JC Raulston Arboretum e-Update

prunus mume flower
Your Monthly News and Updates
Director's Note

By Mark Weathington, Director

Happy New Year everyone! We are starting the year off with a bang. January and February are chock full of great programs both in-person like our tours and propagation workshops as well as online and hybrid offerings such as Bryce Lane’s plant taxonomy for gardeners class (you may be surprised at how interesting and useful a little Latin can be). I’ll miss most of these while leading a JCRA tour to Costa Rica for much of the month but we will be announcing our 2024 trip soon and it is the adventure of a lifetime so stay tuned.

I mentioned last month that big changes were coming to the grounds here and as I write I can hear the melodic sounds of chainsaws removing trees which have served their purpose of evaluation and are no longer needed. Don’t worry though, we’ve got greenhouses filled with new plants to trial so you’ll get your fix of cutting-edge plants on display. Speaking of greenhouses, thank you to everyone who has contributed to our end of year wish-list. A new White Garden entry arbor is in the design phase and The Necessary is getting a face-lift. Less noticeable but even more important for our mission, new hoop houses and nursery benches are being installed thanks to your generosity. It’s never too late though, gifts of any size help us move our mission forward.

See you in the garden.
greg paige
Meet the JCRA’s New Horticulture Director
By Emily Jourdan, JCRA Marketing/Communications Provost Student
We are so excited to be welcoming our new Horticulture Director, Greg Paige, to the JC Raulston Arboretum family! We recently had a chance to meet with Paige and ask him some questions to get to know him better.

Tell us about yourself.
I have had a career in public horticulture for over 30 years and have worked in gardens all over the country including Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden in Belmont, North Carolina, the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina; and the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden to mention a few. For the past 17 years, I worked as an Arboretum Curator for Bartlett Tree Experts. I have a passion for plants and have done extensive research and work with Magnolia’s and Witch-hazels.

What's your favorite plant at the Arboretum?
My favorite plant at the Arboretum is the Crepe Myrtle in the Japanese Garden. I love that its placement elicits a delightful surprise because it is tucked away in a secret spot around the corner. It's a must see when visiting the garden and because of its seasonality it looks beautiful year round.

What are you most excited for your new position?
I am most excited to work with the volunteers again. I love to interact with individuals who have devoted their time to the Arboretum and take great joy in helping them come full circle and grow to become extraordinary gardeners.

Do you have any pets?
So glad you asked! I have a small but mighty Scottish Terrier named Minnie who is very vocal.

Any fun facts?
I love to cook! I especially love to make Japanese and Asian cuisine. I also raced bikes in college and enjoy hiking and backpacking through the mountains.

Camper looking through binoculars
Summer Camp Fun is on the Horizon!
By Elizabeth Overcash, Children's Program Coordinator
There is no better way to beat the NC summer heat than with a summer camp in the gardens! Our campers fill the yurt and gardens with laughter, energy and creativity for 8 weeks of the summer. You don't want to miss out on this fun.

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, take advantage of your two weeks of early registration. Mark your calendars! Set a reminder! Member registration opens at 9:00 AM on Monday, January 30. Our camp sizes allow for each camper be part of the fun, and therefore we have limited spaces. Many of the camps will fill on the first day of member registration, so really - make sure your membership is up to date and set that alarm!

If you have questions about camp, try our Frequently Asked Questions page or contact Elizabeth Overcash, children's program coordinator at

Don't have campers at home? Tell a friend. Share the Arboretum and our programs with your family and friends!
Say Cheese!
By Dennis Carey, Curator

As a follow-up on my series about JCRA volunteers, this month I’d like to highlight the efforts of the current
JCRA photography volunteers. The JC Raulston Arboretum photo collection consists of over 350,000 images taken over the last 70 years. Some of the earliest images were old family photos of JC Raulston as a child. But the majority of the collection consists of plant photos taken by staff and volunteers.

Our photography volunteers fall into two camps…those who take the photos and those who process the photos. The ‘artists’ and the ‘recorders’.

