JC Raulston Arboretum e-Update
July 2023

Monarch butterfly on a pink dahlia flower with an orange flower in the background - BEAUTIFUL

Your Monthly News and Updates

Director's Note

By Mark Weathington, Director

What a difference a month makes. We took a sharp turn from the extended, and very welcome, spring-like weather to our more typical hot and humid summer. I’m already missing the regular rainfall. Spring is behind us in other ways. Plant sales, the Southeastern Plant Symposium, and other programs are in the rearview mirror and we actually get a bit of a breather where we can focus on the garden. We’ve got quite a bit of work with all the regular garden needs as well as the projects which always take longer than anticipated but we’ve got the team in place to get it all done.

Speaking of getting it all done, I just left the annual TAG (Triangle Area Gardens) lunch earlier today. It is an inspiring get-together each year with our NC Botanic Garden, Sarah P. Duke Gardens, and Juniper Level Botanic Garden colleagues. Every one of our regional gardens is doing amazing work and there’s nothing better than hearing the successes of our peers and sharing solutions to challenges. Those of us who live in the Research Triangle region are smack in the center of a horticultural hot spot. I can’t think of any place I’d rather be or any team I’d rather be working with—although I wouldn’t mind a bit more of that spring weather.

See you in the garden.

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Sunset with the Mekong River banks. Basile Morin, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Travel the Mekong with Mark

Secure one of the last three rooms!

Have you ever pictured yourself exploring ancient temples, floating down a tropical river, haggling at a floating market, or learning about the people and plants from a different culture? Well, here is your chance to learn more about the opportunity to travel with Mark Weathington, JCRA Director.

We will be embarking January 2024 for a once in a lifetime adventure taking us from the amazing wonder that is Angkor Wat in Cambodia down to the Mekong River delta and Hanoi, Vietnam and we want you to share the experience with us and like-minded JCRA members.

To learn more about the trip, we will be hosting an online discussion on Thursday, July 6 at 4:00 PM with our long-time travel partner, Matthew Brumley of Earthbound Expeditions. We’ve worked with Matthew for a decade on trips from Cuba to South Africa, the Galapagos and the French Riviera and we have never heard him more excited about a travel opportunity than this experience.

To see some of the sights, hear about the experiences, and ask any of your burning questions, please join Mark and Matthew on Thursday, July 6 at 4:00 PM. For those who can’t join it live, we will plan to record the session and share it by request.

Join the online JCRA Travel Info Session
Colorful blooms in the annual trials area of the JC Raulston Arboretum

Join us for the July Evening Garden Stroll

Vote For Your Favorite Annual

Tuesday, July 11, 4:00-7:30 PM

Our annual trial beds are in glorious bloom—you do not want to miss this year’s display! Join us for the July Evening Garden Stroll and cast your vote for this year’s favorite. The Color Trials area at the JC Raulston Arboretum is an official All-America Selections (AAS) testing site for new cultivars of bedding plants, flowers, and cool season plants in North America. Enjoy the newest annuals and tender perennials in flower, and get a glimpse into what makes a terrific summer ornamental plant.

The JCRA summer horticulture interns will be leading a Plant-lover's Tour twice that day. First at 9:00 AM, and again at 5:00 PM. (Both tours will be the same content.) For either tour, meet at the Visitor Center. There is no advance registration necessary.

Group of summer interns

Meet the Interns at our July Ice Cream Social

Wednesday, July 19, 1:00-2:00 PM
Ruby C. McSwain Education Center

You're invited to our annual ice cream social to give our members, donors and volunteers a chance to meet and celebrate the interns' hard work this summer. Howling Cow ice cream with all the toppings will be served. It's a very light-hearted affair that includes a fun question and answer session with these exceptional students.

Hope you will join us! If you can join us, please rsvp below. We don't want to run out of ice cream!

If you can’t join us, but would like to support this amazing Student Internship Program, here is the link. Our founder, J. C. Raulston, Ph.D., mentored a generation of important horticulturists. We continue that mission in his honor today.

