Southeast Region Reference GardensAmerican Conifer Society
Conifer Reference Gardens
Sponsored by the Southeast Region
Goal: To provide conifer collections that will educate the public about growing conifers, demonstrate their uses in the landscape and promote American Conifer Society membership.
Initiated in 2007, the ACS Southeast Region offers its support for public conifer gardens in the Southeast Region. Reference Gardens offer plant professionals and the home gardener an opportunity to see live conifers in a planted setting illustrating their unique color, shapes and growth habits. Visit an ACS Reference Garden near you and look for updates to this list as this program expands.
Reference Gardens in the Southeast Region: (Linked when available.)
The State Botanical Garden of Georgia is a public educational facility operated under the auspices of the University of Georgia. It is a "living laboratory" for university students and faculty who utilize the collections and natural plant communities for studies in a variety of disciplines. The Garden is also a public garden for enjoyment by the general public who find beauty, knowledge and solitude in a garden setting.
The Garden is located approximately three miles south of the University campus. Founded in 1968, it now encompasses more than 300 acres, much of which borders the Middle Oconee River. The Garden contains a number of speciality (theme) gardens, special collections, and a tropical conservatory which together feature a broad array of both native and exotic plant species. More than five miles of nature trails traverse the natural areas of the Garden where small populations of wildlife, particularly birds, can be observed.
Four major facilities support a diverse range of educational programs and special events. Environmental education is a major focus of the Garden. Plant conservation, habitat protection, and biodiversity are central themes embraced by our teaching, research and outreach programs. Both the Georgia Plant Conservation Alliance and the Garden Club of Georgia are headquartered at the State Botanical Garden.
The Garden is a member of the Georgia Plant Conservation Alliance, American Public Gardens Association, Botanic Gardens Conservation International, The Center for Plant Conservation, and Earth Share of Georgia. Our mission: to acquire and disseminate botanical knowledge and to foster appreciation, understanding, and stewardship of plants and nature.
The Rare and Unusual Southern Conifer Garden at the Atlanta Botanical Garden was originally planted in 1994 and consisted of two beds located immediately in front of the conservatory. An additional two beds were added in 1998. Several people were instrumental in the planning and planting of this garden - Ron Determann, Director of the Fuqua Conservatory; Mildred Pinnell Fockele, Director of Horticulture; and renowned horticulturalist Ozzie Johnson. All had been collecting plants for many years and wanted a garden in which to display them. Many of the original plants were from the JC Raulston Arboretum and many were from plant collection trips made from around the globe and especially Asia. One of the primary goals of the conifer collection is evaluation of plants for their suitability for use in landscapes here in the Southeast.
The Atlanta Botanical Garden also has a large number of tropical conifers in their conservatory including conifers Ron Determann has obtained from New Caledonia where all of the 43 conifer species are endemic and many are threatened at this time.
ABG is also leading the way in the conservation of one of the Southeastern native conifers - Torreya taxifolia, the stinking cedar, which has been decimated by habitat loss and a fungal disease. ABG's staff is working with several conservation groups to reestablish populations outside of their normal range where it is hoped they will not be susceptible to the fungus.
ABG's conifer collection currently exceeds over 700 specimens.
The University of Tennessee (UT) Gardens have been established to foster appreciation, education and stewardship of plants through horticultural gardens, displays, collections, educational programs and research.
The UT Gardens are a "living laboratory," a vital resource for the teaching, research and public service missions of the University of Tennessee. The Gardens are an educational facility that supports and integrates teaching, research and service relative to the needs of the Department of Plant Sciences, the University, green industry professionals and the general public.
The UT Gardens joined the American Conifer Society in the fall of 2005 due to the inspiration of regional ACS members. The Gardens helped host the 2006 ACS Annual Conference in Tennessee and received grant money from the ACS to support their conifer collection. Since joining the ACS, the UT Gardens have invested several thousand dollars in developing their conifer collection and adding permanent interpretive botanical labels. Since 2005, the conifer collection has grown from 70 specimens to over 365 specimens, representing 19 genera. The conifer collection has become a significant addition to the Garden and helps to fulfill the Garden's mission.
