JC Raulston Arboretum e-Update

Chaenomeles 'Scarlet Storm' (Double Take)
Your Monthly News and Updates
Director's Note
By Mark Weathington, Director

A decade and a half!  It’s hard for me to believe I’ve been a part of the JC Raulston Arboretum team since August 2007. Time flies when you’re having fun. I still feel like I just arrived and I’m still finding new joys every season all over the garden. I remember seeing the motto for the recently completed master plan, “It’s all about the plants.”

It didn’t take me long to realize that it’s really all about the people. The people who support us, the people who built this wonderful community, and of course the people who work here every day. The staff has always been amazing and I’ve never worked with a more dedicated, knowledgeable, and fun team anywhere else. The names have changed over the years but each person has helped lift the JCRA in different ways.

We hope to continue building this great team over the next several months. If you or someone you know might be a good fit with us, be on the lookout for job announcements to fill new and exciting opportunities from outside in the gardens to programming and events.  We can’t wait to see how the next team members help us continue to build the JC Raulston Arboretum.

See you in the garden.
How to store and handle seeds - Q & A
By Dennis Carey, Curator

Since delivering the Member Seed Distribution (MSD) seeds, we’ve received some questions from folks about how to handle them. So I thought I’d write some quick A’s to the Q’s.

Q: I am not planting my seeds right away. How do I store the seeds?
A: We store seeds in small paper envelopes ('coin envelopes') in a refrigerator. The paper allows air to reach the seed and it absorbs any excess moisture too. Plus, it is easy to write on for labeling purposes. The low temperatures (<45F), dry environment and lack of light inside the refrigerator (yes, the light really does go out when you shut the door) slow down the seed’s metabolism so that they survive in storage for a long time…often many years. When we packed the member seed orders, we moved the seeds from our coin envelopes into small plastic zip-locs or wax paper (aka glassine) envelopes. This was to save space in the mailers that we sent out. Your seeds should store perfectly well in the sealed glassine envelopes but the zip-locs seal too tightly and should be opened for air and moisture exchange. You can move your seeds to your own packaging too… a paper bag, or even a homemade seed envelope made from scrap paper.   

Q: Should I sow my seeds now or wait until next spring?
A: You can do either, but sooner is generally better than later.
Some of the seeds are ready to grow now and will germinate immediately once you sow them and water them in. So the earlier you sow them, the longer they have to grow big enough to survive the winter. For most seeds, you should sow them outside between March and September to give them enough time to bulk up. If they are slow growers (like palm tree seeds) you can bring them indoors in fall or sow them indoors in a warm bright spot and keep them in a pot until they are big enough to survive outside.

Other seeds have dormancy mechanisms in place and will not germinate right away even if you sow them now. They will need to be exposed to certain environmental factors to overcome these dormancy mechanisms. These environmental factors include: moist warmth (generally 70-85F), moist cold (below 45F), day/night temperature cycles (which cause expansion and contraction), sunlight/darkness and time. These environmental factors combine to slowly break down any physical or chemical dormancy factor within the seed, such as a thick seed coat or a germination inhibiting hormone. The sooner you sow your seeds outdoors, the sooner you can start this cycle of environmental exposure. But you may not see any germination until next spring or even the spring after that because it usually takes months for the environment to overcome dormancy mechanisms. Of course you can greatly speed up this process by sowing indoors in pots and employing scarification and stratification techniques and optimizing light and temperature levels. Whichever you choose, make sure that after you sow the seeds, you keep them slightly moist so that the emerging embryo never dries out.

Q: How do I find out how to best plant and care for my seeds?

There are tons of great seed sowing references on the web including some from the NC Cooperative extension, the US Forest Service. For those of you who want specific stratification information, you can refer to Deno’s Seed Germination book. We hope you have success with your MSD seeds.

