Rare Plants for Your Garden

Rare Plants for Your Garden

Plant markers have been set around the field in preparation of the arrival of plants today.

As I write, plants are already starting to arrive for the 2009 Scott Associates’ Plant Sale. This sale is a wonderful venue to shop for a myriad of trees, shrubs, vines, perennials, and houseplants for beginning gardeners and avid plant collectors. Every sale we try to have a nice offering of plants that are relatively unknown to the home gardener and would even be considered rare and unusual in a botanic garden or arboretum.

Cinnamomum chekiangensis

Cinnamomum chekiangensis photo credit: A. Bunting

This year we are excited to offer Cinnamomum chekiangensis, the hardy cinnamon tree. I was first attracted to this tree when I saw it growing at Tony Avent’s Plant Delight Nursery in Raleigh, NC. Cinnamomum can be grown as a large shrub or a small tree. This broad-leaved evergreen does well in sun and shade alike. One of its finest attributes is the newly emerging foliage has a beautiful cinnamon-brown cast.

Another excellent broad-leaved evergreen is the Chinese evergreen oak, Quercus myrsinifolia. Most of the oaks we grow in Swarthmore are deciduous. However, there are a handful of evergreen species that are perfectly hardy here. For decades, we had a wonderful specimen of Quercus myrsinifolia growing near Willets. It reached about 25′ tall and was about 12′ wide. The foliage is dark green above and somewhat paler beneath.


Edgeworthia chrysantha 'Red Dragon'. photo credit: A. Bunting

I am very excited that we are offering for the first time at a Scott plant sale, Edgeworthia chrysantha ‘Red Dragon’. In the past, we have offered Edgeworthia chrysantha which is covered with clusters of fragrant, tubular, yellow flowers at the end of March (we also offer this again this year.) A few years ago, I saw the red-orange version of this plant growing at the Eisenhut Nursery in Ticino, Switzerland called E. chrysantha ‘Red Dragon’. Until this year, I have not been able to find a good source for this in the United States. Like E. chrysantha, ‘Red Dragon’ reaches four feet tall at maturity with an equal spread and is covered with dazzling orange to red flowers in late winter.


Edgeworthia chrysantha 'Red Dragon'. photo credit: A. Bunting

Download a complete list of the rare and unique plants available at the 2009 Scott Associates’ Plant Sale in the Plant Sale Handbook. Be the first purchase these rare plants by helping us underwrite the cost of the sale and becoming a Special Friend. Special Friends are invited to the preview party on Friday, September 11. I hope to see you at the sale on Saturday, September 12 or Sunday, September 13.

Andrew Bunting
  • Peter Straub
    Posted at 06:50h, 09 March Reply


    can you tell me were are seeds of Cinnamomum chekiangensis are availabele.
    I live in Germany and had so far no success to find them.



  • Andrew Bunting
    Posted at 08:18h, 12 March Reply

    From time to time Camellia Forest Nursery carries this: http://www.camforest.com.

    Andrew Bunting, Curator

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