JC Raulston Arboretum e-Update
January 2021
Your Monthly News and Updates
Director's Note

By Mark Weathington, Director

Out with the old and in with the new! I don’t know that I've ever been so happy to see a year in the rear-view mirror. Staff have been making big plans for 2021 (the true start of the new decade anyway) and we think we have a lot of exciting plans incorporating both online and hopefully in-person content.
As students come back once again, NC State University is going to great lengths to contain outbreaks which includes a blanket requirement that masks are required at all times on campus including out of doors even when alone as well as a negative COVID test before faculty, staff, or students are allowed on site. As an often square peg in the university's round holes, we are working to navigate what this means for the JCRA staff, volunteers, and potential visitors as we work towards re-opening. No matter what, look for new, exciting, and innovative programming as we work to share our passion for plants.
As we move into this new year with challenges both recent and old, we thank you for your continued support and hope you will take the opportunity to let us know what we are doing well and how we can improve. What online programming would be the most useful? How can we share plants with you better? Is there a way we can help you to "Planand plant a better world?"
See you in the garden.
New Year, New Start

By Elizabeth Overcash, Children's Program Coordinator

Saying good-bye to 2020 came easy because of the excitement we have for our ideas for 2021. After months of creating online resources for teachers, our team (Joy Burns, school tour coordinator, and Laura Windom, student assistant) started brainstorming what we could create for all the families we have missed seeing in the gardens this past year. What we came up with is giving us all a great boost into 2021. We hope you'll join us for some of these programs and activities!

January 8 10:30 AM Family Garden Spot (Spotlight Bulbs) (online)
January 15 10:30 AM Garden Storytime (online)
January 22 10:30 AM Family Garden Spot (Garden Discovery) (online)
January 29 10:30 AM Garden Storytime (online)

Each month, we will present a new theme through Facebook Live videos, storytimes and a fun resource to guide your explorations of your yard or natural spaces near you. January's theme is bulbs so come learn about those hidden treasures sprouting up in winter to give us pops of color to brighten the days until spring comes.
New Year General Fund Contributions

By Carly Dressen, Development Assistant

Two thousand and twenty was a year unlike any other that gave us the opportunity to find creative ways to keep our patrons engaged, and our staff rose to the occasion extremely well. In the time of a online world, we were able to connect with over 7,200 adults with lectures, symposia, tours, an at-home workshop, and more. In addition to online events, we launched a subscription-based Grow Box program with 4-H to reach our younger audience, which included 32 North Carolina counties. 

These are a few highlights of all that we accomplished in the last year. As we look to what 2021 will bring, we know that the generosity of our donors is what keeps us and our mission moving forward. 

In place of our normal year-end project appeal, we asked that our members consider supporting the JCRA through gifts to the General Fund. Contributions to the General Fund will allow for flexibility to address the areas of greatest need in the coming months. Contributions to the General Fund can be made online. We are able to achieve so much more because of our thoughtful and dedicated supporters and will come back together even stronger in 2021!
What's New in 2021? 

Do you have a new mailing address? New e-mail provider?
Keep us in the loop! 

Send your new contact information to Kathryn Wall at kbwall@ncsu.edu.
Winter Educational Programs

By Sana Sheikh, Programs and Education Assistant, and Christopher Todd Glenn, Programs and Education Coordinator

The new year is finally here, and what better way to celebrate than learning a plethora of skills to help make your garden shine? From climate patterns to horticulture and photography classes, the JC Raulston Arboretum has plenty of events to keep you busy and help you start the new year off right.

Plant Taxonomy and Nomenclature: A Home Gardener's Guide to How Plants Are Classified and Named
Bryce Lane, Alumni Distinguished Undergraduate Professor Emeritus and Lecturer Emeritus, Department of Horticultural Science, NC State University
Mondays, January 18 through March 8 – 6:30 PM–8:30 PM

A eight-week class that helps the home gardener understand how plants are organized, classified, and named. All too often we don't know much about the plants we select for our home gardens. When we understand plant taxonomy and nomenclature, we are more equipped to select and care for all the plants we grow in our gardens. Did you know that most plants have two to three different kinds of names? That can lead to tremendous uncertainly and confusion for the home gardener. In this class, we will learn and use the botanical knowledge about plant classification and naming to improve our gardening activities!

Garden Soils Class
"If You Build It, They Will Come: Understanding and Improving Garden Soils"
Bryce Lane, Alumni Distinguished Undergraduate Professor Emeritus and Lecturer Emeritus, Department of Horticultural Science, NC State University
Saturday, January 23 – 8:30 AM–12:30 PM

To become a great gardener, we must have a great understanding of the soil that we put our plants into. Plants are equally dependent on the quality of their environment "below ground" as they are on the quality of their environment "above ground." The difference between a flourishing garden and a flagging garden can have everything to do with soil chemistry, biology, physics, and fertility. In this class, learn all about those very things and more, including basic soil principles as well as how to maximize garden growth! 

