Magnolias featured plant at 2013 UD Botanic Gardens sale

April 2, 2013 under CANR News

UDBG fall plant sale features magnoliasJohn Frett is a like a kid in a candy store when it comes to choosing magnolias for the University of Delaware Botanic Gardens plant sale – he wants them all.

“How can one resist those magnificent flowers, some appearing in early spring, some in late spring or summer,” notes Frett, who is director of the gardens. “Then there is the fragrance, the evergreen foliage and, to round out the package, colored fruits in the fall. I would love to include every magnolia variety in the sale, but I have to pare down my selection to a few exquisite gems.”

Magnolias are one of the featured plants at this year’s plant sale, to be held April 26-27. Many gardeners like to plant early blooming (and non-native) magnolias, such as Magnolia ‘genie,’ which will be available at the sale. But there is distinct advantage to the native varieties, says Frett.

“You need to be patient because our native magnolias don’t flower until mid- to late season, from about mid-April until summer. But on the upside, you won’t need to worry about frost damage like you do with saucer magnolia and the other early bloomers,” he says.

A few early magnolias could be close to bloom when Frett leads garden walks on April 3-4 that focus on magnolias and other plant sale highlights. The gardens feature an extensive magnolia collection centered around Townsend Hall and also in a large planting near the UD swimming pool.  If time allows, Frett will duck into the greenhouses to show off container plants started from seed by UD students.

“The sale is a real learning opportunity,” says Frett. “A number of our undergraduate classes take part in starting seeds and grad students help with propagation.”

One of the rare magnolias offered at the sale is Magnolia ashei Ash Magnolia, a native with coarse leaves that can get as large as 18 inches long. “It gives the plant a real tropical feel,” says Frett.

At maturity, Magnolia ashei Ash Magnolia will reach 15 to 20 feet. If you don’t have a lot of space, instead consider a dwarf magnolia such as Sweet Thing, a dwarf cultivar of native sweetbay. This little guy tops out at 5 to 8 feet in high after 15 to 20 years.

Rhododendron is another plant that is well represented at the sale. Six different selections are offered, all of them native. The Catawba rhododendron, which features dark-red flowers in late May, is probably the most common native rhodo in local gardens. And for good reason. It’s known to be an excellent performer and is a good food source for butterflies and hummingbirds.

If you enjoy surprises, pick up a flame azalea for your yard. Another butterfly friendly selection, this plant features vivid orange blooms. Or yellow, pink, salmon or scarlet ones. The plant flowers in May so it’s anyone’s guess which color you’ll be getting at the UD sale.

Guided walks

April 3-4:  Learn about plants offered at the sale during a stroll through the UD Botanic Gardens. 4 p.m. $10. To register call 831-2531 or email botanicgardens@udel.edu.

Plant sale

April 26, 3-7 p.m., and April 27, 9:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Sale is located across from Fischer Greenhouse on UD’s South Campus in Newark. For more information, call 831-2531 or email botanicgardens@udel.edu.

Article by Margo McDonough

Photo by Danielle Quigley

This article can also be viewed on UDaily.

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Colorful Natives at UDBG this Fall

August 15, 2012 under CANR News, Events

Did the heat and drought claim a few of your prize perennials this summer?

Fill those empty spaces and add a little zing to your garden with a fabulous selection of colorful natives and other choice plants at the UDBG Fall Plant Sale. Admission is free.

  • Friday, September 7 from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m.
  • Saturday, September 8 from 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.
  • UDBG Friends can shop early at Members Day, Thursday, September 6 from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.

Explore color in the garden with two lectures focusing on the wide range of color available using native plants:

  • UD’s Dr. Robert Lyons presents “The Color of the Native Plant Palette…and Other Related Thoughts,” Tuesday, September 4, 7 p.m.–Lyons presents colorful, reliable natives that function within a low maintenance philosophy. UDBG Friends: $5; $10 for nonmembers.
  • North Creek Nurseries’ Claudia West explores “The Landscape’s Color Spectrum: Apply Natural Color Theories to Enhance Design,” Tuesday, October 9, 7 p.m.—Learn how native plant communities inspire harmonious landscape design. UDBG Friends: free; $10 for nonmembers.