As you can see from our website, the JCRA has a huge number of artists who have submitted photos to our collection over the years. The most prolific photographers for 2022 were Ira Tucker, Don Chernoff and Nancy Doubrava each of whom regularly submitted photos during the course of the year. But we also have several volunteers who contributed occasionally in 2022 including husband and wife team Alexander & Carol Lawrence, Jeanne Wilkerson, John Bigliardi, Sandy Harwood, Suzanne Edney, Ralph Parker, and my wife, Eileen Carey. Our staff have contributed lots of photos too, notably Tim Alderton and Mark Weathington with over 50,000 photo credits each. The all-time record goes to JC Raulston who submitted over 80,000 photos to the collection!

On the back-end, we have two hard-working recorders, volunteer Susan Chappell and staff member Blake Wentley who process all new photos into the database. These folks are the most vital members of the photography team because without them the photo collection would be just a folder of unorganized digital photos instead of a curated collection. Recording is a huge job, but a fun one that involves inserting the photos into the database, generating thumbnails for the website, extracting and recording the EXIF data from the photo (file name, date, dimensions, GPS coordinates, etc.), recording the location where the photo was taken, recording the name of the photographer, the names of any people in the photo and the names of any plants in the photo, generating keywords about the photo and recording which event the photo was taken for. Furthermore, all plant photos are keyed to indicate what plant part the photo focuses on…flowers, fruit, foliage, form, bark, etc. That’s a lot of things that need to be done for each and every photo that the artists submit! Whew!

Our photography volunteer team could always use more recorders as we have a backlog of several thousand photos to process. If you are interested in recording photos with Susan and Blake, please get in touch with our volunteer coordinator, Kathryn Wall, and she will arrange for you to join the team.

Also, I want to put out a call for a special photography project. The JCRA just received the entire photo collection of famed garden-writer Pamela Harper. We now have around 50,000 old Kodachrome-style slides that need to be digitized and recorded into the photo database. If you are interested in becoming a plant recorder for this project, please reach out to Kathryn Wall.

My sincere thanks go out to all the photography volunteers for their hard work and dedication.

JCRA 2023 Winter Symposium: "Tossing the Turf"
February 18, 9:00 AM12:30 PM
In Person and Online

Have you reserved your spot for our annual JCRA Winter Symposium "Tossing the Turf"? This morning symposium will feature topics on how to reduce turf in your home landscape. Don't procrastinate! We're offering a early registration rate through January 20.

This year's winter symposium features Preston Montague, Dr. Mike Richardson, and Mark Weathington
Preston Montague
Preston Montague, M.L.A., Landscape Architect and Botanical Illustrator
"Reducing Lawns through Deliberate Design"

Preston Montague is a landscape architect and artist who developed a passion for the natural world while growing up in the rural foothills of Virginia. Currently, he lives in Durham, North Carolina, working on projects that encourage stronger relationships between people and the natural world for the purpose of improving public and environmental health.
Mike Richardson
Mike Richardson, Ph.D., Professor, Department of Horticulture, University of Arkansas
"Bermudagrass, Bulbs, Blooms, and Bees"

Dr. Mike Richardson is a Horticulture professor at the University of Arkansas, where his research focuses on both warm- and cool-season turfgrass systems. Over the past decade, his work has also included research on enhancing biodiversity in turfgrass systems and restoring native grassland habitat in the prairie regions of Arkansas.

Mark Weathington
Mark Weathington, Director, JC Raulston Arboretum at NC State University
"From Flat to Fabulous: Creating No-Grass Flowering Lawns"

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. He 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
JC Raulston Front Gate
Cheers to the New Year & New Opportunities
By Amy Beitzel, Development Assistant

Thank you for your generous support of the JCRA in 2022!

Your philanthropic support enabled us to complete exciting projects, engage audiences of avid gardeners from all 100 counties of NC and across the country, and inspire young and budding horticulturists. We reached and surpassed record event attendance and membership levels as Moonlight in the Garden returned for the first time since 2019.

2023 brings new opportunities for remarkable projects to update and expand garden areas and magnify the impact of programs both online and in-person. We invite you to help fund the remaining items on our wish list and/or consider supporting the Arboretum for NC State’s Day of Giving on March 22, 2023. Sponsorship opportunities will also be available for the Southeastern Plant Symposium in June 2023.

