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

By Mark Weathington, Director

Well, I've had my first brush with COVID. As I write this, I am safely ensconced in my home office after being informed I have been in contact with someone who tested positive. The potential for catching the virus was low since we wore masks and met out of doors but better safe than sorry. Luckily, I have a lot to look forward to this month online.
We have not one, not two, but three symposia in February if we count the Magnolia Society International program we are hosting. Each and every one is sure to be full of educational and entertaining information. Not only that but we have re-vamped our Midweek with Mark online series into a weekly free program utilizing all of the talented JCRA staff. I'll be interested to hear about your thoughts.
As always, this month is an exciting time for us for a different reason—summer interns! We will be interviewing a bunch of outstanding students for our limited intern positions. Your support of these students has been a critical piece of the hands-on education that is so important to the industry.
See you in the garden.
General Fund Update

By Carly Dressen, Development Assistant

Thank you to all of our donors for your support of the JCRA General Fund!

As many know, in place of our year-end project appeal, we asked our community to consider contributing to the General Fund to give the most flexibility in executing our mission in new ways. Your incredibly generous donations will be used to invest in advancing our online programming, creating new children's program experiences, and for us to continue to invest in the gardens. Our dedicated community continues to help us as we advance the JCRA's mission each day. 

Mark your calendars for March 24, as it's almost time again for NC State's annual Day of Giving! More information on how you can participate and raise awareness for the Arboretum will be available in the coming weeks.
Eat, Drink, and Be Merry—Chocolate, Tequila, and the Intersection of Plants and People

By Sana Sheikh, Programs and Education Assistant

Whether we're cultivating plants for their ornamental beauty or farming them for food, our relationship with plants is one of the very things that make us human. This year's Winter Symposium, "Eat, Drink, and Be Merry—Chocolate, Tequila, and the Intersection of Plants and People" on Saturday, February 20 (9:00 AM to 12:00 PM), is all about exploring the cultural richness of that relationship. Learn about the connection between botany and cultural anthropology in "What is Ethnobotany?" with Bradley Bennett, the nuances of the tequila and mezcal industries in Mexico with Sarah Bowen, and the long history of chocolate in "The Botany, History, and Culture of Cacao" with Jillian De Gezelle.

Bradley Bennett, Ph.D., is a professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at Florida International University in Miami, Florida. His research has been published in countless magazines and he served as the 20042005 president of the Society for Economic Botany as well as numerous other panels and boards. In "What is Ethnobotany?," Bradley will introduce and discuss ethnobotany, delving into five of the ethnobotanical studies that he has been involved in.

Sarah K. Bowen, Ph.D., is an associate professor of sociology at NC State University. Her research combines all aspects of health, food, inequality, and development. She is the author of Divided Spirits: Tequila, Mezcal, and the Politics of Production and has served as the primary investigator and director of Voices into Action: The Families, Food, and Health Project. Sarah will discuss tequila and mezcal, including the institutions surrounding these products and how the market for these natural products impact Mexican communities.

Jillian M. De Gezelle, Ph.D., is an ethnobotanist and teaching associate professor in the Department of Plant and Microbial Biology at NC State University. Jillian has conducted ethnobotanical research on a variety of topics in North and Central America for the last 18 years. In "The Botany, History, and Culture of Cacao," Jillian will discuss everything from the origins of cacao to its history and usage in various Central-American Indigenous cultures.

By understanding how we connect to nature, we are able to truly appreciate the wonder and joy that horticulture brings into our lives. This year's Winter Symposium will make you appreciate all the wonderful ways that people and plants interact. Join us for a symposium you’ll never forget!
Summer, Summer, Summer

By Elizabeth Overcash, Children's Program Coordinator

We are optimistic and making plans for in-person camps this summer. Time to give a shout and cheer. Here's the 2021 camp schedule:

Garden Critters4 and 5 Year Olds
June 14–18 and July 12–16

Artists in the Camp – Rising 1st3rd Graders
June 21–25

Nature Detectives – Rising 1st3rd Graders
June 28–July 2 and July 26–30

Garden Build It!Rising 7th and 8th Graders
July 19–23

Garden ChefsRising 4th6th Graders
August 2–6 and August 9–13

We are re-imagining the camp experiences just a wee bitsmaller camp sizes, more time outdoors, and plenty of space for your campers to unplug and spend time making friends and exploring the garden.  

New this summer for middle school campers, Garden Build It! It will be a week filled with building garden structures (think bamboo, bog gardens, and more!), creating garden art, and other exciting activities.

Registration is also re-imaged! Payment and waivers will not be due until the beginning of May. And remember, only JCRA members at the Family/Dual or higher level can take advantage of the members-only early registration period that opens at 9:00 AM on Monday, February 22. These members get a discounted price and can register two weeks before registration opens to the general public, so make sure your membership is up to date.