RSVP for the Ice Cream Social
trellis and colorful dahlias in bloom

Membership–Changes Behind the Scenes

By Arlene Calhoun, Associate Director

You may notice a few subtle differences the next time you renew your membership. You’ll see a new look and updated membership page on our website and perhaps you’ll notice a few changes on the pages used to renew your membership online. Most of the changes are behind the scenes, but all in hopes of making your renewal processes as seamless as possible.

We have updated all our membership materials with the new Explorer level, which includes the pre-select option for the plant giveaway and have added the tax-deductible portion for each level.

Rest assured all the changes support the robust membership program we all know and love—the plant giveaway, annual seed distribution, American Horticultural Society’s Reciprocal Admissions Program. All the benefits you enjoy as a member are still in place.

We love our members. Connecting people with plants is our passion; it is deeply rooted in our organization and mission. 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 "Plan—and plant for a better world"!

We thank you for your continued support—all 4,236 of you!

gaillardia orange and yellow flowers

Hot Summer Educational Programs

Summer continues to sizzle with more educational programs including some new programming and some of our returning favorites. Whether you prefer an engaging in-person experience or the convenience of online learning, we've got you covered. Register today to secure your spot and take the next step towards unlocking new knowledge and skills!

Landscape Color and Professional Field Day
Presented by NC State's Department of Horticultural Science and the JC Raulston Arboretum
Thursday, July 13 – 8:45 AM

Join us for the 2023 Landscape Color and Professional Field Day for a day filled with helpful information for green industry professionals. The subject matter is across the board, giving professionals a wide variety of interesting topics they'll find useful in their daily tasks. Continuing Education Credits are available.

Creating and Caring for Sustainable Home Landscapes

Bryce Lane, Alumni Distinguished Undergraduate Professor Emeritus and Lecturer Emeritus, Department of Horticultural Science, NC State University

Mondays, July 17 through August 21, 2023 – 6:30 PM–8:30 PM

This is a 6-week course for those who are eager to garden in a more sustainable way. Come learn more about gardening techniques that save energy, conserve water, reduce inputs, restore ecosystems, and much more! Offered in person or online.

Photography Walk
Going Beyond Snap Shot Photography with your iPhone Camera
Mary Louise Ravese, Bella Vista Photography
Friday, July 21, 2023 – 10:00 AM

The smartphone is the camera many people have with them at all times. The camera integrated with these phones has advanced with each smartphone generation, making it worthy of our attention as a legitimate camera. In this session, you'll learn about basic iPhone camera functionality like focusing in a specific place, adjusting brightness, shooting in bursts for action and adjusting background blurriness in portrait mode. We will then practice in the gardens of the Arboretum.

Hypertufa Trough Workshop
Beth Jimenez and Amelia Lane, Lasting Impressions and JCRA Volunteers
Saturday, July 29 – 9:00 AM
Hypertufa troughs were developed in England as an alternative to old stone sinks which were used to feed and water livestock. They provide excellent drainage and can highlight those special small plants that you have! A planted trough can be a garden unto itself. Participants will mix the ingredients, build a container, and learn how to release a finished container from its mold.

Cast Concrete Leaf Workshop
Saturday, July 29 – 1:00 PM
This workshop will teach you everything you need to know about how to prepare your leaf, mix the concrete medium, and mold a natural leaf sculpture to hang on an inside wall or use outside in a garden.

Photography Walk
Flat Lay Flower Photography
Mary Louise Ravese, Bella Vista Photography
Friday, August 11, 2023 – 9:30 AM–12:30 PM

"Flat lay" is a style of photography where objects are arranged on a flat surface and photographed from above looking straight down to provide a bird's eye view of the set up. It 's a style that's become very popular in social media posts. In this session you'll learn the tools and techniques for setting up a flat lay scene, as well as the camera settings and practical considerations for capturing the scene. Then we'll practice arranging and photographing floral flay lay set ups.