What's the Forecast? Understanding Climate Patterns and What They Mean for Our Weather
Rebecca Ward, Assistant State Climatologist
Saturday, January 23 – 9:00 AM–11:00 AM

Understanding local weather patterns can impact how we plan and treat our gardens. In this program, learn about the global climate patterns that impact North Carolina's weather during seasonal and shorter timescales. We will go through activities to help hone our abilities in interpreting and applying resources for weather forecasts and climate outlooks for future seasons! 

Gardening in the South
Sponsored by Leaf & Limb
Featuring Basil Camu, Danesha Seth Carley, and Bill Fonteno
Saturday, February 6 – 9:00 AM–12:00 PM

Gardening in the South is back for new and experienced gardeners alike! Join us for a series of presentations that are guaranteed to expand your horizons. This winter's speaker lineup includes Danesha Seth Carley (pollinator gardens), Basil Camu (tree care), and Bill Fonteno (garden soils).

Digital Photography Essentials Workshops for Canon and Nikon Photographers
Mary Louise Ravese, Bella Vista Photography
Wednesdays, February 10, 17, and 24 – 7:00 PM–8:30 PM – Canon Photographers
Thursdays, February 11, 18, and 25 – 7:00 PM–8:30 PM – Nikon Photographers

Ready to get started with your Canon or Nikon digital camera? Are you a beginner in photography? Learn all the camera essentials as well as how to interpret your images for better future pictures. You'll be taking beautiful photographs in no time! While all concepts and features discussed will be relevant to all types of digital cameras, please register for the correct class depending upon the maker of your digital camera. These classes are already in progress, but you can catch up with the video of the class after registering.
Save the Date

Winter Symposium
"Eat, Drink, and Be Merry—Chocolate, Tequila, and the Intersection of Plants and People"

Featuring Sarah Bowen, Ph.D., NC State University; Bradley Bennett, Ph.D., Florida International University; and More

Saturday, February 20
9:00 AM–12:00 PM
Summertime Fun

By Elizabeth Overcash, Children's Program Coordinator

If you know it, sing Olaf's song about summer in your head. Are you imagining what it’ll be like when summer comes? Thinking about the summer breezes and dreaming of relaxing in the summer sun? Rat dadat dadat dadat dadadadadoo.…

Okay, maybe my daughters have played the Disney radio station a few too many times this past year, but Olaf's upbeat optimistic view of summer is what I’m clinging onto as I’m planning summer camps! We are working on the final schedule and planning out the details for the 2021 summer garden camps. I hope you’ll all be part of the fun that I know the campers will have being back in the gardens.

Member registration will open on February 22. As in years past, members need to be at the Family/Dual or above levels to enjoy the two weeks of early registration and discounted registration fees. Make sure that your membership is up to date so that you don’t miss out!

A few details that I know for certain:

  • Camp sizes will be smaller. We are planning camps based on current guidelines meaning camp sizes will be limited to eight campers.
  • Get on the waitlist if you miss getting into a camp! If guidelines change closer to camp, we will go first to the waitlist to offer any spots we are able to add.
  • Registration fees will not be due until April 30. Because everything is always changing, we are delaying payment until closer to camp.
  • The gardens are excited to have the campers back! We are incorporating more time exploring and having fun in the gardens because we know the campers need to soak up the sun and get some fresh air!

Keep an eye out for the camp schedule and more details. Until then, keep singing with Olaf and we'll see you in summer!
Extra, Extra—JCRA Extras Coming to a Screen Near You

By Arlene Calhoun, Assistant Director

Do you or someone you know need a 2021 calendar, a new garden-themed wallpaper for your desktop, or a fresh new Zoom backdrop? We’ve got you covered. Check out JCRA Extras and download your favorites from our Web site.

Happy New Year from our garden to yours.
Zooming to a Trade Show in New York, New York

By Arlene Calhoun, Assistant Director

We can thank a new member for this unique opportunity that landed in our inboxes last December. It is one that otherwise would not be happening if it were not for the need of social distancing and other limitations caused by COVID-19.
Thank you, Scott, for reminding us New York City is closer to us on the plant hardiness map than the road atlas and horticultural professionals in the New York City Tri-state area of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut can benefit from our plant knowledge and online programming.

We are looking forward to introducing the JCRA and all we offer to those attending Metro Hort’s annual symposium and trade show, Plant-O-Rama. Our mission is rooted in the introduction of new landscape plants and our virtual trade show booth will highlight new Choice Plants and introductions, Southeastern Plant Symposium, and other educational resources like our photograph collection and YouTube Channel.

A new year, brings renewed commitment from our team to: "Plan—and plant for a better world," as said best by J. C. Raulston himself.
Of Mountains and Mole Hills

By Douglas Ruhren, Gardens Manager

Excavation for the road around the Great Lawn gifted the Arboretum a great deal of soil. The west half of the road, the side closest to the Lath House, was excavated to 18" as is standard. This trench was filled with a generous layer of crush and run, topped with a modest layer of sand, and then the pavers which finished out the new road.

It was a different story on the east half. There, the soil was too good for a roadbed! It refused to pack down. Though it was a red clay it crumbled into fine pellets as soon as it was dropped from the excavator. As a result, this side had to be excavated to twice the depth. And thus, it was necessary to lay down twice the depth of crush and run. Remember that one purpose of this road is to allow food trucks and construction vehicles access to the Arboretum in all weather.

