JC Raulston Arboretum e-Update

Camellia ×hiemalis 'Green's Blues'
Your Monthly News and Updates
Director's Note

By Mark Weathington, Director

Thank you all for coming out to our first Moonlight in the Garden since 2019; you made it a resounding success! And to the nearly 200 new members who joined due in large part to the event, I encourage you to stay engaged and check out all the many opportunities for connecting with us and your fellow members through events and educational programming. Moonlight capped off a phenomenal year where we topped 4000 JCRA members.

Expect to see big changes thanks to your support including new staff, new gardens, and new programming. New gardens means some older gardens must go so there will be some significant chainsaw pruning along the north edge of the JCRA as we do some major soil work to create new and exciting spaces for new and exciting plants. We’ll be creating a bit of a mess in the short term but it will be well worth the disruption before long. If you’d like to know more, put January 25 on your calendar when Greg Paige our new Director of Horticulture and I will have a talk about the many improvements we plan to make in the next 12 to 18 months. This will be our monthly Garden Conversations online program at 3:00 PM as part of our Midweek programming.

See you in the garden.
Make a Difference for the JCRA This Holiday Season
By Amy Beitzel, Development Assistant

This year we have received many generous gifts to help make improvements, not only in the garden but also with our many programs for horticulturists of all ages. Gifts like these make the JC Raulston Arboretum an influential resource to our community and beyond.

By now you may have received the annual wish list in your mailbox, inbox, or visited the wish list website. We admire your fierce pride for the Arboretum and your faithful partnership in prioritizing these key projects. So far several projects received financial commitments, including the restoration of the White Garden arbor and a hoop house for the nursery.

There are still plenty of projects in need of funding including an accessible pathway to the Necessary, an updated van wrap, event & education tents, office conversions for our growing staff, directional signage, renovations to the rooftop garden beds, and more.  

Your gift of any size equips us to achieve the Arboretum mission of research, outreach, and community engagement not just today but also for years to come. We hope you will consider us in your year-end giving plans.

For more information, please contact Amy Beitzel at or 919-515-1680.

Thank you for your continued dedication to the JCRA. We wish you a wonderful holiday season with your loved ones!

Farewell to a Co-Worker
Dennis Carey, Curator

I’d like to take a moment to say thank you and goodbye to a coworker here at the JC Raulston Arboretum. Long-time staffer Ann Swallow experienced a health issue and had to leave her job at the JCRA to focus on her recovery. For the last 10 years Ann was in charge of keeping all the gardens mapped, which is no small job. She received written notes from garden staffers like Tim Alderton, as well as from volunteer gardeners and mappers. She transcribed their notes and drawings into our in-house mapping software. In addition, Ann volunteered in the Japanese Garden for the last 18 years as a gardener. We will all miss her and wish her the best in her recovery process.

Gems Hidden Deep in the JC Raulston Arboretum Website
By Dennis Carey, Curator

Prior to taking over the JCRA website from Chris Glenn this past summer, I had no idea how much information was tucked away in it. In the few months I have been managing the website, I’ve come to discover and appreciate all the features of the site. I thought I’d share some interesting tidbits for you.

The first JCRA website was created back in 1997 by JCRA volunteer, Dr. Art Kelley. Photos were tiny and the style was basic…a typical 90’s website. You can still look at the old 1997 website (if you ignore the broken photo links) thanks to the Internet Archive.

Chris took over the website in 2000 and started making style improvements immediately. He made the first major design change in 2001 adding a side menu and some color. In 2007, Chris updated the website layout again to make it look like the JCRA newsletter. He also made our photograph database available online for the first time. Another big redesign in 2014 used modern fonts and drop down menus. In 2019, he unveiled the current adaptive design which looks good on a 5” smartphone as well as a desktop monitor. Over the years Chris connected the website to our in-house database so that any staff member could rapidly deploy website updates to our events calendar, plant list, photograph collection etc., with no coding knowledge.

The JCRA website is gigantic with almost 500,000 web pages on it. Most of these pages are for the massive photograph database. Most people interact with our photos using a search box but Chris also set it up so users can browse all the photos grouped by features such as month of the year, photographer, country, state, city, plant family, common name, and others. Our prettiest plant photos are also compiled by date in the Showtimes section of the website.

