Each year around this time we unveil our new t-shirt design for the coming season and we couldn’t be happier about how this year’s artwork turned out. The design for 2015 features 3 color botanical sketches from The JC Raulston Arboretum’s significant dogwood collection on the front and an outline sketch on the back along with the list of all 55 taxa currently in the garden. Shirts are available in several colors including black, deep blue-green, charcoal and periwinkle.
The featured dogwood is the phenomenal new Cornus ‘Ncch1’ (Little Ruby™) from the breeding program of NC State’s Tom Ranney and introduced in conjunction with the North Carolina Nursery and Landscape Association. This small tree is the offspring of the much-loved pink flowering kousa dogwood Cornus kousa ‘Miss Satomi’, and the evergreen C. hongkongensis ‘Summer Passion’. The new hybrid features thick textured foliage which turns vivid burgundy red in the fall and lasts through much of the winter. New foliage in spring emerges with burgundy highlights before deepening to green and the flowers are a lovely rose-pink often with more than the typical 4 “petals” (actually bracts if you really care to know).
Little Ruby can be grown as a small tree or an upright shrub for full sun to part shade. It is exceptionally heat tolerant and has proven to be quite disease resistant as well. Perhaps most surprisingly it is hardy to at least USDA zone 6b even keeping its bright winter foliage until the temperatures drop below about 15 degrees F. This completely new hybrid has really changed the way dogwoods can be used in the landscape and is sure to become a garden mainstay.
The pink flowers of Little Ruby dogwood. (photo T. Ranney)
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