UDBG Friends newsletter - College of Agriculture and Natural

MAR/APR 2015
Hooked on Plants: Three
Great Shrubs for Your Garden
by Jason Veil
Cryptomeria japonica ‘Gyoku ryu’
Translated from Japanese as “Jade Dragon,” this attractive
Cryptomeria selection fills the gap between smaller, dwarf
cultivars and the super-charged heroics of clones like
‘Yoshino’ and ‘Radicans’. The handsome, soft-textured foliage
is arranged in slightly contorted, deep green branchlets
that have proven immune to winter bronzing. ‘Gyoku ryu’
grows rather quickly in youth, but matures into a densely
pyramidal plant measuring 15-20 feet tall and 10 feet wide
at maturity. Fine specimens nearing this size can be observed
at Chanticleer near the vegetable garden. The plant also
has been used as a container specimen outside the Piercedu Pont House at Longwood Gardens. It would be equally
appropriate for single specimen use or for screening needs
where space is restricted.
cont’d on page 5
Photo by: Jason Veil
Jason will be leading an informative spring walkabout
through the UDBG plant collection on Thursday, May 14th,
5-6:30 p.m., where he will discuss May’s most prominent
trees and shrubs. These will include uncommon specimens
and a few other UDBG hidden treasures. Below are three of
his favorites, which will be offered at the 2015 spring sale.
Cryptomeria japonica ‘Gyoku-ryu’ ( Jade Dragon Japanese Cedar) in a
container in front of Longwood Gardens Conservatory
Top Image: Asclepias incarnata (Swamp Milkweed), plant sale offering
Schedule of Events
To ensure a space, registration is highly recommended for all educational events. Please register by emailing
[email protected] or contact Sue Biddle at 302-831-2531. You can send a check made out to UD to: UDBG,
152 Townsend Hall, University of Delaware, Newark DE 19716. Lectures are located in Townsend Hall Commons
unless otherwise noted.
Lecture: 2015 Spring Plant
Sale Preview
Tuesday, Tuesday, April 7, 7 pm
UDBG Friends members: FREE; Nonmembers: $10
Location: The Commons, Townsend Hall
Please join Dr. Robert Lyons and UDBG Director Dr. John
Frett as they give a lively and illustrated talk about both
perennial and woody plants that will be offered at the spring
plant sale.
A popular and enthusiastic lecturer, Dr. Lyons is a highly
respected leader in horticulture. In 2014, he retired as
Director of the Longwood Graduate Program and Professor,
Plant & Soil Sciences at UD. Prior to that, he held the JC
Raulston Distinguished Professor Chair in Horticultural
Science at North Carolina State University and served as
the Director of the JC Raulston Arboretum. From 19811998, Lyons was Professor of Horticulture at Virginia
Tech and co-founder and Director of the VT Horticulture
Gardens. He’s currently cultivating his home garden,
developing his photography business, and serving as Chair
of the Advisory Boards of UDBG and Rutgers Gardens.
These plants can be found at
the UDBG Spring Plant Sale
Top, Left: Fruits of Iris unguicularis (Algerian Winter Iris)
Photo by: Melinda Zoehrer
Top, Right: Bright yellow flowers of
Cornus mas ‘Golden Glory’ (Cornelian Cherry)
Photo by: Kathy Barrowclough
Botton, Left: Yellow fruits on Ilex × attenuata ‘Bienville Gold’
(Foster Holly) outside UDBG office
Photo by: Susan Elliot
Bottom, Right: Flowers of Achillea millefolium ‘Strawberry
Seduction’ (Yarrow) with velvety red heads and gold centers.