The Gardens support evaluation studies which provide information on the best plant materials for the mid-south and USDA Plant Hardiness Zones 6 and 7. They do this by evaluating performance and demonstrating the landscape use of every type of plant, from trees and shrubs to annuals, perennials, ornamental grasses and aquatic plants. The test gardens are important proving grounds for leading commercial seed and plant companies located around the world, who ultimately determine what plants reach the commercial market. Established in 1983 by the Department of Plant Sciences, the UT Gardens are recognized as one of 38 official All-America Selections test sites in the United States. The perennial collection contains more than 500 varieties while the herb garden features more than 350 varieties.
The ETSU Arboretum encompasses the core of the 200+ acre ETSU campus and an adjoining 20 acres of University Woods, an old growth deciduous forest. The Arboretum maintains a collection of species native to the southern Appalachians and the eastern United States. Several native specimens exceed 100 years of age and pre-date establishment of the campus in the early 20th century. Many exotics complement the landscape plantings. The ETSU Arboretum was conceived in 2001 for the use as a teaching collection, as a demonstration and trial site for woody plants and for the enjoyment of the students, staff and general public. At inception, at least one specimen of each established tree was labeled. An intensive period of planting ensued for the subsequent four years with support from grant funds and with an emphasis on special collections.
Since 2001, four conifer themes have been developed:
Dwarf Conifer Garden - This is a showcase of the Arboretum that houses over 80 different species and cultivars. One representative of each cultivar is signed. The Dwarf Conifer Garden has received targeted grant support from two local garden clubs and from the Harris Foundation for Washington County. Some unique specimens were donated by the US National Arboretum.
Conifers for Evergreen Screens - In 2003, a bed was established as a trial and demonstration of the variety of conifers that could be used regionally for screens. That planting has matured so that it serves as a screen from a busy road and as a windbreak for deciduous species in an adjoining bed. Together, the conifer and deciduous beds comprise the "Trees for Tomorrow" theme, a planting designed to introduce the public to novel plants for southern Appalachian landscapes.
East Asian-Eastern North American Relatives - An educational theme of the Arboretum is to demonstrate the strong floristic relationship between East Asia and Eastern North America. Closely related tree species from various genera are planted in proximity to highlight their affinity.
Hinoki Cypress Cultivars - This recent collection was initiated to demonstrate the variation among forms within a species. It complements a collection of Japanese Maple cultivars with a similar purpose.
Research - Projects are underway to understand patterns of spread of the hemlock woolly adelgid in populations of Carolina hemlock, and to examine the impacts of balsam woolly adelgid on Frasier Fir and high elevation forests at Mt. Mitchell, NC.
The Arboretum's conifer collection currently includes approximately 130 species and cultivars in 25 genera. For more information about the ETSU Arboretum, please email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
From a humble beginning as a camellia collection in the late 1950's, the South Carolina Botanical Garden has blossomed into a 295 acre sanctuary to encourage connections between people and the natural world. You'll see 295 acres of woodlands, streams, award-winning niche gardens and miles of nature trails along with unique Nature-Based sculptures. The mission of SCBG is to serve as an interdisciplinary resource center focusing on teaching, research and outreach that advances awareness of botanical, cultural and natural resources. The garden was designated as the official State botanical garden in 1992.
The conifer collection is primarily located in the Schoenike Arboretum and includes over 81 species within 20 genera. Other major collections include Ilex, Camellia, Acer, Magnolia, Hosta and Hydrangea.
For more information on the garden, please visit their website.
The University of Tennessee West Tennessee Research and Education Center in Jackson was established in 1907, primarily for agronomic crops. However, in recent years, the Center has tackled research in the areas of ornamentals, turfgrasses, and horticultural crops. It is also the home of the UT Gardens, Jackson, begun in 1989, and has grown by leaps and bounds, especially since the addition of an enthusiastic research horticulturist in 2002. The gardens today include a kitchen garden, a low-maintenance fruit demonstration orchard, annual and perennial displays, an All-American Selection display garden, heat tolerant conifer collection, a witch-hazel (Hamamelis) and redbud (Cercis) collection. Visitors can also enjoy a no-spray rose research garden, acidic-peat bog garden, daylily collection, ornamental grass collection, courtyard garden, turf wheel, turf variety trials, compost display, plant screen demonstration, hardy and non hardy succulent collection that include many colorful sedums, succulents, yuccas and hardy agaves. In addition, the arboretum has long been an attraction to local children who collect leaves for school projects.
