NC State University JC Raulston Arboretum

April 2015 JCRA e-Update

JC Raulston Arboretum Viburnum dentatum 'Golden Arrow'

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Plant Sale

Director's Note

By Mark Weathington, Director

I think, as I knock furiously on wood, that winter is indeed over and spring has truly sprung. I for one could not be more excited as this looks to be one of the most spectacular springs we've had. The cold weather kept flower buds tight and now everything seems to be opening at once here at the Arboretum.

If you are in the mood for some family fun, make sure to check out Raulston Blooms! on Saturday April 11 where you can enjoy the fabulous birdhouse competition, shop for N.C. handmade arts and crafts, learn about gardening, try to find your way through a maze, build a bee house, and of course buy lots of plants.

Membership does have its privileges though. JC Raulston Arboretum members can come shop early on Friday afternoon to get the pick of the litter. If you are not a member, you can join now or on-site. Members also get 10% off all their JCRA plant purchases Friday and Saturday.

Whether you can make it out for Raulston Blooms! or not, make sure you pay the Arboretum a visit this spring for the dazzling display. You won't be disappointed, I guarantee it.

Cercis canadensis var. mexicana

Plant of the Month

Cercis canadensis var. mexicana

By Mark Weathington, Director

Few plants brighten the spring like the redbuds or Cercis. The pink flower buds opening to display magenta to bubblegum pink pea flowers are a staple of not only our east coast woodlands, but also regions around the northern hemisphere. There are 10 or so species with the majority found in Asia, one in the Mediterranean region, and a couple in North America. The name Cercis derives from the Greek word for a weaver's shuttle, kerkis, and dates back to several hundred years BCE when named by Theophrastus.

Redbuds are interesting small trees in that they share a characteristic which is rarely seen outside of the tropics. They will often have flowers appearing not only on the previous year's shoots like typical spring flowering plants, but also in clusters along old stems and trunks. It is not uncommon to see a 6"–8" diameter trunk with patches of flowers in spring like some fuchsia lichens.

One of the most under-appreciated forms is the Mexican variety of our native species known as C. canadensis var. mexicana. This form makes a small, wide-spreading tree which is often as much as twice as wide as tall. It bears rounded, somewhat heart-shaped leaves which are usually quite small when compared to other redbuds. They have a glossy surface but what really makes them stand out is their distinctively rippled edge. In flower, they are similar to other redbuds but the pea-like fruit which follow are often plum to lavender colored before drying.

Grow Mexican redbud in full sun to part shade in average to well-drained soil. It will ultimately reach about 20' tall and can be maintained as a single trunk tree or allowed to branch low to the ground for a multi-stem effect. It looks excellent at the edge of a wooded area or as a small specimen.

You can see a beautiful specimen in the Mixed Border at the JC Raulston Arboretum and if you would like to try a plant for yourself, small plants will be available for sale at Raulston Blooms! on April 11 at the JCRA along with thousands of other choice plants. Members can get a jump on the crowds at the preview sale on Friday April 10 and will receive 10% off all plant purchases on both days.

Raulston Blooms!

Raulston Blooms!

Saturday, April 11
9:00 am to 4:00 pm

What is it? Fun for the whole family! Learn, shop for your garden, get great ideas, and enjoy gourmet treats at Raulston Blooms! We're rolling out the red carpet for members, home gardeners, families, and children by offering a day that's packed with garden and nature activities, shopping, and outdoor fun.


  • Spring Plant Sale
  • Birdhouse Competition
  • Children's activities
    • maze
    • storytime
    • games
    • hands-on learning activities
  • Gardening talks and demonstrations
  • Arts and crafts vendors
  • Food trucks
  • NC State's Howling Cow ice cream
  • Thousands of plants in our world-famous gardens

For more information, including educational talks and demonstrations; booth displays; and artists listings and a schedule of activities, please visit the JCRA's Web site.

Prunus persica 'NCSU Dwarf Double Red'

Renting Event Space at the Arboretum Just Got Easier

By Arlene Calhoun, Volunteer and Membership Coordinator

Meetings, weddings, private parties, or professional workshops are just a few reasons you may be looking for the perfect place to host your next event. Our gardens are filled with unique plants collected from around the globe and our meeting rooms have high ceilings, floor to ceiling windows with an ever changing view allowing natural light and beauty to enhance your group's experience.

