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

By Mark Weathington, Director

It was a somber day recently although the sun was shining bright and the sky was blue. We had to remove an old friend from the Arboretum grounds, a venerable, upright English oak (Quercus robur f. fastigiata). The tree was a gift to J. C. Raulston when he left Texas for North Carolina and although there were trees on what was to become the JC Raulston Arboretum grounds before it, we consider this to be the first tree planted by J. C. himself here. Even before I began working at the Arboretum and before the Ruby C. McSwain Education Center was built, the tree marked the entrance to the JCRA and I knew I was in entering the pearly gates of plant heaven when I saw it.

Truth be told, English oaks are not the best trees for the Southeast. They resent our hot nights and muggy weather. They get powdery mildew, anthracnose, and a variety of other ailments. If it wasn't for this particular tree's legacy, it would surely have been removed ages ago. As it reminded us of J. C. who passed away much too early, we went through unusual lengths to keep it healthy. Unfortunately, even our best efforts were no match for the various issues it faced and time it spent in the garden. We bid it a fond farewell and shared the wood with our volunteers who will turn the logs and branches into objects of beauty.

Fastigiate English oaks may not be suitable for our Southern landscapes but that doesn't mean they don't have their uses here. They are one of the parents of the hybrid oaks called Quercus ×warei, the other parent being our own native swamp white oak (Quercus bicolor). The first in what has become a variety of these oaks was one named 'Long' but sold as Regal Prince. The upright habit and tolerance for the South's climate gained from its respective parents has been a game changing addition to the landscaper's palette. 

I was asked if we would plant a new upright English oak to replace the one that was lost. I responded in the negative because I can see no better way to honor J. C.'s memory than to try some other new plants in its place. Plants come and plants go from the JCRA and that is how it should be. We continue to diversify the American landscape just as J. C. did by planting, evaluating, distributing, and ultimately removing the plants that populate the Arboretum.

See you in the garden.
Giveaway Pregame

By Kathryn Wall, Membership and Volunteer Coordinator

It's almost time for the Friends of the Arboretum Annual Plant Distribution and we want you to "get in the game!" The event will be held in person on Saturday, October 2. The line and plant layouts will be spread out more than before to allow for better social distancing.

We prepped a special pregame video! If you watch it, you'll be totally ready to take the field!

Important tips:

  • Show your membership card at check in. We will have a member list available to check you in if you don't have your membership card.
  • Make a note of a few plants you desire the most and make a note of their stake numbers. 
  • Bring a wagon or cart (and possibly a folding chair if you're early and waiting in line). Bring something to line your trunk, too.
  • Extra guests, nonmembers, and accompanying children will not be allowed in the distribution area, but they can wait for you in the garden and help when it is over.
  • We will be selling memberships starting at 7:30 AM. New members who sign up that morning are eligible for the plant giveaway.

This is a free members-only event, but donations are welcome and appreciated!
Unbe-leaf-able Fall Preorder Plant Sale 
Members shop first and get the best selection!

Shopping begins Thursday, October 7 at 12:00 PM.
Public shopping begins Wednesday, October 13 at 12:00 PM.
Sale ends Monday, October 18 at 12:00 PM.
What can you expect?

Order online
Diverse selection
Top quality
Many plants from the JCRA collection
Plant catalog will be available at http://jcra.ncsu.edu/.
Shopping link will be e-mailed to you.
Pickup Dates: October 2730 at the JCRA
Following the sale, you will receive an e-mail with a SignUpGenius link to select your pick up date.
Shipping isn't available.
Flame Thrower Redbud Torches the Competition

By Mark Weathington, Director

The venerable Chelsea Flower Show has a long and storied history dating back to the mid 1800s as the Royal Horticultural Society Great Spring Show. By the early 1900s, the show was moved to the Chelsea Hospital grounds where it has stayed ever since. The show is a horticultural marvel and I'm ashamed to admit that I only visited for the first time a few years ago. The floral displays, nursery offerings, and eclectic gardens all make the pilgrimage more than worthwhile.
One of the important ceremonies of the show is the crowning of the RHS Chelsea Flower Show Plant of the Year, a true feather in the cap for any plant breeder. The 2021 winner was none other than the JCRA's director emeritus and plant breeder, Denny Werner's breakthrough breeding triumph, Cercis canadensis 'NC2016-2' Flame Thrower, sold in the Europe market as Eternal Flame. This Denny Werner/JCRA introduction is one of a series of redbuds recently released but certainly not the last as even more novel selections are being evaluated for release soon.