The conifer collection begin in 2006 to fulfill the need to demonstrate which conifers can successfully be grown in West Tennessee's hot humid climate. The majority of the collection is growing along the north side of the parking lot in an area exposed to full sun, and subjected to wind and heat radiated off the parking lot. Our collection demonstrates that there are many species of Thuja, Chamaecyparis, Cryptomeria, andJuniperus that thrive in the south's challenging climate. There are also several outstanding cultivars of Cupressus, Taxodium, and Metasequoia (among other genera) that flourish. The collection currently holds close to one hundred cultivars with more added each year. Visitors are fascinated by the colors and striking forms of the many cultivars, and inevitably ask where they might purchase them. The designs of the conifer plantings inspire gardeners to use conifers in exciting ways, such as features in shrub borders, perennial beds and containers.
Each year between 80 to 90 cultivars of pumpkins, gourds, and winter squash are evaluated for characteristics such pest resistance, size, yield, and storage longevity. The end product of these trials is used to create an original and magnificent display containing over 5,000 pumpkins, gourds, and winter squash. This remarkable display has made national headlines and attracts hundreds of visitors.
Such information is important not only to the commercial sponsors of the research, but essential to the success of commercial growers, landscapers, retailers and to gardeners. This research aids the economic growth of the green industry and helps gardening to remain a healthy, satisfying, and popular pastime.
Each year since 1988, on the second Thursday in July, the Summer Celebration Lawn and Garden show attracts over 3000 visitors from Tennessee and surrounding states. Gardening enthusiasts have the opportunity to hear over twenty indoor and outdoor presentations on an amazing variety of horticultural subjects including annuals, perennials, floral arrangements, trees, shrubs, vegetable production, turfgrass, and backyard wildlife. The large exhibitor's tent showcases vendors selling merchandise and services from local green-industry merchants and crafters. The UT Gardens help round out the showcase, containing enough beauty to stun even the most jaded of gardeners. There is definitely something for everyone at Summer Celebration and at the UT Gardens Jackson.
The gardens are located around the office building area. Visitors are welcome to stop by and stroll throughout the year. Our website will keep you updated and provide directions. Visit the website at http://westtennessee.tennessee.edu/ornamentals/.
The State Arboretum of Virginia is located in Clarke County, Virginia in the Northern Shenandoah Valley. Originally the property was a 900 acre estate that was established by Colonel Tuley in 1810 and called the Tuleyries. This property was purchased by Mr. Graham Blandy in 1905. Upon his death in 1926, 700 acres of the Tuleyries estate was bequeathed to the University of Virginia. This parcel included the Quarters, an 1830's brick structure once used as servant quarters.
Upon acquiring the property, the University of Virginia hired Dr. Orland E. White, Curator of Plants at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, to establish a biological research field station which would be called Blandy Experimental Farm. Dr. White began planting the Arboretum in 1929 and organized it according to the Engler-Prantl system of plant classification. The plants came from all over the world and were used in research. Dr. White kept extensive written and photographic documentation of the plants he included in the Arboretum, which still exist today. Upon his retirement in 1955, the Arboretum was named the Orland E. White Arboretum in his honor. In 1986, the Virginia General Assembly designated the Arboretum to be the State Arboretum of Virginia. The property was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1992 under the theme of agriculture as it relates to horticulture and education for the time period of 1926 - 1939.
The Arboretum currently has 6,435 shrub and tree specimens comprising 1,149 taxa. The conifer collection is the largest target plant group, with 1,635 specimens in 243 taxa. The largest single plant collection within the gymnosperms is the ginkgo, with 324 specimens. The Arboretum serves as a research collection for its parent institution (the University of Virginia's Blandy Experimental Farm), an educational tool for outreach and K-12 programs, and as a large display garden for the public. Recent collection expansions have focused and will continue to focus of regional and national plant species currently lacking in the collection and additions of greatest interest to our mission of environmental research and education.
