JC Raulston Arboretum e-Update

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

By Mark Weathington, Director

Welcome to a New Year! I've learned my lesson, I think, and will make no predictions about what 2022 will bring. I do know that whatever it does present, the JCRA team will be up to the task of adapting with a smile and turning challenges into opportunities and our members will continue their great support for our mission.

Your support in 2021 included purchasing 13,034 plants and joining us during many of the 243 education programs we hosted. New memberships increased by large margins and existing members renewed their memberships often at even higher support levels. Total plants distributed was just under 19,000 not including the many, many cuttings and other material we sent out by special request to nurseries around the country. The first 135 trees were planted at our new JC Raulston Arboretum Research Farm and have big plans for the site which we see as the first step towards creating a major hub for tree and shrub research and improvement.

The numbers are great and show how dynamic the JCRA is and how much of an impact we—and you through your support—provide. What the numbers don't show are the hundreds of personal interactions we have throughout the year with visitors; the questions we answer from e-mails and calls from homeowners, landscapers, and nurseries; or through our presence out in the broader community. Even more, the numbers don't show the inspiration we provide to gardeners wandering our grounds, the spark we ignite in the children who see something magical during a visit, or the joy experienced when someone takes an Arboretum plant home and it flourishes.

No matter how you experience the JCRA this coming year whether in person, online, or through the plants and memories in your home garden, I hope 2022 is a year we can all come together and rise to the opportunities we are presented with and celebrate our successes big and small.

See you in the garden.
planter with holiday greenery next to Buddleja cordata
How Do You Summer?

By Elizabeth Overcash, Children's Program Coordinator

Here at the Arboretum, we summer with camps! If you haven't been part of our summer camp family, then you need to make sure to include them in your plans this summer.

It's our 9th year of the summer camp program, and each year we say it's the best year yet. This year, you'll see the perennial favorites like Garden Chefs, Nature Detectives, Artists in the Garden, and Garden Critters. You'll also see names you recognize like Backyard Farm and Cultivating Science making their way back into the summer lineup.

Camps range from half-day options for preschoolers to full day camps for rising 1st to 8th graders. Each week brings a new camp theme for a different age group packed full of fun garden science based activities.

Family/Dual or above level members have two weeks of early registration and discounted camp registration fees. Last year, members filled six of our eight camps on the first day of registration. Three camps filled in the first 30 minutes on the first day of member registration!

Mark your calendars! Set a reminder! Member registration opens at 9:00 AM on Monday, January 31. Be sure to take advantage of this membership benefit! You do not want your child to miss out on this summer's fun.

Don't have campers at home? Tell a friend. Share the Arboretum and our programs with your family and friends!
Winter Symposium—"China, Mother of Gardens"

By Christopher Todd Glenn, Programs and Education Coordinator, and the Symposium Speakers

Celebrate the Chinese New Year with the JC Raulston Arboretum on Saturday, February 19 at our winter symposium. It may be the year of the tiger, but we'll be focusing on the flora of China and West Lake, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. West Lake is among the most inspirational locations in China for Chinese garden designers.


This year's winter symposium features Bachtell, Morton Arboretum; Xiaolin Duan, Ph.D., NC State University; and Mark Weathington, and the JC Raulston Arboretum.
Kris Bachtell
Vice President of Collections and Facilities, The Morton Arboretum

Kris Bachtell is the vice president of collections and facilities at The Morton Arboretum in Lisle, Illinois. His role involves directing the horticulture, grounds, and facilities operations of one of the largest arboreta in the United States. The Arboretum's principal collections focus growing hardy woody plants. Kris has participated in eight germplasm collecting and evaluation expeditions to the northern and northeastern regions of the People's Republic of China. His interests include evaluating plants suitable for the colder, harsher climate of the upper Midwest and introducing these plants through the nursery trade. He serves as a director for the Chicagoland Grows Plant Introduction Program.
Xiaolin Duan, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Department of History, NC State University

Xiaolin Duan is an associate professor in the Department of History at NC State University. Originally from Xi'an, China, Xiaolin pursued the Ph.D. degree at the University of Washington, Seattle, and has taught at Elon University. Duan studies socio-cultural history in medieval and early modern China, particularly urban history, popular religion, and visual/material culture. Her recently published book, The Rise of West Lake: A Cultural Landmark in the Song Dynasty, explores how sightseeing activities influenced the way people interacted with and conceptualized the natural environment in Middle Period China. As follow-up works of this project, she published digital Web sites about West Lake Ten Views and journal articles on the early modern development of West Lake. She is currently working on a new book manuscript, An Object of Seduction: Chinese Silk in the Early Modern Trans-Pacific Trade. This project discusses the trade and fashion of Chinese silk by comparing it with the sericulture and silk regulation in New Spain during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.
Mark Weathington
Director, JC Raulston Arboretum at NC State University

