Something Old, Something New

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When choosing what to grow for 2023-2024, Bullington Gardens balanced the reliability of the tried and true with the novelty of the unusual and new.

A broad red leaf on a woody trunk.

Katsura leaf Photo credit: NC State ‘Cercidiphyllum japonicum‘ on the Plant Toolbox

When it comes to trees, we aspired to grow the unusual that have a proven history in WNC, like the katsura tree (Cercidiphyllum japonicum). Since 1865, it has been grown by specialty nurseries, arboretums, and gardens. It is a zone 5-8 tree that does well with late afternoon shade and moist, acidic, well-drained soil.

Ken Druse writes in his book, “The Scentual Garden: Exploring the World of Botanical Fragrance”, that the katsura’s heart-shaped leaves have a chemical reaction that produces a cotton candy smell in the fall. Not everyone can smell this delightful aroma, but those who do swear it smells like a bakery or fair.

The cultivar that Bullington has selected, C. japonicum ‘Claim Jumper’, has golden summer foliage and will get about 30’H x 15’W. The leaves emerge with a pink blush and turn to a soft yellow. Leaves will green up through the summer if it has more shade, but those that remain in the sun will remain golden or even white.

Bullington also values natives for pollinator health. Native shrubs like Callicarpa, Calycanthus, Aronia, and Rhododendron, as well as many native perennials, will benefit our bees and butterflies. We’ll also have keystone pollinator oak trees for sale.

Some of our tried-and-true perennials will be making a comeback in 2023-2024 with new and improved cultivars. ‘Ultraviolet’ phlox, ‘Pink-a-Blue’ lungwort, and ‘Ballerina Pink’ salvia from the Fashionista Collection will be introduced this year. Vegetable starts and unique herbs will also be on sale Thurs 4/27/23 through Sat 4/29/23. Friends of Bullington will have early shopping. Come with a sense of adventure and nostalgia.