus presently not in cultivation that can be found in Asia include: C. griffithii, hainanensis, mannii, oliveri, and wilsoniana. Of the many botanical and horticultural selections of Cephalotaxus perhaps the five with greatest potential for nursery and landscape use in the southeast are C. fortunei (either the species or 'Grandis'), C. harringtonia 'Duke Gardens', 'Fritz Huber', 'Fastigiata', and 'Prostrata' (with 'Korean Sun' as a collector's special interest selection) . The Cephalotaxus offer landscapes and nurseries of the southeast an opportunity to provide high quality, deer-proof foundation plantings of great beauty, character and utility combined with excellent potential for production.
1. Bailey Hortorium. 1976. Hortus Third. A Concise Dictionary of Plants Cultivated in the United States and Canada. MacMillan Publishing Company, New York, NY.
2. Dirr, M. A. 1990. Manual of Woody Landscape Plants: Their Identification, Ornamental Characteristics, Culture, Propagation and Uses. Stipes Publishing Company, Champaign, IL.
3. Hillier Nurseries. 1991. The Hillier Manual of Trees and Shrubs - 6th edition. David & Charles, Devon, UK.
4. Krussman, G. 1985. Manual of Cultivated Conifers. Timber Press, Portland, OR.
5. Philip, Chris and Tony Lord. 1993. The Plant Finder. Moorland Publishing Co., Ltd., Ashbourne, England.
6. Royal Horticultural Society. 1992. New Royal Horticultural Society Dictionary of Gardening. Stockton Press, NY, NY.
7. Vidakovic, Mirko. 1992. Conifers, Morphology and Variation. Graficki Zavod Hrvatske, Zagreb (University of Arizona Press, Tucson, AZ).
(Notes: Following her initial interest in this group as published above, Dr. Tripp continued to do further research after moving to the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University and eventually published lengthy, more detailed papers on Cephalotaxus in both the November 1, 1994 issue of American Nurseryman magazine, and in the Spring 1995 issue of Arnoldia. For those who want more information - I refer you to those sources. Also - the cultivar plants are often very hard to find in commercial markets; and it is good news that Duke Gardens in Durham has recently opened a gift shop in the garden - and unlike most public gardens who carry the lowest common denominator mass market plants in their gift shops - Duke Gardens (as one would expect) is going for quality - and attempting to stock (as available) - small plants of Cephalotaxus 'Duke Gardens' which are very rarely available anywhere else.)
J. C. Raulston, John Fairey, and Carl Schoenfeld (Original version in Proc. SNA Res. Workers Conf. 40:317-319. 1995)
Over the last 20 years, the NCSU Arboretum (now the JC Raulston Arboretum) has received over 9,000 accessions from 55 countries for trials of adaptation and ornamental merit at Raleigh, NC in USDA Hardiness Zone 7. Traditionally Southeastern U.S. native plants and Asian species have been most important in nursery/landscape industry importance. A cooperative relationship has recently developed between The NCSU Arboretum (now the JC Raulston Arboretum) and Yucca Do Nursery of Waller, TX for evaluation of new plants discovered in their extensive explorations of the southwestern U.S. and Mexico. To date, over 55 collecting expeditions have been made in Mexico alone by Yucca Do Nursery. Originally it was felt that this geographic region would have little promise for adaptability of plants to the Piedmont of North Carolina with likely problems of root rotting in heavy clay soils during summer rains, and lack of winter hardiness. In reality, many outstanding plants are emerging from this testing and merit further consideration by nurserymen and gardeners.
Results and Discussion: The following listing covers 21 plants or plant genera from Mexican introductions, evaluated over the past 5 years, which have performed well at The NCSU Arboretum (now the JC Raulston Arboretum) and briefly indicates their characteristics, performance and commercial potential.
Significance to the industry: The addition of Texas and Mexico native plants to The NCSU Arboretum (now the JC Raulston Arboretum) plant evaluation, introduction and promotion program has been extremely productive in potential of many new plant products which are not in commercial production. Of the 21 Mexican plants or plant genera discussed above, the following 7 have the greatest mainstream commercial potential for the Southeastern U.S. at present: Cercis canadensis ssp. mexicana, Dasylirion sp., Eryngium umbellifera, Illicium mexicanum, Mahonia gracilis, Manfreda sp., Quercus risophylla, and Muhlenbergia dumosa.