The gift of soil was one-third bigger than originally expected, and I do truly consider it a gift for it has enabled JC Raulston Arboretum staff to do some marvelous modifications to Arboretum topography.

The first use of this excess soil was to raise the new beds around the Great Lawn, giving them much better definition and drama. Likewise, soil was used to give better definition to the new bed edges in Oak Grove which is south of the Great Lawn, between it and the Color Trials. Here, a much more gradual curve of the new road should facilitate the passage of large vehicles.

The Elizabeth Lawrence Border never felt committed to its space when viewed from the broad Chapel Hill gravel path as the bed sloped downhill from right to left (west to east), much like a painting on the wall out of level. Enough soil was brought in and now it sits in a comfortable state of levelness, following the same level as its pretty little stone wall at the front of the border.

If you are familiar with the southwest corner of the Arboretum, you probably remember an overly large expanse of three species of prickly pear cactus (Opuntia species). These go back to the earliest years of the Arboretum. They have proved that they do well in this area. And the Arboretum is too small to give that much room to such little diversity. Emptying this bed of this near monoculture allowed us to make it into a raised bed. We are excited at the prospect of replanting this bed.

Our next area, and one that might use up the remainder of the soil, is to create a long raised bed between the Perennial Border and the the White Garden so that a living screen of shrubs can soon provide the screening that the White Garden lost when the Nellie R. Stevens holly hedge was removed. Expect a mixed hedge that complements both garden spaces.

Stalite Environmental Permatil was added to all these areas to guarantee adequate drainage. I tend to think that Permatil works its magic not only through its physical presence but also through its high pH. Raising the pH on an acid clay encourages greater friability. Generous use of Permatil was made possible by not one but two huge donations of Permatil from Stalite Environmental this year, for which we are very thankful.

Moving this gift of soil has happened in fits and starts; as time permitted, as staff was available, when it was dry enough to move it, and when equipment was available. The JCRA has benefited from the generous support of the Horticulture Field Laboratory, of which the Arboretum is a part, through their time and loan of equipment. We are happy with the modifications in topography. We think you will be as well.
Upcoming Events, Programs, and Sales

Tuesdays and Thursdays throughout the month – 8:00 AM–4:00 PM

"The Old Northeast Quadrant of the Arboretum—Highlights, History, and Future Renovations"
Douglas Ruhren, Gardens Manager
Tuesday, January 5 – 1:00 PM

"Winter Flowers"
Mark Weathington, Director
Wednesday, January 6 – 3:00 PM

Friday, January 8 – 10:30 AM

"Winter Fruits"
Mark Weathington, Director
Wednesday, January 13 – 3:00 PM

Friday, January 15 – 10:30 AM

Cohosted by the Piedmont Chapter of the North American Rock Garden Society and the JC Raulston Arboretum
"Hellebores: Homeland to the Present"
Dick Tyler, Pine Knott Farms
Saturday, January 16 – 10:00 AM

Bryce Lane, Alumni Distinguished Undergraduate Professor Emeritus and Lecturer Emeritus, Department of Horticultural Science, NC State University
Mondays, January 18 through March 8 – 6:30 PM

"Winter Bark and Form"
Mark Weathington, Director
Wednesday, January 20 – 3:00 PM

Friday, January 22 – 10:30 AM

"If You Build It, They Will Come: Understanding and Improving Garden Soils"
Bryce Lane, Alumni Distinguished Undergraduate Professor Emeritus and Lecturer Emeritus, Department of Horticultural Science, NC State University
Saturday, January 23 – 8:30 AM

Rebecca Ward, Assistant State Climatologist
Saturday, January 23 – 9:00 AM

"Winter Foliage"
Mark Weathington, Director
Wednesday, January 27 – 3:00 PM

Friday, January 29 – 10:30 AM

Tim Alderton, Research Technician, and Christopher Todd Glenn, Programs and Education Coordinator
Saturday, January 30 – 9:00 AM

✽Denotes a children's program.

Many programs require advance registration. Please register early to reserve your spot.
Coming Attractions

By Nancy Doubrava, JCRA Volunteer
Prunus mume 'Peggy Clarke'
pink Japanese flowering apricot
Mahonia napaulensis 'Maharajah'
Nepal mahonia
Distylium myricoides
blue isu
Iris unguicularis 'Winter Echoes'
Algerian iris
Asarum maximum 'Ling Ling'
panda face wild-ginger
Camellia ×vernalis 'Shibori Egao'
hybrid camellia
Daphne odora 'Nakafu'
variegated winter daphne
Prunus 'First Lady'
hybrid flowering cherry
YouTube Channel Update

By Christopher Todd Glenn, Programs and Education Coordinator

Five new videos were recorded in December and posted to our YouTube Channel. In addition to a Plantsmen's Tour and a Virtual Garden Storytime, three new Midweek with Mark presentations were uploaded.
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.
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.
Christopher Todd Glenn
Programs and Education Coordinator
NC State University
Campus Box 7522
Raleigh, NC 27695-7522
(919) 513-7005

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