New Tulip & Daffodils, & Do You Know This Oak?
by Art Drysdale
by Art Drysdale


Art Drysdale, a life-long resident of Toronto and a horticulturist well known all across Canada, is now a resident of Parksville, British Columbia on Vancouver Island, just north of Nanaimo. He has reno-vated an old home and has a new garden there. His radio gardening vignettes are heard in south-western Ontario over radio station Easy 101 FM out of Tillsonburg at 2 PM weekdays.

Art also has his own website at

August 26, 2007

Above, three shots of new Tulip cultivars, and two of new Daffodil/narcissi cultivars for spring 2008 bloom. Photos courtesy Vanhof & Blokker Ltd.. Below, a shot of a mature Hungarian oak (Quercus frainetto) and one of its foliage (latter by Pete VanLoon).

Every year new cultivars of plants are introduced and gardeners actively search them out. For this fall there are well over a dozen new tulip cultivars available which you may want to track down. Some of these new items may not be totally new, but are ones that have not been listed for some years, and are this year being re-introduced.

The single most exciting new cultivar in my humble opinion is ‘Hot Pants’ a mid-spring blooming Triumph tulip that has distinctive purple and white stripes on 40-45 cm stems. Also, a similar cultivar is ‘Denise’ which is creamy-white with a beautiful pinkish-red edge that varies somewhat with each flower.

Since I happen to have a special passion for feathered Parrot tulips, I have to call attention to a new one in that class. It’s called ‘Rai’ and is a good deep violet colour with the standard Parrot ruffled blooms, and with light yellowish-green accents. And, though it is not a Parrot tulip, I took a liking to ‘Doortje Hes’ or ‘Dorothy Hes’ actually a single late May flowering tulip, although it closely resembles a Parrot, because its mother was ‘Flaming Parrot’. Dorothy Hes has heavily feathered petals patterned in red and white, and grows on 65 cm stems.

Many gardeners have not seen the fringed tulips and if that applies to you, definitely check out the new ‘Aria Card’--that is creamy-yellow that changes to white, and exhibits a lovely fringed purple edge to each of the petals. If you like the double late peony tulips, be sure to check ‘Crispion Sweet’ with its fully double pink/white petals which also have fringed edges, It grows to a height of 50 cm or 20 inches.

Anyone who has admired the many miniature daffodil varieties in the past will certainly know one called ‘Tête-à-tête’ which grows only to a height of 15 cm or six inches. Some gardeners will remember that variety was joined by another similar one, ‘Toto’ which is also known as the white ‘Tête-à-tête’ which grows only slightly taller. Now this year there is a new double ‘Tête-à-tête’ called ‘Pencrebar’. It has the characteristic yellow blooms and grows even slightly taller--to 30 cm or a foot.

In the fragrant jonquilla class of daffodils there is a new one called ‘Spring Beat’ that has medium sized flowers that initially come out with a creamy white/pink cup which later turns into a yellow/pink. They grow to 30-35 cm. Another new colour in daffodils is ‘Apricot Whirl’ which has white back petals with a somewhat apricot-pink cup that is pushed back almost flat against the back petals. A lovely apricot colour that grows to 40 cm.

If it is double daffodils you like, you should look for ‘Peach Swirl’. It is fragrant and has eye catching white petals all peeping out from an orange centre. It grows to 38-45 cm. Finally in the daffodils, check for a couple of new indoor narcissus varieties--‘Inbal’ and ‘Ariel’. Both of these have large pure white blooms except for the tiny yellow stamens at the centres. They are best planted in pots of gravel or soil, although soil is better for longer-lasting blooms. Plant a succession every two weeks, beginning in November, for ongoing bloom indoors through the winter.

* * *

Back on August 13th, Pete VanLoon, probably from somewhere in the Niagara peninsula wrote about an unusual tree: “I recently was in a garden centre and found an Oak I liked. However the name on it was Quercus Tri Trump. I cannot find anything out about it and the garden centre was not much help either. I hope you could give me a proper species name so I can find out more about it.”

He also included a photo of a leaf, which I have included with this item.

I wrote back on the 14th, asking for more information, and suggesting it might possibly be either a white oak (Quercus alba) or bur oak (Q. macrocarpa). I also questioned if the leaves were as ‘black’ as his photo indicated.

Pete’s response came on Sunday the 19th, in which he said he had found it was a Hungarian oak (Q. frainetto): “Thanks for getting back to me. The oak in question is identified by Jim Lounsbury (Vineland) as Quercus frainetto. According to some other info it is not a tree for the Niagara peninsula. It is a kind of lousy that people in the nursery business put this kind of material in the market. When people have little success with gardening why make it even harder with plants that don't belong here.”

My response to that last week was as follows, “Where did you buy the Quercus frianetto? You say Jim Lounsbury knows it, but you didn’t say whether he has any or whether he has ever had any. In doing some preliminary checking from here, I find that some years ago Hortico in Waterdown did have some, as did Kraus Nursery in Carlisle. There have been changes in management at both those businesses so that may not be the case now. For certain, Hortico do not have it currently in their extensive on-line list.

In the only listing I could find for it in Canada, it appears as a zone 5 tree; although the federal government hardiness rating people say they have no record (that means absolutely nothing, they generally rely on reports from gardeners who likely are not too sure of what they are growing in any case).

I definitely do not agree with your comments about “people in the nursery business”. In fact, I would say the oppo-site--thank goodness for the small percentage of nursery people who do get unusual items in for trial. It does not happen much! Certainly Jim Lounsbury at Vineland Nurseries fits this description.

If you have this tree planted now, could you send a photo of it, please? And, you did not advise as to the almost black colour of the one leaf photo you sent originally.

I did find some information on the tree itself. What follows comes from Greece.

“This is a deciduous oak species that grows up to 35 m in height. It forms extensive pure or mixed forests that occupy almost one third of all Greek forests and 80% of the deciduous oak forests. It is found growing in semi-mountainous areas of mainland Greece from the Peloponnese to N Greece and Thrace.

Q. frainetto is the most valuable and important oak species in Greece, due to the surface area its ecosystems cover and its valuable wood used for both firewood and furniture. Its bulky wood being pale-coloured, lustrous, with many flecks (medulla rays), in combination with its strength and durability, make it valuable for parquetry and furniture. The acorns are also valuable as they make an excellent food for pigs, and the foliage is an important animal foodstuff, especially for goats. Q. frainetto ecosystems are found on limestone, siliceous and serpentine substrates. They mainly grow on heavy clay soils and red clays that are unsuitable for cultivation, and this is probably the reason why these ecosystems have undergone less clearings that other oak forests.

“In the past, like all broadleaved oak ecosystems, Q. frainetto forests have undergone intensive exploitation with excessive tree felling, coppicing and overgrazing, resulting in many to appear in degraded or shrub form. The regulation of tree felling, and mostly reduction in grazing by goats and sheep, has allowed these ecosystems to regenerate naturally.”

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