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JC Raulston Arboretum e-Update
April 2024


Your Monthly News and Updates

Director's Note

By Mark Weathington, Director

What a glorious spring it has been!  While I’m currently off on a expedition to Uruguay, the JCRA team is taunting me with pictures of the garden at its finest. Why on earth would I leave a North Carolina spring for a South American autumn?

Speaking of the team here at the arboretum, we managed another 8 hour, live, online marathon for NC State’s Day of Giving and boy was it a success. We beat our goal of 250 gifts, hitting 287 donations worth $103,228 for our general operating fund. In addition, a $50,000 endowment for art in the garden was established, a $250,000 gift for an education initiative was pledged, a $1.5 million planned gift was signed, and a $1 million planned gift for Juniper Level Botanic Garden was documented. In all, we accounted for over 43% of the funds which came to the College of Agriculture & Life Sciences and 6% to the entire University.

These gifts offer real opportunities for the JCRA’s impact to grow and reach more people. We can’t thank our donors enough, whether they give $15 or $1.5 million, for trusting us to use their generosity wisely. We will do our best to make sure we are worthy of your support now and long into the future.

See you in the garden.

P.S. Be sure to check out our current expanded hours, just in time to enjoy the longer days and a blooming spring.

raulston blooms! daisy logo
plant sale

Plant Sales: Get Set, Get Ready, SHOP!

It’s April and time for our largest plant sale of the year. There are three ways to shop the sale and whether you decide to shop online, in person or both, JCRA members get first access to shop the sale which includes over 200 taxa!

Important Dates for Members Only Shopping:

Wednesday, April 3 at noon - Online Spring Plant Sale opens to JCRA members*

  • Members will receive an email with the link to the sale Tuesday evening. You will be able to browse the plants but not be able to add anything to your carts until noon on Wednesday when the sale opens.

  • Monday, April 8 - Sale opens to everyone. Link is added to our home page.

  • Thursday, April 18 - Saturday, April 20 - Scheduled plant pick up times

Friday, April 26 from 4:00-7:00 PM - Members Only Spring Plant Sale Opens

  • JCRA members get to shop the sale in person before it opens to everyone during Raulston Blooms! on Saturday, April 27.

  • You will also be able to shop the plants of this years invited nurseries:

Or shop at Raulston Blooms! Saturday, April 27 from 10:00 AM - 3:00 PM

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

*Members will receive an e-mail with a link to the ClickBid e-store to shop. This is a Plant Sale, not an Auction. Don't let any auction lingo confuse you; we use ClickBid for our online sales and auctions. The link to the sale will be available on our home page when it opens to the public on Monday, April 8.

boy with facepaint looking at insects

Counting Down to Raulston Blooms!

Saturday, April 27, 2024 - 10:00 AM - 3:00 PM

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, makers market and more! 

Bring the entire family and celebrate spring at the arboretum. There is fun to be had by all – food trucks, nature inspired activities and 10.5 acres in full spring glory to enjoy. 

Raulston Blooms! Is a ticketed event. Tickets are available at the gate on event day. Members get in free.


Food Trucks, Artists List & Speaker Schedule

April is in the air…

By Elizabeth Overcash, Education and Communications Manager

Well, I guess pollen is really in the air, but that means spring is here! The gardens are alive with plants growing, flowers blooming, insects buzzing around and people everywhere in the garden. Every time I’m in the gardens, I see a different kind of plant showing off and a different color taking up the spotlight. If you haven’t been to the gardens recently, I recommend coming once a week, if not more, to enjoy the show.

While we are watching spring unfurl, take some time out of your busy spring gardening chores to brush up on your gardening knowledge with some of our educational programs this month.

  • Join Bryce Lane for an eight week class learning how to create a garden that attracts and supports wildlife. This is such an important topic as we all try to create a welcoming habitat for all our garden visitors. Don’t be intimidated by an eight week commitment — all of the classes are recorded and shared with participants, so it’s easy to catch back up if you have to miss a week. Classes are at 6:30 PM on Mondays, April 1 to May 20.

  • Evening Garden Strolls are back! The gardens will be open late on April 9 to enjoy the golden hour.  Come enjoy some time in the gardens to unwind after work.