(Note - Yucca Do Nursery plants are available by mail-order catalog order from: Yucca Do and Peckerwood Gardens, FM 359, P. O. Box 655, Waller, TX 77484 (409-826-6363) - catalog $3. They also have one of the largest selections of Cephalotaxus taxa for sale in the U.S. - discussed in the previous article.)
Good, unique reference books on woody landscape plants from an American source are almost rarer than nurserymen producing variegated coffeetrees (a noteable fruitless quest of mine for many years now) - so it is exciting to get another book from that "uniquely out in his own world" (B.A. in history; does not drive; bicycles thousands of miles; creates salads containing over 100 different wild edible plants, etc.) incredible plantman - Arthur Lee Jacobson - North American Landscape Trees. His first books on Trees of Seattle and then Purpleleafed Plums established his amazing range of detailed knowledge of woody plants - and with this book he creates a nationally useable, practical reference guide to the origin and characteristics of ornamental trees and their cultivars. Dr. Santamour of the U.S. National Arboretum states: "A taxonomic tour de force! The most comprehensive current compendium of the history and nomenclature of the wide range of native and exotic trees cultivated in American landscapes." Detailed coverage of over 5,000 tree taxa with 250 color photographs - a must reference book for any horticulturist's bookshelf. Contains origins of the plants, their characteristics, and location of record trees. (We must note that his observation that the record Lagerstroemia fauriei - at 44' in the Los Angeles County Arboretum - is of course topped considerably by the true record plant in The NCSU Arboretum (now the JC Raulston Arboretum)!) ISBN 0-89815-813-3, 1996, 719 p.; from Ten Speed Press, P.O. Box 7123, Berkeley, CA 94707 - $39.95.
Plantsmen are continually looking for good trial data on cold hardiness of plants - and one of the best new sources of such from an excellent "test climate" (-30F) is now available in Woody Landscape Plant Cold-Hardiness Ratings - published by Paul Cappiello and Lyle Littlefield of the University of Maine. Dr. Cappiello spoke to the friends of The NCSU Arboretum (now the JC Raulston Arboretum) recently - remarkable work. The Technical Bulletin 156 (June 1994) is available from Dr. Paul Cappiello, Dept. of Plant, Soil and Environmental Sciences, University of Maine, Orono, Maine 04469.
Garden Bulbs for the South - by Scott Ogden; 250 p.,Taylor Publishing Co., Dallas. 1994. ISBN 0-87833-861-6. Missed in my too infrequent newsletters but an absolute MUST for gardeners. When the majority of gardening books sold in Southern mass market book outlets are written in England, it is a joy to encounter one with unique and accurate information to boldly expand the herbaceous plant palette with plants that know something about heat. Yes, there is indeed a world beyondCardiocrinums - take a look at extraordinarily exotic looking Curcuma (see sources listing below), Amorphophallus, Crinum, and Hymenocallis for a garden jolt. Highly recommended - nothing better for the region. $22.95.
Daffodils for American Gardens - by Brent and Becky Heath; 143 p., Elliott & Clark Publishing, Washington, DC. 1995. ISBN 1-880216-33-7. "In a field long-dominated by British horticulturists, this is the first exhaustive text on daffodils written by and for North American gardeners." The Heaths are well known throughout the U.S. horticultural world for the fine bulbs they have sold for so many years, and for their endless lecturing and educating at meetings throughout the country. A most beautiful, full-color book on every conceivable phase of daffodil culture - with a final encyclopedic full-color listing of the 200 best cultivars for North American gardens. Highly recommended. They also do slide lectures and workshops (15 different ones) on all phases of the bulb world - for info and fees contact: Brent & Becky Heath, 7463 Heath Trail, Gloucester, VA 23061 (804-693-3966).
Seeds: The Definitive Guide to Growing, History and Lore - by Peter Loewer; 230 p., MacMillan, Inc. 1995. $25.00; ISBN 0-02-574042-3. The most prolific horticultural writer in N.C. with over 14 books on gardening has added another extremely useful reference to his credentials. "Seeds" is certainly comprehensive - with everything from history, romance, and science to the nuts and bolts of how to do it - and importantly - commercial sources of where to find them to do it with. Whether a total beginner, to a research scientist - something for everyone in this volume.
Outrageous books department - Kew Royal Botanical Gardens is working on the World Checklist of Seed Plants - amazing detail - they're now up to the letter C of the alphabet with 3 volumes of 1,600 pages total now available to purchase at astonishing cost. A project of a taxonomist, R. Govaerts - I just can't imagine the individual and mind that would even attempt such.