The Plant Sale is located in the Production Area behind Townsend Hall on UD’s South Campus. Both lectures will be held in The Commons, Townsend Hall on the University of Delaware’s South Campus. Pre-registration is requested for the lectures. Contact Sue Biddle at (302) 831-2531 or email botanicgardens@udel.edu. Visit our website, http://ag.udel.edu/udbg for more information on these and all events at UDBG.

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Sept. 20: UDBG Friends meeting, lecture

September 14, 2011 under CANR News

On Tuesday, September 20th at 7pm the UD Botanic Gardens will host its Friends’ meeting and a lecture by Gary Smith.  Smith’s lecture is entitled “Unleashing Creativity in the Native Garden.”

Designers solve problems; artists raise questions. Step beyond “solutions” in garden design and find delight in a world where there are more questions than answers. After exploring a visual vocabulary of shapes, patterns, and processes, we’ll look at artists’ techniques for observing and recording it all. You’ll learn how to unleash the artist within yourself, making meaningful gardens that express the relationship between local sense of place and your own creative spirit. Artist, Landscape Architect, and UD Alum Gary Smith celebrates connections between people and plants, combining art and horticulture to explore ecological design and artistic abstraction. Current projects include the Santa Fe Botanical Garden, Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, Brooklyn Botanic Garden, and Winterthur. Gary was an Associate Professor of Landscape Design at the University of Delaware from 1989-98.

Location: Townsend Hall Commons
UDBG Friends: FREE; Nonmembers: $10
Registration requested. To register: Email botanicgardens@udel.edu or call 302-831-2531.

Need a gift for that special someone?  Gary’s new book, From Art to Landscape will be available for purchase at $27.95, a 30% discount. Gary will sign copies following the lecture.

We’re sorry, but no credit cards will be accepted for the evening’s event.

Fall’s a Great Time to Plant!  Take advantage of the weather.  We will be open for business in the plant sale area from 5-6:30pm.

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Sept. 14: Plant Sale

September 12, 2011 under CANR News

The University of Delaware Botanic Gardens has extended its fall plant sale.  The sale, held this past weekend, has added Wednesday, Sept. 14, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. to its hours.  It is open to the University community and the general public.

The sale, which features groundcovers and a host of fabulous fall bloomers, will be held in the production area across from the Fischer Greenhouse, behind Townsend Hall on UD’sCollege of Agriculture and Natural Resources campus.

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Sept. 8-10: UDBG Plant Sale

September 9, 2011 under CANR News

The University of Delaware Botanic Gardenswill hold its annual fall plant sale, featuring groundcovers and a host of fabulous fall bloomers, from Sept. 8-10.

The sale will be held in the production area across from the Fischer Greenhouse, behind Townsend Hall on UD’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources campus.

UDBG Friends can enjoy a members-only day at the sale on Thursday, Sept. 8, from 4-7 p.m. To enjoy this and other benefits, visit the UDBG website.

Hours for the general public are Friday, Sept. 9, from 4-7 p.m. and Saturday, Sept. 10, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Admission is free.

The University of Delaware Botanic Gardens are open year around to provide ideas and inspiration, or for a quiet stroll. The gardens contribute to an understanding of the changing relationships between plants and people through education, research, extension and community support so as to instill an appreciation of plants in the landscape and the natural environment.

This article was originally posted online on UDaily.

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UD Botanic Gardens announces events

August 2, 2011 under CANR News

The University of Delaware Botanic Gardens (UDBG) has announced several late summer, early fall events to include classes, lectures, and the annual fall plant sale.

Programs include:
Dyeing with Indigo and Other Garden Plants: Saturday, August 13
Great Groundcovers–Abundant Options: Tuesday, September 6
Fall Plant Sale: September 8-10
Unleashing Creativity in the Native Garden with Award Winning Landscape Architect and Artist Gary Smith: Tuesday, September 20

For more information please visit the UDBG website (www.ag.udel.edu/udbg) and click on the Events & Education tab.

