CHEEKWOOD’S DOGWOODS EARN NATIONAL RECOGNITION WITH NAPCC MEMBERSHIP
NASHVILLE, TN. – Just in time for spring, Cheekwood’s treasured dogwood collection has been granted membership in the North American Plant Collection Consortium (NAPCC), making it the first NAPCC Collection in Tennessee. It is also the first dogwood collection in North America to be recognized by the organization.
This membership status places Cheekwood among a prestigious group of 62 gardens and arboreta across the U.S. committed to the conservation and care of specific plant collections, managed at the highest professional level.
“We are thrilled to accept our membership in the NAPCC,” said Jane O. MacLeod, President and CEO of Cheekwood. “This recognition is not only a reflection of our long-term commitment to the conservation and care of our collections, but another important step in growing Cheekwood's national reputation as one of the country's most beautiful gardens."
The NAPCC organization functions as a special network, striving to coordinate a continent-wide approach to collections management and the genetic preservation of plants. The collections within the NAPCC –which now include Cheekwood’s dogwoods -- are available for reference, comparisons, taxonomic studies, evaluation, breeding and other research. The organization is a program of the American Public Garden Association.
The impressive size and diversity of this particular dogwood collection made Cheekwood an ideal candidate for NAPCC membership status. Membership is only granted to organizations that meet stringent criteria set by the organization, including a proven commitment to collect, document, grow, and maintain living plants in their area of focus—in this case, dogwoods. In addition, the collection must be maintained to the highest professional standards, and the candidate must have an established written collection policy and dedicated staff to oversee the collection, as well as demonstrate plans to continue to the collections’ development in the future.
“This recognition comes at a perfect time,” said Leigh Anne Lomax, Botanical Garden and Horticulture Manager at Cheekwood. “Our dogwoods will be blooming in just a few weeks, and earning NAPCC member status gives us another reason to celebrate this incredible collection with our visitors.”
Cheekwood currently exhibits 14 species native to both North America and Asia that thrive in Middle Tennessee’s climate. The highlight of the collection are the 23 cultivated varieties of flowering dogwood, Cornus florida, with a particular emphasis on varieties exhibiting superior disease and insect resistance, bloom, foliage, growth habit, hardiness, and vigor.
Cheekwood’s dogwood collection dates back three decades to 1982, when Mr. and Mrs. Monroe Carell, Jr. donated the original collection of dogwoods to the botanical garden. Most of Cheekwood’s flowering dogwoods can be found in the Carell Dogwood Garden, and visitors will find dogwoods in other locations on the grounds as well -- all 343 specimens on the Cheekwood estate are considered to be part of the NAPCC-certified collection.
The dogwood is a spring signature across the mid-South, with the vibrant whites and pinks of the native flowering dogwood appearing in gardens, courtyards and parks across the region. People commonly identify a dogwood bloom as a flower with four petals, but the “petals” are actually bracts, or modified leaves; many dogwood species don’t have them at all. The true dogwood flowers are small yellow clusters found in the center of the bracts.
Most of Cheekwood’s magnificent dogwoods will begin blooming in early April, with a few early exceptions. Cornus officinalis, or Japanese cornel dogwood, will produce delicate yellow flowers starting in February, and the bloom season will end with Cornus angustata, or evergreen Chinese dogwood, which usually blooms in early June. Visitors to the botanical garden and art museum can experience the beauty of the dogwoods and learn more about the organization’s recent accolades on a Self-Guided Arboretum Tour, available at Visitor Services.
Cheekwood is a 55-acre botanical garden and art museum located on the historic Cheek estate. Our mission is to preserve Cheekwood as an historical landmark where beauty and excellence in art and horticulture stimulate the mind and nurture the spirit. Cheekwood is located at 1200 Forrest Park Drive in Nashville, 8 miles southwest of downtown Nashville. Open Tuesday through Saturday 9:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.; Sunday 11:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Admission is $12 for adults, seniors $10 and children 3-17 are $5. Parking is $3 per car. Admission during Bruce Munro Nights will be $15 for adults, $12 for seniors, $8 for children 3-17, and $5 for Cheekwood members. For further information call 615-356-8000 or visit www.cheekwood.org.