News from the JC Raulston Arboretum for our members
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JC Raulston Arboretum e-Update
November 2023

Your Monthly News and Updates

Director's Note

By Mark Weathington, Director

What a glorious fall it has been, perhaps drier than us gardeners would prefer but at least we have something to complain about. All hands are on deck for Moonlight in the Garden right now making it hard to slow our steps and remember to enjoy the fact that we work in a garden.

I am lucky that I’m often here after dark and have a chance to wander the gardens under the moonlight and a smattering of safety and landscape lighting. It truly is a magical experience and I’ve been so inspired I’ve been slowly adding lights to my home garden, I just wish the squirrels didn’t like chewing the wires quite so much. Moonlight in the Garden grew in part out of our wish that we could share the magic of the night time garden with everyone. It always amazes me how much more dramatic the landscape becomes with the interplay of form and texture and movement.

See you in the garden and under the lights.

Moonlight Preview Night Will Dazzle and Delight

By Arlene Calhoun, Associate Director

We are looking forward to seeing many of you this Friday night. And it’s shaping up to be a beautiful North Carolina fall evening perfect for this year’s preview of Moonlight in the Garden.

Thank you all for supporting the garden and sharing this event with many of your family and friends. We have sold all 500 available tickets! Tickets were emailed last Thursday, the tickets for each order are sent as PDF attachments. (For those with multiple orders, you’ll receive an email to each address you used.)

The star of the evening is the garden and the magical lighting artistry of John Garner and his team at Southern Lights of Raleigh. The skies should be clear and the moon bright to enjoy this after dark experience.

Start your evening on the Great Lawn at the grazing tables and small plate stations to give yourself plenty of time to stroll the garden sipping a glass of wine or a cup of hot apple cider.

Here’s a simple timeline to whet your appetite.

6:30 PM - Gates open for Member's early access

Great Lawn is where you’ll find:

Beer and Wine at the Bar

Small plate chef-attended stations and grazing tables

S’mores Bar near the fire pits

Hot Apple Cider is outside the Ruby McSwain Center

7:00 PM - Preview Night official start all guests arrive

7:15 PM - Dessert Table opens

8:30PM - Last call at the bar and small plate stations!

9:00 PM - Beer and Wine Bar closes

Close your night with the band and a delicious s’more! Get creative.

9:30 PM - Event ends

Things to know:

  • The event is rain or shine. Please dress for the weather!

  • Confirm road closures before you head out. You can access Beryl Road from Blue Ridge Road by using Hutton Street. Beryl Road is also accessible from Hillsborough Street near the Waffle House.

  • We strongly recommend carpooling or using a ride share to this popular event. For GPS, please enter our street address: 4415 Beryl Road, Raleigh, NC 27606

  • Free parking is available along Beryl Road or side streets, and in our overflow lot at 4101 Beryl Road, near the I-440 overpass. The Arboretum parking lot is reserved for handicapped parking only.

  • No pets are allowed; only service dogs.

  • Walking is the primary way to experience Moonlight in the Garden and onsite maps will mark accessible pathways. We have seating on the Great Lawn near the live music and catering tents. Benches and other seating are available throughout the garden. No lawn chairs, please.

  • Tickets are transferable, simply forward the attached PDF ticket. No need to notify us of transfers. Each barcode is unique and is valid for one entry.

Event Map, Menu, Ticketing Questions & FAQ

Questions? Please email

Moonlight in the Garden Supports the Arboretum

By Arlene Calhoun, Associate Director

We get all caught up in the glitz and glamor of Moonlight in the Garden that it’s easy to forget this is an annual fundraiser. For sure it is a fundraiser like none other for the Arboretum with its 13,500 tickets. So far this year we have ticket sales from 19 states including North Carolina — we’ve officially sold tickets from coast to coast! I never saw that coming.

We are in the process of emailing all the digital tickets. To date we’ve sold nearly 6,000 tickets, so it takes a little time to get all the emails sent. All Preview Night and Anytime tickets have been emailed. We will be working on tickets for November 9-11 this week. And will email tickets for November 16-18 next week in addition to new ticket sales for any date.

