NC State University JC Raulston Arboretum

December 2014 JCRA e-Update

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Mark Weathington

New Director for the JC Raulston Arboretum Appointed

By John Dole, Ph.D., Head, Department of Horticultural Science, NC State University

The Department of Horticultural Science and the College of Agriculture and Life Science are pleased to announce the appointment of Mark Weathington as the new director of the JC Raulston Arboretum. Mark has a long horticultural history, officially starting in the field in 1991 as assistant manager for Laurel Creek Nursery. He received his B.S. in horticulture and sociology from Virginia Tech in 1995 and his M.S. in horticulture from Virginia Tech in 1999. Mark’s public garden experience commenced in 1996 as a horticulturist for Atlanta Botanical Garden. In 1999, he joined the Norfolk Botanical Garden, Norfolk, Virginia, as director of horticulture and facilities for the 155 acre garden. In 2007, Mark was appointed assistant director of the JCRA with a wide range of duties including curating collections, writing grants, and assisting in the Arboretum administration. Mark is a frequent and popular speaker, professing his love of plants and horticulture. The JCRA is a nationally and internationally acclaimed garden with one of the largest and most diverse collections of plants for landscape use in the Southeast, especially in the area of woody ornamentals. The JCRA is well known for plant introductions and innovative programming and outreach.

Schefflera aff. minutistellata

Plant of the Month

Schefflera aff. minutistellata

By Mark Weathington, Director

The genus Schefflera is well known to many people as a houseplant often called umbrella-tree or octopus plant. Plants in this genus are found throughout the tropical and sub-tropical regions of the world and according to some estimates there are as many as 700 species. In due time the taxonomists are sure to break this wide genus up into several smaller groups. Schefflera can be evergreen trees, shrubs, or woody vines all with palmately compound leaves holding ovate leaflets like the spokes on a wheel.

In 2005 (?), Dan Hinkley gave a talk at the JCRA where he described, among dozens of other amazing plants, S. alpina from the mountains of Vietnam. He noted that it was hardy in warm temperate gardens and may grow in a protected spot in zone 7b. Since that time, I have been on a quest to find hardy schefflera to add their distinctly different texture to the garden.

In 2012, I visited the southern slopes of the Nanling Mountains in Guangdong Province, China. On the slopes of Shikeng Kong, the tallest peak in the province at over 6,200', the flora transitions from subtropical to warm temperate and that transition zone is where we often find the most exciting plants. As we moved up the mountain on a chilly, rainy October day climbing through Exbucklandia tonkinensis, Dichroa, maples, and rhododendron, we stumbled upon a fine textured schefflera in full fruit. We are pretty sure this is S. minutistellata but are waiting to see it in flower to make certain.

Schefflera minutistellata that we saw were shrubby plants to about 8' tall although they can grow to 25' trees if happy. Narrow leaflets to 8" long are borne in a whorl with the petiolules (leaflet stalks) having variable lengths. The shorter stalked leaflets are often held above the other leaflets for a two-tiered look. The foliage is thin compared to the thick, leathery foliage usually associated with the species. The blue-black fruit are carried in rounded umbels on tall, arching panicles for a quite showy effect. The flowers will be small and white to greenish-white but should be attractive against the evergreen foliage.

This schefflera will likely be at its best with some protection from afternoon sun and grown in a moist, well-drained, organic soil but should be fine in more shade. We have not trialed the plant outdoors for any length of time although one young plant survived 7.5°F last winter in the protection of the Lath House. Based on its growing companions of pines, maples, and rhododendron, I anticipate it to be perfectly hardy at least to zone 8 and quite possibly into zone 7. Young plants may be best grown indoors as a houseplant in a sunny window for a year or more as larger plants will be better able to recover from a hard freeze.

We are extremely happy to be able to offer this outstanding plant and over two dozen others in the JCRA's Connoisseur Plants program as a thank you to our higher-level members. You can join or upgrade your membership before December 31, 2014, to the Sponsor level ($300) or higher to take advantage of this program and the other benefits of membership. For more information check out our Web site.

Bryce Lane

Annual Appeal and Year-end Giving

By Anne M. Porter, Director of Development

Gifts to the annual appeal are tax-deductible contributions over and above regular membership support. It is a great way to broaden your investment in the JC Raulston Arboretum, while making your year-end 2014 tax-exempt gifts before "Uncle Sam" takes his cut. For more information on your 2014 end-of-year giving, please review Bryce Lane's annual appeal letter and these helpful year-end giving instructions and information for gifts of stock or securities.

For more information about our annual appeal, please contact Anne Porter at or (919) 513-3826.

Gift of Membership

By Arlene Calhoun, Volunteer and Membership Coordinator

presentLet us help with your holiday shopping. A JCRA membership makes a perfect holiday gift for friends, family, and coworkers. It is a unique and meaningful present that will be enjoyed all year ’round.

Membership includes free FOA Lectures, Plantsmen’s Tours, events, and plants; discounted workshops; and yearlong savings at many local nurseries. There's something to be enjoyed in every month.

