Posted by on September 15, 2015

Tom Cox is our speaker on Wednesday, September 16th, 2015  Here is a blog posting of his on Variegated Plants…  to whet your whistle about his talk on “Pendulous Plants and Variegated Plants”

Variegated Plants

Part 1

Like the Japanese, I have always had a yen for variegated plants.  I find the intricate patterns fascinating and like to use them along pathways in shady locations to brighten up the area. They also can add contrast against solid colors. One, however, needs to be circumspect in their placement as too many in one area can give the appearance of a variegated ghetto.  Nothing stands out.

Some of my favorites are the broadleaf trees with larger foliage as well the dissected forms of Japanese maples.  There are a number of forms of variegated Ginkgo floating around and we have trialed probably a half dozen with mixed results.  Most do not possess stable variegation.  I came across a really nice variegated form the other day while visiting the good folks (Dave and Heidi Freed) at Garden Design Nursery in Danielsville, GA.  While I was unsuccessful in corralling one, Dave kindly agreed to propagate one in time for the national meeting of the American Conifer Society which is being held here and at three other gardens in the Atlanta area.  I have included a picture and this will be a worthy edition to the arboretum.Ginko

Another exciting new variegated plant is Acer palmatum var. dissectum ‘Hana matoi’. Mike Francis, owner of Maple Ridge Nursery in Decatur, GA offers an accurate description which I’m unable to improve on.   ” ‘Hana matoi’ is probably the most exciting new Japanese Maple ever to hit the American market. The pink variegation is phenomenal…”   Acer Palmatum

Acer palmatum var. dissectum ‘Hana matoi’ as seen at Garden Design Nursery

Evelyn and I recently had the pleasure to also visit the fabulous Nichols brothers at Mr. Maple nursery in East Flat Rock, NC — if you get lost, it’s just east of West Flat Rock. What a variable collection of wonderful maples. Strolling (or maybe a better word is drooling) through their green houses was like looking down in an old fashion soft drink box at the myriad colors of glass. Acer in Pots

Acers in pots at Mr. Maple

It was good to recently see three maple growers in the South that are doing exciting work.

Returning to the arboretum, the first plant I discuss is the rarely offered Acer crataegifolium ‘Veitchii’.  This form of Hawthorn maple has variegation that remains stable. Huge thanks to Rich Larson at the Dawes Arboretum, Newark, OH for donating this specimen.  Acrer crataegifoliumAcer crataegifolium ‘Veitchii’

Maples with large leaves can be spectacular in the fall but the variegated form of David’s maple, Acer davidii ‘Hansu suru’ is a “wow plant” anytime leaves are present.Acer davidii

Acer davidii ‘Hansu suru’

At the arboretum we take pride in displaying a number of species beyond the typical Acer palmatum and Acer rubescens ‘Silver Cardinal’ is no exception.  With its large leaf, red petioles and striated bark, this is a great addition for afternoon shade.Acer rubescensAcer rubescens ‘Silver Cardinal’

There are a number of maples in the trade referred to as having reticulated leaf pattern. This refers to the network of veins that form unusual patterns. One of
my favorites is Acer palmatum ‘Peaches and Cream’ which features creamy white foliage with green veins and tinges of rose which emerges creamy white in springAcer Palmatum Peaches and Cream

Acer palmatum ‘Peaches and Cream’

Before moving on from maples, two others that really catch my fancy are Acer palmatum ‘Searle’s Variegated’ and ‘Higasa yama’.Acer Palmatum Searle

Acer palmatum ‘Searle’s Variegated’Acer Palmatum Higasa

Acer palmatum ‘Higasa yama’

On the conifer scene there is a variegated form of Cedrus deodara that I’ve only ever seen at the Vista Garden owned by Jody and Kimberley Karlin in Conyers, GA.  We are blessed to have received a plant from Jody which grows happily in the arboretum.Cedrus deodara

Cedrus deodara ‘Fructolineata’

Pinus thunbergiiPinus thunbergii ‘Shirome janome’

Pinus thunbergii Torabu

Pinus thunbergii ‘Torabu Matsu’

Pinus wallichiana

Pinus wallichiana ‘Zebrina’

PodocarpusPodocarpus macrophyllus ‘Okina’


Torreya nucifera unnamed cv. photographed at Nelis Kools nursery in Deurne, Netherlands