If you are interested in learning more about how you can make a difference for the JCRA in 2023, please contact Alycia Thornton at (919) 513-7068 or

Thank you to each and every one of you for fostering the legacy of the JC Raulston Arboretum. Because of you, we are able to “plan and plant for a better world.”

Intro to Gardening in the South
Sponsored by Leaf & Limb

Saturday, February 4 – 9:00 AM–12:00 PM

While gardening in the Southeastern US can have its challenges, particularly for new gardeners and gardeners new to the area, this region is absolutely brimming with potential for creating diverse and breathtaking garden spaces. Join us for a morning symposium full of tips, tricks, and insights into Gardening in the South so that your Southeastern garden can start strong and stay glorious!

"This Year's Gardening Trends" Homewood Nursery and Garden Center

2023 is sure to bring new plants and new ideas to your garden. Hear from a local garden center about what will be the hot plants and styles to make your garden the coolest on the block.

"Cutting Your Way Through the Red Tape: Understanding the Biology and Art of Pruning Will Help You Make the Cut Right" Barb Fair, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Department of Horticultural Science, NC State University

In this session you will learn a bit about woody plant biology to help guide you through making the correct cut and help you achieve your pruning goals. And, yes, you should have a reason to prune (and not just because it is fun)!

"10 Tips to Garden Like a JCRA Pro" Greg Paige, Director of Horticulture, JC Raulston Arboretum

You've visited the gardens and want to know our secrets. Greg will spill the beans and give you tips on how to garden like the JCRA Horticulture Staff.

We invite people new to the area or new to gardening to join us in person. Because we enjoy sharing all we know about this horticulturally rich area we call home, 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 register by February 1. The program is free and sponsored by Leaf & Limb.
*The in-person option is open to new gardeners and gardeners new to the Triangle while the online option is open to everyone.
plant kaleidoscpe collage
Educational Program Highlights

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

Photography Walk: "Kaleidoscopic Digital Art"
Mary Louise Ravese, Bella Vista Photography
Friday, January 20 – 10:00 AM–12:00 PM

In this session you'll learn how to create kaleidoscopic digital art from your photographs using a free online photo editor. A variety of photographs can work well for this process, for example flower closeups, small scenes, larger landscape shots, etc.

Garden Inspired Floral Knitting Workshop
Amy Wentley, Chai Knuckles Knitting
Thursday, February 16 – 10:00 AM–1:00 PM

Knitting can be a great way to get through the winter months while waiting to get back to the gardens you love. Join with fellow knitting gardeners to learn botanical inspired themes to incorporate into your next knitting project. This workshop, led by Amy Wentley, will show you various knitting techniques to create flowers, leaves, stems and branches. Amy will provide knitting patterns, and each participant will work on two knitted blocks during the workshop and take home pattern ideas for more knitting projects!

Photography Walk: "Close-Up Flower Photography in Your DIY Home Studio"
Mary Louise Ravese, Bella Vista Photography
Friday, February 24 – 10:00 AM–12:00 PM

In this session you'll see how you can use readily available items to create a simple DIY setup for table top flower photography. While a macro lens is often an ideal choice for close-up photography, you'll learn how there are other less expensive photo accessory options to enable you to photograph close-up.

Spots still remain in these January classes:

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

        Propagation Workshops
        "Advanced Hardwood Cuttings"

        Tim Alderton, Research Technician, JC Raulston Arboretum
        Saturday, January 28 – 9:00 AM–12:30 PM
        In Person
        Membership Benefit Highlight:
        Take your membership card with you

        Your JC Raulston Arboretum membership entitles you to special admission privileges and discounts at 345+ gardens throughout North America. This is offered through the American Horticulture Society's Reciprocal Admissions Program (RAP) and all JCRA membership levels qualify. Take a look at the participating gardens and start planning your 2023 adventures.
        Upcoming Events, Programs, and Sales

        Gardening 101
        “January Gardening Tasks”
        JCRA Staff
        Wednesday January 4 – 3:00 PM

