"The Collector's Corner:" Roots and Shoots

By Amy Howansky

Wel­come to the Col­lec­tor’s Cor­ner, the first in a series of newslet­ter columns that will coor­di­nate with a new ini­tia­tive at the Lan­dis Arboretum.

At our Fall Plant Sale, Direc­tor Fred Breglia noticed that an entire cor­ner of the sales area was filled with inter­est­ing and emi­nent­ly col­lectible plants. He dubbed the area Collector’s Cor­ner.” We will con­tin­ue to use the cor­ner dur­ing future sales to offer rare and unusu­al specimens.

Small shrubs for small spaces, for exam­ple, could show­case the Weigela flori­da, My Mon­et’ that was avail­able at the Spring Plant Sale.

The shrub has bright pink flow­ers like a tra­di­tion­al Weigela, but grows only 1.5’ – 2’ tall by 1.52’ wide at matu­ri­ty. Inter­est­ing­ly, the My Mon­et’ cul­ti­var also has leaves that are mot­tled white, green, and pink, thus mak­ing it col­or­ful and attrac­tive from spring through autumn, instead of just when the flow­ers are in bloom. 

Hibiscus syriacus (Rose of Sharon)
Hibis­cus syr­i­a­cus (Rose of Sharon)

Many gar­den­ers enjoy col­lect­ing a vari­ety of var­ie­gat­ed plants, so we plan to sell and install more plants with col­or­ful splotch­es. We recent­ly sold a mar­bled-leaf form of Hibis­cus syr­i­a­cus (Rose of Sharon) called Sug­ar Tip.’ It has pale pink flow­ers with rose-like dou­ble petals, green and white var­ie­gat­ed leaves, and a small­er-than-nor­mal mature size of 56’ tall by 46’ wide.

Still anoth­er cat­e­go­ry for col­lec­tors is weep­ing or con­tort­ed plants. At this year’s Fall Plant Sale, we show­cased a grace­ful­ly-droop­ing Gink­go bilo­ba Weep­ing Won­der’. Approx­i­mate­ly half of its leaves are a rec­og­niz­able fan shape, while the oth­er half are extreme­ly long, nar­row, and fin­ger-like. In the autumn, the leaves turn an intense yel­low-gold. After the leaves have fall­en, the pen­du­lous branch­es pro­vide con­tin­ued inter­est in the win­ter gar­den. Look for more weep­ing, gnarled, or twist­ed spec­i­mens at next year’s plant sales!

Collector’s Cor­ner will also give Lan­dis vis­i­tors the oppor­tu­ni­ty to build a long-term, com­pre­hen­sive assem­blage of many cul­ti­vars with­in one genus or species. Hos­ta lovers are per­haps the best-known among col­lec­tors to enjoy the mul­ti-year process of find­ing new hybrids of a sin­gle genus, but tree and shrub afi­ciona­dos can also use this accu­mu­la­tive endeav­or for almost any genus. Lan­dis Arbore­tum recent­ly began cre­at­ing a new Syringa (lilac) area. We then fea­tured many dif­fer­ent Syringa cul­ti­vars at sev­er­al plant sales: one type was a dwarf form, one was a hard-to-find col­or, and one had unusu­al pur­ple petals with a white edge.

Hydrangea quercifolia, ‘Little Honey’
Hydrangea quer­ci­fo­lia, Lit­tle Honey’

Hydrangeas nor­mal­ly have rather bland green leaves that act as a visu­al­ly neu­tral, sup­port­ive back­ground for the extreme­ly large and col­or­ful flower heads. At the Fall Plant Sale, we show­cased Hydrangea quer­ci­fo­lia Lit­tle Hon­ey’, which has com­mon white flow­ers that get a blush of pink in autumn. The excit­ing, col­lec­table char­ac­ter­is­tic of the plant, though, is its bright char­treuse leaves that remain col­or­ful from spring through autumn. 

In sup­port of our efforts to edu­cate the pub­lic about unusu­al plants and to give Lan­dis Arbore­tum mem­bers access to rare spec­i­mens, we will host a lec­ture and mini-sale by plant experts from Bro­ken Arrow Nurs­ery on Sat­ur­day, June 27, 2020. This retail nurs­ery in Con­necti­cut is well known to col­lec­tors for its knowl­edge­able staff, hybridiza­tion pro­grams, and acres of inde­scrib­able oddities.

Since Lan­dis Arbore­tum is known for its oak col­lec­tion, per­haps we should acquire Bro­ken Arrow’s Quer­cus robur Gen­er­al Pulas­ki’ to show­case its strange, puck­ered, tight­ly-packed leaves. The tree grows 10’ tall by only 3’ wide at matu­ri­ty, mak­ing it a use­ful (and unique) colum­nar plant for tight spaces.

For ever­green admir­ers, Abies con­col­or Win­ter Gold’ is a form of white fir that fea­tures bright yel­low nee­dles in the dead of winter.

Nyssa sylvatica, ‘Wildfire’
Nys­sa syl­vat­i­ca, Wild­fire’

Col­or-cen­tric gar­den­ers will expect Nys­sa syl­vat­i­ca Wild­fire’ to dis­play bril­liant scar­let leaf-col­or in autumn, but will be thrilled with the strik­ing bur­gundy tones of the new foliage as it emerges in the spring.

The Bro­ken Arrow Nurs­ery event will like­ly be a full-day affair with options to attend two dif­fer­ent lec­tures and two dif­fer­ent pop-up sales. The nurs­ery will also allow mem­bers to pre-order plants from its cat­a­logue or web­site and will bring those items to the event for cus­tomer pick-up. More details and reg­is­tra­tion infor­ma­tion will appear in our 2020 Cal­en­dar of Events and on our web­site and Face­book page, in addi­tion to Con­stant Con­tact mailings.

Look for this arti­cle in future issues to dis­cov­er what strik­ing and col­lectible plants we will be offer­ing. The Lan­dis Arbore­tum is a trust­ed source for beau­ti­ful, hardy, and healthy plants – and the exper­tise to help you select and care for them.

Fall 2019

Volume 37 , Number 3

Share this

The Latest from Landis

Oct 07, 2023 | Nolan Marciniec

The Landis community mourns the loss of Anne Donnelly on October 4, 2023

Anne Donnelly was the first of the many friends I’ve made at the Arboretum and... read more

Oct 01, 2023 | Fred Breglia, Executive Director

From the Director’s Desk: Update on the Big Tree Search

Landis Arboretum has successfully kicked off its most recent Big Tree Search, and the tree... read more

Oct 01, 2023 | Erin McKenna Breglia

From the Garden: Your Autumn Garden Must Haves!

It’s certainly been a rainy summer, but the rain has helped keep our plants green... read more

Oct 01, 2023 | Nolan Marciniec

Landis Portraits: A Series About the People Behind the Plants at the Arboretum - Chuck Mueller

Chuck Mueller Volunteering, Chuck Mueller said, “is something you have to believe in . ... read more

Oct 01, 2023 | Nolan Marciniec

Volunteers Celebrate Meeting House Renovation

Shawn Bevins, Jim Paley, Craig Blevins, Fred Breglia, and Peter Bakal On a Sunday afternoon... read more

Oct 01, 2023 | Sam McClary

Apples and Man: A Book Review

Apples and Man, by Fred Lape “Apples and Man,” written by Arboretum founder Fred Lape... read more

News Archive