Photograph courtesy John Grimshaw
Southeast Regional Maple Group

By Lynn Swanson, Volunteer, and Mark Weathington, Director
The Japanese maple is the symbol of the JC Raulston Arboretum with its leaf included in our logo and about 250 different maples on Arboretum grounds including over 150 Japanese maples. If you love maples, Japanese and otherwise as much as we do, you may want to look into the Maple Society, an international group with the mission to enhance knowledge and appreciation of maples as a species and as part of our ornamental landscape.

The Maple Society is a great group. Be on the lookout for an announcement of their next international meeting here in Raleigh in 2022. If that date is too far in the future and you can't get enough maple talks in your life, there's reason for optimism. There will be a meeting to explore starting a Southeast regional maple interest group for the purpose of gathering more locally to discuss, learn, and perhaps organize field trips regarding maples. A meeting is scheduled for Saturday October 9, 3:00 PM to 5:00 PM, to gather, meet each other, and enjoy refreshments. For more information, contact JCRA volunteers Jim and Lynn Swanson at jamesswanson0131@gmail.com and lynnswanson75@gmail.com. I know I'll be there!
Evening Garden Stroll

Join us on Tuesday, October 12 between 4:30 PM and 7:30 PM for this season's final Evening Garden Stroll. You might consider bringing a little extra cash to shop the North American Rock Garden Society plant sale featuring their members' tried-and-true favorites (and, as always, our plant buggy will be stocked for your shopping pleasure). Come enjoy the cool autumn evening with us, and keep an eye out for our special Fall Fantasia exhibit of artistically upcycled ceiling fans during your walk!
Fall Wish List Update

By Carly Dressen, Development Assistant

Thank you to Marilyn Grolitzer, Ph.D., and Bill Dupont, Ph.D., for their generous contribution to purchase a defibrillator for the Ruby C. McSwain Education Center! We are thankful to have this vital piece of medical equipment on-site at the Arboretum. We are grateful for our community of dedicated supporters who continue to help improve the safety and accessibility of the JCRA! 

Two items we are hoping to receive donations of any size towards are:
GPS Receiver with One Centimeter Accuracy for Mapping and Recording Plants – $3,500

The first thing we teach interns is the definition of a botanic garden—a documented collection of plants. The documentation and recording is key to the long-term research and getting plants mapped accurately is one of the first steps.
Webcams with Built-in Speakers and Microphones – $150 (×2)

We've learned we can be very effective working from remote locations but not all of our staff computers have cameras and microphones. We'd love to see their expressions and hear their input during meetings, and, perhaps more importantly, it would allow Doug to give a presentation from his own computer.

Contribute online by visiting http://go.ncsu.edu/jcra_gifts.

Contribute by phone by calling Kathy Field at (919) 513-0264. For more information, please contact Carly Dressen at (919) 515-1680 or cadresse@ncsu.edu.

Contribute by check made payable to NC Agricultural Foundation, Inc., and mail to:

JC Raulston Arboretum
Fall Wish List
Campus Box 7522
Raleigh, NC 27695-7522
Fall Educational Programs

By Christopher Todd Glenn, Programs and Education Coordinator

The JCRA has something to offer for everyone looking to get the most out of their fall this year. Join us for in-person and online educational programs that are sure to make your skills bloom! Spaces are limited in these programs so register today to reserve your spot. If you have questions about any of these programs, please contact us at jcraprograms@ncsu.edu.