Register Landsccape Professional Field Day
Register - In Person: Sustainable Home Landscapes
Register - Online: Sustainable Home Landscapes
Register - July Photography Walk (iPhone)
Register - Hypertufa Workshop
Register - Cast Concrete Leaf Workshop
Register - Flat Lay Photography Workshop
bee on a cone flower close up

Upcoming Events and Programs

Plant Buggy Sales

Daily at the Bobby G. Wilder Visitor Center

Monday–Thursday: 9:00 AM-4:30 PM

Friday: 9:00 AM-8:00 PM

Saturday–Sunday: 8:00 AM-8:00 PM

Garden Story Walk

Saturday, July 1–Sunday, July 9, Open Garden Hours

In Person

Gardening 101

“History of JC Raulston Arboretum”

Dennis Carey, Curator

Wednesday, July 5–3:00-4:00 PM


Garden Explorers

Full- Waitlist Started

Monday, July 10–Friday, July 14–9:00 AM-3:30 PM

In Person

Plant-lover’s Tour

“Interns’ Top Picks”

2023 Summer Horticulture Interns

Tuesday, July 11, 9:00 AM and 5:00 PM
In Person

Evening Garden Stroll

"Vote for Your Favorite in the Annual Color Trials"
Tuesday, July 11, 4:00-7:30 PM
“Interns’ Top Picks” Tour at 5:00 PM, meet at Visitor Center

In Person

Midweek with Interns

“Interns’ Pick”

2023 Summer Horticulture Interns

Wednesday, July 12, 3:00-3:30 PM


Landscape Color and Professional Field Day

NC State Horticulture Department and JCRA

Thursday, July 13, 8:45 AM-3:00 PM


Cultivating Science

Seats Available

Monday, July 17–July 21, 8:30 AM-4:00 PM


Creating and Caring for Sustainable Home Landscapes

Bryce Lane, Distinguished Professor and Gardener

Monday, July 17–August 21, 6:30 PM-8:30 PM

In Person and Online

Deeper in the Garden

“Color Trials Walkthrough”

Bernadette Clark, Bedding Plant Trials Coordinator

Wednesday, July 19, 3:00-3:30 PM

In Person

Photography Walk

‘Going Beyond Snap Shot with your iPhone Camera”

Mary Louise Ravese, Bella Vista Photography

Friday, July 21, 10:00 AM-12:00 PM

In Person

Cut Flower Course

Allison Nidiffer, Education Intern

Thursday, July 22, 8:30-11:00 AM

In Person

Artists in the Garden

Full- Waitlist Started

Monday, July 24–Friday July 28, 9:00 AM-3:30 PM

In Person

Gardening Adventures with Extension Master Gardener Volunteers

Monday, July 24, 10:00-11:30 AM


Garden Conversations

“Featuring Anne Spafford”

Dennis Carey, Curator

Wednesday, July 26, 3:00-4:00 PM


Hypertufa Trough Workshop

Beth Jimenez and Amelia Lane

Saturday, July 29, 9:00 AM-12:00 PM

In Person

Cast Concrete Leaf Workshop

Beth Jimenez and Amelia Lane

Saturday, July 29, 1:00-3:00 PM

In Person

Garden Critters

Full-Waitlist Started

Monday, July 31–Friday, August 4, 9:00 AM-12:30 PM

In Person

✽Denotes a children's program.

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

garden scene with orange daylillies and other flowers

Coming Attractions

By Kathryn Wall, Membership & Volunteer Manager

Lagerstroemia 'Piilag-IX' (Sunset Magic)
"compact crepe myrtle"


Echinodorus bracteatus 'Lantau Lady'
"Amazon sword"

×Gordlinia grandiflora 'Sweet Tea'
mountain gordlinia

Eryngium yuccifolium
"rattlesnake master"

Photos in this month's e-Update were taken by Blake Wentley, Don Chernoff, Ira Tucker, Nancy Doubrava, Mark Weathington and Tim Alderton. Thank you!

YouTube Channel Update

Six 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.

Plant-lover's Tour - "Highlights of the Geophyte Border"
Gardening 101 - "June Gardening Tasks"
Midweek with Mark - "Rare Plant Auction Highlights"
Deeper in the Garden - "Wolfgang the Corpse Flower"
Master Gardener Lecture - "Native Pollinators"
Garden Conversations - "Featuring Brie Arthur"

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

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

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