Photo by: Melinda Zoehrer
4/7 7:00-9:00 pm
Spring Plant Sale Preview Lecture
4/15 4:00-5:30 pm
Plant Sale Highlights Guided Walk
4/22 4:30-6:00 pm
Patron Plant Sale and Reception,
RSVP required
4/23 3:00-7:00 pm
UDBG Members only
4/24 3:00-7:00 pm
General Public
4/25 9:30 am-4:00 pm General Public
5/5 7:00-8:30 pm
Designing Resilient Plantings
Lecture & Member Plant
Dividend Giveaway
5/14 5-5:30 pm
UDBG in Spring: A Bloomin’
Guided Walk: Highlights of
2015 Spring Plant Sale
Wednesday, April15, 4-5:30 pm
UDBG Friends members: $5; Nonmembers: $10
Location: Meet at Fischer Greenhouse entrance across
from plant sale entrance
Dr. John Frett will lead a guided walk through UDBG of
plants offered in the plant sale, and if there’s time, preview the
containerized plants. Min: 10 people; Max: 25 people.
Wednesday, April 22, 4:30-6:00 pm
This intimate evening is a thank you event to those who
have contributed $185 or more to support UDBG’s Student
Program, an essential component of UDBG’s functioning.
Enjoy conversations with knowledgeable plant people, a
private plant sale this evening only, refreshments, and the
first crack at all other plant sale offerings. If interested in
attending or for more information, please call 302-831-0153
or email [email protected] RSVP required
Lecture: Designing Resilient
Plantings and Membership Plant
Dividend Giveaway
Tuesday, May 5, 7-8:30 pm
UDBG Friends members: FREE; Nonmembers: $10
Location: The Commons, Townsend Hall
How should we garden in this time of global change?
Can we design plantings that will survive varied and even
unpredictable conditions? Natural systems deal with
unpredictability every day and have persisted through eons
of change. Landscape Architect and Horticulturist Travis
Beck will show us how to apply the ecological principles
that underlie these systems to create successful and resilient
gardens and landscapes.
Travis Beck is Director of Horticulture at Mt. Cuba Center,
where he oversees the care and evolution of 22 acres of
formal and naturalistic gardens and 532 acres of natural
lands. Prior to Mt. Cuba, Beck worked at the New York
Botanical Garden, where he managed landscape design
and construction projects, including the new Native Plant
Garden. Beck’s book, Principles of Ecological Landscape
Design, applies current scientific thinking to the design and
management of successful, sustainable landscapes. Kristina
Hall wrote, “There is currently no better guide to ecologicallybased planting design.”
Photo by: Bob Lyons
Patron Reception and Plant Sale
The non-hardy Dichorisandra thyrsiflora (Blue Ginger),
to be offered at the Spring Plant Sale.
UDBG in Spring: A Bloomin’
Thursday, May 14, 5-6:30 pm
UDBG Friends members: $10; Nonmembers: $15
Location: Meet at Fischer Greenhouse entrance across
from plant sale entrance
Enjoy the UDBG at a spectacular time of year. UD’s Jason
Veil will lead an informative jaunt through the garden
to discuss mid-May’s most prominent trees and shrubs including several uncommon specimens and a few of the
UDBG’s hidden treasures.
Jason Veil, Curatorial graduate student working with
Dr. John Frett, received his undergraduate degrees in
Urban Forestry and Horticulture from Pennsylvania State
University in 2001 and spent the next decade in wholesale
nursery production and marketing. In addition to leading
Dr. Frett’s lab classes, Jason is responsible for documenting,
labeling and mapping the plants that comprise the UDBG’s
diverse collection. He’s a shameless “tree nerd” who has
always enjoyed sharing his enthusiasm for new, unusual or
otherwise underutilized woody plants.
Min: 10 people; Max: 25 people.
Director’s Corner
by John Frett
Photos by: Rick Darke
Winter has been very cold, well below historical
temperature, which could wreck havoc on the tenderest
plants and those installed this fall. Spring will tell how
merciful Boreas, Greek god of winter winds, was to our
plants. Remember, the spring equinox is March 21, the
official start of spring, officially anyway.
Hamamelis × intermedia
‘Jelena’ ( Jelena Hybrid
Witch Hazel)
flowers through
cold temperatures
of March 20
Eranthis hyemalis
(Winter Aconite)
strutting its stuff
on March 16
I often get questions about the UDBG budget, frequently
enough that I would like to share some details with
you. The UDBG budget covers all costs associated
with the garden: staff salaries, internships, student
awards, greenhouse maintenance and materials, grounds
maintenance, equipment repair and replacement, arborist
work, and educational events. The only activity we are
not responsible for is the mowing of the larger turf areas.