Mark Weathington is the director of the JC Raulston Arboretum at NC State University where he is passionate in his work to connect plants to people. Mark travels extensively searching for new plants to diversify the American landscape. His explorations have taken him to China, Taiwan, Japan, Ecuador, Europe, Mexico, New Zealand, and throughout the United States. Mark writes for Fine Gardening, Horticulture, and other national magazines and is the author of Gardening in the South: The Complete Homeowner’s Guide.

For more information about the Winter Symposium, visit the JCRA's Web site or write to Space is limited. Register today!
Amanda Patillo-Lunt
New Year, New Opportunities

By Carly Dressen, Development Assistant

Thank you for your generous support of the JCRA in 2021!

Your philanthropic support has enabled us to complete exciting projects, reach new audiences of avid gardeners across the country, and inspire young and budding horticulturists.

Projects and programs you supported for 2021:

  • Completion of the beautiful arbor at the south entrance to the White Garden
  • Return of in-person summer camps
  • Summer interns (six students) and student workers for the academic year
  • Fall Fantasia display for visitors to experience art in the garden
  • New technology purchased (microphones, cameras, etc.) which is used to produce weekly online programs for gardeners

Two thousand and twenty-two brings more opportunities for new projects and programs to be funded. We invite you to help fund the remaining items on our
wish list and/or consider supporting the JCRA on this year's NC State Day of Giving on March 23. Sponsorship opportunities will also be available for the Southeastern Plant Symposium to be held in June 2022.

If you are interested in learning more about how you can make a difference for the JCRA in 2022, please contact Alycia Thornton at (919) 513-7068 or 
Gardening in the South

By Christopher Todd Glenn, Programs and Education Coordinator, and the Symposium Speakers

Container gardening fits nicely into the active lifestyles of many gardeners who feel the pressures of limited time and space. Regardless of your limitations, growing in containers is freeing and provides ample opportunities to expand the plant palette! Brian Jackson, Ph.D., will discuss potting media options for successful container gardens and Leanne Kenealy Atkins shares many lessons she's learned from growing in containers to make you a more successful gardener during this winter's Gardening in the South symposium on Saturday, February 5. Gardening in the South is sponsored by Leaf & Limb.

Gardening in the South features Leanne Kenealy Atkins, horticulturist, and Brian Jackson, Ph.D., NC State University.


Leane Kenealy Atkins
Leanne Kenealy Atkins

Leanne Kenealy Atkins received her master’s degree in horticulture at Clemson University. Her next stop was Moore Farms Botanical Garden where she worked as the production manager. She then worked at the JC Raulston Arboretum as a propagator for the garden but also as a research technician to Denny Werner, Ph.D. For the last three years, she has owned a container design business in the Raleigh/Durham area and is moving to Abingdon, Virginia, this winter to start building her own nursery.
Brian Jackson
Brian Jackson, Ph.D.
Professor and Director of Horticultural Substrates Laboratory, NC State University

Brian Jackson is a professor and director of the Horticultural Substrates Laboratory at NC State University. He currently holds an 85% teaching and 15% research appointment. Brian teaches four to five courses per year and has taught over 2,600 undergraduate students since beginning his career at NC State. His research program focuses on the development, characterization, and utilization of soilless growing media in horticultural crop production systems which has given him the opportunity to mentor 14 graduate students over the past decade. Brian works closely with the growing media industry in North America and around the globe to develop new soil products for professional growers as well as retail hobby market consumers.

For more information about the Gardening in the South symposium, visit the JCRA's Web site or write to Space is limited. Register today!
*The in-person option is open to new gardeners and gardeners new to the Triangle while the online option is open to everyone.
tree planting at research farm
Ringing in the New Year with New Member Benefits

Arlene Calhoun, Assistant Director

Two thousand and twenty-two is here and we're introducing some exciting additions to our membership program. Fret not; the membership program you know and love is only getting better. We could not do this without you. We genuinely appreciate you letting us know throughout the year how we're doing and what's important to you. Your feedback is key in keeping the Arboretum membership timely and relevant.

Your overwhelming response to some of the program adjustments we made in 2020 along with required tweaks to comply with the current IRS charitable gift requirements have made our membership program even better.