Mark your calendars! Set a reminder! Can you tell we are excited? Camp sizes are limited this year, spaces will fill quickly. If you miss getting a spot, make sure to get on the waitlist.

Don't have campers at home? Tell a friend. Share the Arboretum and our programs with your family and friends!
Winter Educational Programs

By Sana Sheikh, Programs and Education Assistant

Spring is any gardener's favorite time of the year! Make yours an exciting one and prepare for the season with us by learning new skills and strategies to up your gardening game to the next level. From photography classes to learning new propagation methods, we have something new to learn for every gardener this season. 

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
Thursdays, February 11, 18, and 25 – 7:00 PM–8:30 PM – Nikon

Ready to get started with your Canon or Nikon digital camera? Learn all the camera essentials to get you started on taking photos beyond the automatic/program nodes in these beginner-friendly classes. You’ll even learn how to improve outside of the classroom when we learn how to interpret our images to make the following shots even better. 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.
Keep the Animals Out
Brie Arthur, Author, Horticulturist, and Lifelong Home Gardener
Saturday, February 27 – 10:00 AM–12:00 PM
We share our gardens with all kinds of creatures, from deer to groundhogs to even cats and dogs! While our gardens look delicious for them, having your precious plants ruined by a hungry animal can be a gardener’s worst nightmare. Brie Arthur will teach us everything we need to know about how to keep mammals out, from the best repellents to great, inexpensive options for fencing.

Spring Garden Veggie Prep
Brie Arthur, Author, Horticulturist, and Lifelong Home Gardener
Wednesdays, March 3–17 – 6:00 PM–8:00 PM

Are you ready to grow your most successful vegetable garden yet? Come join us in this three-session virtual class to get inspired and learn everything that you need to know about the ins and outs of vegetable gardening! Brie Arthur will guide us from beginning to end, covering everything from seed selection and finding the best growing areas to crop rotations and succession planting. Don’t hesitate; join us today!

Deciduous Conifer Grafting Workshop
Leanne Kenealy, Owner, Dynamic Plants
Saturday, March 6 – 9:00 AM–12:00 PM

For a variety of plants, even those rare and expensive, grafting is the only way to successfully propagate them. In this hands-on workshop, Leanne Keanealy will teach, demonstrate and assist with grafting plants successfully. Participants will get to graft their own plants! A grafting knife is required unless bought with registration, but this is only offered up to two weeks before the class, so register quick! 

Renewal Pruning Class and Demonstration
Douglas Ruhren, Gardens Manager
Saturday, March 13 – 9:00 AM–11:30 AM

Are you interested in maximizing the production of your shrubs? Renewal pruning is your solution! Doug will teach us this simple to learn skill by teaching us about shrubs and how renewal pruning works, along with live demonstrations of this technique using Arboretum shrubs. Participants will also get the chance to get hands-on experience! Ready to learn something new?
Living for Wednesday Afternoons

By Arlene Calhoun, Assistant Director

The last ten months have proven we are one rock-solid community of fun, plant-loving people. Not that I ever questioned otherwise. But don't take my word for it, join us online any Wednesday afternoon at 3:00 PM and see for yourself. You’ll find at least 150 fellow plant-loving friends ready to delve into the topic of the week. From Sally in Seal Rock, Oregon, to Scott in New York, New York, we are regularly meeting plant enthusiasts from coast to coast.

Since its premier last April, what we thought was a temporary weekly discussion with Mark Weathington has secured a permanent place on our calendar. Our team loves the weekly interaction and recognizes that Mark cannot sustain the current pace alone. We have put our heads together and created a more sustainable midweek program series—one that remains online and accessible to everyone who wants to tune in and learn more. This rotating lineup gives weekly access to our knowledgeable staff; a glimpse of our collection; and time for questions, answers and sharing what you know.

Our new midweek lineup starts in February. Each online program will welcome questions and comments.

Week 1 – Plant-lover’s Tour

Join Douglas Ruhren, gardens manager, on the first Wednesday of each month at 3:00 PM for a tour through the JC Raulston Arboretum's collections. Each month will feature a new, timely topic. Please note that the next Plant-lover's Tour is scheduled on Tuesday, February 2. During this tour, Doug will discuss some of his favorite plants in the Southall Memorial Garden and the nearby Boxwood Collection. Plant-lover's Tours will move to the first Wednesday beginning in March.

"Highlights and History of the Southall Garden, Boxwood Collection, and More"
Douglas Ruhren, Gardens Manager
Tuesday, February 2 – 1:00 PM

Week 2 – Midweek with Mark

Join Mark Weathington, director, each month on the second Wednesday at 3:00 PM as he explores topics of his choice—director's choice.

