Not Quaking from the Heat – Aspens in NC?

As a young gardener, the chance of growing the high elevation North American native quaking aspen in NC was always nothing more than a random thought that kept popping in my mind, being quickly dismissed, until we spotted one a few years ago at South Carolina’s Spartanburg Community College Garden. Garden director, Dr. Kevin Parris, explained that this was a special low elevation, heat/humidity-tolerant selection, made by the late Allen Wilke, a plantsman/nurseryman from Columbus, Nebraska, named Populus tremuloides ‘NE Arb’, and marketed as Prairie Gold Aspen. We left with a potted sprout, that has since thrived in our garden parking lot. It should mature around 40′ tall.

Evidently, Allen was always on the lookout for special plants and plants from disjunct populations. His most famous introduction is Taylor Juniper, Juniperus virginiana ‘Taylor’, a plant he discovered in the small town of Taylor, Nebraska. As the late Oklahoma broadscaster, Paul Harvey, liked to say, “And now, you know the rest of the story.”

Populus tremuloides ‘NE Arb’
Juniperus virginiana ‘Taylor’

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