Shop now for that special someone on your list and give the gift of membership!

For more information contact Arlene Calhoun at (919) 513-7004 or

Anne Porter

A Fond Farewell

By Bryce Lane, Former Interim Director

As most of you may know, Anne Porter, our director of development here at the JCRA, is retiring this month. Although thrilled for Anne and this new chapter of her life, we here at the Arboretum are sad to see her go. Anne has worked tirelessly for many years helping to foster support of all kinds for our arboretum. The Gala in the Garden would not be what it is today without Anne's leadership and guidance. Anne has been integral in helping us grow into the world renown public garden that we are. She has masterfully forged many special relationships with so many people and organizations who are truly friends of the Arboretum. She leaves us with a fantastic foundation for continued relationship building as we enter into this new chapter of our growth and development. Although Anne is retiring, we do expect to see her around the garden. I know she will want to stay involved as much as she can, but as a valued volunteer.

On behalf of the staff at the JCRA, I want to publicly thank Anne Porter for dedicated service to the JC Raulston Arboretum. We wish her all the best in the future!

Scree Garden and Xeric Garden

Coming Attractions

By Nancy Doubrava, Interpretive Specialist

Camellia ×vernalis 'Hiryû'

Camellia ×vernalis 'Hiryû'
hybrid camellia

Ilex 'Calina'

Ilex 'Calina'
Carolina holly

Chimonanthus praecox

Chimonanthus praecox
fragrant wintersweet

Mahonia ×media 'Winter Sun'

Mahonia ×media 'Winter Sun'

Prunus mume (dwarf)

Prunus mume (dwarf)
dwarf Japanese flowering apricot

Ilex vomitoria 'Yawkey'

Ilex vomitoria 'Yawkey'
yellow-berry yaupon holly

Arbutus unedo 'Elfin King'

Arbutus unedo 'Elfin King'
compact strawberry tree

Pinus wallichiana 'Zebrina'

Pinus wallichiana 'Zebrina'
variegated Himalayan pine

YouTube Channel

By Christopher Todd Glenn, Programs and Education Coordinator

Three new videos were recorded in November. Look for it in our YouTube Channel or click the link below.

Receive announcements about our latest additions by subscribing to our channel.

"Autumn Highlights" - Mark Weathington, Assistant Director and Curator of Collections - November 4, 2014
"Rock Garden Nation: Rock Gardens and Rock Gardeners" - Joseph Tychonievich, Greensparrow Gardens - November , 2014
"A Tale of Two Interns and Two Cities" - Justin Durango and Colby Gumpton, Former JCRA Ingterns - November 13, 2014

December Events

Plantsmen's Tour
"Bark and Branches"
Mark Weathington, Director
Tuesday, December 2
1:00 PM

Holiday Wreath Workshop
Full – 4:00 PM Workshop Still Open
Christopher Todd Glenn, Programs and Education Coordinator
Tuesday, December 2
1:00 PM

Holiday Wreath Workshop
Christopher Todd Glenn, Programs and Education Coordinator
Tuesday, December 2
4:00 PM

Friends of the Arboretum Lecture
"Saving Plants, Saving Ourselves"
Peter Raven, Ph.D., President Emeritus, Missouri Botanical Garden
Thursday, December 4
7:30 PM

Ongoing Program
Holiday Creations
Friday, December 5
10:00 AM

Poinsettia Open House
Sponsored by NC State Floriculture and the JCRA
Sunday, December 7
1:00 PM–5:00 PM

Friends of the Arboretum Lecture
"Sustainable Suburbia: Harnessing Nature's Superpowers in Your Yard"
Michelle Rose
Thursday, December 11
7:30 PM

✽Denotes a children's program.


Garden Soils Class
"If You Build it, They Will Come: Understanding and Improving Garden Soils"
Bryce Lane, Interim Director
Saturday, January 24
8:30 AM

Propagation Workshop
Mark Weathington, Director, and Lizzi Lathers, Research Technician
Saturday, February 7
9:00 AM

Winter Symposium
"Stop and Smell the Roses"
Saturday, February 21

An Evening with the Explorers: Triumphs and Tribulations of the Plant Hunters
Friday, March 6

Raulston Blooms!
A Garden Festival for All Ages (includes the 15th Annual Birdhouse Competition and the JCRA Plant Sale)
Saturday, April 11
9:00 AM–5:00 PM

Gala in the Garden
Stop and Smell the Roses
3:30 PM–7:00 PM

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JC Raulston Arboretum
NC State University
Campus Box 7522 Raleigh, NC 27695-7522

(919) 515-3132

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The JC Raulston Arboretum is free to the public, but it is not free to operate. Memberships keep the gates open and the gardens in top shape. Membership gifts are the primary support for the Arboretum's daily operations and vital for its success. Thank you for your support and advocacy of the JC Raulston Arboretum through the membership program. It's fast and easy to become a Friend of the Arboretum, and there are many great benefits for you and your family. Join or renew now using our secure Web site, or contact Arlene Calhoun, Volunteer and Membership Coordinator.

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