JC Raulston Arboretum e-Update
April 2020
Your Monthly News and Updates
Director's Note

By Mark Weathington, Director

Looking back on my note from long in the past (aka last month) when we were all so innocent and naïve, it really hits home how much has changed in a drastically short period. April is typically when we see some of our highest visitation, lots of new members join, and all the JCRA staff have so much interaction with you all. This year instead we're learning how to shelter at home in order to socially distance ourselves so we can flatten the curve. A sentence that would not have made a bit of sense to me last month.

As one of my colleagues in the Department of Horticultural Science pointed out recently, we really should not be distancing ourselves socially. Rather, we need to physically distance ourselves while trying to stay socially connected. I'm writing this after having an online video staff meeting and I can't begin to describe how much better I feel after interacting with the rest of the fantastic JCRA team.

We want to make sure you're not feeling socially isolated either. The entire JCRA staff are looking for ways to keep you connected. We will be reaching out through our Facebook and Instagram pages and trying to offer programming through other online means. I really hope you'll try some of these new technologies we'll be experimenting with, and if you have troubles, we'll do our best to get you up and running. Your presence and interaction will be just as good for me and the rest of us here as it will be for you.

Stay safe and healthy. We'll be here and stronger as an institution when life returns to a semblance of normality. We miss all of you and hope to see you soon.

See you in the garden on the Internet.
The Future of Community

By Emily Bonner, Development Assistant
Given the recent and ongoing health crisis regarding Covid-19, NC State University has made the decision to postpone Day of Giving. We deeply appreciate all of our incredible friends who wished to participate and support us on this day. NC State will be rescheduling this celebration of philanthropy for later in the year.
We hope all of you and your loved ones are staying safe during these uncertain times. We know that this is a difficult time for many, and we hope that you are able to find a little bit of peace with your plants and in your gardens.
For now, we are spending this time thinking about how we can make future JCRA projects, educational programs, events, and outreach opportunities more accessible and impactful for each of our members, friends, and supporters. The JC Raulston Arboretum is special because of the community that surrounds it. Each of you that share in our passion for plants make it easier for us to continue finding innovative ways to support horticultural education and botanic preservation.
If you are able to help financially support the future of the Arboretum and ensure that we are able to continue J. C. Raulston's remarkable legacy, please consider giving to the JCRA General Fund . This fund allows us to allocate resources to multiple projects and programs as needed, which will be important as we work to keep the garden blooming, keep our staff safe, and move forward toward a brighter future.
We want to thank each and everyone one of you for the support you provide us in all kinds of ways. From our incredible volunteers to our dedicated members, the JCRA is made better for having each of you in our community. Please stay safe, try to get your hands in a little dirt, and know that we are thinking of all of you.
We're Still Social. Won't You Join Us?

By Arlene Calhoun, Assistant Director

"It's a great time to learn something new when we're pushed out of our comfort zone." A little wisdom shared with me from our membership and volunteer coordinator, Kathryn Wall. And I think she's right!

The definition of social is sure to be challenged over the next few months, if it hasn't already. How will you stay socially connected? Here at the Arboretum, we're going to use every avenue we can think of to give you glimpses of spring in the garden while our gates are closed. And, we are challenging you to rethink how you might stay connected with us. We want to hear from you.

Now is a great time to explore new ways to enjoy the Arboretum from the comforts of your home, garden, or screened in porch. Here is a quick list to help guide you to what you’ll find where.

Subscribe to the JC Raulston Arboretum YouTube Channel .

You'll find recordings of our FOA Lectures, Plantsmen's Tours, North American Rock Garden Society (Piedmont Chapter Lectures), and under Miscellaneous you'll see recently uploaded Almanac Gardener footage featuring our founder, J. C. Raulston.

Follow us on Facebook .

Like us, many of you are craving a glimpse of the Arboretum in bloom. We will be working hard to satisfy that craving here along with letting you know when new videos have been posted on our YouTube channel. Facebook is a great way to say hello or have a conversation with our community.

For some added fun and beautiful pictures, follow us on Instagram , #jcraulstonarboretum .

In the coming weeks you'll find beautiful photographs and some fun interactive posts and stories.

And if you only have time for a quick update, Twitter is for you. You'll find us @jcraulstonarb.

We have an amazing staff working hard to keep our community strong. Our e-mail addresses can be found online . Let us know if you have something on your mind.

So you see while many of us are working remotely, we are here and want to hear from you! You make us what we are today—a strong, vibrant, healthy gardening community.