Very reasonable rates, accommodating and friendly staff, convenient location, and environmentally friendly, we are dedicated to making your next event a memorable one. Check out our upgraded Venue listing to see all we have to offer including updated pictures, dimensions, seating capacities, and pricing. You can even submit a reservation request online after you check to see if the garden or room of your choice is available on your event's day with our new Availability Calendar.

Faye Koonce, our facilities coordinator, has over a decade of experience helping our members and clients alike to create memorable gatherings. Faye can be reached at or (919) 513-7457 to answer any questions you may have about renting our wonderful gardens or meeting rooms.

Plant Sale

The Arboretum Plant Sale—A Member Favorite

By Arlene Calhoun, Volunteer and Membership Coordinator

The plant availability list is growing and is available on our Web site. As a Friend of the Arboretum you are invited to shop before the public on Friday, April 10, 4:00 pm–7:00 pm. Take full advantage of your membership and get the best selection by shopping on Friday evening and receive 10% off your plant purchases.

Can't make it Friday? Join us Saturday. Bring your family and friends to Raulston Blooms! which includes the Plant Sale and the 15th Birdhouse Competition. Members get in free and you can still get your member discount at the plant sale—10% off on all plant purchases.

Embrace spring and join us on Friday and Saturday, April 10 and 11.

Native bee on Rudbeckia

Upcoming Workshops

By Christopher Todd Glenn, Programs and Education Coordinator

Spring is finally here and it's time for some exciting educational programs. We have a great lineup of workshops for in the coming months. The following is a sampling of some of those events. Each of these requires advance registration.

Pollinator Gardening Workshop
Elsa Youngsteadt, Margarita López-Uribe, April Hamblin, Anne Spafford, and Bernadette Clark, Department of Entomology and Department of Horticultural Science, NC State University
Saturday, May 16, 2015 – 8:30 am

Taller acerca de Jardines para Polinizadores
Elsa Youngsteadt, Margarita López-Uribe, April Hamblin, Anne Spafford, Bernadette Clark, Departmento de Entomología y Departamento de Ciencia Horticultura, NC State University
Saturday, May 16, 2015 – 10:30 am

Propagation Workshop
Tim Alderton and Chris Glenn, JCRA Staff
Saturday, May 30, 2015 – 9:00 am

Propagation Workshop
Lizzi Lathers and Chris Glenn, JCRA Staff
Saturday, June 6, 2015 – 9:00 am

Herbaceous Perennials Propagation Workshop
Douglas Ruhren, Ironwood Gardens and JCRA Volunteer
Saturday, June 20 – 9:00 am

Hypertufa Trough Workshop
Beth Jimenez and Amelia Lane, JCRA Volunteers
Saturday, July 25, 2015 – 9:00 am

Cast Concrete Leaf Birdbath Workshop
Beth Jimenez and Amelia Lane, JCRA Volunteers
Saturday, July 25, 2015 – 1:00 pm

For complete details of all of our programs, please visit the events calendar on the JCRA's Web site. If you haven't done so already, sign up for our Cuttings from the JCRA e-mail list to receive timely event announcements and reminders by sending me an e-mail at and requesting to be added.

Lasting Impressions' hypertufa troughs

Lasting Impressions—9th Annual Open Garden and Art Show

By Arlene Calhoun, Volunteer and Membership Coordinator

Saturday, April 25 at 9:00 am–4:00 pm
4904 Hermitage Drive, Raleigh, NC 27612

A JCRA Membership Benefit Provider for nearly a decade, Lasting Impressions and its owners, Amelia Lane and Beth Jimenez are dedicated advocates of the Arboretum. If you've visited our rooftop garden you've seen their work first hand, the hypertufa planters and leaf bed markers are their works of art.

Featured in Better Homes & Gardens and Triangle Gardener, they are known for the love of the garden and their creative expressions. Meet these wonderful ladies when they host other area artists at their 9th Annual Open Gardens & Art Show. For more details visit Lasting Impressions' Web site.

Remember to present your JCRA membership card and receive 10% off Lasting Impressions hand-cast concrete art pieces and hypertufa troughs.

Thank you to Lasting Impressions and Amelia and Beth for the many ways they find to support the Arboretum!

Birdhouse Competition

15th Annual Birdhouse Competition

By Christine Ramsey, Volunteer

Saturday, April 11

The annual birdhouse competition at the JC Raulston Arboretum in Raleigh is one of spring's creative, colorful, and fun garden events. It's also a great teaching tool for children and adults and matches the JC Raulston Arboretum's mission of education and inspiration. The event raises awareness about birds, their habitats, and importance in the natural world, and raises interest in the Arboretum, one of the foremost teaching gardens in the Southeast.