"Tiny Treasures: Little Bulbs, Dwarf Perennials, and Miniature Shrubs"
Mark Weathington, Director
Wednesday, February 10 – 3:00 PM

Week 3 – Deeper in the Garden (DIG) at the JCRA

JCRA staff will be in the garden taking a closer look at our collection on the third Wednesdays at 3:00 PM. Discussions might include a plant's relevance to us or the green industry, its history, or other fun facts in addition to our normal plant information discussions. Dennis Carey, our database and plant records coordinator, will be joining Mark in February to explore Prunus mume (Japanese flowering apricots).

"All About Japanese Flowering Apricots"
Mark Weathington, Director, and Dennis Carey, Database and Plant Records Coordinator
Wednesday, February 17 – 3:00 PM

Week 4 – JCRA Gardening 101

JCRA staff will give live gardening tips and demonstrations—things we all need to know to be better gardeners—on the fourth Wednesday of each month at 3:00 PM. Douglas Ruhren will show us how to prune hydrangeas in February.

"How to Prune Hydrangea"
Douglas Ruhren, Gardens Manager
Wednesday, February 24 – 3:00 PM

Week 5 – Horticulture Q&A

A panel of horticulturists will be available to answer your questions and share horticultural tidbits with you.

There isn't a fifth Wednesday in February, but we are looking forward to Q&As in March, June, and September.

As you can see, we are committed to our online community and are looking forward to venturing into the garden with you. Details for each week will be available on our monthly event calendar as they become available.

To all our Midweek with Mark regulars, you know who you are, thank you! You have made our Wednesdays the highlight of each week and have shown us the value of our online community.

Is it Wednesday yet? I need my plant-talk fix.
Help Support Online Programming

The JC Raulston Arboretum has been offering online programming for months with great success. As we return to in-person programming later in 2021, we're planning on offering as many of these programs online as well. We'll also continue to offer programming exclusively online, too. In an effort to improve the audio quality of our online programming (and in-person programming, too), some new technology needs to be purchased. The first item that we'd like to purchase are two compact, portable wireless microphone systems for capturing high quality audio for both our youth and adult educational programs.

If you'd like to help the JCRA improve the audio quality of our programming, please consider making a donation to support the purchase of these microphone systems. We'd like to purchase two of these systems at $250.00 each. A tax-deductible donation can be made to the JCRA General Fund using our online giving site to support this request. If you make a donation for this purchase, please let Kathy Field know that you've made a donation to purchase the wireless microphones. She can be reached at (919) 513-0264 or kathy_field@ncsu.edu.

We thank you for supporting the JC Raulston Arboretum, for supporting a greener world, and for supporting the our educational programs.
The Winter Garden

By Douglas Ruhren, Gardens Manager

Sometimes, it seems that we need to open our eyes to the beauty around us.
Recently, the JC Raulston staff participated in the filming of a future YouTube video on winter interest at the Arboretum. You might think that we would have been in the Winter Garden, but we were not. The Winter Garden does a superb job of featuring plants of winter interest and showing them in pleasing combinations. Yet, standing in the Fantasy Sweep, the area near the path that passes by the 'Fantasy' crepe myrtle (Lagerstroemia faurei 'Fantasy'), we did not want for winter interest.

Various textures and shapes of evergreen foliage of both conifers and broad-leaved evergreens provided dramatic contrasts to the intriguing architecture of deciduous trees and shrubs. The bark of the crepe myrtles is of various shades of brown, from cinnamon to mahogany. I can't help but think of grammar schoolteacher Mrs. Johnson who, tired of her students drawing trees with brown bark, promised an ice cream cone to anyone who could show her a tree with brown bark. Obviously, she never traveled south of the frozen north to see such marvels as crepe myrtles.

A few evergreen herbaceous perennials provided winter interest at ground level, most notably a number of evergreen native sedges (Carex species) and acanthus (Acanthus mollis). The broad foliage of the acanthus looking more like a plant of summer than winter. Its Mediterranean origin means it has evolved to make use of winter moisture, hence its presence in the winter garden.

There were more than enough plants of winter interest in this area to satisfy the viewer willing to open his eyes what with bark and twig and foliage. Yet it might almost be a lie of omission to not mention that in this same area two camellias (Camellia japonica) were opening their first flowers on this mid-January day. Likewise, the buds of sweet box, in this case the selection 'Western Hills' of Sarcococca hookeriana, were swelling and would soon flood the garden with its perfume. And the paper bush, though not yet in flower, was at its winter peak with its silvery flower buds sparkling in the weak winter sun. It is a JCRA selection of Edgeworthia 'Snow Globe' found by Tim Alderton. It is intermediate in size between its two parents, Edgeworthia papyrifera and E. chrysantha. There I go again; distracted by the flowers.