Stay connected, be active. It's important we know you're out there.
Midweek with Mark—A New Lecture Series

By Christopher Todd Glenn, Programs and Education Coordinator

Join us every Wednesday through May 6 at 3:00 PM for a new, live, online lecture series with Mark Weathington. The lectures are free and everyone is invited to listen in as Mark presents the following:

Ahead of the Curve or Behind the 8-Ball New, Rare, and Unusual Perennials – April 1

We tend to concentrate on woody plants here at the JCRA but many don't realize how significant our herbaceous plant collection really is. This talk looks at some of our favorites from the perennial and woodland gardens.
Araliads I Have Loved – April 8

Metapanax , Oreopanax , and Sinopanax , oh my! My obsession with all things in the Araliaceae exposed.
Underused and Unusual Hydrangeas for Gardens – April 15

There's a lot more to hydrangeas than the old fashioned blue/pink ones. Species hydrangeas, funky colors, and flashy foliage really expand the palette for the garden.
Slave to the Goddess Flora Secrets of a Lazy Gardener – April 22

Gardening is easy don't let the experts tell you otherwise! Find out shortcuts and techniques to take some of the work out of gardening and make it a more enjoyable pastime.
Living Art Planting for Architectural Interest – April 29

Specimen plants are usually selected for their flowers and foliage but form is often overlooked. Plants with extraordinary architecture add year-round interest to the landscape and provide a sculptural element that transforms a good garden to a great one. Whether working with a plant’s natural form or imposing your will to create living walls and sculpture, this seminar will help you get the most impact from the plants in your garden.
Stunning Schefflera and Elegant Edgeworthia Because the South Don't Do Dormant – May 6

There's no reason to put the garden to bed for the winter in zone 7 gardens. Winter flowers, exciting evergreens, and low humidity make the winter one of the best times to garden in the south and with the influx of fascinating new plants, we’ve only scratched the surface of what can be done in the "off" season.

Don't miss a lecture. Download and import the iCalendar (.ics) files to your calendar system to save the dates.

Joining a meeting is easy. We're using Zoom to host the lectures. Visit https://ncsu.zoom.us/j/821786201 to download Zoom. Follow the dialogs to install Zoom. The session should start upon the successful installation of Zoom. Use the same link to watch future presentations once Zoom is installed. You will need speakers to hear the presentations. While watching, we'll ask everyone to keep their microphones muted to prevent feedback and other unwanted background noises.

Presentation topics are subject to change.
Go Naked

By Douglas Ruhren, Gardens Manager

Go naked, or at least bare-root, when transplanting shrubs and trees. The construction of the new garden road around the Great Lawn necessitated transplanting about a dozen large shrubs and young trees. Our goal was to preserve as much of the root system as possible, rather than producing a pretty root ball of dirt. Dirt is heavy.

Most of the largest plants were lifted out of the ground by a forklift, not in one fell swoop, but by gradually teasing them out of the ground. Tim Ketchie and Bradley Holland of the Horticulture Field Laboratory (of which the JC Raulston Arboretum is a part) were the skillful operators of the forklift. I really should have recorded this but didn't think of doing so until now as I write this. It was gloriously exciting to end up with a root system far wider than the dripline of a plant.

You can use this method at home with nothing more than a shovel. The photograph accompanying this article is of a Cercis racemosa , one of the five species of redbud native to China. It was taken on March 3, 2020. I dug this one up by myself, following roots out as far as they grew. As you might guess, it was a very irregular "hole" that I dug to replant it, digging trenches out from the main hole to bury the wide spreading roots as they originally grew. What is especially interesting about this tree's root system is that it was planted less than a year ago. Remnants of the original root ball can be seen in the photograph. New root growth exceeded 4' since it was planted on June 12, 2019.

It is, of course, too soon to declare success, but a year ago, Tim Alderton and I used the same method to transplant a weeping cultivar of Siebold maple, Acer sieboldianum 'Seki-no-kegon', that had gotten too wide for its previous location. (This cultivar grew much wider than nursery lists indicated. It was at that time at least 10' wide.) We transplanted it completely bare-root to the top of the lower cascade wall under the weeping Chinese hackberry, Celtis sinensis 'Green Cascade'. It held its own all last year and is looking superb this spring, showing signs of resumption of vigorous growth.

