New Trees and Shrubs Added to Arboretum Collections

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entrance sign to NHC Arboretum with flowers and plants

Article courtesy of Kevin Cassel, Arboretum Grounds Supervisor

The fall and winter season of 2023/2024 ushered in some unique and exciting trees and shrubs for the arboretum collections. Over the years, disease and severe weather have slowly eroded away our mature tree canopy and companion plantings. In this year’s selections, I tried to balance specimens prized for either their foliage, architecture, blooms, or texture. I wanted to update everyone on some of the more noteworthy selections so you can find them on our grounds and enjoy them through the seasons.


cedrus atlantica cypressJust outside the window of our administrative building, we added a weeping blue atlas cedar (Cedrus atlantica ‘Glauca Pendula’) trained in a serpentine style! We’ll continue to train the tree upwards with twists and bends to maintain that whimsical look as if a wizard had formed the tree with their wand and an imperfect spell.

Several trees were added to our parking lot beds and there are a couple selections that I am most excited about and want to share with you. The first is a fastigiate bald cypress (Taxodium distichum ‘Lindey’s Skyward’) planted near the Ability Garden Greenhouse. Most bald cypress have branching that is perpendicular to the main trunk. The branches of this selection grow nearly upward and parallel with the main trunk and probably will not get much taller than twenty feet.

A narrow maidenhair tree (Ginkgo biloba Golden Colonnade®) will now serve as the backdrop to our sign on Bradley Drive. In the near future, we should have a spectacular fall show of golden yellow leaves towering behind the sign signaling the winter months to come each year.

Several Chinese dogwoods and hybrids were added to replace all the native species that have declined over the years. Our native dogwoods have really felt the hurt that dogwood anthracnose can do to a tree. The Chinese dogwoods have equally appealing blooms and a better resistance to the disease that plagues our native dogwoods. New varieties of dogwood added include ‘Satomi’, ‘Radiant Rose’, ‘Venus’, ‘Celestial Shadow’, and ‘Scarlet Fire’.


The planet earth sculpture we commissioned with the art students at UNCWmetal earth sculpture with green plant vine inside received its final touch – an anise with a rich red flower (Illicium hybrid ‘Woodland Ruby’). Growing from within the sculpture, a green core will eventually fill the form of the sphere to symbolize life and regrowth as we struggle to keep our earth sustainable while balancing the needs of social, environmental, and economic pressures.

Our Contemplation Garden got some new shrubbery. The arborvitae had all fallen over once or twice from high winds, the hydrangea plantings were incomplete, and the boxwood hedge never fully recovered from their transplanting from the Tribute Garden. You will now find a variegated podocarpus (Podocarpus macrophyllus Roman Candle™), dwarf cast-iron plant (Aspidistra Tiny Tank®), and panicle hydrangea (Hydrangea paniculata Little Lime Punch®).

Hopefully you’ll enjoy them in the landscapes as much as I enjoyed selecting them for our collections!