  • The Girl Scouts are back in the gardens this spring. If you have Daisy scouts in your family, they can come enjoy a workshop based on the Flower Friendship journey on Sunday, April 14 where they will meet the composting worms, smell different fragrances from the garden, plant a container garden and much more!

  • NARGS (North American Rock Garden Society) will host Scott Zona on April 20 to talk about his experience with rock gardening. You might recognize Scott’s name as a renowned botanist and an award-winning author or as the botanist behind the NC State Extension Gardener Plant Toolbox. He’s a wealth of knowledge, so I’m sure this will be a great presentation!

  • Forest Bathing continues in April with a class on Thursday the 18th and another on Sunday the 21st. We had two sold out programs in March, so don’t miss your opportunity for a guided, immersive experience. This is a great activity to share with a friend!

And of course, we will see you all at Raulston Blooms on Saturday, April 27. We have a great selection of plants for sale, food trucks to fill your bellies, artists to shop to spruce up your spring house and garden, educational displays and of course family fun in the Yurt!

Special Invitation from the NCSU Libraries

Library Libations: Botanicals in Special Collections

Date: Thursday, April 11

Time: 6:00-8:00 PM

Location: Hill Library, SCRC Reading Room

Cost: Free, registration is required

Register Here

Our friends from NCSU Libraries have extended a special invitation to arboretum members for this month’s Library Libations: Botanicals in Special Collections.

Make your own blend of herbal tea while exploring botanical materials from the Special Collections Research Center’s rare books, archival collections and more. Join us for a hands-on look at these fascinating and rare collections, and meet some of the staff and student workers who preserve, organize, and provide access to them.

Thank you to our friends at the library for thinking of us for this terrific program.

Member Seed Distribution Update

We anticipate having all seed ready to pick up or mail by mid-April. Watch for an email from Kathryn Wall. The seeds will be available to pick up at the McSwain Education Center.

Unbe-leaf-able Day of Giving Success at JCRA

By Amy Beitzel, Development Assistant

Thank you for supporting the mission of the JC Raulston Arboretum on NC State’s Day of Giving. Your generosity allowed us to surpass our goal of 250 gifts before 6:00 PM, securing more than $103,000 in funding for the arboretum. We are overwhelmingly grateful for this passionate community of plant enthusiasts who eagerly invest in the JCRA’s future.

Special thanks to:

  • Each donor who contributed which allowed us to exceed our challenge goal and receive 286 gifts - your creativity and comments kept us energized throughout the day.

  • The JC Raulston Board of Advisors for generously funding the giving challenge and proudly maintaining our 100% board Day of Giving participation streak.

  • Carol and Alexander Lawrence for your tireless dedication volunteering behind the camera to keep our online program running from 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM.

  • Dora Zia and her family for establishing a JCRA Student Internship endowment.

  • Doug Chapman and Emily Reece for establishing a JCRA Art in the Garden endowment.

  • Jerry and Nina Jackson for investing in the next section of brick columns and iron fencing on Beryl Road.

  • Thoughtful donors who documented planned gifts to sustain the future of the JCRA and Juniper Level Botanic Garden. 

These aren’t simply metrics we reached or goals achieved – these numbers represent new opportunities, unique experiences and invaluable resources that will grow the future of the arboretum for future generations. We couldn’t do it without you. 


First 2024 Evening Garden Stroll is Tuesday, April 9

Take a break from your weekly grind and practice wellness! Come enjoy the garden during this season's first Evening Garden Stroll. Join our free wellness activities including two Forest Bathing introduction sessions, led by Shawn Ramsey, starting at 5:00 PM and then again at 5:30 PM and a yoga class, led by Rayneen Thebeau, starting at 6:00 PM. Explore the garden with a guided public tour starting at 5:30 PM that begins at our Visitor Center. No registration is needed.

The gardens will remain open until 7:30 PM. 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!

