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November/December 2012

Keeping Shrubs Young by Dr. John Frett A common issue many gardeners face is a good shrub that has exceeded its limits (or maybe it’s your limits the shrub has exceeded). e tendency is to remove it and find a smaller plant to replace it. But there is a way for everyone, including the shrub, to get what they want; it’s rejuvenative pruning. While this technique — cutting the plant to the ground —may seem harsh, it works! Most shrubs, by their very nature, produce stems from the base of the plant. In colloquial terms, they sucker. is characteristic can be used to your advantage. Cutting a plant

Inkberry Holly (Ilex glabra) shrub in the Dunham Garden two years aer being completely cut to the ground.

down to 3 to 6 inches reduces the height and stimulates the latent buds near the base to break and produce new stems. Look at the base of the large shrub; you will notice a few slender shoots arising from the base. Plants that are growing vigorously respond well to this method of pruning. You can expect two or three feet of regrowth in a single season, depending on the mature size of the shrub. A few general rules to follow: • Vigorous plants regrow, weak plants die. If the plant is struggling, growing in poor conditions or is pestridden, it may not recover, in which case, remove it.

cont’d on page 6

Fothergilla × intermedia in the Dunham Garden, shows healthy growth aer being cut back late July 2012. Image taken September 4, 2012.


Schedule of Events Please register by emailing or contact Sue Biddle at 302-831-2531. Prepayment required for Small Flowering Trees lecture series and lab. Lectures are located in Townsend Hall Commons, University of Delaware, unless otherwise noted.

Small Flowering Trees Lecture Series and Lab by John Frett Lectures, Wednesday, January 9, 16, & 23, 6:30 - 8:30 pm Lab, Saturday, January 19, 9 -11 am If you have a small garden or a tight spot and want just the right plant for the site, then this three-night of small flowering trees is for you. e course will present cultural (light/soil requirements, ease of growth), as well as landscape characteristics (flowers, fruit, fall color, habit) for a variety of plants, both evergreen and deciduous. e lab will provide an opportunity to view the plants “in person” and discuss their identification more fully. Dr. Frett is the Director of the UD Botanic Gardens and Professor, Plant & Soil Sciences at the University of Delaware. A phenomenally knowledgeable horticulturist, Dr. Frett received his Ph.D. from the University of Georgia, where renowned plantsman and author Michael Dirr was his advisor.

Cole is an acclaimed lecturer, garden designer, award-winning author, and photographer. A certified chlorophyll addict, Cole is an avid and lifelong plantsman, gardener, and naturalist. He has shared his encyclopedic knowledge of plants and his abiding respect for regional landscapes with professional and amateur audiences for 35 years. He is the author of numerous books, including Hellebores: A Comprehensive Guide and Perennial Combinations, among others. ese two books will be offered for sale aer the lecture. A principal of Native Landscape Design and Restoration, which specializes in blending nature and culture through artistic design, Cole has an M.S. in Horticulture and a Masters in Landscape Architecture. He is a lecturer in the College of Architecture and Landscape Architecture at the University of Virginia, where he teaches about plants and their ecological connections to natural systems and cultural landscapes.

UDBG Friends members: $25/class and lab; Nonmembers: $35/class and lab

2013 Annual Plant Sale Preview

(Prepayment Required) Lab is ee if you register for all three classes

Wednesday, March 13, 7 - 8 pm

Location: Room 132 Townsend Hall In the event of snow, classes will be held the following evening. Payment will be refunded if cancellation is made 10 business days prior to class.

Design Ideas and Plant Combinations for Winter Gardens by C. Colston Burrell Tuesday, February 26, 2013, 7 pm UDBG Friends members: $15; Nonmembers: $20 e best part of the gardening year begins as the asters are fading. e onset of winter brings a respite from heat, and signals the start of a season filled with berried branches and seductive silhouettes. Comfortable spaces and artful planting conspire to


provide places to relax as well to grow myriad winter-blooming plants such as daphnes, hellebores, and minor bulbs that excite us and connect us to the natural world. is lecture focuses on the unique challenges of creating interest with both living and built elements and presents a variety of approaches to fashioning plant combinations that add texture, color, and fragrance to the unsung season.

Lecture by John Frett and Bob Lyons

UDBG Friends members: $10; Nonmembers: $15 Please join us for a lively presentation by Dr. Robert Lyons and Dr. John Frett as they show images and talk about both perennial and woody plants that will be offered for sale at the 2013 Spring Plant Sale. Light refreshments will be served. A popular and enthusiastic lecturer, Dr. Lyons is a highly respected leader in horticulture. Currently, he is the Director of the Longwood Graduate Program and Professor, Plant & Soil Sciences at the University of Delaware. Prior to that appointment, he held the JC Raulston Distinguished Professor Chair in Horticultural Science at North Carolina State University and served as the Director of the renowned JC Raulston Arboretum. From 1981-1998, Lyons was Professor of Horticulture at Virginia Tech and co-founder and Director of the VT Horticulture Gardens.