The second largest part of the JCRA website are the tens of thousands of plant pages. Most people access these via a search box, but Chris also installed a browsable list of every plant in the garden. And if you want to find the garden location of a plant, just click the ‘see on map’ link in the plant description. Very useful, especially if you are on a smartphone with location turned on, where you will get walking directions to the plant!

Interested in JCRA history? You can read over 40 years of JCRA newsletters on our website. Want to see what J. C. Raulston himself was thinking back in 1981? It’s in there. So are the last 8 years of our monthly e-update articles. And there are even photographs of J. C. Raulston from childhood in the 1940’s and 50’s until a month just prior to his death in 1996.

Many of you like to participate in plant sales and online plant auctions. The plant buggy list is updated twice per week (Mon & Thu) on the website. We publish lists for the onsite Raulston Blooms! spring plant sale on the website too. Our spring and fall online plant sales and the rare plant auctions are also on the website but the links for them are temporary and are not published until the sale is active.

Hopefully most of you will come away from this with some cool new way to explore our website. I think Chris did a tremendous job setting it up and the website continues to benefit us daily.

January is Jam-Packed with Education
By JCRA Programs Team

There's no winter blues here; January is a great time for events here at the Arboretum. Whether you’re looking to polish your gardening skills for the coming spring, or want to take propagation classes to create new plants from our collections, we’ve got tons of opportunities to give you our own unique Arboretum cheer. (Tip: Ask your loved ones to sign you up for one or more of these upcoming classes or workshops!)

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

What’s in a Name: Plant Classification for the Home Gardener
Bryce Lane, NC State University
Mondays, January 23 through March 20 – 6:30 PM
(No class on February 13)
In Person and Online

Did you know that most plants have two to three different kinds of names? That can lead to tremendous uncertainty and confusion. In this eight-week class, home gardeners will learn 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 better equipped to select and care for the plants we grow. 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, NC State University
    Saturday, January 28 – 8:30 AM
    In Person and Online

      Gardeners spend most of our time thinking about what happens to our plants “above ground.” In this workshop, get a better understanding of what happens below ground in the soil we keep our precious plants in. Bryce Lane will help us learn about basic soil principles and how we can use that understanding to maximize our garden to its full potential. Register and take your gardening to the next level!

      Propagation Workshops
      "Beginner Hardwood Cuttings"

      Sophia McCusker, Nursery Technician, JC Raulston Arboretum
      Offered on two different days (only sign up for one)
      Friday, January 27 – 9:00 AM or
      Saturday, January 28 1:30 PM
      In Person

        How many times have you been in a friend's garden and wanted to take home one of their favorite plants? Has a neighbor shared a cutting with you and you put it in a vase on the windowsill not knowing what to do with it? Are you a new gardener fascinated by the idea of being able to grow your plant collection inexpensively at home? If this sounds like you, you should join the JC Raulston Arboretum staff for this hands-on workshop and learn the basics about propagating woody ornamental plants by stem cuttings!

        Propagation Workshops
        "Advanced Hardwood Cuttings"

        Tim Alderton, Research Technician, JC Raulston Arboretum
        Saturday, January 28 – 9:00 AM–12:30 PM
        In Person

        This workshop is for more experienced gardeners with propagation experience and participants of past propagation workshops. Beginner gardeners and those that do not have propagation experience should attend one of the Beginner Propagation Workshops.

        Fantastic February Program Highlights
        "Piedmont Prairies"
        Featuring Annabel Renwick and Maegan Luckett, Sarah P. Duke Gardens and Greg Paige, JC Raulston Arboretum
        Friday, February 17, 2023 – 1:30 PM

        Travel back in time to before Raleigh was on the map. The Piedmont was covered in grasslands with a few trees speckled in among the the short grasses and wildflowers growing in the sunny open landscape. Nature maintained the prairies through wildlife grazing and frequent fires. Join us for an afternoon of learning about our area's past flora and fauna as well as how we can incorporate this type of ecosystem into our landscapes.