All About Pruning: Theory, Tools, Technique, and Timing 
Bryce Lane, NC State University
Mondays, October 11 through November 1 – 6:30 PM–8:30 PM
In Person and Online

Pruning is a garden task that all gardeners want to know more about. This four-week class covers all things pruning: theory, tools, technique, timing, specialized pruning methods, and more! After taking this class, you will be able to handle most all your plant pruning needs!

Exploring the Diversity of Camellias 
Brie Arthur, Author, Horticulturist, and Lifelong Home Gardener
Thursday, October 21 – 6:30 PM–8:30 PM
In Person and Online
Join camellia enthusiast, propagator, and grower Brie Arthur for an inspiring program featuring a Southern favorite, the irresistible camellia. Brie will share insights on how to cultivate camellias in zones 7–9 for high impact interest through the fall, winter, and spring. Discover tips on site selection, soil improvement, fertility needs, pruning, and home propagation methods as well as favorite fall and winter blooming varieties. From ancient varieties to modern hybrids, this program will provide attendees with the knowledge needed to be successful at growing camellias.

Fern Propagation Workshop 
Bob Payne, Wake County Extension Master Gardener
Saturday, October 23 – 9:00 AM–12:00 PM
In Person

Learn about the reproductive cycle of ferns and how to propagate them from spores in this hands-on workshop. Participants will be introduced to terms like gametophyte and sporophyte and will clean and sow spores and divide gametophytes and sporophytes. Each participant will take home a variety of ferns in various stages of development.

Introduction to Adobe Lightroom Classic: Organizing and Editing Your Photographs 
Mary Louise Ravese, Bella Vista Photography
Tuesdays, October 26 through November 30 – 6:30 PM–8:30 PM

With digital photography, the capturing of the image with the camera is just the start. Photographers also must understand how to process their images for their intended use—whether that be to print photographs, create Web pages and social media postings, create slide shows or even albums/books. This five-week course provides the background information necessary for you to pursue your photography goals!

Photography Walk 
"Top Tips for Photographing Fall Color" 
Mary Louise Ravese, Bella Vista Photography
Thursday, October 28 – 10:00 AM–12:00 PM
In Person

As the leaves start to turn fall colors, we are inspired to capture their glory in a photograph. In this session, Mary Louise will explain her tips for how to best capture the color of the season from what photography equipment to use, to successful techniques, and advice on where and when to go to locations convenient to the Triangle area. We will then practice in the gardens of the Arboretum. 

Propagating Woody Plants from Seed 
Bryce Lane, NC State University
Saturday, October 30 – 9:00 AM–12:00 PM
In Person and Online

One of Bryce Lane's favorite gardening activities is plant propagation. He loves to divide plants, take cuttings, and he even dabbles in layerage, but propagating woody plants from seed is often overlooked. Come attend a class totally devoted to understanding how trees, shrubs, vines, and ground covers reproduce from seed and how we, as gardeners, can take advantage of that science to propagate new and interesting plants. We will talk all about what woody plant seeds need to germinate, how we can overcome dormancy and take advantage of the diversity that comes with propagating plants from seed.
The Nature of Drawing: Fall Studio 
Preston Montague, Landscape Designer and Botanical Illustrator
Saturday, October 30 – 9:00 AM–12:00 PM
In Person

Botanical illustration is a powerful tool for understanding and communicating nature's design. Whether for scientific exploration, self-expression, or both, botanical illustration gives us an opportunity to document those moments in nature that inspire us. Join artist and landscape architect, Preston Montague, for a drawing course exploring fundamentals of drawing, as well as skill development for more experienced artists in a fun and encouraging atmosphere. 

Creative Abstract Photography Class and Workshops
Mary Louise Ravese, Bella Vista Photography
Sundays, October 31, November 7 and 14, and December 5 – 1:00 PM–3:00 PM

Abstract photography allows the photographer the freedom to discover and explore "ordinary" subjects from a fresh perspective for the sheer beauty of their characteristics of color, texture, and shape. Learning abstract photography techniques is an excellent exercise in expanding and refining the "photographer's eye" and enables participants to create images that are uniquely their own, employing strong visual design elements. It is a valuable learning exercise that will improve not just the participant's ability to make abstract imagery, but take a more creative approach in all types of images from landscapes to portraiture and beyond.