For those who enjoyed the ease of selecting their giveaway plants online, we're adding a new Explorer membership level ($150). Members at this level and above will have two ways to participate in our Annual Plant Distribution. Members can choose to participate in-person on the first Saturday in October or opt to select six plants from a curated online catalog in September. Both options will require members to pick up their plants at the Arboretum. Members can only participate in one option each year, but don't have to decide which until the online catalog is published in September. You can decide which way you want to participate each year.

Can you say online seed distribution? Yes, that's right! All levels of membership will have opportunity to select seed collected from both the JC Raulston Arboretum and the Juniper Level Botanic Garden annually through an online seed distribution catalog. We love hands-on horticulture and we know you will enjoy learning more about seed germination and its challenges. (Sounds like a few bragging rights are at stake.)

One small name change, all Sponsor level memberships are now Collector level memberships. We heard you loud and clear and we want to eliminate the confusion between this awesome level of membership and all the other fabulous ways to sponsor other initiatives here at the Arboretum. We will transition the name change on your membership card with your next renewal. Sponsor level members will not see any disruption in using their existing membership cards.
Connecting people with plants is what we love to do and the Annual Plant Distribution is deeply rooted in our organization. To keep this event free for our fellow plant-crazy friends, we opted to remove the tax-deductible benefit from some membership levels to keep this long-time tradition in compliance with the current IRS charitable gift requirements. We know you will agree our membership, whether it’s 100% tax deductible or not, will continue to pay for itself through plant, and now, seed distributions along with the program discounts and special admission privileges and discounts offered by the American Horticultural Society’s Reciprocal Admissions Program.

We are transitioning this month and expect it to be seamless. In the coming year, we look forward to introducing the new programs and providing all the details on how to participate. Until then, enjoy your member benefits.

We are committed to our members and to creating a community to exchange what we know, learn, and grow! Together, we elevate this gem of an arboretum and all it has to offer as we "Plant—and plant for a better world"!
Sassafras albidum
Educational Program Highlights

By Christopher Todd Glenn, Programs and Education Coordinator

The JCRA has something to offer for everyone. 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

Digital Photography Essentials Workshops
Mary Louise Ravese, Bella Vista Photography
Wednesdays, January 12, 19, and 26 – 6:30 PM–8:30 PM – Canon
Thursdays, January 13, 20, and 27 – 6:30 PM–8:30 PM – Nikon

These beginner classes are for people with a Canon or Nikon digital camera who are interested in learning how to successfully use their camera beyond automatic/program modes. The class concentrates on the five essential camera settings that have the most impact on the look of a photograph: focal length, aperture, shutter speed, ISO, and white balance. We also discuss how to interpret the image histogram, a camera feedback mechanism, and use that information to adjust and optimize image exposure for the next shot. Students learn how to adjust these settings using their own camera. The features and concepts discussed are relevant to all digital cameras including many point-and-shoot cameras, mirrorless cameras, and all digital SLR cameras.

Outstanding Plants with Winter Interest
Bryce Lane, NC State University
Mondays, January 17 through 31 – 6:30 PM–8:30 PM
In Person and Online

Winter is often consider an off season when it comes to gardening, however, here in the Southeast, it isn't. Join us for this all-new three-week class that focuses entirely on ornamental plants that have interesting winter interest. From flowers and fruits, to bark and branching, we will look at herbaceous annuals and perennials, as well as woody trees, shrubs, and vines. This will be a great class for those who are looking to enhance their winter landscape.

Photography Walks
"Photographing Nature's Design Close-up in the Greenhouse" Mary Louise Ravese, Bella Vista Photography
    Friday, January 21, 2022 – 1:00 PM–3:30 PM iPhone Photographers
    Thursday, February 24, 2022 – 1:00 PM–3:30 PM DSLR or Mirrorless Photographers

      When it's chilly outdoors, it's a great opportunity to turn to the greenhouse for photo opportunities. Join instructor Mary Louise Ravese at NC State University's greenhouse conservatory where you'll be able to photograph a variety of plants including orchids, tropicals, succulents, cactus, and more. Mary Louise will discuss how to showcase the shapes, colors, and textures of the conservatory plants' foliage and flowers with your compositional design.In this month 's session she will also explain the settings and techniques she uses to get close-up shots using an iPhone on January 21 or DSLR or mirrorless camera on February 24.