Botany at a more applied level is available in Plant Form - An Illustrated Guide to Flowering Plant Morphology by Adrian D. Bell. Photos and diagrams of every imaginable morphological term - intercalation to prickles to tillering. 1991, Oxford University Press, 341 p., ISBN 0-19-854279-8 - $49.95.
A cheaper, yet similar guide is Plant Identification Terminology: An Illustrated Glossary byJames G. and Melinda Woolf Harris, 1994, 198 p., ISBN 0-9640221-5-X - $17.95 from Spring Lake Publishing, P. O. Box 266, Payson, UT 84651 (1-800-876-1579 orders; 801-465-0867 info). A "comprehensive illustrated guide to the vocabulary of plant taxonomy". It defines over 2,400 taxonomic terms and provides over 1,700 illustrations of those terms; invaluable for field botany or plant taxonomy studies.
Another very applied botanical book is The Growing Tree by Brayton F. Wilson - originally published in 1971 and extensively revised in 1984, University of Massachusetts Press, ISBN 0-87023-423-424, 138 p. - $10.95 paperback. "Elementary, simply written and thorough survey of the life history of trees"; "Covers just about everything one would want to know about how a tree grows" - a good practical applied plant physiology book for horticulturists, foresters, and gardeners. Material difficult to obtain in this form - I was excited to find it.
The electronic information world of course continues to explode (as I cower imploding in techniphobe terror; praying for early retirement to avoid feared contact) - if you want the maximum state of the art in this area check into HORTCD - all 50 years of 430,000 records from 2,300 serial horticultural publications each year are available for only $6900 (purchase; or just $2495 per year by lease). From: CAB International, Wallingford, Oxon, OX10 8DE United Kingdom (FAX +44 (0)1491 826090). Sigh.
More reasonable is Southern Trees - from the University of Florida and USDA Forest Service Southern Region. An interactive Windows and DOS compatible CD-ROM program covering 880 Southern trees with 65 data attributes of each, and 2,800 color photographs to see the plants at all seasons and in all details. Available for $183.15 (total) from Betrock Information System, Inc., (1-800-627-3819).
But for real books - recent catalog receipts.
Fair Meadow Books for Gardeners and Collectors, 36 Rucum Rd., Roxbury, CT 06783 (860-354-9040). Used and out-of-print books.
Sagapress, Inc., 133 S. W. Second Ave., Suite 450, Portland, OR 97204-9743 (1-800-327-5680). High quality new books on landscape design history and practice.
Levenger - Tools for Serious Readers, 420 Commerce Drive, Delray Beach, FL 33445-4696 (1-800-544-0880). Journals, book stands, and more office and desk "stuff" than you can imagine in this hardcore yuppie catalog.
A bit away from the normal subjects worked here - but many of our "Friends" have interest ties to the arts world and would enjoy a guide to the public art in N.C. Until sadly eliminated by the new acultural political climate, N.C. had a most effective program of legislatively funded art for public buildings. The North Carolina Arts Council's Department of Cultural Resources, Raleigh, NC 27601-2821 (919-733-2111, ext. 15 or 31) has published A Guide to North Carolina's Artworks for State Buildings for those who would like to seek out and view these works as they travel throughout the state. They also have a slide talk program that can be reserved for use by interested community groups to view these works. An excellent example would be the two wonderful metal sculpture gates at the newly opened N.C. Arboretum in Asheville - one of the last commissions to be funded by this program before its unfortunate cancellation.
And of course good food plays a critical pleasure role in the lives of almost all gardeners - and the two worlds come together in a new cookbook created by the students of the NCSU Horticulture Club - The Cultivated Cookbook - Four Seasons of Good Eating. With an introduction by Dr. Marc Cathey, President of the American Horticultural Society (Davidson, NC native and NCSU Hort Alumnus), chapter headings by Tony Avent, and receipes from faculty, staff and students of the NCSU Horticultural Science Department - 115 pages. Raulston contributed receipes for popcorn (is this gourmet food or what?), banana splits, and the family heritage receipe from the '30's - Cracker Salad. What other cookbook could you find which includes: Malaysian Marinade, Dirt Dessert, Whoopie Pies, Watermelon Popsicles, Beer Biscuits, Cajun Cabbage, and Tipsy Oysters? Available for $12 (includes mailing) from: Cookbook, NCSU Horticulture Club, Kilgore Hall, NCSU, Box 7609, Raleigh, NC 27695-7609. (And aprons for $8 - includes mailing).