        Gardening Story Walk
        Monday, January 9 through Sunday, January 15
        In Person

        Midweek with Greg
        "The Pleasure, Pain and Peril of Plant Collecting Near and Far"
        Greg Paige, Director of Horticulture, JC Raulston Arboretum
        Wednesday January 11 – 3:00 PM

        Let’s Make a Phenology Wheel!
        Monday, January 16 – 10:00 am and 1:00 pm

        There's a Yeti in the Garden!  –  Winter Scavenger Hunt
        Tuesday January 17  –  Monday February 6
        In Person

        Deeper in the Garden
        "Success with Spring Bulbs"
        Tim Alderton, Research Technician
        Wednesday January 18  –  3:00 PM

        Photography Walk
        "Kaleidoscopic Digital Art"
        Mary Louise Ravese
        Monday, January 20 10:00 AM
        In Person

        North American Rock Garden
        "Piedmont Chapter Member Short Talks"
        David White, Tim Alderton, Amelia Lane, & Scott Zona, NARGS (Piedmont Chapter)
        Saturday January 21 – 10:00 AM
        In Person and Online

        Gardening Adventures with Master Gardener Volunteers
        Monday, January 24 – 10:00 AM

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

        Gardening Conversations
        Featuring Greg Paige, Director of Horticulture
        And Mark Weathington, Director
        Wednesday January 25 – 3:00 PM

        Propagation Workshop
        "Beginner Hardwood Cuttings"
        Sophia McCusker, JCRA Staff
        Friday January 27 – 9:00 AM
        In Person

        I Spy! Winter Walk
        Friday January 27 – 11:00 AM
        In Person

        Garden Soils Class
        "If You Build It, They Will Come: Understanding and Improving Garden Soils"
        Bryce Lane
        Saturday January 28 – 8:30 AM
        In Person and Online

        Propagation Workshop
        "Advanced Hardwood Cuttings"
        Tim Alderton, JCRA Staff
        Saturday January 28 – 9:00 AM
        In Person

        Propagation Workshop
        "Beginner Hardwood Cuttings"
        Sophia McCusker, JCRA Staff
        Saturday January 28 – 1:30 PM
        In Person

        Summer Camp Registration Opens for Members
        Monday, January 30, 2023 – 9:00 AM

        Denotes a children's program.

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

        Other Important Dates to Remember

        Intro to Gardening in the South
        Sponsored by Leaf & Limb
        Saturday, February 4 – 9:00 AM
        In Person and Online

        Summer Camp Registration Opens to the Public
        February 13 – 9:00 AM

        Piedmont Prairies
        Saturday, February 17 - 1:30 PM
        In Person and Online

        Winter Symposium
        "Tossing the Turf"
        Featuring Preston Montague, Dr. Mike Richardson, and Mark Weathington
        Saturday, February 18  – 9:00 AM
        In Person and Online

        blue lady statue
        Coming Attractions
        By Nancy Doubrava, Volunteer
        Prunus mume flower
        Prunus mume 'Rose Bud'
        pink-flowering Japanese apricot
        Daphne Mae-jima
        Daphne odora 'Mae-jima'
        variegated winter daphne
        Chaenomeles Atsuya Hamada
        Chaenomeles japonica 'Atsuya Hamada'
        Japanese flowering quince
        Magnolia cavalieri
        Magnolia cavaleriei
        Hamamelis Wisely Supreme
        Hamamelis mollis 'Wisley Supreme'
        Chinese witch hazel
        Camellia Tama Peacock
        Camellia japonica 'Tama Peacock'
        picotee Japanese camellia
        Chiomanthus Luteus
        Chiomanthus praecox 'Luteus'
        Galanthus elwesii
        Galanthus elwesii
        YouTube Channel Update

        Four 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. plant Lovers Tour. Late Bloomers. Trace Fulbright
        video. Gardening 101. December Gardening Tasks
        video. gardening conversations featuring bryce lane
        JC Raulston Arboretum
        NC State University
        Campus Box 7522
        Raleigh, NC 27695-7522
        (919) 515-3132

        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

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