JC Raulston Arboretum e-Update
April 2023

Your Monthly News and Updates

Director's Note

By Mark Weathington, Director

It’s always busy this time of year although I’m not sure anytime is slow around the Arboretum these days. As we prep for our online plant sale and Raulston Blooms!, I’ve been thinking a lot about the role our volunteers play in our success. Volunteers in the nursery help propagate, pot up, and weed the plants for our sales. They stock our plant cart at the Bobby Wilder Visitor Center, take photos for signs and the website, help write descriptions and so much more. We will be calling in special teams of volunteers to tag plants, sort and organize them for pre-order pickup and for the onsite sale. Volunteers will shuttle plants, answer questions, write up orders, helm the birdhouse competition, give directions and greet people. In short, they are the lifeblood of the JC Raulston Arboretum.

April is National Volunteer Month and I want to thank all of our volunteers who do the heavy lifting for the JCRA whether that means mulching the garden, building benches, answering phones at the front desk, or coming in once a year to help with a special event. We could not do it without you. Wherever you volunteer, at the JCRA or elsewhere, I salute you for donating perhaps your most valuable asset – your time.

See you in the garden.

Get Set, Get Ready, SHOP!

One of our most popular and coveted events, the Spring Plant Sale, will feature over 200 types of plants! There are three ways to shop the sale this year.

  1. Shop early during the Online Spring Plant Sale starting Thursday, April 6 for members and Monday, April 10 for the general public.

  2. Members can shop the in-person sale early during the Members Only Spring Plant Sale on Friday, April 28.

  3. Or shop at Raulston Blooms!

Whatever way you like to shop, there will be great plants to take home and enjoy!

JCRA Online Spring Plant Sale
Opening and Closing Dates and Times
Opens to members* – Thursday, April 6, 12:00 PM
Opens to the Public – Monday, April 10, 9:00 AM
Closes – Wednesday, April 12, 12:00 PM

*Members will receive an e-mail with a link to the ClickBid e-store to shop. This is a Plant Sale and Not an Auction. Don't let any auction lingo confuse you; we use ClickBid for our online sales & auctions. The link to the sale will be available on our homepage when it opens to the public on Monday, April 10.

Pickup Dates by appointment: Thursday, April 20, Friday, April 21, and Saturday, April 22, 2023.

Members Only Plant Sale
Friday, April 28, 4:00 PM - 7:00 PM
The Great Lawn
You must be a current member to shop.
Shop special theme areas like the collector's corner featuring small quantities of rare plants. There will be plenty of great choices for your home landscape that are sure to become your new favorites.

Raulston Blooms! Plant Sale
Saturday, April 29, 10:00 AM - 3:00 PM
This is a ticketed event, but members get free admisson.

At Raulston Blooms, we will be joined by some spectacular plant vendors. Make sure to stop by their tents and find even more plants.

Dirtbag Gardens
Pine Knot Farms
Superior Plants Nursery
Raleigh Paw Paw

Raulston Blooms! Is Coming Soon

Saturday, April 29, 10:00 AM - 3:00 PM

By Lindsay DeQuick, Education and Programs Student

Roll up your gardening sleeves and check out our annual garden festival! Raulston Blooms! returns with the Spring Plant Sale, the Annual Birdhouse Competition, gardening talks, a used gardening book sale, educational displays, and more! This event is fun for the whole family and members get in free.

See Food Trucks, Artists, Educational Vendors and More

We're offering some great garden talks during Raulston Blooms!

Jim Putnam, host of the popular YouTube channel “HortTube,” will kickstart the day at 11:00 AM with his “Proven & Potential Power Plants” presentation at the Speaker’s Tent on the Great Lawn. Next, at 12:00 PM, Brie Arthur, @brietheplantlady on Instagram and YouTube, will present “Creating Creative Containers.” At 1:00 PM Shawna Joplin of Chapel Hill's Dirtbag Gardens will present “Success with Houseplants.”

For more information about artisans and vendors, food trucks, and educational displays check out our website at We are excited to see you and hope you will bring the whole family!

First 2023 Evening Garden Stroll is Tuesday, April 11

Take a break from your weekly grind and come enjoy the gardens during this season's first Evening Garden Stroll. The gardens will remain open until 7:30 pm on Tuesday, April 11. Take advantage of this rare opportunity to visit the garden after hours for a stroll through our premiere collection of flowering trees, shrubs, and perennials!

The Evening Garden Strolls are scheduled every month through October. Mark your calendars for May 9, June 13, July 11, August 8, September 12, and October 10 and keep in touch.

