The JC Raulston Arboretum at North Carolina State University in Raleigh, NC, is a 10-acre arboretum and botanical garden with a diverse collection of plants adapted for landscape use in the Southeast. Each year, seed and vegetative companies submit entries for plant performance evaluation. This year approximately 200 samples were entered into the trials, which were planted on April 23, 2019.
“Helianthus ‘Suncredible Yellow’ was great for attracting the pollinators, and I enjoyed all the bright yellow flowers that covered the plants,” Clark said. “Also, I absolutely love the electric colors and flower patterns of the tuberous begonia ‘On Top’ series.”
“Seeing nemesia ‘Aromance Pink’ bloom our entire season was such a delight,” she adds. “The breeding to make them more heat tolerant is opening up another wonderful option for our area. Beautiful, petite, pink flowers cover the plants.”
Trial manager Bernadette Clark shares that growing conditions this summer were warm, nothing record breaking, yet with persistent heat. The rain was also significant, but not record breaking. Precipitation fluctuated from too much to too little, with April coming in very wet, then the weather going very dry in May. Conditions evened out to close to normal in June and July, then became much wetter than normal in August. The season’s greatest amount of rainfall -1.83 inches – occurred on July 23. In September, Hurricane Dorian produced less than 2” of rainfall over a period of two days.
Temperature-wise, the trials did not experience any 100° days. The plants did have high heat, however, as it was uncomfortable for much of the season, especially when you factor in the humidity. The trial location had 55 90°-plus days with the warmest being 98° (occurring twice, once on July 3 and then again on July 20). The longest stretch of 90°+ days was 11 consecutive days (this occurred from June 23 through July 3, and then again from July 12-22). Additionally, the trials had multiple shorter periods of prolonged heat: July 28-31 (4 days), August 6-14 (9 days), and August 16- 22 (7 days).