        We are applying for continuing education credits through the North Carolina Board of Landscape Architects and the North Carolina Landscape Contractors' Licensing Board.

        2023 JC Raulston Arboretum Winter Symposium
        "Tossing the Turf"

        Featuring Preston Montague, Dr. Mike Richardson, and Mark Weathington
        Saturday, February 18, 2023 – 9:00 AM

        It's time to toss the turf in your home landscape and create a beautiful alternative to the labor intensive green patch occupying your yard.

        Join us for a morning exploring the design, research, and plants used to create this new lawn movement so you can be empowered to spend less time mowing this summer! The early bird registration period is now open, so register now and put this date on your 2023 calendar.
        What is the Connoisseur Plant Program?
        By Kathryn Wall, Membership and Volunteer Manager
        Our Connoisseur Plants Program is right around the corner! The Arboretum has propagated an exclusive set of plants available for qualifying Friends of the Arboretum membership tiers: Collector (formerly called Sponsor), Patron, Founder, Benefactor, and Philanthropist. Connoisseur Plants are offered in different quantities at each level. This program is another way the Arboretum shows our thanks for your help in supporting the Arboretum's cause. Membership is what keeps the Arboretum thriving.

        This program is great for members interested in unusual, rare, and hard-to-locate plants. If you are not already qualified for this program through your current membership level, and would enjoy access to rare plants while taking your support of the Arboretum to the next level, upgrading is easy. Contact Kathryn Wall at 919-513-7004, or We need to have your upgrade by December 31. Qualifying members should expect to hear about the Connoisseur Plants catalogs via e-mail in early 2023.

        Gift the Gift of Membership

        By giving a membership to family, friends, or colleagues, you are ensuring a year of benefits for them as well as supporting the JC Raulston Arboretum and its mission to connect people with plants.

        We will send a holiday card to your recipient!

        JCRA Apparel Makes a Great Gift

        • NEW! Plush Navy Blue Fleece Embroidered Pullover
        • The Necessary short sleeve T-Shirts
        • Quarter-zip Sweatshirts
        • Long sleeve T-Shirts
        • JCRA Caps, Visors and Bucket Hats!

        Purchase in person at the McSwain Education Center
        Monday - Friday 9:00 AM to 4:30 PM
        The Visitor Center on Weekends 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM
        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–5:00 PM 

        Holiday Wreath Workshop
        Ruby C. Mcswain Education Center
        Friday, December 2 1:00 PM
        Saturday, December 3 1:00 PM
        Saturday, December 3 4:00 PM
        All Sessions FullWaitlist Started

        Wine and Wreaths Workshop
        Friday, December 27:00 PM
        Saturday, December 37:00 PM
        All Sessions FullWaitlist Started

        Holiday Creations
        Monday December 5 10:00 AM
        Register only 2 seats left

        Monday December 5 2:30 PM
        FullWaitlist Started

        All About House Plants
        Bryce Lane, NC State University
        Monday December 5 6:30 PM
        Monday December 12 6:30 PM
        In Person or Online

        Plant-lover’s Tour
        "Late Bloomers"
        JCRA Staff
        Tuesday December 6 1:00 PM
        In Person begins at Bobby G. Wilder Visitor Center

        Gardening 101
        "December Garden Tasks"
        Tim Alderton and Sophia McCusker
        Wednesday December 7 3:00 PM

        Midweek with Mark
        "Myths and Misconceptions in the Garden"
        Mark Weathington
        Wednesday December 14 3:00 PM

        Garden Conversations
        Featuring Bryce Lane
        Wednesday December 21 3:00 PM

        Denotes a children's program.

        Many programs require advance registration. Please register early to reserve your spot.
        Coming Attractions
        Arbutus unedo 'Compacta'
        "compact strawberry tree"
        Mahonia ×media 'Winter Sun'
        Camellia japonica 'Tama Peacock'
        "picotee Japanese camellia"

        Camellia ×vernalis 'Shibori Egao'
        Prunus mume 'Bridal Veil'
        "weeping flowering apricot"
        YouTube Channel Update

        Five programs were recorded in November (so far). These videos were all 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

        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  email If you click the unsubscribe button, you will receive no notices from us about plant sales, or member benefits.

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