Index Seminum and Member Seed Distribution Wrap-up

By Dennis Carey, Curator

Our 2023 seed distribution season is just about over and our two main seed events, the 2023 Index Seminum (IS) and the 2023 Member Seed Distribution (MSD) were both very successful.

The JC Raulston Arboretum (JCRA) starts by offering seeds to our botanic garden friends via an Index Seminum, a fancy Latin term which means "seed catalog". This is a joint event between the JCRA and our sister institution, Juniper Level Botanic Garden (JLBG). The joint JCRA/JLBG IS featured 311 taxa of seeds, the most ever supplied.

We sent about 600 invitations to our closest friends around the world (on every continent that has a botanic garden). The participants made their selections and sent in their orders (aka Desiderata) by early February. This year, we set an all time record of 117 orders from botanic gardens in 28 countries. That’s more than double the number of orders from last year! We expanded our presence into Asia beyond Russia (a regular customer) by adding our 2nd and 3rd Asian countries, Turkey and South Korea. I am hoping for even more orders next year from new countries and would love to receive Desiderata from places whose environments at least partially overlap ours. So I will focus on acquiring new IS customers in central and southern Europe, northeastern Mexico, the southern cone of South America, temperate Asia, the northern and southern tips of Africa, southern Australia and New Zealand.

Outside of the U.S, the countries that ordered the most this year were France (10), Canada (8), Russia (7), Hungary (6), and Germany (5). Europe was well represented and we received at least 1 order each from Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czechia, Estonia, Finland, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Spain, Switzerland, The Netherlands, Ukraine and the United Kingdom.

We had a phenomenal seed packing day on February 24 with almost 30 volunteers that packed 1900 seed packets and assembled 117 orders in just 4 hours. Incredible! The free pizza and sweet tea lunch helped fuel our efforts.

The week after the seed packing party, we re-grouped, re-inventoried and put together our Member Seed Distribution (MSD) catalog containing 220 seeds. All JCRA member households were invited and we had 608 orders arrive in just 7 days. That’s a 22% response rate which is incredible. Far more than attend any other JCRA event except for maybe Moonlight in the Garden. We received orders from 13 different states and one from a member in Belgium.

Once we closed the member seed order form, we held a second seed packing party (also with free pizza and sweet tea) where around 20 volunteers came and packed over 2700 packets of seed in just 6 hours. Another massive effort!

We are currently assembling the MSD orders and expect to take a few weeks to divvy up all the seeds, and manage the substitutions. The first orders are going out this week, but you may have to wait up to a month before all the orders are finished. Kathryn Wall will contact you when your seeds are ready. If they are being mailed, you will shortly have them arrive in your mailbox.

We hope you enjoy your Member Seed Distribution seeds and hope you grow lots of cool garden plants from them!

Day of Giving Challenge Accepted - Thank you!

By Amy Beitzel, Development Assistant

Thank you for making NC State’s 5th Day of Giving a huge success! We appreciate each of our members and friends who tuned in to our programming and made a gift to help us reach the 210 gifts challenge match from our board of advisors. We exceeded the challenge by 8:30 pm and raised over $300,000 for the Arboretum. This remarkable achievement would not have been possible without this dedicated community.

Because of your contributions, we can provide valuable learning opportunities for eight student interns this summer and cultivate the next generation of horticultural industry leaders. Your funding also allows us to maintain the beauty and diversity of the Arboretum's garden areas, and helps us further the mission of plant conservation and education. Together we can fulfill Dr. J. C. Raulston’s vision to “Plan--and plant for a better world.”

Please accept our heartfelt gratitude for your overwhelming generosity and the kind words you shared about what motivates you to give back to the gardens you love. As the daylight hours increase and the weather warms up, we invite you to celebrate National Garden Month, by enjoying the public garden you generously support.

Sponsorship Opportunity

Southeastern Plant Symposium, June 16-17, 2023

We’re currently seeking sponsors for the upcoming Southeastern Plant Symposium hosted by the JC Raulston Arboretum and Juniper Level Botanic Garden June 16-17, 2023. As you may know, this event provides a valuable opportunity for botanists, horticulturists, and plant enthusiasts from across the region, to learn, share, and connect with peers in the industry.

Events like this innovative symposium are only possible through the support of our fellow horticulturists. We hope that you will consider sponsoring the symposium so that we can continue sharing the endlessly exciting discoveries in the world of plants. Proceeds support the mission of the JC Raulston Arboretum and the Juniper Level Botanic Garden Endowment.