The JC Raulston Arboretum was started in 1976 by Dr. J.C. Raulston as the NC State University Arboretum as a landscape arboretum. The following year, Leyland cypress were planted along the fence as a hedge and the installation of the conifer collection was begun with a diversity of genera specifically designed to dispel the myth that conifers do not grow in the South. A collection of dwarf loblolly pines were moved to the conifer collection and still form a unique part of the display. In 1980, the Arboretum was officially dedicated and the Friends of the NCSU Arboretum was formed. 1985 saw the development of a major collection of Juniperus horizontalis in conjunction with a studentâ€™s M.S. project. In 1992, the NCSU Arboretum was awarded the prestigious AABG Award for Program Excellence. The guiding force behind the Arboretum, Dr. J.C. Raulston, died in a car accident in 1996 and one year later the Arboretum officially changed its name to the JC Raulston Arboretum. Since that time, a Visitor Center and Education Center have been constructed, the original 8 acre campus was enlarged to 10.5 acres and a Master Plan has been developed. Conifers play a significant role in the landscape beds throughout the Arboretum including the Perennial Border, the Mixed Border, the Japanese Garden, Scree Garden, Sunken Garden and Asian Valley. In addition, the conifer collection has expanded to include 870 conifers, comprised of 499 different taxa which includes 38 different genera from 7 different families. It continues to be the anchor garden for the northeast corner of the Arboretum.
Smith-Gilbert Gardens is a new public botanical garden owned by the City of Kennesaw, Georgia. It is approximately 25 miles from downtown Atlanta. In 1970 Mr. Richard Smith and Dr. Robert Gilbert purchased the property which consisted of 13 acres of undeveloped woodland, meadows and a circa 1880 historic house. During the next 30 years, they created a woodland stroll garden, a series of ponds and waterfall, rock garden, two greenhouses, expansive perennial border and bonsai display. They collected significant outdoor sculptures to enhance the natural beauty of the plants. A conifer garden was planted which emphasized dwarf and unusual varieties, featuring raised growing areas bordered by dry stack stone. Their efforts to stabilize and improve the house resulted in its inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places in 1995. The City of Kennesaw purchased the estate in 2005 after the death of Mr. Smith and acquired three adjoining acres. It opened to the public in 2009.
The Gardens feature an extensive collection of exotic and unusual plants intermingled with native species. Hints of Asian design principles can be found throughout the property. The design does not strive to dominate nature but to enhance it. The woodland stroll garden features new views and hidden delights in every season. The Cedar Meadow is the central focus of the garden and also the home to 100 roses. The Master Gardener Plant-A-Row for the Hungry Vegetable Garden provides a bountiful harvest for community food banks.
In the past it was assumed that except for natives, conifers were not suited for the South. Smith-Gilbert Gardens serves as a trial garden for a wide variety of conifers to evaluate growth rate and survivability in Georgiaâ€™s summer heat and humidity. There are over 230 conifers throughout the Gardens representing 26 genera. Plants were selected based on recommendations from specialty growers, other arboreta and our own research. Additionally, Smith-Gilbert expects to provide educational resources for the community and the region regarding conifer selection and maintenance in the South. The goal is to continue research by expanding conifer acquisition and evaluation. The garden provides an opportunity to observe and appreciate conifers in a naturalistic setting.
Smith-Gilbert Gardens is an outdoor classroom for the local schools, university, and technical college and is enjoyed by area garden clubs, plant societies and the community.
Al Gardner Memorial Conifer Garden at J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College, Goochland, Virginia (under development)
With a staff of two and some assistance from horticulture program students and JSRCC Horticulture Club members, the soon-to-be yet â€˜not-ready for prime time yetâ€™ ACS Reference garden on the campus of J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College, Western Campus (in sunny Goochland, Virginia between Richmond and Charlottesville) has come a long way over the past year, thanks in large part to Horticulture program head David Sewardâ€™s wise stewardship of ACS seed money as well as his persistent efforts at getting donations of materials from area businesses. Colesville Nursery and Glen Allen Nurseries have been major donors of said plant materials.