None of this is new. It's retro. Bare-root nursery stock used to be standard. Cheap nursery pots, first metal, now plastic, led the nurseries to move to growing plants in containers. Prior to this, field grown plants were dug, bare-rooted and sold bare-root. One got the whole root system, one that didn't have to transition from a potting mix to native soil. At this same time, balled-and-burlapped (B&B) nursery stock was also common. Plants were dug with a soil-encased root ball which was wrapped in burlap. There was a time when horticulture students were taught to dig beautiful cylindrical root balls wrapped in burlap secured by twine in a precise "drum-lacing" pattern. The end-result was a greatly reduced root system encased in a heavy lump of dirt, (and not infrequently perennial weeds and insect pests).

So, the choice is yours: a pretty root ball or bare-root. I vote for preserving the roots and saving your back. And remember that watering as needed is essential for reestablishment.
Images of America

By Mark Weathington, Director
Arcadia Publishing would like to put a book together about the JC Raulston Arboretum for their Images of Modern America series. The book will be a mostly visual representation of the history of the JCRA highlighting the important points in our timeline. We would love to hear from you what you think are some of the critical moments in our history. Those moments might be the establishment of a new garden, an important visitor, a new introduction, or significant program or event. Send me a note at mark_weathington@ncsu.edu with your thoughts, the more detailed the better. Please put "Arboretum Highlights" in the subject line. Thank you in advance for your help with this project.

Photograph: J. C. Raulston speaking at the NCSU Arboretum's dedication ceremony in fall 1980.
Narcissus Favorites

By Tim Alderton, Research Technician, and Kathryn Wall, Membership and Volunteer Coordinator

As warm weather arrives, the last of the cool-season bulbs begin to wither. This is a great time to look back at some of the best. It is also not too early to begin thinking about ordering your bulbs for next winter's display

Over the decades, Brent and Becky Bulbs has donated thousands of bulbs to the Arboretum adding color to the garden in all seasons. The highlight of winter and spring from these donations is always the dependable Narcissus . A few of my personal favorites among these this year and others are:

  • Narcissus 'Rapture'
  • Narcissus 'White Petticoat'
  • Narcissus 'Spoirot'
  • Narcissus 'Sweet Smiles'
  • Narcissus 'Silver Smiles'
  • Narcissus jonquilla var. henriquesii
  • Narcissus wilkommii
  • Narcissus 'Itzim'
  • Narcissus 'Cassata'

These long-lasting cultivars continue to impress me each year. Look for these when thinking about adding to your own gardens. 
When placing your order, visit http://www.bloominbucks.com and select the JC Raulston Arboretum as your organization. Brent and Becky's Bulbs will donate 25% of orders placed on our behalf. Anyone interested in supporting the Arboretum may participate in this program.
April and May Educational Programs

By Douglas Ruhren, Gardens Manager

While our April events and April educational program have been canceled due to COVID-19, the JCRA is preparing for a great spring with loads of events during May and beyond to get you outside. Stay safe and see you then! 

Herbaceous Perennials Propagation Class and Demonstration
Douglas Ruhren, Gardens Manager
Saturday, May 9 – 9:00 AM

Propagating plants can be an easy and rewarding way to add more color to your landscape. Doug Ruhren will be providing us with both a class and live demonstration on the remarkably easy-to-learn techniques and strategies involved in propagating your own herbaceous perennials. Techniques include division, stem and leaf cuttings, and much more. Afterwards, some of the newly propagated plants will even be shared with students!
Recreational Tree Climbing at the JCRA
Open to Youths and Adults
Patrick Brandt, Piedmont Tree Climbing
Saturday, May 9  10:00 AM , 11:00 AM, 12:00 PM, 1:30 PM, 2:30 PM, 3:30 PM, 4:30 PM, and 5:30 PM

See the Arboretum from a new angle! Piedmont Tree Climbing is back at the Arboretum! Tree climbing is a great way to get outside in a safe and exciting way with friends and family even if you don't have any experience. Climbers must be six years or older, and 50-minute climbing slots can be shared by six climbers. Come get a taste of the excitement yourself, and bring your family and friends! 

Photography Walk
" Controlling Image Sharpness (Depth of Field) "
Mary Louise Ravese, Bella Vista Photography
Wednesday, May 13 – 10:00 AM

Sharp areas in a photograph are a natural magnet for our eyes. By skillfully using both sharpness and blur in a photograph, we can direct our viewer's eyes in a way that allows us to tell stories with our images. Mary Louise will teach us about the camera work involved in changing the sharpness of a image, or "depth of field." Afterwards, we will go into the Arboretum to practice our new techniques on the garden's flourishing plants.  