For all the book news above - I rarely "read" horticultural books for pleasure anymore - most serve as references for work life. A few quotes or recommendations from the 54 "real world, home pleasure reading" books completed so far in 1996:
The Beak of the Finch - Jonathan Weiner - 03/17 **** Unquestionable the best book read in several years - a Pulitzer Prize winner for non-fiction; the true remarkable story on recent research of the evolution of Galapagos Island finches first discovered by Darwin on his voyage of the exploration ship, Beagle. Brilliant research written about in an engrossing manner - this was one recommended by friend and colleague, Dr. Tom Ranney, NCSU Horticulturist stationed at the Mountain Horticultural Crops Research Station near Asheville - and once I received it - I lost a full day of work as once it was started I couldn't put it down and read it in a single setting (took 4 poppers of pop corn to make it). Highly, highly recommended.
The Collector's Garden - Ken Druse - 03/19***. A rare exception to my actually reading of the text of horticultural books - but since I'm mentioned, I really can't review it; NCSU Arboretum (now the JC Raulston Arboretum) friend, professional writer and Raleigh gardener Bobby Ward volunteered the following review: "When Mildred Pinell of the Atlanta Botanical Garden spoke recently at the North American Rock Garden Chapter meeting in Chapel Hill, NC, she said that she was glad to be back in the "Garden Mecca of the United States." Ms. Pinell's observations are confirmed judging from the focus of a new book that provides attention to several local gardeners and gardens (The Collector's Garden: Designing with Extraordinary Plants by Ken Druse, Clarkson Potter Publisher, $45, 1996). This book contains the most handsome and stunning photographs I have ever seen of gardens and plants. They belong to some twenty-eight passionate plant collectors, growers, and "missionaries." Mr. Druse describes the obsessions of these gardeners whose motto seems to be "I never met a plant I didn't like."
His portraits include such locals as J. C. Raulston whom Druse calls "Superstar" (punning his initials with the Andrew Lloyd-Webber musical); J.C. is described as America's pre-eminent missionary who spreads the garden gospel from his pulpit at The NCSU Arboretum (now the JC Raulston Arboretum). On the following page, Nancy Goodwin of Montrose Garden at Hillsborough is featured in a chapter called "She Stoops to Conquer" and later, in a photoessay of the garden itself, is described as a "genteel gardener with a flamboyant eye". Nancy has promoted hardy cyclamen especially through her former nursery, and almost single-handedly spurred a national interest in this group of plants. Raleigh News & Observer columnist Tony Avent and his wife Michelle's new garden in southern Wake County is featured along with Edith Eddleman's, the designer and co-maintainer of the Jekyll-esque perennial border at the NCSU Arboretum (now the JC Raulston Arboretum).
Druse certainly knew whom to seek out since he includes other garden luminaries who have made recent "pilgrimages" to the local Mecca to give lectures: Dan Hinkley's Heronswood nursery and lush garden among Douglas firs near Seattle; Judy Glattstein's former woodland garden in Connecticut (she now lives in New Jersey) with aroid "denizens of the dark"; Norman Singer and Geoffrey Charlesworth's long-term collaborative rock garden and their untreatable disease (seed-oholism) in the Berkshires in Massachusetts; Panayoti and Gwen Kelaidis urban rock garden in Denver; and in Texas where John Fairey and Carl Schoenfeld's Yucca Do garden is filled with native-Mexican plants. And there are more eye-bulging pages and a score more of premier gardens of other plant enthusiasts, including a spread on striking variegated plants. There is one drawback to the book: regrettably there are no photographs of the gardeners, themselves, who make these wonder-filled gardens grow."
Going the Distance - George Sheehan - 05/19 ** (Philosophical discussions by noted runner/writer/doctor on dying as he confronted his coming death from prostate cancer).
"Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge? Where is the knowledge we have lost in information? T. S.Eliot.
"There is a difference between "This will teach you" and "You will learn this". We can be taught a variety of things in a variety of ways, but things that we "learn" are direct, immediate, illuminating events that happen to us, where we are center stage. Things we are taught we know of; things we learn we know intimately."