      Garden Soils Class
      "If You Build It, They Will Come: Understanding and Improving Garden Soils" Bryce Lane, NC State University
        Saturday, January 22 – 8:30 AM–3:00 PM
        In Person and Online

          As gardeners, we spend most of our time thinking "above ground." We ruminate about plants, combinations, color, texture, and about light exposure, water, temperature and climate. Gardening success is equally dependent on what is going on below ground. A scientific understanding of soil chemistry, biology, physics, and fertility makes a good gardener a "master" gardener! This class will help us understand basic soil principles, and how we can use that understanding to improve our garden soils, properly prepare garden beds, reduce fertilizer inputs, compost, and maximize growth in our gardens.

          New Naturalism: Designing, Planting and Gardening for Ecological Vibrancy at Home
          Kelly D. Norris, Horticulturist and Author
          Tuesdays, February 1 through March 8 – 6:30 PM–8:30 PM

          This immersive, six-week course introduces participants to horticultural ecology through a study of wild plant communities and gardening on the wild side in the residential context. Throughout the course, plantsman and planting designer Kelly Norris will adapt insights from the scientific literature into horticultural practices that will guide participants towards cultivating wilder gardens rich with beauty, interest and life. The course explores ecological planting design in-depth. Participants will learn how to develop site-specific, regionally appropriate plant palettes and how to apply them to their home landscape regardless of where they live and garden.

          Outstanding Plants for the Home Landscape
          Bryce Lane, Alumni Distinguished Undergraduate Professor Emeritus and Lecturer Emeritus, Department of Horticultural Science, NC State University
          Mondays, February 7 through March 28 – 6:30 PM–8:30 PM

          This eight-week course is for the home gardener who wishes to improve their plant selection skills and increase their knowledge about the many different plants they can choose for the landscape. We will focus on different groups of plants that enhance the home landscape each week. From small flowering trees to shade tolerant perennials, come expand your plant knowledge and gardening skills.

          COVID-19 Guidelines

          As part of NC State University, the JC Raulston Arboretum follows all of the university's Protect the Pack Community Standards. These can be found online at All visitors including program participants must follow these guidelines. All indoor visitors must wear a face covering at all times while indoors.
          Helleborus niger
          Hanging in There

          By Dennis Carey, Curator

          Now that cold weather has arrived, it is a great time to observe and enjoy the beauty of trees in their winter aspect; bark patterns, branching structure, and persistent leaves. There is a curious trait exhibited by a handful of deciduous trees that is called marcescence. A marcescent deciduous tree holds onto its dead foliage all winter, postponing the shedding of leaves until just prior to bud break in early spring.

          It is not fully understood why some deciduous trees are marcescent, and more than a half dozen hypotheses exist to try and explain the advantage gained by delaying leaf abscission. One hypothesis is that the dead leaves protect next year’s leaf buds from desiccating winter winds and herbivores. Marcescence occurs more frequently in juvenile plants than adults. Adult plants may exhibit full or partial marcescence with only a section of the tree retaining its leaves.

          Whatever the reason, this curious trait leads to a wonderful aesthetic aural feature … the dry leaves rustle and hiss when buffeted by winter winds. One of my favorite times to hike in the woods is during winter when American beech (Fagus grandifolia), hornbeam (Carpinus sp.), and certain oaks including pin oak (Quercus palustris) continue to sing in the wind long after the fallen leaves of other species have crumbled away. The rustling music of marcescent trees blocks out distant man-made noises (roads, planes, voices, etc.) and can make a winter walk all the more peaceful and relaxing. So get out into the woods this winter and enjoy the whisper of the marcescent trees!

          Upcoming Events, Programs, and Sales

          Plant-lover's Tour
          "Bark, Twigs, and the Architecture of Deciduous Woody Plants"
          Douglas Ruhren, JC Raulston Arboretum
          Tuesday, January 4 – 1:00 PM
          In Person

          Plant-lover's Tour
          "Bark, Twigs, and the Architecture of Deciduous Woody Plants"
          Douglas Ruhren, JC Raulston Arboretum
          Wednesday, January 5 – 3:00 PM

          There's a Yeti in the Garden!
          Winter Scavenger Hunt Monday, January 10 — Friday, February 18
          In Person

          Midweek with Mark
          "New Plant Showcase at the NC Nursery & Landscape Association Trade Show"
          Mark Weathington, JC Raulston Arboretum
          Wednesday, January 12 – 3:00 PM

          Digital Photography Essentials Workshop for Canon Photographers
          Mary Louise Ravese, Bella Vista Photography
          Wednesdays, January 12, 19, and 26 – 6:30 PM