This year all tickets purchased in one transaction are attached to the email. Remember these tickets are transferable, simply forward the attached PDF ticket. No need to notify us of transfers. Each barcode is unique and is valid for one entry.

Once we hit November tickets start selling even faster. Please keep spreading the word — it’s working. We’re right on track for another sold out year! Thanks again for all you do to support the Arboretum. Your support increases the Arboretum's accessibility to the community by sustaining our free programming and keeping our gates open all year round.

Buy Moonlight Tickets
Ticket Questions and FAQ

Unveiling the Latest Wish List Projects

By Amy Beitzel, Development Assistant

2023 has been an exciting year at the JC Raulston Arboretum. The most memorable milestones include a blooming ‘smelly’ corpse flower, another outstanding cohort of summer interns, and sharing plant knowledge with our friends via 136 educational programs!

As we reflect on the tremendous successes, the Arboretum staff have thoughtfully selected seven projects to enhance the Arboretum's overall functionality, accessibility, and quality of the visitor experience, as well as expand staff enrichment experiences. The 2023-2024 JCRA Wish List will be promoted over the next several months. Curious to learn what our staff are excited to tackle in the coming year? Check your mailbox soon or visit the wishlist website at for an exclusive preview of the JCRA's future priorities.

Your gift, large or small, is crucial to the Arboretum’s continued growth as a leader in our efforts to diversify the American landscape, inspire passion for plants and provide a positive, lasting impact. For more information, please contact Amy Beitzel at (919) 513-1680 or or Alycia Thornton at (919) 513-7068 or

Explore Outstanding Plants with Winter Interest with Bryce Lane

By Blake Wentley, Education Assistant

Winter is on the way, and we’re teaming up with Bryce Lane to bring you a phenomenal 4-week class at the end of November all about “Outstanding Plants with Winter Interest” to get ready!

I have no doubt that most of our members already know and love Bryce. For those of you who may be unfamiliar, Bryce Lane was a professor in NC State’s Horticulture department for 34 years, during which time he produced and hosted a television show for UNC-TV called “In the Garden With Bryce Lane” (that hyperlink will bring you to an episode of his show from 2012 that featured the JCRA. Go ahead and watch it — we’ll wait right here until you get back!). He claims to have retired from teaching in 2014, but when somebody is born to do something, they just keep doing it, so he continues to teach a class on Home Horticulture at NC State every semester, and even better, he teaches night classes on a wide range of horticultural topics for us here at the JCRA!

So why are we so excited about this class, specifically? Really, it comes down to topic and timing. This class will meet on Monday evenings from November 27 to December 18, a time when all the plants in the garden are aggressively going dormant and the sun is doing everything in its power to give us the impression that it’s leaving forever and never coming back (spoiler alert: it always comes back!). Despite these foreboding omens, winter can actually be one of the most exciting seasons in the garden, with a delightful palette of fragrant flowering plants, and many beautiful ornamental plant features becoming visible that just aren’t noticeable at other times of the year. Bryce will not only be able to introduce you to new plants you may not know, but his expertise with plant ID may even show you things you’ve never noticed about the plants you’ve always loved.

Indeed, it’s the perfect time of year to be reminded of the glory that awaits us in the garden in the winter; but the real reason you want to sign up for this class with us is the extraordinary atmosphere for learning that we cultivate ⎯ the good vibes, if you will. The exuberance Bryce brought to his TV show comes with him to class every night, along with a gardening expertise that can only be acquired through four decades of dedicated practice. Bryce is an open book when it comes to his garden, and he’ll proudly tell you about every plant he’s killed and what he learned from the experience, so there’s never any shame or concern about asking “stupid questions.” And perhaps most importantly, you will be joined by your fellow gardeners who are just as excited to be learning about horticulture as you are, and because of all those good vibes I mentioned earlier, you’re bound to make some new friends.

