News from the JC Raulston Arboretum
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JC Raulston Arboretum e-Update
February 2024

Your Monthly News and Updates

Director's Note

By Mark Weathington, Director

I’ve spent the past couple of weeks with an amazing group of JCRA members on a trip exploring Cambodia and Vietnam. One of the sights which always strikes me whether I’m in a small fishing village along the Mekong River, a remote settlement in the Ecuador rainforest or a mountain farm in rural China is the presence of ornamental plants. It seems that growing beautiful things is a human imperative and no matter where I go I see people surrounding themselves with flowering plants. I was especially delighted to see orchids, crotons, and even hosta being grown in containers on the porches of the Mekong delta’s floating communities. Living on a drifting house seems an extreme way to keep the deer away from your hosta but it definitely works. Travel has the dual effect of opening you up to the wonders of the world far from home while also highlighting how much we are all alike. Stay tuned to hear about where in the world we’ll be heading to next!

See you in the garden.

Sending A Bouquet of Heartfelt Gratitude to Our Members

By Amy Beitzel, Development Assistant

Unwavering support from members like you nurtures growth at JC Raulston Arboretum. As a public garden, our passion to connect people with plants is the heart of everything we do.

Your generous membership contribution sustains our ability to:

  • Expand our beautiful plant collections – over 9,000 in the living collection and counting!

  • Offer engaging opportunities for gardeners of all ages to learn and share

  • Advance ongoing research efforts

  • Diversify the American landscape through plant sales and distributions

  • Enhance our garden spaces to welcome and inspire thousands of visitors

Each member keeps us growing, teaching and adding value to our community. As we embark on another year, we are excited about the Arboretum's continued impact. We deeply appreciate you for being a vital part of shaping our journey.

Thank you for being a JCRA member.

Mark your calendars to support JCRA on NC State’s Day of Giving:

Wednesday, March 20, 2024!

Open to all plant-lovers!

Online Rare Plant Auction: February 14-17

Don't miss out on our upcoming extraordinary online plant auction!

It's that time once again when the JCRA team pulls out all the stops and raids our own nursery collection plants to share in the Winter Auction. As always, we have some exceptionally cool plants including our first release of several things from our 2022 Vietnam expedition. Think evergreen dogwoods, camellia relatives, and exotic begonias. We've got plenty of other choice plants including the bluest foliage Mahonia fremontii we've ever seen, a hybrid palm, and the exceptionally rare and endangered Acer pentaphyllum.

No matter how jaded a plant lover you might be, there is sure to be something on the list to get your blood pumping and your temperature rising—the perfect antidote to the winter blues.

Auction opens 12:00 PM (ET), Wednesday, February 14, 2024, and closes 1:00 PM (ET), Saturday, February 17, 2024.

For our non-local friends, we have an added perk – all plants with a size of one gallon or less can be shipped to anywhere in the continental 48 states for an extra fee per plant. Select plants may be shipped bare root when applicable. Alternatively, you can pick up all plants at the JC Raulston Arboretum on Thursday, February 22. Get ready for an unforgettable plant shopping experience!

Watch your email for the Auction Link on February 14, or go to

Because this is an online auction, you do not have to attend the symposium to participate.

Spring Training for JCRA School Tour Guide Volunteers

By Joy Burns, School Tour Coordinator

Looking for a fun way to welcome spring and get outside? Volunteer with us weekday mornings to help local school children enjoy a science lesson at the Arboretum!

Over 2,000 students from kindergarten to third grade will tour the garden from March to May. We need your help to guide their exploration. All content has been created and materials are being prepared. Your job is to show up, present and enjoy! There’s nothing quite like experiencing a “light bulb” moment when young students make a connection with nature.

We are holding training sessions on two days:

Wednesday, February 21 or Thursday, February 22 (only need to attend one day)
10:00 AM-2:00 PM in the McSwain Education Building

Participants are asked to bring a bag lunch and drink. Dessert will be provided.

Veteran school tour guides and new volunteers are all encouraged to attend!

Sign Up for Spring Training!
Fill out our volunteer application

Hello February!

By Elizabeth Overcash, Education and Communications Manager

Some of the plants in the garden may be getting a little rest during the winter months, but the education team is busy as the honeybees in the spring. February is packed full of some great educational opportunities that you will not want to miss.

Starting with this weekend - Intro to Gardening in the South is our gardening welcome mat event for newcomers and new gardeners. The in-person seats have all been snatched up, but you can still join us online through Zoom. If you already have plans for Saturday morning, you'll be able to catch the recordings on our YouTube channel as early as next week. We have three amazing presenters – Pam Beck, Doug Ruhren and Greg Paige. Pam will fill your travel wish list with NC must-visit gardens; Doug will fill your garden beds with dazzling perennials; and Greg will fill your head with new knowledge about what to do with those insect garden visitors.

Then, let’s talk about the Winter Symposium: “The Obsessive Gardener." If you're starting to get tired of North Carolina's yo-yo winter weather and not knowing if you should be hibernating or heading outdoors, we have a morning symposium that will distract you from whatever may be going on outside!

  • Come listen to Joseph Tychonievich whose humor and knowledge will both entertain and inform. He’s the author of “The Complete Guide to Gardeners: The Plant Obsessed and How to Deal With Them” and “The Comic Book Guide to Growing Food: Step-by-Step Vegetable Gardening for Everyone” so you know he’ll serve up the knowledge with a side of humor.