Birdhouse entries will be received on Friday, April 10, and judged that same evening. The competition is open for public viewing on Saturday, April 11, when thousands of people turn out to see the results. For more information about entering a birdhouse, competition categories, and age groups, visit the JCRA's Web site.

Registering is easy and free and can be completed online. Competitors receive a free Raulston Blooms! admission ticket for themselves and their family.

Klein-Pringle White Garden

Coming Attractions

By Nancy Doubrava, Interpretive Specialist

Cercis canadensis 'Ruby Falls'

Cercis canadensis 'Ruby Falls'
weeping eastern redbud

Narcissus 'Golden Echo'

Narcissus 'Golden Echo'

Ficaria verna Flore Pleno Group

Ficaria verna Flore Pleno Group
double-flowered fig buttercup

Rhododendron 'Spring Sensation'

Rhododendron 'Spring Sensation'
Aromi hybrid azalea

Ipheion uniflorum 'Rolf Fiedler'

Ipheion uniflorum 'Rolf Fiedler'
spring star flower

Iris bucharica

Iris bucharica
Bokhara iris

Syringa oblata subsp. dilatata

Syringa oblata subsp. dilatata
Korean early lilac

Stachyurus 'Carolina Parakeet'

Stachyurus 'Carolina Parakeet'
variegated spike-tail

YouTube Channel

By Christopher Todd Glenn, Programs and Education Coordinator

Two new videos were recorded in March. Look for them in our YouTube Channel or click the links below.

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

"Rock Gardening in the South" - Bobby J. Ward, Ph.D., Retired Environmental Scientist - March 14, 2015
"Q'eqchi' Maya Reproductive Ethnomedicine, Estrogenic Plant Use, and Women's Healing Traditions in Belize" - Jillian M. De Gezelle, Ph.D., Teaching Assistant Professor, Department of Plant & Microbial Biology, NC State University - March 19, 2015

April Events

Family Fun Event
Fourth Annual Spring Egg Hunt
Wednesday–Friday, April 1–3
10:00 am–3:00 pm
Saturday, April 4
10:00 am–2:00 pm
Sunday, April 5
1:00 pm–4:00 pm

Sunday Tour
Volunteer Tour Docent
Sundays, April 5, 12, 19, and 26
2:00 pm

Plantsmen's Tour
"The JCRA's National Collections"
Mark Weathington, Director
Tuesday, April 7
1:00 pm

Friends of the Arboretum Lecture
"In Search of Overlooked and Exceptional Native Plants"
Tony Avent, Plant Delights Nursery at Juniper Level Botanic Garden
Thursday, April 9
7:30 pm

15th Annual Birdhouse Competition
Entries Accepted
Friday, April 10
10:00 am–6:00 pm

JC Raulston Arboretum Plant Sale
Members-only Preview Sale
Friday, April 10
4:00 pm–7:00 pm

Arboretum Closed April 11
Open for Raulston Blooms! Attendees Only
Saturday, April 11
8:00 am–4:00 pm

Raulston Blooms!
A Garden Festival for All Ages
(includes the Birdhouse Competition and Plant Sale)
Saturday, April 11
9:00 am–4:00 pm

Afternoon Adventure
New Date
Saturday, April 18
10:30 am–1:00 pm

North American Rock Garden Society (Piedmont Chapter) Lecture
Sponsored by the Piedmont Chapter of the North American Rock Garden Society in Cooperation with the JC Raulston Arboretum
"Plant Hunting in Northern Vietnam"
Andrew Bunting, The Scott Arboretum of Swarthmore College
Saturday, April 18
10:00 am

Homeschool Day
Celebrate the Earth
Tuesday, April 21
1:00 pm–3:00 pm

Girl Scout Program
Daisies: Flower Garden
Saturday, April 25
10:00 am

✽Denotes a children's program.


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

Pollinator Gardening Workshop
Saturday, May 16
8:30 AM

Connect with Us


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

(919) 515-3132

Your Membership Makes a Difference

Please Join or Renew Today!

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.

JC Raulston Arboretum e-Updates are published electronically every month for everyone interested in the Arboretum and are e-mailed to the Arboretum's members. If you are a member and need to update your contact information or wish to be removed from this mailing, please contact Arlene Calhoun.

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