Direct Seeding Dynamic Displays
Brie Arthur, Author, Horticulturist, and Lifelong Home Gardener
Saturday, November 6 – 10:00 AM–11:30 AM
In Person and Online

For twenty years, horticulturist Brie Arthur has been honing her skills at direct seeding flowers and vegetables to create unique, low maintenance displays. In this brand-new program, Brie will share advice on site and soil preparation, seed selection, timing, and long-term management strategies. Learn how to grow poppies, larkspur, and other cool season flowers and veggies by employing the easiest approach to growing: direct seeding! This presentation will inspire attendees to start scattering seeds and growing beauty and bounty in all the open areas of their landscapes.

The Best of Bryce II: Talks That Make Us Better Gardeners
Bryce Lane, NC State University
Mondays, November 8 through December 13 – 6:30 PM–8:30 PM
In Person and Online

By popular demand, Bryce is back giving six more of his best talks. Each class is devoted to current, relevant, and popular gardening topics. Topics include the following:

  • "The Joy of Gardening: The Power of Plants to Change Your Point of View"
  • "The Magic of Fall Color"
  • "Shade Tolerant Plants That add Color and Texture to the Landscape"
  • "All about Weeds: Identification, Prevention, and Management"
  • "Going Beyond the Foundation: Planting for the New Home Landscape"
  • "Beautiful Bushes: Super Shrubs for the Landscape"

COVID-19 Guidelines

In-person programs are scheduled under the assumption we can meet together in groups at the time of the program's start date. If NC State or the state have any COVID-19 safety guidelines in place at that time, everyone in attendance will be required to follow them. If meeting in person in large enough numbers indoors isn't permitted at the time of the program, we will conduct the impacted program entirely outdoors or online if possible. In some cases, we may need to cancel a program due to restrictions.
Manna from Heaven

By Douglas Ruhren, Gardens Manager

It is the season when leaves fall from trees like manna from heaven, mulching gardens and, in time, enriching soils. And all of this is for free. So why is it that people discard this gift of free mulch and spend money on mulch?

I am prompted to write this because questions on the topic of mulch often dominates the Q&A with the JCRA Gardening in the South program. And, in case you don't know the Gardening in the South is a free JCRA program held twice a year for beginning gardeners and those new to gardening in this area.

All mulches of plant origin are chemically comparable. Bought mulch is not better. All provide the benefit of conserving soil moisture and suppressing weeds. All eventually break down and enrich the soil.

There are several ideas that border on myth that just won't die. One is that mulch makes soil acidic. While it might acidify soils to a minuscule degree, the solution is simple: it is to add lime, once a soil test indicates that lime is actually needed and how much lime is needed. And remember that the vast majority of common landscape plants prefer a slightly acidic soil over a neutral or alkaline one. Any acidification, if it happened at all, would occur extremely gradually.

A second idea is that mulch ties up nitrogen. There is some truth to this, but it is a temporary truth. In breaking down the carbon in any organic mulch (as opposed to an inorganic mulch such as gravel or rubber), the organisms need nitrogen. So this nitrogen is temporarily tied up but eventually released. And again the solution is simple: add a little nitrogen to the soil if you think that plant growth is stunted, provided that you know there is already adequate phosphorus and potassium in the soil.

