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Pic of the Day - Gardenia jasminoides 'Cutie Pie'

Rounded petals and leaves give 'Cutie Pie' a soft look. Fragrance is an important piece of the successful gardening puzzle  According to researchers, our sense of smell is closely tied into our memory and aromas can quickly transport us back in time.  It's no wonder northern gardeners love lilacs and southern ones adore gardenias.  Gardenia jasminoides 'Cutie Pie' fits into the most space-challenged garden with its small stature and single flowers.  It makes a little evergreen bun with deep green foliage and rounded leaves unlike the narrow, pointed leaves on many other dwarfs.  The blossoms pack a powerful punch with the heavy scent typical of gardenias.  Best with protection from the brightest sun.

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This tiny gardenia can also be grown in a pot.

Pic of the Day - Hedychium 'Slim's Orange'

'Slim's Orange' only grows to about 32" tall. We've been growing flowering gingers at the JC Raulston Arboretum for years and we love the texture they bring to the landscape and the color to the late season garden.  We were surprised to find a selection we've never heard of at the farmer's market and had to try it out for ourselves.  The very narrow foliage is different than most other forms we've grown and we were blown away when it began flowering for us in June making Hedychium 'Slim's Orange' our earliest ginger to flower by 2 months.  It forms a nice clump in short order with stems rising to about 32" tall and topped with flowers similar to H. coccineum but darker orange than other forms we've grown.  It has a major burst of flowers in June and then sporadically flowers until bursting out again in August.  The flowers are sweetly fragrant and attract hummers.  Plant in sun to light shade in a moist, well-drained spot.

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The deep orange flowers are deliciously fragrant.

Pic of the Day - Koelreuteria paniculata 'Beachmaster'

The small stature of this selection makes it useful in modern landscapes. - photo Christopher Glenn Koelreuteria paniculata, or goldenrain tree, is an Asian tree valued for its bright yellow summer flowers when few trees other than crepe myrtles are in bloom. The selection 'Beachmaster' is a relatively dwarf tree growing to about 20' tall and wide. The branched flower panicles are a bit earlier than the species typically is and will give rise to Chinese lantern-like seed pods. It is exceptionally drought tolerant and will grow in very sandy coastal conditions. Fall color can be deep gold. Koelreuteria can seed around a bit and has the potential to colonize in waste areas and roadsides but will not out-compete native trees over time.

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The gold flowers are held on branched panicles for a full look.

Pic of the Day - Albizia coreana

Fleecy spring flowers top the pinnate foliage. The Korean mimosa is an endangered plant in the wild and extremely rare in cultivation as well and there is some confusion between the Korean Albizia coreana and the Chinese A. kalkora.  Both are similar with white flowers but the Korean species is typically a larger tree.  It makes a medium-sized tree to about 35'-40' tall and two-thirds as wide.  Smooth gray bark with arching branches give an attractive silhouette in winter.  Spring gives rise to bi-pinnate, light green foliage.  By early June at the JC Raulston Arboretum, fluffy white flowers appear with the long white stamens being the conspicuously showy parts.  When the stamens shed their pollen, they turn yellow-tan and fall.  This tree is in the legume or bean family and tough bean pods to about 5" long follow the flowers.  In the landscape this tree can be a bit of a nuisance with quite a bit of trash falling throughout the season - flowers in spring, fruit in late summer, and the foliage including the long petioles in fall.  It is therefore best planted in large mulched beds where the dropping debris will not be an issue.  It appears to be quite drought tolerant once established.

A mature Albizia coreana at the JC Raulston Arboretum.