The Al Gardner Memorial Conifer Garden will serve a multi-dimensional role as teaching garden, special events site, and as a living memorial to one of the Richmond regionâ€™s great plantsmen, Al Gardner (1956 â€“ 2007) who co-owned Colesville Nursery in Ashland Virginia as well as co-founded (along w/ Elizabeth Mundy) Acer Acres, a Japanese maple specialty nursery nearby. Al loved conifers and pushed for their greater use in home landscapes.
So where are we now? The design is in place on the ground with loads of amended soil added to create low berms bisected by gravel walks and retained with metal edging. Signage is under construction as well as a literature box. Students have interplanted low growing thymes donated by Sandyâ€™s Plants, a Mechanicsville wholesale/retail nursery. 37 conifer specimens representing 11 different genuses are currently in the garden. Some of note include: Pseudolarix amabilis, Pinus bungeana, Juniperus rigida â€˜Hikariâ€™, Picea omorika â€˜Pendula Brunsâ€™ , and a potential new yellow sport introduction off Cryptomeria japonica â€˜Sekkanâ€™ called Cryptomeria japonica â€˜Lemonadeâ€™. Work continues and a new influx of dwarf conifers is due from the West coast in Spring. By that time, 2 Â½ year old rooted cuttings of European selections sent from Holata Nursery in the Czech Republic and from Edwin Smit in Holland will also find a home in this growing garden.
Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden provides education to the Richmond Virginia community about the plant world, promotes the best in horticulture and landscape design and works toward the goal of being a leader in botanical and applied horticulture research.
Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden offers year-round beauty on a historic property with more than 50 acres of spectacular gardens. More than a dozen themed gardens include a Healing Garden, Sunken Garden, Asian Valley, Rose Garden, a wetland garden, a Victorian garden and a Childrenâ€™s Garden. A classical domed Conservatory is the only one of its kind in the mid-Atlantic with ever changing displays, orchids and tropical plants.
Visitors can encounter an attractive blend of diverse and fascinating dwarf conifers, complemented by ornamental grasses and spring-blooming minor bulbs in the Streb Conifer Garden. Through myriad forms, sizes and hues these conifers demonstrate practical uses for providing structure, color and texture in the garden as well as year-round interest. A gazebo, architecturally inspired by the Bloemendaal House, imparts an open invitation to stop and peruse the views.
In 1996, Ben and Jacquie White provided the funding for this conifer garden and gazebo in honor of Mrs. Whiteâ€™s mother, Margaret Johanna Streb. The Whites were inspired by the Gotelli Collection of dwarf conifers at the U.S. National Arboretum in Washington D.C.
For more information, please visit the website at www.lewisginter.org.
Lockerly Arboretum was founded in 1966 as an independent, non-profit organization by Mr. E. J. Grassmann, with the help of the late Honorable Carl Vinson, our first Foundation Board of Trustees President.
The arboretum was founded to promote the concepts of environmental conservation and beautification. It was designed as a laboratory for the instruction and edification of students and visitors interested in horticulture and environmental education.
One of our main areas of interest over the past two years has been the redevelopment of our conifer collection, commonly referred to as the Pinetum. Thanks to generous donations by several regional growers, and particularly Mr. Bob Head of Head- Lee Nurseries in Seneca, South Carolina, we were able to begin the revitalization of this collection. We have added over fifty varieties of conifers and are continuing to actively develop this section of the Arboretum . Visitors to the Arboretum will enjoy both mature and young plantings as they stroll the grounds.
Norfolk Botanical GardenDescription
The Norfolk Botanical Garden has grown from humble beginnings as a Work Progress Administration project to a 155-acre garden filled with thousands of plants. There are more than forty themed gardens spread across the site. Some gardens focus on a single plant (camellias, hydrangeas, roses), others look at a plant from a specific region (Japan, Virginia), while others provide homeowners with great ideas and or new plants to use in their own garden. The garden has over 12 miles of paved trails and 250,000 visitors annually. NBG mission is to enrich life by promoting the enjoyment of plants and the environment through beautiful gardens and education programs.