If you have any other seed questions, email them to

Intro to Gardening in the South
by Arlene Calhoun, Associate Director

Sponsored by Leaf & Limb
Saturday, August 27, 20229:00 AM –12:00 PM

Help us spread the word to the people you know who are new to gardening or recently moved to the Triangle area. Intro to Gardening in the South is a program designed to introduce people to the JC Raulston Arboretum and the horticulturally rich area we call home. We thank our friends at Leaf & Limb for sponsoring this free program.

Registration is now open. We invite people new to the area or new to gardening to join us in person and we invite more experienced gardeners to join us online to participate in the program. This program will also be uploaded to our YouTube channel after the event. Please help us spread the word with your coworkers, friends and neighbors. We know we have a community of life learners and if you’re like me, no matter how many talks about Gardening in the South you attend, you hear something worth knowing.

This symposium's topics and speakers are:

"Starting on the Right Foot"
Mark Weathington, JC Raulston Arboretum at NC State University

"Foolproof Plants for the South"
Amanda Wilkins, Horticulture Agent, Lee County Cooperative Extension

"Post Planting Planning"
Mark Weathington, JC Raulston Arboretum at NC State University

Space is limited and registration is required if you are attending in person or online. You do not need to register if you plan to watch the program on YouTube.

If you haven’t checked out the YouTube channel, please do. All the previous Gardening in the South sessions can be viewed on our YouTube Channel Miscellaneous playlist.

Student Internship Program
By Amy Beitzel, Development Assistant

As our Student Internship Program wraps up for the summer, we wanted to take the time to thank all of our generous donors! On July 25, we hosted our annual ice cream social to give our donors and volunteers a chance to meet the 2022 interns and recognize all their hard work this summer. We enjoyed Howling Cow ice cream with all the fixings and learned from this year’s group of interns during a fun question and answer session. Thank you to all who attended!

The Student Internship Program runs May through August each summer and provides young horticulturists and one youth educator a chance to gain valuable experience in one of the nation's premier plant collections. By giving to this program, you ensure the JCRA may continue offering this impactful opportunity to the interns. If you would like to support student education, please consider donating to the Student Internship Program. If you have any questions, please contact Alycia Thornton, director of development, at or (919) 515-7068.
New Fall Programs for Homeschoolers
By Joy E. Burns, School Programs Coordinator

The “Lunch & Lit(erature)” program at JCRA has been a big hit for homeschoolers! By request, we’ve expanded it to include elementary school students this fall. Students bring their lunch and enjoy a read-aloud each week. Then, inspired by the day’s readings we complete hands-on activities in the garden. It’s a bit of science, some nature study, planting, crafting, and a lot of fun! Registration is now open.

All About Trees!
Grades 1-2
Wednesdays, September 21 and 28 (2 weeks)
12:00 PM-1:30 PM
More information

Growing in the Garden
Grades 3-4
Wednesdays, October 5-26 (4 weeks)
12:00 PM-1:30 PM
More information

Wishtree by Katherine Applegate
Grades 5-8
Thursdays, September 15-November 3 (8 weeks)
12:00 PM-2:00 PM
More Information

Join us for the August Evening Garden Stroll
Tuesday, August 9, 4:30-7:30 pm
We invite you to come spend an August evening with us.
Bernadette Clark will be back at the Annual Trial Beds answering questions and offering a few tastings if crops hold from this year’s trials. Take advantage of our extended hours and come enjoy a summer evening at your Arboretum.

Moonlight in the Garden Returns!
by Arlene Calhoun, Associate Director

We don’t have all the details in place, but we are making it official with this announcement to our members. I’m delighted to share what we know.

Save the Date
General Admission Nights
Thursday, Friday, and Saturday
November 10, 11, and 12 and November 17, 18, and 19
Gates Open from 5:30 pm - 9:30 pm
Timed Entry Tickets
Food Trucks, Hot Cider, Fire Pits and Marshmallows

Members will get first access to the hottest tickets in town.

