Here are two of our favorite new redbuds growing at JLBG…both from the NC State breeding program of Dr. Dennis Werner. The first is Cercis canadensis ‘Flame Thrower’, which boasts pumpkin colored leaves that emerge gold. The second is Cercis canadensis ‘Golden Falls’, a fabulous pendulous form, whose leaves remain gold all summer.
We are just in love with Cercis chinensis ‘Kay’s Early Hope’, a recent redbud release from the JC Raulston Arboretum. Here’s our specimen in full flower. The plant is named in honor of the late Kay Yow, longtime women’s basketball coach at NC State.
I had the wonderful opportunity recently to spend the day with NC State plant breeder, Dr. Dennis Werner in his extensive redbud breeding plots. So far, four redbuds have been named and released, including Cercis ‘Ruby Falls’ (weeping purple leaf), Cercis ‘Whitewater’ (weeping variegated leaf), and Cercis ‘Merlot’ (upright purple leaf with better color retention), and Cercis ‘Pink Pom Poms’ (double pink flowered upright). The new plants in the pipeline are almost unimaginable, from foliage colors to size, form, and even leaf shape. If you’ve never bred plants, it’s hard to imagine the incredible amount of thought, work, and time it takes to create such an amazing array of plants. Even though Dr. Werner has now retired, he will be continuing his work as a JC Raulston Arboretum volunteer plant breeder…how cool! We’re saving some room in our garden for more of these exciting introductions that will be coming soon.