Explore the available sponsorship opportunities HERE

Busy Spring, but Looking Toward Summer!

by Joy Burns, School Tour Coordinator

If you visit the gardens in April on a weekday, you most likely will find us out in the gardens with a school field trip learning about plants and enjoying spring. We estimate that we will see almost 600 students in just April! We love seeing the yellow school buses pull up and the sounds of all the students excited to spend the morning in the gardens.

We couldn’t do it without the volunteers that lead the activities and work with the students to make sure each one has an engaging experience while they are here at the Arboretum. We have an amazing group of volunteers this spring!

You don’t have to be in school to participate in one of our hands-on field trips. This summer, we will continue with our I Spy! Tours.

  • Do you have family coming to visit?

  • Hosting your grandchildren for a week this summer?

  • Have a group of neighborhood children that love exploring together?

Schedule an I Spy! Tour to come explore the Arboretum gardens with us and see the garden from a new perspective. Contact Joy Burns,, to schedule your tour!

Upcoming Events, Classes and Programs

Garden Story Walk ✽

Monday, April 3 – Friday, April 7 – 9:00 AM

Saturday, April 8 – Sunday, April 9 – 10:00 AM

In Person

Growing Plants in Containers: From Container Gardens to Houseplants

Bryce Lane

Mondays, April 3 – May 22 – 6:30 PM

In Person and Online

Plant-lover’s Tour
"Garden Highlights"
Greg Paige, Director of Horticulture
Tuesday, April 4 – 1:00 PM

In Person

Gardening 101

“April Gardening Tasks”

Sophia McCusker and Tim Alderton

Wednesday, April 5 – 3:00 PM


Online Spring Plant Sale

Thursday, April 6 – 12:00 PM (opens to members)

Monday, April 10 – 9:00 AM (opens to the public)

Wednesday, April 9 – 12:00 PM (closes)


Evening Garden Stroll

Tuesday, April 11 – 4:00 PM

In Person

Midweek with Mark

Mark Weathington

Wednesday, April 12 – 3:00 PM


Photography Walk

“Creating Artistic Photos using Intentional Camera Movement”

Mary Louise Ravese

Friday, April 14 – 10:30 AM

In Person

North American Rock Garden Society (Piedmont Chapter) Lecture

“Making Garden Magic: Designing Gardening Spaces”

Jay Sifford

Saturday, April 15 – 10:00 AM

In Person and Online

Deeper in the Garden

JCRA Staff

Wednesday, April 19 – 3:00 PM


Gardening Adventures with Extension Master Gardener Volunteers

“Plant Diseases”

Cynthia Sollod

Monday, April 24 – 10:00 AM


Gardening Conversations

Mark Weathington

Wednesday, April 26 – 3:00 PM


21st Annual Birdhouse Competition

Part of Raulston Blooms!

Friday, April 28 – 9:00 AM at Drop Off Window

Saturday, April 29 – 10:00 AM

In Person

Members Only Spring Plant Sale

Friday, April 28 – 4:00 PM

In Person

Raulston Blooms! and Plant Sale

“A Garden Festival for All Ages”

Saturday, April 29 – 10:00 AM

In Person

Coming Attractions

By Nancy Doubrava, Volunteer

Paeonia 'Coral Sunset'
photo by Nancy Doubrava

Chionanthus virginicus 'White Knight'
American fringe tree
photo by Maryann Debski

Rhododendron flammeum 'Early Red Flame'
Oconee azalea
photo by Ira Tucker

Iris 'Pure Sapphire'
tall bearded iris
photo by Ira Tucker

Viburnum orientale
oriental viburnum
photo by Nancy Doubrava

Cornus florida subsp. urbiniana
Mexican flowering dogwood
photo by Ira Tucker

YouTube Channel Highlights

Gardening 101 - "Protecting Plants From Cold"
Plant-lover's Tour - "Magnolias"
Midweek with Mark - "Vietnam Travelogue"
Deeper in the Garden - "Keeping Hellebores Happy"
NARGS Talk - "Spring Alpines of the Spanish Aragonian Pyrenees"
Day of Giving - "Creative Containers"
Day of Giving - "Pruning Hydrangeas"
Day of Giving - "Richard Olsen Interview"
Day of Giving - "David Hoffman and Hunter Casey Interview"
Day of Giving - "Check Into the Air Bee & Bee with Dr. Danesha Seth Carley"

Many additional videos were uploaded to our YouTube channel.

Photos by Alycia Thornton, Blake Wentley, Don Chernoff, Ira Tucker, Kathryn Wall, Maryann Debski, Nancy Doubrava, and Tim Alderton.

JC Raulston Arboretum
Campus Box 7522
Raleigh, NC 27695-7522

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