For this class, it's best to bring your DSLR or mirrorless camera, especially if you have a lens with telephoto zoom capabilities. 

Propagation Workshop
Tim Alderton, Research Technician, and Christopher Todd Glenn, Programs and Education Coordinator
Saturday, May 23 and Saturday, May 30 – 9:00 AM

Whether you're a new or expe rienced gardener, everyone can benefit from polishing their propagation skills on May 23 or May 30 . Learn how to propagate your Arboretum favorites and go home with both an enhanced understanding of plant propagation and your own freshly propagated plants! Participants will have their choice of the JCRA's collection of plants and will learn techniques that are easy to replicate at home. This workshop is open to all knowledge and experience levels. We hope to see you there! 

For more information about these programs, please contact Chris Glenn at (919) 513-7005 or chris_glenn@ncsu.edu. To register online, please click the buttons below. Should we need to cancel any of these programs due to an extended closure, full refunds will be offered.
Upcoming Events

While all of our April events and most of our educational programs have been canceled due to COVID-19, the JCRA does have a few educational opportunities throughout April.

Accepting Registrations for Online Participants
Bryce Lane, Alumni Distinguished Undergraduate Professor Emeritus and Lecturer Emeritus, Department of Horticultural Science, NC State University
Mondays, March 30 through May 18 – 6:30 PM

"Ahead of the Curve or Behind the 8-Ball—New, Rare, and Unusual Perennials"
Mark Weathington, Director
Wednesday, April 1, 2020 – 3:00 PM

"Araliads I Have Loved"
Mark Weathington, Director
Wednesday, April 8, 2020 – 3:00 PM

"Underused and Unusual Hydrangeas for Gardens"
Mark Weathington, Director
Wednesday, April 15, 2020 – 3:00 PM

"Slave to the Goddess Flora—Secrets of a Lazy Gardener"
Mark Weathington, Director
Wednesday, April 22, 2020 – 3:00 PM

"Living Art—Planting for Architectural Interest"
Mark Weathington, Director
Wednesday, April 29, 2020 – 3:00 PM

Many programs require advance registration. Please register early to reserve your spot.
Save the Date

Hosted by the JC Raulston Arboretum and Juniper Level Botanic Garden
Friday, June 12 and Saturday, June 13
Coming Attractions

By Nancy Doubrava, JCRA Volunteer
Paeonia 'Nice Gal'
Rhododendron austrinum 'Alba'
white-flowered Florida flame azalea
Tulipa 'Taco'
Aesculus pavia 'Humilis'
dwarf red buckeye
Calycanthus ×raulstonii 'Hartlage Wine'
Raulston allspice
Cornus florida subsp. urbiniana
Mexican flowering dogwood
Aquilegia caerulea
Kirigami Deep Blue & White Rocky Mountain columbine
Syringa (CP 13 DS 730)
Rhododendron 'Brandi Michele Raley'
Southgate Brandi rhododendron
Corydalis solida 'Purple Bird'
Cornus kousa 'Blue Shadow'
Kousa dogwood
Bignonia capreolata 'Jekyll'
YouTube Channel Update

By Christopher Todd Glenn, Programs and Education Coordinator

Two new videos were recorded in March and posted to our YouTube Channel . Additionally, we have posted a lecture video from our archives and our first videos of J. C. Raulston on our YouTube Channel. More will come each week through April. Look for them on our channel or click the graphics below.

There are over 150 videos of past Friends of the Arboretum Lectures, North American Rock Garden Society (Piedmont Chapter) Lectures, Gardening Adventures with Extension Master Gardener Volunteers presentations, Plantsmen's Tours, and other miscellaneous videos in our YouTube Channel .

Receive announcements about our latest additions by subscribing to our YouTube Channel . Click on the bell icon to adjust your frequency settings from occasional notifications to all notifications and vice versa.
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 Kathryn Wall, membership and volunteer coordinator, at kbwall@ncsu.edu or (919) 513-7004.
Christopher Todd Glenn
Programs and Education Coordinator
NC State University
Campus Box 7522
Raleigh, NC 27695-7522
(919) 513-7005

You're receiving this e-mail because you're a member of the JC Raulston Arboretum. JCRA e-Updates are published electronically every month. If you are a member and need to update your contact information or wish to be removed from this mailing, please contact Kathryn Wall at (919) 513-7004 or kbwall@ncsu.edu. Please do not use the links below to update your e-mail address or to unsubscribe.