Moonlight in the Garden is our biggest fundraising event, tickets sell out in advance and they go fast. Mark your calendars, if you think our collection is spectacular by day, you don’t want to miss seeing it in all its nighttime splendor! It’s a magical experience you don’t want to miss.

A special thank you to John Garner and his team at Southern Lights of Raleigh for finding a solution to make it happen this year. (Labor shortage is impacting everyone.)

Watch our Web site for more details.

Membership Benefits You Don't Want to Miss
by Kathryn Wall, Membershp and Volunteer Manager

You make a difference by supporting JCRA through your membership. Here some upcoming benefits for members that I don't want you to miss!

1. Your JCRA Membership card entitles you to special admission privileges and discounts* at 345+ gardens throughout North America through the Reciprocal Gardens Program of the American Horticultural Society. Download a List of 2022 Participating Gardens.

2. JCRA Members will have early access to the upcoming JCRA Fall Preorder Plant Sale. Members shop first Thursday, September 8 beginning at 12:00 PM. The online only sale will run September 9-13. Plant pick up will be later in September (no shipping). We're compiling our plant list now and watch for more details coming in the September e-Update.

3.  JCRA Members will get first access to purchase Moonlight in the Garden tickets. Ticket sales will be announced soon.

4. JCRA Members are eligible to receive a $30 discount for the The Introduction to Therapeutic Horticulture course offered online (August 29 - October 16) by NC State University Department of Horticultural Science and the North Carolina Botanical Garden at UNC Chapel Hill. Email for the discount code.

5. And of course, the big favorite: FREE PLANTS! The JCRA annual plant distribution is Saturday, October 1. Mark your calendar!

Educational Program Highlights
by Kathryn Wall, Membership and Volunteer Manager

As we enter the last full month of summer, we're dreaming of cooler days. August is a time for last minute vacation, but we're not taking a break from our educational programming here at the JCRA. We have some new programming and some of our returning favorites. We kick off the month with the Plant-lover's Tour on August 2. Our weekly midweek programming continues with a new program later this month, Garden Conversations featuring Jim Putnam of YouTube's Hort Tube on August 24. We'll wrap up the month with our 5th Wednesday Hort Hour, taking your questions and sharing some faves from the garden.

Gardening with Native Plants … And Some Some of Their Not-so-native Relatives - August 15 - October 3 (No class September 5)
In this multiweek class, Bryce Lane will take a "deep dive" into what it means to call a plant native, naturalized, exotic, invasive, and nonnative. Gain practical tips to consider when we select plants for our gardens. In addition Bryce will talk about the many plants from far away places that are related to many of our American native plants and how they too, can be used in our gardens. Join this course in person or online and sessions will be recorded and may be viewed at a different time.

Not Tonight, Deer: No More Long-Legged Rats in Your Garden - August 20

So many deer! My North Raleigh yard is regularly grazed by a herd of deer who must nibble (or devour) almost everything that isn't behind fence or under chicken wire. Frank Hyman of Cottage Garden Landscaping will guide attendees using slides, stories, and Q&A on keeping the deer away. Earlier that same morning, Frank shares his popular Introduction to Mushroom Foraging “Learn a Year’s Worth of Wild Edible Mushrooms in One Day.” These are in person classes held at the JCRA.

"Botanical Cyanotype Sun Prints" - August 25
The August Photography Walk is unusual because no camera is needed! Instead Mary Louise Ravese will teach how to make botanical cyanotype "photograms” aka sun prints using leafs and cuttings from the Arboretum. Cyanotype is a simple photographic printing process that is easy and inexpensive to do at home. This class is sure to be fun way to learn new skills.

For more information about these programs, please click on the links above or write
Favorites from the Color Trials
By Bernadette Clark, Bedding Trials Coordinator

We recently invited people to vote for their favorites in the 2022 Color Trials.
Taking top ranking for both green industry and consumer voters was
Celosia 'Asian Garden' by All-America Selections (pictured above). The consumer voters also liked Zinnia 'Holi Scarlet' by All-America Selections for their top pick (it was a tie).