"There is another country the aging occupy and which we share with children. Its borders are formed by the animal that arises in puberty and subsides with the onset of wisdom. It is a land where seven and seventy are kin. Where there are no concerns other than playing and learning and loving. The inhabitants of this land are in no hurry. Our days are dense with experiences. We have, as the Spanish say, more time than life."
Derek Jarman's Garden - Derek Jarman with photos by Howard Sooley - 05/21 ***
Jarman was a noted English painter, theatre designer, and filmmaker who died in 1994. This book contains diary entries from his last year of life spent at his "garden" created with plants and "found objects" on a flat, bleak desolate beach site next to a nuclear power plant in Dungeness, Kent. Much philosophy of life, memorable photos, and observations on gardening. "My garden is ecologically sound, though work of any kind disrupts the existing terrain. Dungeness is an SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest), so there are restrictions on what plants can be grown. In any case, so many weeds are spectacular flowers: the white campion, mallow, rest-harrow and scabious look wonderful. Introducing these local flowers into the garden makes a little wilderness at the heart of paradise. And there can be no complaints about my flint garden - it spoilt nothing. It was built over the drive of the old cottage. The dog roses are the joy of the copse by the lakes. Once, when I was transplanting a small seedling to the garden, I was assaulted by an ecological puritan from Canterbury. 'Do you realize you could be doing damage?' 'Yes', I said. 'Well why are you planting that rose?' 'It's a Dungeness plant. If the world stopped still and humanity ceased, who could tell if it had been planted by me or by a bird?' He drove off."
Independence Day - Richard Ford - 05/25 *** (Pulitzer Prize)
"Most people, once they reach a certain age, troop through their days struggling like hell with the concept of completeness, keeping up with all the things that were ever part of them, as a way of maintaining the illusion that they bring themselves fully to life. Most of these you just have to give up on, along with the whole idea of completeness, since after a while you get so fouled up with all you did and surrendered to and failed at and fought and didn't like, that you can't make any progress. Another way of saying this is that when you're young your opponent is the future; but when you're not young, your opponent's the past and everything you've done in it and the problem of getting away from it."
The Debt to Pleasure - John Lancaster - 06/16 ****. Picked up for it's "look & feel" in the store on a new books shelf - warm chocolate-colored thick paper cover, with cut-out cover to a remarkable still life painting of a peach with a single drop of water gleaming on it. Ostensibly about food and cooking on the surface (four menus for the four seasons of the year) - but not really. A 20 page essay on a fresh greens tossed salad may contain a single sentence about the salad ("select a good grocer and fling yourself on his mercy") - and roam the world over in topics and events in getting to it. Remarkably complex writing for those who enjoy the pleasure of exotic words used masterfully.
Have you seen the new Georgia O'Keeffe U.S. postage stamp of her painting, Red Poppy, 1927? It comes as a souvenir sheet with her photograph and a quote from the time she was asked why she made her revolutionary flower paintings so monumentally large (for that time) - she replied "Nobody sees a flower, really - it is so small - we haven't time, and to see takes time, like to have a friend takes time." She wanted her flowers to be big enough that people would "see" them - and succeeded.
So many words, so many books, so much pleasure - so little time. Good reading everyone.
As always - the ultimate plant source list is the annual edition of The RHS Plant Finder - by Chris Philip and Tony Lord - which has had a change of ownership and is now published by the Royal Horticultural Society. (Moorland Publishing Co.,Ltd., Moor Farm Road West, Ashbourne, Derbyshire DE6 1HD - priced at 12.99 Pounds Sterling + shipping costs). It now lists 65,000 plants and where one can buy them from 650 English nurseries. It also increasingly serves as an outstanding research reference source on current naming and taxonomy, and biographical sources. A new feature only available since June 1996 is a CD-ROM version which includes sources of 75,000 varieties of ornamental plants, the fruit and vegetable finder, the PPP-Index - a mainland European electronic plant finder, 25,000 varieties of seed, a database of 30,000 common plant names, 2,000 internet web sites of botanic interest, as well as other features. (Sadly the listing in the manual has no price on this product - supposedly you can get a free evaluation disk from: The Plant Finder, Freepost, Worcester, WR2 4BR United Kingdom - which will allow you to access some of the information - then with a credit card to verify payment you receive a PIN number to unlock the rest of the material).
