Sunday, March 29, 2009

Fothergilla major 'Red Licorice'...My greed motivates me to learn something. Good for IT

I felt bad for the Native Plant vendors who had to set their displays up yesterday morning at the Arboretum. I woke up about 5:00 AM and it was pouring. I have always had astigmatism so I hate driving in the rain in the dark. I didn't have to yesterday since I was actually giving a presentation. I did feel guilty enough though, to get up at 5:00AM! Curiously, the vendors had their best day ever; the rain did let up about 7:00...still. I think what happened is that electronic communications have connected us so efficiently that enough people knew about the sale that even frankly miserable weather couldn't hurt it. Hey, I've worked that sale for 4 years and there have been bright sunny days when some of the vendors went away grumbling! But we gardeners are a covetous avaricous group and it is spring....

I bought three plants: Fothergilla major 'Red Licorice', Fothergilla gardenii 'Jane Platt' and Aristolochia macrophylla. I had not even heard of the first two cultivars; Red Licorice was selected out of the Bernheim Arboretum in Kentucky for its brilliant red fall color. There is definitely variation in Fothergilla fall color; heretofor I had considered Mt. Airy, also a F major, the best selection for that trait. It's good to have another choice. Jane Platt is a weeping selection that is alleged to be a F. gardenii, the smaller of the two species. I can only imagine the garden value of this plant: a native that stays small, has fragrant flowers weeps interestingly and probably has at least good, maybe excellent, fall color. Wow! Back to my ignorance; while researching these two selections I came across at least a half-dozen more that were new to me. All these cultivars of a wonderful native plant. If I didn't know about these plants, who did? I'm not being arrogant, it's just that I am a plant geek, I love native plants, and I read incessantly so who knows about these new cultivars???? I'm guessing not very many people. We have to get those electronic commications in gear!

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