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Botanic Gardens tour highlights flowering magnolias

March 23, 2011 under CANR News, Events

Magnolias will be featured on the University of Delaware Botanic Gardens tour and at the annual plant sale.

When John Frett leads a guided walk of the University of Delaware Botanic Gardens on March 31, he’s hoping to point out a few early blooming magnolias. More likely, though, he’ll head to the greenhouse to show off magnolias in flower.

Non-native magnolias typically start blooming in Delaware in April while the native varieties wait until May.

With plenty of other March blooms to enjoy — winterhazel, forsythia, hellebores and some dogwoods — why the rush to spot magnolias?

The walk is a spring tradition that highlights plants available at the UD Botanic Gardens Plant Sale. Along with winterhazel, magnolias will be a featured plant of this year’s sale, which is open to the public April 29-30.

Almost everyone loves magnolias. Frett, the director of the UD Botanic Gardens, is no exception. However, he’s reluctant to single out a best-loved cultivar or species. “It’s like picking a favorite child, they’re all fabulous,” says Frett.

Magnolias vary widely. The 80 or so recognized species include trees and shrubs; deciduous plants and evergreens; cold-hardy varieties that do well in Maine and others that flourish in the tropics. About the only thing they have in common are the distinctive, tulip-shaped flowers. And most — but not all — are highly fragrant.

Under Frett’s leadership, the magnolia collection at the UD Botanic Gardens has been expanded to 100 taxa of magnolia, with some 125 magnolias in all.

“The UDBG’s fantastic collection of magnolias includes a nice variety of native and non-native species and cultivars,” says Sue Barton, Cooperative Extension’s ornamental horticulture specialist.

Magnolias are widely scattered throughout the UD gardens but large groupings can be found between Townsend and Worrilow Halls, south of Townsend, and also north of UD’s outdoor pool.

In assembling the collection, Frett looked for a progression of flowering, from the earliest species, in April, to varieties that are still going strong in June. He also included rich and unusual colors, found in the hybrid varieties. In addition to characteristic pink or white petals, magnolia blooms can be light to medium purple, deep purple that is almost red, and yellow.

Barton has one of the yellow varieties in her backyard. “I bought the ‘Elizabeth’ cultivar from the UDBG sale a number of years ago because my older daughter is named Elizabeth,” she explains. “This tree will be covered with yellow flowers in about a month.”

Despite its name, “Elizabeth” isn’t Barton’s favorite backyard magnolia. That distinction goes to the native sweetbay magnolias growing near her patio. “They’re multi-stemmed so they help enclose the patio but you can still view through them so they don’t make it claustrophobic,” she says.

Carrie Murphy, the Extension horticulture agent for New Castle County, says the sweetbay is the top pick for most Delaware gardeners. “Including me,” she adds.

“The sweetbay magnolia is by far one of my favorite plants — it has beautiful late spring and early summer blooms and is lightly fragrant.”

But what Murphy really likes about the sweetbay isn’t apparent at first glance. “I love the underside of the foliage — when the wind blows and rustles the leaves, the silver underside of the leaves becomes visible and it’s absolutely gorgeous,” she says.

Several sweetbays have been added to the Master Garden Demonstration garden at the county Extension office in Newark. At the demo garden, home gardeners often ask for recommendations for small flowering trees and sweetbay nicely fits the bill. It prefers moist soil and some shade and even works well in wet sites. But it’s also adaptable to drier conditions, says Murphy.

Three cultivars of sweetbay will be available at the plant sale: “Mardi Gras,” with a butter-yellow variegated leaf; “Perry Paige,” a new dwarf variety only five to eight feet tall; and “Green Shadow,” a selection that Frett describes as “nearly an evergreen.”

Two other native magnolias will be sold, Magnolia macrophylla “Big Leaf Magnolia,” featuring huge leaves with a tropical feel and Magnolia pyramidata “Pyramid Magnolia,” which is considered rare. Also available will be three hybrids from native species, including two that originated from a cross with the native cucumber tree.

Guided walk

March 31: An hour-and-a-half walk through the UD Botanic Gardens, focusing on plant sale selections. 4 p.m. $5. Call 302-831-2531 or email [kelsch@udel.edu] to register. Maximum 35 people.