          Digital Photography Essentials Workshop for Nikon Photographers
          Mary Louise Ravese, Bella Vista Photography
          Thursdays, January 13, 20, and 27 – 6:30 PM

          Friends of the Arboretum Lecture
          "The Colorful History of America's Plant Hardiness Zones, Including Our Zone 7(b)"
          Thomas Packer, Extension Master Gardener Volunteers of Wake County
          Thursday, January 13 – 7:30 PM
          In Person and Online

          Register (online only)

          North American Rock Garden Society (Piedmont Chapter) Lecture
          Cohosted by the Piedmont Chapter of the North American Rock Garden Society and the JC Raulston Arboretum
          "Native Plants in the Durango, Colorado, Area"
          Tim Alderton, JC Raulston Arboretum
          Saturday, January 15 – 10:00 AM
          In Person and Online

          Register (online only)

          Outstanding Plants with Winter Interest
          Bryce Lane, NC State University
          Mondays, January 17 through 31 – 6:30 PM
          In Person and Online

          Deeper in the Garden
          "My Favorite Garden Tools"
          Douglas Ruhren, JC Raulston Arboretum
          Wednesday, January 19 – 3:00 PM

          Photography Walk
          "Photographing Nature's Design Close-up in the Greenhouse"
          Mary Louise Ravese Bella Vista Photography
          Friday, January 21 – 1:00 PM
          In Person

          Garden Soils Class
          "If You Build It, They Will Come: Understanding and Improving Garden Soils"
          Bryce Lane, NC State University
          Saturday, January 22 – 8:30 AM
          In Person and Online

          Gardening Adventures with Extension Master Gardener Volunteers
          "Color in Every Season"
          Cindy Chappell, Extension Master Gardener Volunteers of Wake County
          Monday, January 24 – 10:00 AM
          In Person and Online
          Register (online only)

          Gardening 101
          "Propagating Plants Using Hardwood Cuttings"
          Douglas Ruhren, JC Raulston Arboretum
          Wednesday, January 26 – 3:00 PM

          I Spy! Tour
          Thursday, January 27 – 11:00 AM
          In Person

          Front-yard Foraging: Edible Ornamental Plants and Delicious Weeds, Too
          Frank Hyman, Cottage Garden Landscaping
          Saturday, January 29 – 9:00 AM
          In Person

          Propagation Workshop
          Tim Alderton and Christopher Todd Glenn, JC Raulston Arboretum
          Saturday, January 29 – 9:30 AM
          In Person
          Full—Join the Waitlist

          Denotes a children's program.

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

          Other Important Dates to Remember

          Summer Camp Registration Opens for Members
          Monday, January 31 – 9:00 AM

          Plant Buggy Sales
          Sales Resume on Tuesday, February 1

          Japanese Garden
          Coming Attractions

          By Christopher Todd Glenn, Programs and Education Coordinator
          Camellia ×vernalis 'Ginryu'
          Hamamelis mollis 'Wisley Supreme'
          Chinese witch hazel
          Mahonia ×media 'Winter Sun'
          Camellia japonica 'Tama Peacock'
          picotee Japanese camellia
          Camellia ×vernalis 'Shibori Egao'
          Galanthus elwesii
          Onychium japonicum 'Sichuan Lace'
          Narcissus 'Rijnveld's Early Sensation'
          trumpet daffodil
          Prunus incisa
          Camellia 'Cinnamon Cindy'
          Ackerman hybrid camellia
          Prunus mume 'Tojibai'
          Prunus mume 'Rose Bud'
          pink flowering apricot
          Rhododendron 'Pink Camellia'
          Crocus imperati 'De Jager'
          Iris unguicularis
          Prunus mume 'Big Joe'
          white flowering apricot
          YouTube Channel Update

          By Christopher Todd Glenn, Programs and Education Coordinator

          Five programs were recorded in December. 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.
          video poster for "Fall Color and Winter Interest"
          video poster for "The Commuter's Garden—Plants to Appreciate After Rush Hour"
          video poster for "Holiday Dinner Prep—Growing and Using Rosemary"
          video poster for "A History of Crevice Gardening"
          video poster for "Herbaceous Perennials: What to Cut Down and What to Leave for Winter Interest and Wildlife"
          Christopher Todd Glenn
          Programs and Education Coordinator
          NC State University
          Campus Box 7522
          Raleigh, NC 27695-7522
          (919) 513-7005

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