breeding program

Prunus persica 'NCSU Dwarf Double Red'

With Peaches, beauty is more than skin deep

North Carolina State University has long had a commercial peach breeding program, but every now and then, a seedling emerges that may not have store quality fruit, but has instead good ornamental traits. Two of my favorites from their program are below. The first is Prunus persica ‘NCSU Dwarf Double Red’. I first saw this

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Agave funkiana 'Grand Funk'

Thorny and Horny

Can you imagine living your entire life, looking forward to only one sexual encounter, which will only happen just before death? Such is the life of an agave (century plant). In botanical terms, this is known as being monocarpic. Growing monocarpic plants is the ultimate mixed emotional undertaking. It’s exciting to see them finally flower

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Araucaria araucana

The Monkey’s Puzzle

Norfolk Island Pines (Araucaria heterophylla) are popular house plants, but we always longed for being able to grow araucarias outdoors in central NC. Since this native of the region around Australia/New Zealand has poor winter hardiness, our obsession focused in on the more winter hardy, South American species, in particular, Araucaria araucana, known as Monkey

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Grasping Wags – a New Reveal

We’ve been very pleased with a series of new windmill palm hybrids in the garden as we approach another winter stress test. Trachycarpus x forceps is our assigned name for crosses between Trachycarpus fortunei and Trachycarpus princeps. While most Trachycarpus fortunei is winter hardy here in Zone 7b, the lovely Chinese/Tibetan border endemic, Trachycarpus princeps,

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Cotton-tipped Century Plant

I remember looking in astonishment at the first published photos of the newly described North American (Northern Mexico) native century plant, Agave albopilosa, with disbelief. Could this really be real, and if so, how did it escape being discovered and published until 2007. It turned out not to be an April Fools photoshop joke, but

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