Director’s Corner During the past few years, UDBG has chosen to absorb the

the garden to its bones, rejuvenating the current collection,

rising costs of its activities. is year, however, the additional

and planting a new camellia collection for winter–hardiness

costs of our lectures has increased enough to necessitate an

evaluation. Stop by in late winter and early spring to see the

increase in program registration in 2013. I hope you will

“flowers” of their labor. ey also tackled the removal of ag-

continue to enjoy the value our educational programs and

gressive plants in the Wetland Garden, learning various

continue to support the UDBG.

methods and mechanisms depending upon the plant species. is knowledge will be extremely beneficial to them in their

UDBG’s Summer Internship Program is more than 20 years

landscape career paths.

the garden looking beautiful. Each year, these interns far ex-

goal was to accomplish several artistic projects while expand-

ceed my expectations and this summer was no different. e

ing an artist’s background appreciation of plants. Allie was

2012 summer interns — Brian Kuntzmann, Lily Newton,

amazingly productive, impacting the redesign of the UDBG

Allie Hess, and Nick Verderame — have raised the bar for fu-

web site, updating several educational brochures, creating a

ture interns. Brian, Lily and Nick worked to maintain the

new trifold interpreting the Wetland Garden, and a picture

garden through summer’s heat, humidity and rain. With no

swatch booklet showing 24 adult and larva Lepidoptera

maintenance staff, it falls to these interns’ commitment (aer

species in the Lepidoptera Trail. is latter booklet is to be

a hard day’s work, the concept of “commitment” may be

used in conjunction with the Lepidoptera brochure created

questioned) to ensure the appearance of the garden. A huge

by graduate student Brian Cutting two years ago. Allie’s

responsibility, they fulfilled their duties with flying colors. In

unique and creative perspective was invaluable to the UDBG

addition to their regular weekly maintenance schedule, the

and her UDBG experience helped her land a design job with

trio undertook the huge task of replanting one of the

the Conard–Pyle Company. anks to all the interns for

Townsend Hall courtyard gardens. is included stripping

their tremendous and untiring efforts this summer.

Jules Bruck

Paul Cimini’s (Delaware Hardscape Supply) donation of time and partial support gave students in Jules Bruck’s PLSC 330 Construction Materials class an opportunity to construct a walkway in front of Fischer Greenhouse. is is a small part of a larger walkway that will be built stretching from the Insectary to Allen Lab.

Jules Bruck

Allie Hess was our creative–design intern this summer. e

Jules Bruck

prove the gardens. e dedication of interns is what keeps

Jules Bruck

old. Each summer students work hard to significantly im-


Herbaceous Garden Update e new Herbaceous Garden Entrance is finally complete, short of the ongoing plant installation to heighten the garden’s impact and a planned reception to thank our supporters. e two-year process is a huge success. From its inception with the design charrette to the final plant installation, students were intimately involved and learned greatly from the experience. UDBG members also provided input to the charrette and volunteers side by side with interns helped prep the site for installation. Several Plant & Soil Sciences Landscape Design Class exercises provided input into the final design and summer interns work hard on the finishing touches. A huge thank you to W. D. Wells & Associates, Inc. for the design and installation of the hardscape. Finally, the project could not have been achieved without your support, spiritually, physically and financially. We were able to raise the funds to install the garden and to create a maintenance endowment. e endowment portion of the project is key to securing the future of the garden, and we are still working to raise that final amount. I want to extend a huge thank you to all who gave support to this project. I encourage you to visit the garden and enjoy the fruits of all our labors.


June 11, 2012

June 11, 2012

June 11, 2012

June 18, 2012

August 9, 2012

August 9, 2012

August 30, 2012

August 9, 2012

August 30, 2012

Students Nick Verderame and Brian Kuntzman and Volunteers Pat Boyd, Kris Qualls, and Mary Shea, along with sta Melinda Zoehrer, have been planting the new entrance — more to do in spring but a lot accomplished this fall.


Keeping Shrubs Young cont’d

• Prune spring–flowering shrubs aer they flower.

Mid Atlantic Gesneriad Show, Sale and Symposium e inaugural conference was held at Townsend Hall

Spring plants flower on “old” wood; that is, the buds are

September 29th & 30th. e event reached beyond the

set late summer and overwinter on the plant. Pruning

mid-Atlantic to draw attendees and entries from as far away

aer flowering allows the flowers to develop and re

as Florida, Massachusetts and Washington state. Event co-

growth to occur and set new buds for the following year.

coordinator and UDBG member Mary Schaeffer reported that there were 169 entries in the show. Entries featured

• Prune summer–flowering shrubs in late winter.

some of the rarest and choice gesneriads in cultivation.