The Andersen's Horticultural Library's Source List of Plants and Seeds has long been America's best version of attempts at a U.S. plant source listing. There's good news - a new 4th edition, 1996 listing is greatly expanded over the several years old last edition - with more plants (59,000), more nurseries (450) and somewhat better handled in layout - and at the same price amazingly ($34.96). And bad news - still not as comprehensive as could be possible - handling only a fraction of the plants that are available in the U.S. Still - it's invaluable - I'm in it almost daily and couldn't exist without it. Available from: Andersen Horticultural Library, Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, 3675 Arboretum Dr., Box 39, Chanhassen, MN 55317 - 612-443-2460; FAX 612-443-2521.
PlantSource - Where to Buy Plants in Southeastern Pennyslvania - is a guide resulting from sending over 1,000 questionnaires to plant producers in the horticulturally rich southeastern Pennsylvania area to obtain data for compliation. A project co-sponsored by Chanticleer Foundation, The Mid-Atlantic Group of the Hardy Plant Society, and The Scott Arboretum of Swarthmore College. The 113 page booklet is available for $5 from: PlantSource, The Scott Arboretum, Swarthmore College, 500 College Avenue, Swarthmore, PA 19081. It does not list individual specific plants - but general categories from various sources.
The Canadian Plant Sourcebook 1996/97 Edition. 21,000 cultivars from 149 Canadian nurseries in a 416 p. book available for $18 US - send check/money order to: The Canadian Plant Sourcebook., 93 Fentiman Ave., Ottawa, Ontario, Canada K1S 0T7. The first new edition of this useful reference in 4 years.
New to me is an unusual listing for "edible plants" (Aren't they all?? Some just kill you - but are certainly edible) - Cornucopia - A Source Book of Edible Plants by Stephen Facciola. A listing of 3,000 species and 7,000 cultivars from world nursery sources. ISBN 0-9628087-0-9. Available from: Kampong Publications, 1870 Sunrise Drive, Vista, CA 92084. (I have no price).
Nursery Sources of Native Plants of the Southeastern United States by Jan Midgley. Mail-order, wholesale, and retail nurseries are listed by state by code; and individual plants are assigned codes for the nurseries that supply them. $10.40 to: Jan Midgley, 234 Oak Tree Trail, Wilsonville, AL 35186.
Gardener's Source Guide by Bob Armstrong, P. O. Box 206, Gowanda, NY 14070-0206 - $5.95. A directory of 900 mail order sources keyed to 186 categories of plants; with additional associations, societies, magazines and publications. 33 p.
For industry professionals, a useful "local" sourcelist is the 1996 Guide to Virginia Growers - which lists 76 individual nursery sources for 2,500 varieties of plants at the wholesale commercial level. Available from Virginia Nurserymen's Association, 383 Coal Hollow Road, Christiansburg, VA 24073-9211 (540-382-0943). An additional guide was more recently published that will be of interest to professionals involved in wetland habitat protection and restoration - an increasingly important part of the landscape field - A Source Guide for Mid-Atlantic Wetland Plants - by Cathy Palmintier and Dr. Bonnie Lee Appleton - $33 for non members.
Southern Plants, P. O. Box 232, Semmes, AL 36576 (334-649-5221) - mail-order of mainly native shrubs and trees, concentration on native azaleas. $1 price list.
Following the bamboo lecture of Dr. Waddick last fall, NCSU Arb member Michael Ferell asked if I knew of Tripple Brook Farm as a plant source - I did not, and he educated me with copies of info from the catalog and indicated they "have a pretty good variety of desirable plants I haven't been able to find elsewhere; . . . prices are reasonable; and they are reputable." The list of bamboos and grasses sent was very fine; and the catalog also contains many other types of plants. Catalog (don't know if a cost) from: Tripple Brook Farm, 37 Middle Rd., Southampton, MA 01073 (413-527-4626).
Few nursery catalogs are actually fun to read (Plant Delights of course comes immediately to mind as one exception - as Tony often says - we're in a badly humor-impaired industry); a great new one to me arrived from Joe & Sybil Kunkel of Akin' Back Farm (you know you're off to a good start already) - somewhat ignored by me upon arrival as it deals heavily with those things that are dead 60% of the year; but what a treat once into it. Enjoy their story of "Obsessive Cumpulsive Gardening or The Famous Root Beer Plant" , discussion of PAU meetings (Plant Addicts United), "Invasiveness or The Plants from Hell" (Kudzu - "spreads nicely over a period of time"), "Varmint Control - A Top 9 List" (#9 - The "Caddyshack" approach - if all else fails and the varmints have won the battle, we recommend renting the movie "Caddyshack". The pests will still be around, but somehow they seem less important"), and "Kitty Kredits" (the logic of microwaved turkey dinners for snow-bound kittys and the story of Shade - a Forrest Gump with paws, etc.). Much more - and a wonderful list of diverse plants you should buy to keep them in business for more entertaining catalogs in the future. Catalog $2 from: Akin' Back Farm, 2501 Highway 53 South, LaGrange, Kentucky 40031 (502-222-5791).