Celebrate the many flowers of winter. They are the reward for surviving the long, hot zone 7b summer. But don't let them prevent you from seeing the perhaps more subtle beauty of so many plants in their winter aspect, whether in the Arboretum, your own garden, in woodland, or field.
Gardening in the South

By Sana Sheikh, Programs and Education Assistant

Start your spring off with a bang with Gardening in the South! We have a great set of presentations on Saturday, February 6 (9:00 AM to 12:00 PM) to help you improve your horticulture skills and expand your horizons. Learn the ins and outs of growing trees, making your garden a better place for local pollinators, and improving your soil to help your garden thrive.

Basil Camu is the chief vision officer and wizard of things at Leaf & Limb, as well as a treecologist and ISA board certified master arborist. In "Four Ways to Make Your Trees Happy + Two Critical Errors to Avoid," Basil will discuss the best strategies to keep your trees happy. From four ways to cultivate healthy, happy trees, to the two mistakes you absolutely shouldn't make, you'll be sure to learn an arsenal of skills to help your trees thrive.

Danesha Seth Carley, Ph.D., is an associate professor in the Department of Horticultural Science at NC State University. Her research has covered topics such as pollinator protection and habitat conservation. In "Let's Talk Pollinator Gardening: Plan, Plant, and Maintain Successful and Beautiful Pollinator Gardens," she'll go over the best ways to design your garden as a space for pollinators to thrive. This presentation will combine both the science and art behind building and renovating your garden as well as teach you how to manage your gardens throughout the seasons.

William Fonteno, Ph.D., is a professor in the Department of Horticultural Science at NC State University. He has taught for 42 years, specializing in horticultural substrates and urban soils, and has also served as the technical advisor for the national Mulch and Soil Council for 15 years. In "Good Garden Soil: Build It and They Will Come," Bill will shed light on the causes and cures of poor soil in urban environments. While most people in the Triangle have poor soil for gardening, there are a variety of ways to create fantastic soil quality for extra productive gardening.

This year, Gardening in the South brings you new ways to re-imagine your garden and help it flourish. Expand your horizons and rediscover the amazing things you can achieve with your landscape!
Upcoming Events, Programs, and Sales

Closed throughout February. Opens in March.

"Highlights and History of the Southall Garden, Boxwood Collection, and More"
Douglas Ruhren, Gardens Manager
Tuesday, February 2 – 1:00 PM

Facebook Live Event
Friday, February 5 – 10:30 AM

Sponsored by Leaf & Limb
Featuring Basil Camu, Danesha Seth Carley, and Bill Fonteno
Saturday, February 6 – 9:00 AM

"Tiny Treasures: Little Bulbs, Dwarf Perennials, and Miniature Shrubs"
Mark Weathington, Director
Wednesday, February 10 – 3:00 PM

Mary Louise Ravese, Bella Vista Photography
Wednesdays, February 10, 17, and 24 – 7:00 PM – Canon Photographers

Mary Louise Ravese, Bella Vista Photography
Thursdays, February 11, 18, and 25 – 7:00 PM – Nikon Photographers

Friday, February 12 – 10:30 AM

Cohosted by the Piedmont Chapter of the North American Rock Garden Society and the JC Raulston Arboretum
"The Aroid Collection of Alan Galloway"
Brandon Huber, Graduate Student, NC State University, and Jason Lattier, Director, Caine Conservatory, High Point University
Saturday, February 13 – 10:00 AM

Hosted by the Magnolia Society International and the JC Raulston Arboertum
Saturday, February 13 – 12:00 PM

"All About Prunus mume (Japanese Flowering Apricots)"
Mark Weathington, Director
Wednesday, February 17 – 3:00 PM

Garden Spotlight
Friday, February 19 – 10:30 AM

"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 Jillian M. De Gezelle, Ph.D., NC State University
Saturday, February 20 – 9:00 AM

"How to Prune Hydrangea"
Douglas Ruhren, Gardens Manager
Wednesday, February 24 – 3:00 PM

Friday, February 26 – 10:30 AM

Brie Arthur, Author, Horticulturist, and Lifelong Home Gardener
Saturday, February 27 – 10:00 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
Magnolia stellata 'Chrysanthemumiflora'
many-petalled star magnolia
Narcissus 'Ice Follies'
large-cupped daffodil
Iris unguicularis 'Dazzling Eyes'
Algerian iris
Daphne odora 'Shinano Nishiki'
variegated winter daphne
Helleborus 'Abcrd02'
Frostkiss Anna's Red Lenten rose
Scilla mischtschenkoana
Tubergen's squill
Illicium anisatum
star anise
Cercis chinensis 'Kay's Early Hope'
Chinese redbud
YouTube Channel Update

By Christopher Todd Glenn, Programs and Education Coordinator

Eight new videos were recorded in January and four of them were posted to our YouTube Channel. The remaining videos are coming coming soon.
Coming Soon

The following video will be posted to YouTube in early February.
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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