Coming in 2nd place for both was
Premium Sun Ruby Heart coleus by PanAmerican Seed. The consumers again came in with a tied vote and also liked Lantana Luscious Royal Red Zone by Proven Winners.

Third place winners were

Industry choice: Suncredible Yellow by Proven Winners
Consumer Choice (also a tie):ColorBlaze Torchlight coleus by Proven Winners
Rudbeckia Minibeckia Flame by GardenChoice.

Magnolia stellata 'Chrysanthemumiflora'
Upcoming Events, Programs, and Sales

Plant Buggy 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

Nature Detectives
August 1-5 9:00 AM

Plant-lover’s Tour at the JCRA
“Some Like It Hot”
Tim Alderton
Tuesday, August 29:00 AM
In person

Gardening 101
“August Gardening Tasks”
Wednesday, August 33:00 PM
Register - Online

Digital Photography Essentials Workshop
(for DSLR and Mirrorless Camera Users)
Saturdays, August 6 and August 13
AM – 1:00 PM
Register - In Person

Garden Chefs
August 8-12 9:00 AM

Evening Garden Stroll
Tuesday, August 94:30 PM-7:30 PM
In person

Midweek with Mark
“Late Summer Color in the Shade Garden”
Wednesday, August 10 3:00 PM
Register - Online

I Spy! Morning Walk
Art in the Garden
Friday, August 12 – 10:00 AM
In Person
Register - Online

Garden Story Walk
“From the Garden”
Daily, Monday, August 15 through Sunday, August 21
Monday–Friday: 9:00 AM–4:30 PM
Saturday and Sunday: 10:00 AM–6:00 PM

Gardening with Native Plants . . . and Some of Their Not-So-Native Relatives
Bryce Lane
Mondays, August 15 - October 3 6:30 PM
Register (
in person and online)

Deeper in the Garden
“Gesneri-whats? On Beyond African Violets”
Wednesday, August 17 3:00 PM
Register - Online

Introduction to Mushroom Foraging
“Learn a Year’s Worth of Wild Edible Mushrooms in One Day”
Frank Hyman
Saturday, August 20 – 9:00 AM11:00 AM
Register – In Person

Not Tonight, Deer: No More Long-Legged Rats in Your Garden
Frank Hyman
Saturday, August 20 1:00 PM2:30 PM
Register In Person

Garden Conversations at the JCRA
Featuring Jim Putnam of HortTube
Wednesday, August 24 3:00 PM4:00 PM
Register - Online

Photography Walk
"Botanical Cyanotype Sun Prints"
Mary Louise Ravese
Thursday, August 25 9:30 AM12:30 PM
Register – In Person

I Spy! Morning Walk
Art in the Garden
Friday, August 26 – 10:00 AM11:00 AM
Register - In Person

Introduction to Gardening in the South
Sponsored by Leaf & Limb
Mark Weathington and Amanda Wilkins
Saturday, August 27 9:00 AM-12:00 PM
Register (in person and online)

Extension Master Gardener Lecture
Monday, August 29
Online - Link coming soon

The Horticulture Hour at the JCRA
JCRA Staff
Wednesday, August 31 3:00 PM
Register - Online

Denotes a children's program.

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

Magnolia ×loebneri 'Merrill'
Coming Attractions

Cornus florida subsp. urbiniana
Musella lasiocarpa
Chinese yellow banana
Lycoris ×haywardii
electric surprise-lily
Corylopsis glabrescens var. gotoana
Crinum ×digweedii 'Mahon'
hybrid crinum lily
Magnolia 'Raspberry Ice'
Canna 'Cleopatra'
Narcissus 'Sweet Smiles'
Lagerstroemia indica 'Orchid Cascade'
ground cover crepe myrtle
YouTube Channel Update

Five educational programs were recorded in June and were posted to 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.
JC Raulston Arboretum
NC State University
Campus Box 7522
Raleigh, NC 27695-7522
(919) 515-3132

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