Sources of our funding are shown in the pie chart. While
we receive 20 percent of our funding from the college, we
must generate the other 80 percent of the annual budget.
This lion’s share percentage is generated primarily through
the fall and spring plant sales. These sales fulfill part of our
educational mission to distribute plants that we grow at
UDBG or unique plants, justifying the huge commitment
of staff and volunteer resources. The second greatest
source of funding is through gifts beyond membership,
primarily Patron contributions but also unrestricted
gifts. These gifts are crucial to our educational mission
and support our Student Program (see next paragraph).
Membership support, approximately one tenth of the
annual budget, and members are UDBG advocates and
ambassadors in the larger community. Currently, proceeds
from our small endowment are reinvested to someday
when it may support at least one summer intern (currently
I am immensely grateful to all who have contributed
generously to the annual Patron’s solicitation. These
contributions are vital in allowing us to fund four
summer interns, a year-long intern, and to the summer
stipend and conference enrichment of UDBG’s curatorial
graduate student. These past two years Jason Veil has
filled this position. He is now finishing up his thesis,
teaching a plant identification lab, and busily applying
to a few plant curator positions in botanic gardens. His
predecessor, Matt Lobdell, who graduated in June 2012,
has been appointed Ohio’s The Morton Arboretum new
curator and head of collections, where he is responsible
for managing the Arboretum’s living collections. Kris
Bachtell, vice president of collections and facilities at
The Morton Arboretum, says, “Matt’s education at the
University of Delaware in curatorship, combined with his
commitment and technical knowledge, is a great benefit
to the Arboretum.”
When you can see the future contributions that UDBG
graduates like Matt Lobdell and Jason Veil will make to
gardens in America, you cannot help but be proud of how
the funds you have given makes certain these continuing
successes, not just for the UDBG, but nationwide.
Through your continued generous support, you ensure the
UDBG make significant educational progress. The staff
and I are extremely grateful to our students, our members,
and our supporters. We also are grateful to all of our
hardworking volunteers, particularly those who continue
to work in the gardens in the chill of winter. During these
months we have no interns, and it’s these volunteers who
to keep the garden looking its best.
continued from page 1
Physocarpus opulifolius ‘Podaras 3’ (Lemon Candy™)
Common Ninebark, a vigorous, spirea-like native shrub,
has achieved newfound garden acclaim in recent years
with the introduction of a variety of burgundy-foliaged
cultivars like Summer Wine® and Little Devil™. Lemon
Candy™ takes the opposite direction by injecting a shot
of zesty golden freshness into the spring garden, then
fading to glowing chartreuse during the heat of summer.
It is a perfect candidate for contrast in the mixed border
or a vivid complement to dark brick or stone elements.
A bonus feature is a fine display of white flower clusters
during late spring that mature into dry, reddish brown
follicles relished by many songbirds. Winter affords a
glimpse at the finely exfoliating bark (peeling into at
least “nine” papery segments) that lead to Ninebark’s
peculiar common name. Lemon Candy™ will reach
5-6 feet in height in only a few years and would benefit
from periodic rejuvenation to control size and promote
its fabulous new growth.
Sinowilsoniana henryi
The so-called Henry Wilson Tree is an obscure
member of the Witch Hazel family (Hamamelidaceae),
hailing from the mountainous forests of central and
western China. It was originally introduced to western
horticulture by Ernest “Chinese” Wilson in 1908, but
was largely forgotten until material was again collected
by Arnold Arboretum staff during the Sino-American
Botanical Expedition of 1980. It generally forms a
spreading shrub maturing at 15-20 feet tall, but could
potentially be trained into a small single-stemmed tree.