Oh, okay, your free mulch might be a little less than ideal if your trees are ones with large hard leaves such as some oaks, especially if you are growing tiny plants under them. You could grind the leaves with a lawn mower or stock pile them in a bin for a year or more until they break down. (Always make sure they go into the bin wet, not dry.) But beyond that, there's no reason to get rid of what is provided free and spend money on store-bought mulch. It will be good for your pocket book and for the planet when mulch materials aren't being trucked around from the original source to your garden.
Upcoming Events, Programs, and Sales

Daily at the Bobby G. Wilder Visitor Center
Monday–Friday: 9:00 AM–4:30 PM
Saturday and Sunday: 10:00 AM–6:00 PM
In Person

Friday, October 1 through Thursday, October 7 – 9:00 AM–4:30 PM
In Person

Saturday, October 2 – 9:00 AM (check in begins at 7:30 AM)
In Person

"The Mixed Border and the Concept Behind It"
Douglas Ruhren, Gardens Manager
Tuesday, October 5 – 1:00 PM
In Person

"Plant Sale Sneak Peak"
Douglas Ruhren, Gardens Manager
Wednesday, October 6 – 3:00 PM

Thursday, October 7 – 10:00 AM
In Person

Bryce Lane, Alumni Distinguished Undergraduate Professor Emeritus and Lecturer Emeritus, Department of Horticultural Science, NC State University
Mondays, October 11 through November 1 – 6:30 PM
In Person and Online

Tuesday, October 12 – 4:30 PM
In Person

"South American Stunners—Hardy Plants from Our Neighbors Down South"
Mark Weathington, Director
Wednesday, October 13 – 3:00 PM

"Let's Talk Pollinator Gardening: Plan, Plant, and Maintain Successful and Beautiful Pollinator Gardens"
Danesha Seth Carley, Ph.D., and Anne M. Spafford, M.L.A., Associate Professors, Department of Horticultural Science
Thursday, October 14 – 7:30 PM
In Person and Online

Cohosted by the Piedmont Chapter of the North American Rock Garden Society and the JC Raulston Arboretum
"Distinctive Texas Native Plants Ideal for Rock Gardens in the Piedmont"
Adam Black, Freelance Plant Hunter
Saturday, October 16 – 10:00 AM

"Bulbs: It's Time to Plant"
Douglas Ruhren, Gardens Manager
Wednesday, October 20 – 3:00 PM

Brie Arthur, Author, Horticulturist, and Lifelong Home Gardener
Thursday, October 21 – 6:30 PM
In Person and Online

Friday, October 22 through Thursday, October 28 – 9:00 AM–4:30 PM
In Person

Bob Payne, Wake County Extension Master Gardener
Saturday, October 23 – 9:00 AM
In Person

Mary Louise Ravese, Bella Vista Photography
Tuesdays, October 26 through November 30 – 6:30 PM

"Fall Is for Planting—Getting Your Plants Off to a Strong Start"
Barb Fair, Associate Professor, and Mark Weathington, Director
Wednesday, October 27 – 3:00 PM

Thursday, October 28 – 10:00 AM
In Person

"Top Tips for Photographing Fall Color"
Mary Louise Ravese, Bella Vista Photography
Thursday, October 28 – 10:00 AM
In Person

Bryce Lane, Alumni Distinguished Undergraduate Professor Emeritus and Lecturer Emeritus, Department of Horticultural Science, NC State University
Saturday, October 30 – 9:00 AM
In Person and Online

Preston Montague, Landscape Designer and Botanical Illustrator
Saturday, October 30 – 9:00 AM
In Person

Mary Louise Ravese, Bella Vista Photography
Sundays, October 31, November 7 and 14, and December 5 – 1:00 PM
Register (optional workshops available)

✽Denotes a children's program.

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

By Nancy Doubrava, JCRA Volunteer
Camellia ×hiemalis 'Rose of Autumn'
hybrid camellia
Aster tataricus 'Jindai'
dwarf Tatarian aster
Coreopsis integrifolia
fringe-leaf tickseed
Cyclamen hederifolium Ashwood Nurseries Silver Leaf Group
hardy cyclamen
Crocus pulchellus
autumn crocus
Rhododendron 'Conlef' (Autumn Cheer)
Encore azalea
Farfugium japonicum 'Aureomaculatum'
leopard plant
Chrysanthemum 'Sheffield Pink'
YouTube Channel Update

By Christopher Todd Glenn, Programs and Education Coordinator

Five programs were recorded in September. These videos were all were posted to our YouTube channel. September's Horticulture midweek program will be posted soon. 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.
Coming Soon
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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