Klehm Nursery has long been known for their magnificent peonies; more recently they've added Hemerocallis, Hosta, and Iris; and now to my special interest they are including woody plants in their beautiful mail-order catalog. Many wonderful items including Acer miyabei, Heptacodium miconioides, Syringa reticulata 'Ivory Silk', etc. But the real treasures (to me) are the many hybrid Magnolias - especially the newer cultivars of the "yellows" - 'Miss Honeybee', 'Gold Star', 'Butterflies', 'Elizabeth', and 'Yellow Lantern'. Free catalog available from: Klehm Nursery, 4210 North Duncan Rd., Champaign, IL 61821 (217-373-8400; 1-800-553-3715; website: http://www.shout.net/~klehm.
A flyer from Stokes Tropicals offers 5 species of Curcuma (reported above in Garden Bulbs for the South) and other sub-tropicals for hardiness trials throughout the south, or as "liftable" pot plants for overwintering storage. P.O. Box 9868, New Iberia, LA 70562-9868 (1-800-624-9706). A local gardener has tried the firm and found them reliable.
Another group of choice Southern plants rarely seen in commerial retail outlets are the spectacular summer flowering "bulbs" - the Crinums; traditional "passalong plants" shared from one neighbor to another. In traveling you'll note in Southern cities the distribution of these plants in gardens is always in the older or poorer neighborhoods where people share plants - you'll never see them in the new suburbs where people buy all their plants. This summer I've been driving around "my neighborhood" in southeast Raleigh and enjoying the masses of white and pink flowers on 3' stalks in clumps up to 5' across - fabulous! Tejas Bulbs, Rt. 2, Box 652A, New Braunfels, TX 78130 (210-537-4808) now offers 9 cultivars of these magnificent plants with prices from $3 to $25 depending on division size and rarity. Note: they are wholesale only with a minimum order of $100 - but hey, everyone should order at least one each of the cultivars in the large sizes and you've got a $180 order with no problem!
The Elk Mountain Mountain Nursery, 142 Webb Cove Rd., Asheville, NC 28804 (704-258-8066; http://www.ioa.com/home/elkmountain) features a list of over 200 native perennials, vines, trees and shrubs. All plants are nursery propagated and container grown and shipped in containers. Good to see such fine plants a the native American Beech, Fagus grandifolia; and new N.C. cultivars such as Clethra alnifolia 'Fern Valley Pink' offered for sale.
We continually recommend the Momi Fir, Abies firma , as the best heat tolerant fir for the south - but it is rarely available (with A. nordmanniana and A. X bornmuelleriana as possible next choices). Nurserymen looking for wholesale sources of liners to use in production may want to check in with Treehaven Evergreen Nursery, 981 Jamison Rd., Elma, NY 14059 - Don & Joan Hilliker (716-652-4206). The largest list of fir liners I've seen anywhere - about 50 different taxa.
An exciting unique exceptional opportunity (I'm sorry - I do get carried away) to grow extremely rare plants has appeared with the development of a seed collection and sales business in Shanghai, China - available directly to the U.S. public. It is similar to the Index Seminum programs offered by botanical gardens to colleague gardens around the world - but normally not to public individuals. Qingpu Paradise Horticultural Co., Ltd., P. O. Box 031-116, 1337 Middle Huaihai Rd., Shanghai 200031, P. R. China offers a seed list of 228 selections of mostly wild-collected native Chinese plants - both herbaceous and woody. There are no import problems with seed and permits are not needed to order from overseas. Seed packets are $1 per packet + $1 for shipping if under 15 packets - over 15 packets shipping is free; send a check. Truly a mind-boggling list - I went wild; things like: Camellia gigantocarpa, Carpinus simplicidentata, Melliodendron xylocarpum, Pittosporum illicioides, Sloanea sinensis, Styrax odoratissimus, and Zingiber mioga - WOW!