The large, boldly textured leaves measure
up to 6 inches in length and subtend pendulous flower
Jason Veil is UDBG’s curatorial graduate student. He
received his undergraduate degrees in Urban Forestry
and Horticulture from The Penn State University in
2001 and spent the following decade in wholesale nursery
production and marketing. In addition to leading
Dr. Frett’s lab classes, Jason is responsible for documenting,
labeling, and mapping the plants that comprise the
UDBG’s diverse collection. He is a shameless “tree geek,”
who always enjoys sharing his enthusiasm for new, unusual
or underutilized woody plants.
UDBG recently
discovered that it not
only had a two-page
write up with images
in Magda Salvesen’s
Exploring Gardens &
Green Spaces form
Connecticut to the
Delaware Valley,
but its Herbaceous
Garden was
featured on the
frontis page. The
book includes many
hidden horticultural gems and designed
landscapes all along the northeast corridor that
do not often appear in books. Featuring more
than 300 color images, 29 maps, and lots of
practical information, it’s a fantastic guide for
exploring an array of gardens in the northeast
and mid-Atlantic.
Physocarpus opulifolius ‘Podaras 3’ (Lemon Candy™ Common Ninebark)
racemes like those of the related genus Corylopsis
(Winterhazel). However, Sinowilsonia features separate
male and female racemes, whereas each inflorescence
of Corylopsis contains “perfect” flowers with both male
and female parts. Fall color is a pleasing buttery yellow
and quite similar to that of Calycanthus — this year’s
featured plant.The curious Sinowilsonia henryi is surely
a collector’s delight and an excellent “stump” question
when quizzing your gardening friends.
Photo b
y: RickD
Photo by: Jason Veil
Hooked on Plants
Propagation by Tissue Culture
Photo by: Catherine Buckminster
by Claudia Bradley
Claudia Bradley explaining the finer points of tissue propagation
with volunteers Karola Spence and Kate Murray, along with other
unseen Tuesday volunteers.
Just about every Tuesday morning at the UDBG a
dedicated volunteer “potting group” gathers in the
Fischer Greenhouse to pot plugs, seedlings or bare
root plants. Other typical tasks are sowing seeds,
dividing plants to prepare for the spring and fall plant
sales. This January, however, we had a different and
exciting opportunity to handle some tiny tissue culture
was gelled with agar containing sugar. After several
months many of the scales had regenerated miniature
bulblets. It was time to transfer these from the jars into
flats filled with a moistened seed starting soil. Dr. Kitto
explained how these young plants must be handled:
First the agar is removed with a brush to ensure that
no sugars are left behind that could cause fungal spores
or bacteria to grow. It is critical that the scales not dry
out so the volunteers worked with them in trays of
water. Tweezers are used to separate the vast numbers
of offspring from each other, which yielded hundreds,
many of which were in small clumps.
Once the flats were full, a pre-moistened propagation
dome was placed on top, and the flats were placed in
the Fischer Greenhouse mist room. The first delicate
leaves on these plants must be kept in a humid
environment but must also be protected from the mist,
which strips away many of the nutrients. The final step
is to gently water the flats with a fungicide drench
to ward off disease. When roots form, volunteers
will transfer the plants into individual pots, which
hopefully will mature into great specimens for a future
spring plant sale.
Tissue culture is a method of propagating plants in a
laboratory under sterile conditions and is an excellent
tool for producing clones. UD Plant & Soil Science
Professor Dr. Sherry Kitto graciously provided us
with a tray full of small glass jars containing Lilium
canadense var. rubrum (Lilium canadense ssp. editorum)
bulblets. This elegant native lily commonly has yellow
and orange flowers, but this special variety boasts brickred flowers.
Dr. Kitto is well known for her work in developing
propagation protocols for plants native to the eastern
temperate U.S., such as Spigelia marilandica, Tiarella,
and Trillium so UDBG was thrilled to receive these
unique plants. She explained how she had taken small
pieces of bulb scales from this lily and placed them
into the jars that held a sterile nutrient medium that
Lilium canadense var. rubrum (Red Canada Lily)
Animal in the Garden: The sort you could do without
In winter, animals have to eat, but gnawing on your
favorite shrubs and young trees can cause damage. You
can stay ahead of these critters with some strategies of
your own.