So, join us in-person, or online, or both! The flexibility of our hybrid programming means you can join us from home via Zoom if you’d like, and the lectures are recorded, so you can miss class if you need to, but believe me, this class will be the reason that you look forward to Monday nights!

Register for In Person
Register for Online

Order Your Fresh Holiday Wreath from the Arboretum!

Set the mood for this holiday season with a beautiful JC Raulston Arboretum wreath! These wreaths are hand made right here at the Arboretum by volunteers and staff. They are perfect as a stand alone decoration or as the finishing touch to match your holiday décor. This sale is for a small wreath which are perfect for regular sized doors. Pickups for wreaths are scheduled for Friday, December 2 and Saturday, December 3. Don’t miss out on your chance to get your own designer wreath to make this season a special one!

Pre-order your holiday wreath

Upcoming Programs and Events

Adjusted hours alert: The JC Raulston Arboretum will close early at 3:00 PM on all Moonlight event nights : November 3, 9-11, 16-18

Plant Buggy

Daily at the Bobby G. Wilder Visitor Center — Will go on hiatus in November during Moonlight in the Garden

Gardening 101

“November Gardening Tasks”

The Horticulture Team

Wednesday, November 1–3:00 PM-3:30 PM


Preview Night—Moonlight in the Garden


A Magical Lighting Exhibition with Our Friends from Southern Lights of Raleigh and the North Carolina Agricultural Foundation, Inc.

Friday, November 3–7:00 PM-9:30 PM

In Person

Garden Story Walk*

Saturday, November 4–Sunday, November 12, JCRA Open Hours

In Person

North American Rock Garden Society (Piedmont Chapter) Lecture

"Reynolda Gardens: What Was Old Is New Again"

Jon Roethling

Co-Hosted by the Piedmont Chapter of the North American Rock Garden Society and the JC Raulston Arboretum

Saturday, November 4–10:00 AM-11:30 AM

In Person and Online

Plant-lover's Tour

"Fall Color"

Greg Paige, Director of Horticulture

Tuesday, November 7–1:00 PM-2:00 PM

In Person

Midweek with Mark

"Berries for Birds"

Mark Weathington, Director

Wednesday, November 8–3:00 PM-3:30 PM


Moonlight in the Garden

A Magical Lighting Exhibition with Our Friends from Southern Lights of Raleigh and the North Carolina Agricultural Foundation, Inc.

Thursday, November 9–Saturday, November 11

Thursday, November 16–Saturday, November 18

In Person

Deeper in the Garden

"Why We Gather Seed"

Dennis Carey, Curator

Wednesday, November 15–3:00 PM-3:30 PM


Thanksgiving Hours

November 23–9:00 AM-4:30 PM

Enjoy the beauty of the gardens during the Thanksgiving holiday.

Outstanding Plants with Winter Interest

Bryce Lane

Mondays, November 27–December 18–6:30 PM-8:30 PM

In Person and Online

Horticulture Hour

The Horticulture Team

Wednesday, November 29–3:00 PM-4:00 PM


Coming Attractions

By JCRA Programs Staff & Volunteer Photographers

Camellia 'Winter's Dream'

Ackerman camellia

Ilex 'Carolina Cardinal'

hybrid winterberry holly

Prunus mume 'Tojibai'

flowering apricot

Acer palmatum 'Nishiki Momiji'

"green-leaf Japanese maple"

Videos Added to the JCRA YouTube Channel

Eight programs were recorded in October and posted to our YouTube channel. Receive announcements about our latest additions by subscribing.

Plant-lover's Tour - "Conferring on Conifers"
Gardening 101 - "October Gardening Tasks"
2023 Friends of the Arboretum Free Plant Giveaway
Midweek with Greg - "Tool Maintenance"
Deeper in the Garden - "Grassy Plants"
NARGS Talk - Sandy Horn - "Conifers for Rock Gardens"
Master Gardener Talk - "Water Management for the Home Gardener"
Garden Conversations - "Cut-Flower Talk Featuring John Dole"

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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