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Upcoming Events, Programs, and Sales

Current Garden Hours 

9:00 AM-4:30 PM, Monday–Thursday

9:00 AM-7:00 PM, Friday

8:00 AM-7:00 PM Saturday–Sunday

Plant Buggy Sales

Daily at the Bobby G. Wilder Visitor Center

Gardening to Attract & Support Wildlife

Bryce Lane, Distinguished Professor and Gardener

Mondays, April 1–May 20 – 6:30 PM-8:30 PM

In Person and Online

Plant-lover’s Tour

“Tall Narrow Trees”

Greg Paige, Director of Horticulture

Tuesday, April 2 – 1:00 PM-2:00 PM

In Person

Online Spring Plant Sale

Opens to Members – Wednesday, April 3, Noon

Opens to Public – Monday, April 8, 9:00 AM

Closes – Wednesday, April 10, Midnight


Gardening 101

“Our Top 10 Questions Answered”

Mark Weathington & Greg Paige, Director and Director of Horticulture 

Wednesday, April 3 – 3:00 PM-3:30 PM


Garden Story Walk*

Saturday, April 6–Sunday, April 14, JCRA Open Hours

In Person

Evening Garden Stroll

Tuesday, April 9 – 4:30 PM-7:30 PM

In Person

Midweek with Bernadette

“Long-lasting Annuals”

Bernadette Clark, Bedding Plant Trials Coordinator

Wednesday, April 10 – 3:00 PM-3:45 PM


Girl Scout Program*

Daisies Flower Garden Friendships

Sunday, April 14 – 2:00 PM-4:00 PM

In Person 

Deeper in the Garden

“The Real Secret Life of Plants”

Dennis Carey, Curator 

Wednesday, April 17 – 3:00 PM-3:30 PM


Forest Bathing

A Guided, Immersive Experience

Shawn Ramsey

Thursday, April 18 – 1:30 PM-3:30 PM

In Person

North American Rock Garden Society (Piedmont Chapter) Lecture

"Turning Rocks into a Rock Garden"

Scott Zona

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

Saturday, April 20 – 10:00 AM-11:30 AM

In Person and Online

Forest Bathing

A Guided, Immersive Experience

Shawn Ramsey

Sunday, April 21 – 1:00 PM-3:00 PM

In Person

Garden Conversations

“Featuring John Buettner”

Mark Weathington, Director

Wednesday, April 24 – 3:00 PM-4:00 PM


Members Only Spring Plant Sale

Friday, April 26 – 4:00 PM-7:00 PM

In Person

Raulston Blooms! and Plant Sale

A Garden Festival for All Ages

Saturday, April 27 – 10:00 AM-3:00 PM

In Person

22nd Annual Birdhouse Competition

Part of Raulston Blooms!

Saturday, April 27 – 10:00 AM-3:00 PM

In Person

* Denotes a children's program.

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

Coming soon!

Southeastern Plant Symposium and Rare Plant Auction – June 7-8

Coming Attractions

By Nancy Kitchener, JCRA Volunteer




Trillium grandiflorum

Trillium grandiflorum

wood lily

Sanguinaria canadensis

Sanguinaria canadensis f. Multiplex

double-flower bloodroot

Lamprocapnos spectabilis

Lamprocapnos spectabilis ‘Hordival’ (Valentine)

bleeding heart


Anemone coronaria

poppy anemone

Scila peruviana

Scila peruviana

Portuguese squill

Thanks to this month's Coming Attractions photographers: Ira Tucker, Tim Alderton, and Mark Weathington

YouTube Channel Update

Twelve programs for public view were recorded in March. These videos may be accessed on our YouTube channel.

Plant-lover's Tour - "Best of the Mixed Border"
Top Plant Picks - "Sophia's Top Picks"
Midweek with Sophia - "Gardening with Kids"
NARGS Talk - Paul Spriggs - "A Grand Tour: Experiencing the Rock Gardens of the Czech Republic"
Deeper in the Garden - "Perennials You Can't Kill (And Some We Have)"
A Plant's Life: Lifecycle of a JCRA Plant
Day of Giving 2024 - "Plant-lover's Tour - Native Plants of the JCRA"
Day of Giving 2024 - "New Plant Reveal"
Day of Giving 2024 - "Getting Choosy With Choice Plants"
Day of Giving - "History of the JCRA White Garden"
Day of Giving 2024 - "Native Plants for Non-conformists"
Garden Conversations - "Piedmont Prairies: Featuring Annabel Renwick & Maegan Luckett"

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JC Raulston Arboretum
4415 Beryl Road, Raleigh, NC 27606
(919) 515-3132

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