Check regularly for signs of damage. Voles,
mice, rabbits, and deer may chew the thin
bark of shrubs and young trees. If their
nibbling removes the bark all the way
around a stem, the plant may die.
Check the base of the stems or
trunk for signs that the bark
has been chewed.
Clear snow. If snow is deep around
shrubs and young trees, mice and voles
can tunnel through the fluffy stuff to reach
the bark without being seen by predators. A
deep snow offers an advantage for animals that
can stand on deeper snow to browse on higher parts
of shrubs and trees. Clear snow away from the bases of
especially vulnerable plants.
Don’t pile up mulch. Small animals also can tunnel
through too-deep mulch. Spread mulch around a tree or
shrub in a wide, even layer just two to three inches deep.
Do not pull the mulch up around the trunk. This invites
animals to chew sight unseen. Make sure mulch stays a
couple of inches clear of the trunk or stems.
Fence vulnerable trees and shrubs. The best way to
protect a plant is by fencing it with a well-anchored
cylinder of metal mesh. It’s a lot of work, so be
thoughtful about the plants you need to guard. Rabbits
are especially fond of certain species, including azalea,
spirea, oakleaf hydrangea, and fothergilla. Deer eat the
winter foliage of many evergreen trees and shrubs,
such as spruce and yews. They also eat the bark
of young trees, as well as any twigs, buds,
acorns, and berries they can reach.
Switch out repellants. Animal
repellants can be effective against deer
and other animals, but with limitations.
Animals that are initially wary of an
unfamiliar smell or taste eventually become
accustomed to it, so switch repellants frequently.
And remember to reapply chemical repellents after it
No plant is animal-proof. That’s why plant labels may
claim only “deer resistant.” But there are plants animals
don’t choose to dine on: the turnoffs include plants with
strongly scented leaves, hairy leaves, or prickly leaves
animals. But if the winter is hard and food is scarce,
rabbits, deer, and other animals will be less picky.
In UDBG’s catalog, we’ve included in the plant
description, plants that deer tend to find unpalatable.
Are you ready sharpen your pruners, dig
out the trowel, and put on the gardening
gloves? Me too! The 2015 growing and
gardening season is on the horizon. Not
only am I excited to be in the garden
wearing sunscreen as opposed to long
johns, I’m thrilled to know that I’ll be
able to see many of our volunteers on a
more regular basis. Whether you’re
into potting, gardening, assisting
with the plant
sales and sale
prep, or all
of the above,
we’ve got
for you.
All activities will be in full-swing before
you know it. Regardless of the activities
in which you participate, or how much
time you have to offer, we‘re always
learning, laughing, and sharing (plants,
books, food, etc.) while working. We’ve
made many dear friends through our
time together at the UDBG. The UDBG
is truly fortunate. Thanks to those that
graciously gave of their time and talents
in 2014, and thanks in advance for all
your efforts in 2015. If you’d like to
get involved, contact Valann at
[email protected]
informati 153
da at 302
call Melin
[email protected]
or em
Contact Information
Telephone 302-831-0153
• http://canr.udel.edu/udbg
Contact Information
editor: Susan •Baldwin
• Director: Dr. John Frett
Telephone 302-831-0153
Newsletter editor:
Baldwin •Melinda
Director: Zoehrer
Dr. John Frett
Melinda Zoehrer
Volunteer Assistant
and Education
Valann Budischak
Volunteer and Education Coordinator: Valann Budischak
Visit the UD Botanic Gardens
Visit the UD Botanic Gardens
is open to visitors everyday from sunrise to sunset; admission is free.
UDBG is open to visitors everyday from sunrise to sunset; admission is free.
Please obtain
obtain aavisitor
(fee: (fee:
on-line on-line
https://udel.t2hosted.com/cmn/index.aspx or
use the
the metered
the UDairy
the UDairy
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The University of Delaware is an Equal Opportunity/Title IX institution. Please visit www.udel.edu/ExecVP/policies/personnel/4-40.html to read our anti-discrimination policy in its e