Summer flowering plants flower on “new” wood, the Valann Budischak

vegetative growth that emerges in the spring. Pruning in the winter stimulates vegetative growth in spring that produces summer flowers. Flowering may be slightly de layed or reduced but will occur on most shrubs the same year they are pruned. • Cut to the ground. e pruning gods will visit you in the middle of the night if you cut the plant back to two, three or four feet inches. ey will not be happy when they visit. e idea is to rejuvenate, not torture. Most

Entries were placed in various classes within divisions

plants respond well to cutting back to within six inches Valann Budischak

of the ground. • Repeat as necessary. Plants can be repeatedly cut back. I know of situations in which a shrub is cut back annually. ese are unique situation but illustrate the re silience of plants. It is a great way to grow the nearly perfect shrub in a slightly smaller site. • Prune prior to July 30th. Growth that starts aer late July or early August may not harden off in sufficient e Commons has never been so colorful. Valann Budischak

time to survive cold weather without die back. Each species of plant is unique. ere are nuances to every plant’s pruning, and while there are exceptions, these general suggestions will work with most. People may hesitate to prune so drastically but the alternative is the beast from the Black Lagoon that consumes the front of your house. I think aer working in the garden all summer the interns believe the only tool I use to prune is a chainsaw. Just evaluate your situation, know your alternatives and proceed with gusto, whether your preference is to usea hand pruner or fire up the chainsaw.

Judges work as a group to evaluate the entries


Garden Volunteers ─ Making it Happen at UDBG by Valann Budischak

e UDBG is so blessed to have great friends and volunteers who faithfully donate their time and talents to the garden.

Valann Budischak

Valann Budischak

Meet some of our diehards.

Molly Peeples Valann Budischak

Valann Budischak

Jerry Farmer

Catherine Buckminster

(L-R) Mary Gotsch, Amy Smith, and Sande Taylor

Holiday Gifts You’ll Enjoy Giving UDBG Friends Membership Link to our online order form at

“I wanted to let you know that Alistair and I visited the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens near Boothbay Harbor this summer. We had a splendid time exploring this beautiful setting and admission was ee, thanks to our membership in UDBG. We re-

Plant Sale Gi Certificate To order, call: 302-831-0153

ally appreciated that!” ~ Pat Arnott

UDBG Friends members have access to nearly 300 gardens, arboreta, and conservatories all around the U.S., Canada, the Cayman Islands, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, offering special admission privileges and many other benefits. e American Horticultural Society’s Reciprocal Admissions Program (RAP) promotes horticulture across America, encouraging people to visit gardens while traveling. Type in in whatever search engine you use and find out how to enjoy this benefit.


UDBG Fall Plant Sale anks to all who shopped and volunteered at the Fall Sale held September 6th thru 8th. e weather cooperated and the shoppers responded. We wish we didn’t have to play “dodge the football game” each fall. A very special thanks go to Kate Murray who puts in countless hours ensuring we have a vast selection of great-looking plants. We couldn’t do it without her! anks also go to Caroline Golt who organizes the volunteers for the event and works absolutely every shi, and Dr. Bob Lyons who kicked off the festivities with his motivational talk, “e Color of the Native Plant Palette . . . and other related thoughts.”

CANR Distinguished Alumni – Carol Long Former UDBG Friends president, Carol Long, received the prestigious CANR Distinguished Alumni award on Friday, October 19th at a luncheon held in the Townsend Hall. Recipients are honored for their outstanding career accomplishments, service and leadership to their profession, and involvement in community service activities. Carol is the Associate Curator of Gardens at Winterthur. She’s active in a variety of regional and national professional meetings such as the Woody Plant Conference and the Perennial Plant Conference. Carol serves on the UDBG Advisory Board, and volunteers at both our spring and fall plant sales. Congratulations!

UDBG Autumn Beauty

Visit the UD Botanic Gardens UDBG is open to visitors everyday from sunrise to sunset; admission is free. Please obtain a visitor parking pass (fee: $3.00) on-line at or use the metered parking near the UDairy Creamery.

Contact Information Newsletter editor: Susan Baldwin Director: Dr. John Frett Assistant Director: Melinda Zoehrer Volunteer and Education Coordinator: Valann Budischak

Telephone (302) 831-0153

All images by Melinda Zoehrer unless otherwise noted. The University of Delaware is an Equal Opportunity/Title IX institution. Please visit to read our anti-discrimination policy in its entirety.


UDBG Newsletter Nov/Dec 2012  
UDBG Newsletter Nov/Dec 2012