The permanent plant collections consist of six primary collections and several other noteworthy collections. These primary collections are Camellia, Crepe Myrtle, Hydrangea, Holly, Rhododendron and Rose. Our Camellia and Hydrangea collection are certified by North American Plant Collection Consortium (NAPCC). Other noteworthy collections include Begonias, Conifers, Iris, Magnolia and Viburnum.
The Norfolk Botanical Garden conifer collection features 28 different conifer genera and 70 species. The conifer garden features 46 different species in 21 different genera. The Norfolk Botanical Garden has many large Coast Redwoods (Sequoia sempervirens) on the property including the state champion. The R.W. Cross Nature Trail in the Virginia Native Plant Garden features a boardwalk that winds through a bottomland hardwood forest, a bald cypress /water tupelo swamp, an Atlantic white cedar swamp, and a longleaf pine stand. In addition, Loblolly Pine is one of NBG’s dominant canopy species.
Norfolk Botanical Garden History
The idea for what would eventually become Norfolk Botanical Garden came from Frederic Heutte, a young horticulturalist, and Thomas P. Thompson, Norfolk City Manager 1935-1938. Heutte and Thompson believed that Norfolk could support an azalea garden to rival those of Charleston, S.C., which even during the depression years drew thousands of tourists annually. The city of Norfolk provided Heutte and Thompson with a seventy-five acre section of high, wooded ground and another seventy-five acres of the Little Creek Reservoir to establish a city garden.
On June 30, 1938, Representative Norman R. Hamilton announced a Works Progress Administration (WPA) grant of $76, 278 for the Azalea Garden project. A group of more than 200 African American women and 20 men were assigned to the Azalea Garden project. They labored from dawn till dusk clearing dense understory vegetation. Within less than a year, a section of underbrush had been cleared and readied for planting. By March of 1939, four thousand azaleas, two thousand rhododendrons, several thousand miscellaneous shrubs and trees and one hundred bushels of daffodils had been planted.
To show the city's support for the Garden, the name was changed in 1955 from Azalea Garden to Norfolk Municipal Gardens. On February 18, 1958, the Old Dominion Horticultural Society took over maintenance of Norfolk Municipal Gardens and changed the name to Norfolk Botanical Garden. The Norfolk Botanical Garden strived to "promote for the people of Tidewater, Virginia, a Garden that will always remain an inspiration, and lead the home gardener to greater enjoyment and accomplishment in his own yard"... and to "present rare and exotic plants in variety only exceeded by few other sections of the world" (NBG mission statement, 1958).
Additions throughout the 1950's and 1960's focused on increasing the variety of collections in the Garden. A Japanese Garden, a Desert Plants Garden, a Colonial Garden and a Rose Garden, which featured All-American Rose Selection winners, were among the new gardens constructed. With increased attendance and public support, the Garden has continued to expand. Our latest garden completed in 2006 is World of Wonders which is a 3 acre children’s adventure garden where kids explore the connections between plants, international culture and the environment.
Conifer Garden History
The original conifer garden was probably built sometime in 1960’s. In 2009, expansion began to prepare for the replacement of the canal’s bulkheads by transplanting a number of dwarf conifers to new areas. New beds were designed by Director of Horticulture Brian O’Neil to feature these conifers among a variety of companion perennials such as grasses, bulbs, daylilies and sedums. These new beds occupied the space of former All American Selection beds and turf grass areas. Granite staircases and changes in a gravel path were also added to better showcase these dwarf conifers. The Conifer Garden has 46 different conifer species in 21 different genera. It features a large number of Chamaecyparis obtusa, Chamaecyparis pisifera and Cryptomeria japonica cultivars. Norfolk Botanical Garden is working on building its collection.
To qualify gardens must be open to the public, have a minimum number of conifer cultivars, the trees must be accurately labeled and properly maintained. For complete details about this initiative please contact email@example.com