It has been several years since we've put in the newsletter the "standard list" of mail-order nursery sources we often share at public lectures. This list focuses on all the N.C. mail order firms (of course they are the best!), and firms which deal in the more rarely seen woody plants - a speciality area with relatively few participants compared to the enormous world of herbaceous plant and annual seed mail-order firms. Obviously, many, many other fine firms exist to support.
Antique Rose Emporium, Rt. 5, Box 143, Brenham, TX 77833 (1-800-441-0002) (Species & heritage roses) $5
Arborvillage Farm Nursery, 15604 County Road CC, PO Box 227, Holt, MO 64048 (816-264-3911) (Exceptional woodies) F
Arrowhead Nursery, Watia Rd., Box 38, Bryson City, NC 28713 (Choice woody plants - many grafted cvs.) F
Avid Gardener, Box 200-NA, Hamburg, IL 62045 (618-232-1108) (Dwarf shrubs & conifers; perennials & groundcovers) F
Camellia Forest Nursery, P. O. Box 291, Chapel Hill, NC 27514 (919-967-5529) (Woody plants - many Asian rarities) $2
Eastern Plant Specialties, Box 226, Georgetown, ME 04548 (207-371-2888) (Rare woodies & N. E. natives) $2
Fairweather Gardens, P.O. Box 330, Greenwich, NJ 08323 (609-451-6261) (Rare woodies; many NCSU Arb plants) $3.
ForestFarm Nursery, 990 Tetherow Road, Williams, OR 97544 (503-846-6963) (Huge array of choice inexpensive liners) $3
Gossler Farms Nursery, 1200 Weaver Road, Springfield, OR 97477 (503-746-3922) (Huge array of choice woody plants) $2
Greer Gardens, 1280 Goodpasture Island Rd., Eugene, OR 97401 (503-686-8266) (Rhod & Az; many other woody plants) $3
Heronswood Nursery, 7530 288th NE, Kingston, WA 98356 (206-297-4172) (The plant kingdom - astonishing array!) $4
Klehm Nursery, 4210 North Duncan Rd., Champaign, IL 61821 (217-373-8400) (Mostly perennials; Magnolias, Tree Peonies) F
Niche Gardens, 1111 Dawson Road, Chapel Hill, NC 27516 (919-967-0078) (Mostly perennials; S. E. US Natives) $3
Northwoods, 27635 S. Oglesby Rd., Canby, OR 97013 (503-266-5432) (Unusual fruits & nuts; cold-hardy cultivars) F
Ornamentals, 516 W. 28th St., Richmond, VA 23225 (804-233-4089) (Acers, conifers, & rare woodies) F
Plant Delights Nursery, 9421 Sauls Rd., Raleigh, NC 27603 (919-772-4794) (Diverse array; perennials; hosta) 10 Stamps
Powell's Gardens, Rt. 3, Box 21, Princeton, NC 27569 (919-936-4421) (Diverse array; specializing in iris, hosta, daylilies) $2
Roslyn Nursery, 211 Burrs Lane, Dix Hills, NY 11746 (516-643-9347) (Rare & unusual azaleas and rhododendrons) $3
Sandy Mush Herbs, Rt. 2, Surrett Cove Rd., Leicester, NC 28748 (704-683-2014) (Herbs & perennials) F
Vintage Gardens, 3003 Pleasant Hill Rd., Sebastopol, CA 95472 (707-829-5342) (Over 600 historic rose cvs.) $2
Washington Evergreen Nursery, P. O. Box 388, Brooks Branch Road, Leicester, NC 28748 (704-683-4518) (Conifers) F
Wayside Gardens, Hodges, SC 29695-0001 (800-845-1124) (Diverse array - spectacular catalogs) F
We-Du Nursery, Rt. 5, Box 724, Marion, NC 28752 (704-738-8300) (Collector rarities; perennials, alpines, Asian, bulbs) $2
White Flower Farm, Litchfield, CT 06759 (203-496-1661) (Diverse array - elegant catalog; mostly perennials) F
Woodlander's Nursery, 1128 Colleton Ave., Aiken, SC 29801 (803-648-7522) (S. E. US Natives & Asian; huge array) $2
Yucca Do and Peckerwood Gardens, FM 359, P. O. Box 655, Waller, TX 77484 (409-826-6363) (S. W. US & Mexico; Asian) $3