UDBG plant sale

Public sale hours are 3-7 p.m., April 29; 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., April 30. For more information, call 302-831-2531 or go to the UDBG website.

Article by Margo McDonough
Photos by Danielle Quigley

This article can also be read online on UDaily by clicking here.

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UD Botanic Gardens March Events

February 25, 2011 under CANR News, Events

Longing for Spring?  Join the UD Botanic Gardens for March events.

Wednesday, March 16 from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.–Plant Sale Highlights
The Commons, Townsend Hall
UDBG Friends: Free; Nonmembers: $10
UDBG Director John Frett presents the fabulous winterhazels (Corylopsis) and many of the other plants offered at the 19th Annual Benefit Plant Sale. Refreshments served.

Thursday, March 31 from 4:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.–Guided Walk
Meet @ Fischer Greenhouse
UDBG Friends: Free; Nonmembers: $5
Dr. Frett will lead a guided walk around the gardens focusing on landscape-size plants that will be offered at the Sale.

REGISTRATION: Contact Donna Kelsch at kelsch@udel.edu or 302-831-2531.

Don’t forget to check out the Plant Sale Catalog on the UDBG website, http://ag.udel.edu/udbg. Hardcopy will be bulk mailed soon.

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Sept. 17-19: UD Botanic Gardens Fall Plant Sale

September 7, 2010 under CANR News, Events

The University of Delaware Botanic Gardens will hold a fall plant sale from Friday, Sept. 17, through Sunday, Sept. 19, in the plant production area behind Townsend Hall on South College Avenue.

Hours are 4:30-7 p.m. on Friday, Sept.17, 9 a.m.-2 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 18, and 11 a.m.-2 p.m., on Sunday, Sept. 19.

The plant sale is open to the public.

A complete plant list is available on the UD Botanic Gardens website.

Foliage takes center stage at this year’s fall plant sale. Great gardens don’t have to always be about flowers, and foliage carries a garden through the seasons long after flowers have faded away. Even when nothing is blooming, the variety of color, texture and form provide depth to a garden and furnish a sense of intrigue and character that goes beyond bloom.

A lecture by Jules Bruck, assistant professor of landscape design in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, will highlight the plants that are included in the fall sale.

The lecture will be held at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 7, in the Townsend Hall Commons. Bruck will show ways to design a garden using native perennial plants. Learn about color, texture and form in design while seeing stunning combinations of plants.

Cost for the lecture is $5 for members of the UD Botanic Gardens Friends and $10 for nonmembers. Registration is required for the lecture by calling (302) 831-0153 or sending email to [mzoehrer@udel.edu].

The full story and photos can be seen on UDaily by clicking here.

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18th Annual University of Delaware Botanic Gardens Benefit Plant Sale Features Witchhazels

April 5, 2010 under CANR News, Events

The 18th Annual University of Delaware Botanic Gardens Benefit Plant Sale will be held on Friday, April 23, 2010 from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. and Saturday, April 24, 2010 from 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. behind Townsend Hall, across from the Fischer Greenhouse on the University of Delaware campus (north of the University of Delaware football stadium and adjacent to the Blue Ice Arena.) Saturday is also UD’s Ag Day, where the whole family can enjoy educational exhibits, live music, animals, tours and much more. The plant sale, featuring witchhazels (Hamamelis), presents an opportunity to purchase unusual and difficult-to-find plants, and to learn about the wide variety of exciting and useful plants available beyond the usual palate found at discount garden centers or nurseries. Witchhazels are the bookends of winter, some flowering in October, while others erupt into color late January through early April. The fragrance of their flowers compliments the variety of colors – bright yellow, gold, copper and red.  Check out the 2010 Plant Sale Catalog on the UDBG website, http://ag.udel.edu/udbg.

The Gardens are open year round to provide ideas and inspiration, or for a quiet stroll. The University of Delaware Botanic Gardens contribute to an understanding of the changing relationships between plants and people through education, research, extension and community support so as to instill an appreciation of plants in the landscape and the natural environment.

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