  • Catherine Bukowski has been working with community food forests ever since she was working towards her doctorate in Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation at Virginia Tech. Mark was blown away by a presentation he saw her give at another symposium, and we are so excited to have her at the Arboretum to share her passion for food forests with all of you.

  • Mike P. Gibson, “Gibby Scissorhands” or “Gibby-Siz,” is a self-taught topiary artist with over 30 years of experience. He was a topiary artist-in-residence at Pearl Fryar's Topiary Garden in Bishopville, SC, and helped with its restoration. In his presentation, Mike will help us see how creative pruning can be a gateway to mindfulness and emotional healing.

Can you tell I’m obsessed with this line-up, and I can’t wait to spend the morning with these three? There are still a few seats available for you to join us in person, and there's plenty of space to join us virtually online from anywhere in the world! Get your registrations in before the late registration period starts and prices go up Monday, February 12.

We have filled up your weekends, but there’s plenty more to enjoy. Find the Yeti before they leave the gardens on Sunday, February 4. Join Bryce Lane’s soil class - you're only one class behind and can easily get caught up by viewing the recordings. While you're doing that, get signed up for his Propagating Houseplants class starting at the end of the month. Bring a Love Letter to the Garden and leave it in our special mailbox on the Education Yurt deck (it’s a fun way to share gratitude with the plants and staff!). Green-up those thumbs at the Deciduous Conifer Grafting Workshop with Leanne Kenealy Atkins as she teaches you the fundamentals of grafting while sharing how she honed her skills.

There's so much to love with our educational programming, and so much more on the way! We hope we'll see you in the gardens and the classroom soon!

Member Benefit Highlights

Free admission to monthly JC Raulston Arboretum Plant-lover's Tours and Lectures cohosted with the North American Rock Garden Society (Piedmont Chapter).

1:00 PM, Tuesday, February 6 – Plant-lover's Tour

10:00 AM, Saturday, February 10 – Next NARGS lecture

Members-only Seed Distribution Returns in March

The annual distribution of seed collected at both the JC Raulston Arboretum and our sister institution, Juniper Level Botanic Gardens, is coming in March. This is one of our most popular member benefits!

Need a copy of your card? Let us know. Email us at

Upcoming Events, Programs, and Sales

Current Garden Hours:

Monday–Friday - 9:00 AM-4:30 PM

Saturday–Sunday - 10:00 AM-5:00 PM

Plant Buggy - returns week of February 19th (weather permitting)

There’s a Yeti in the Garden!*

Winter Scavenger Hunt

Friday, January 5–Sunday, February 4, JCRA Open Hours

In Person

Garden Story Walk*

Saturday, February 3–Sunday, February 11, JCRA Open Hours

In Person

Intro to Gardening in the South

Saturday, February 3–9:00 AM-12:00 PM

In Person and Online

Understanding and Improving Garden Soils

Bryce Lane, Distinguished Professor and Gardener

Mondays, January 29–February 19–6:30 PM-8:30 PM

In Person and Online

Plant-lover’s Tour

“Midwinter Flowers”

Tim Alderton, Research Technician

Tuesday, February 6–1:00 PM-2:00 PM

In Person

Garden Science*

“More About Herbs!”

Wednesday, February 7–10:00 AM-11:30 AM

In Person

Gardening 101

“Tissue Culture 101”

Lis Meyer, Senior Lecturer, Department of Horticultural Sciences, NC State University

Wednesday, February 7–3:00 PM-3:30 PM


Dear Garden,*

Love Letters to the Garden

Friday, February 9–Wednesday, February 14, JCRA Open Hours

In Person

Winter Storytime*

Friday, February 9–10:30 AM-11:30 AM

In Person

North American Rock Garden Society (Piedmont Chapter) Lecture

"NARGS-Sponsored Argentine Patagonia Trip, December, 2023"

Tim Alderton, Research Technician, JC Raulston Arboretum

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

Saturday, February 10–10:00 AM-11:30 AM

In Person and Online

Midweek with Tim

“Spring Ephemerals”

Tim Alderton, Research Technician

Wednesday, February 14–3:00 PM-3:45 PM


Garden Science*

“ecoEXPLORE: For the Birds!”

Friday, February 16–10:00 AM-11:30 AM

In Person

Winter Symposium: “The Obsessive Gardener”

Online Rare & Unusual Plant Auction

Featuring Joseph Tychonievich, Catherine Bukowski, and Mike P. Gibson

Saturday, February 17–9:00 AM-12:30 PM

In Person and Online

Deeper in the Garden

“Evergreen Asian Magnolias”

Mark Weathington & Greg Paige, Director and Director of Horticulture, respectively

Wednesday, February 21–3:00 PM-3:30 PM


Winter Storytime*

Friday, February 23–10:30 AM-11:30 AM

In Person

Deciduous Conifer Grafting Workshop

Leanne Kenealy Atkins, Specialty Grafter and Horticulturist

Saturday, February 24–10:00 AM-12:30 PM

In Person

Propagating Houseplants

Bryce Lane, Distinguished Professor and Gardener

Mondays, February 26–March 4–6:30 PM-8:30 PM

In Person and Online

Garden Conversations

“Featuring Patrick McMillan”

Dennis Carey, Curator

Wednesday, February 28–3:00 PM-4:00 PM


* Denotes a children's program.

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

Coming soon!

Member Seed Distribution: Catalog coming in March

Day of Giving: Wednesday, March 20

Online Spring Plant Sale: April 3-10

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

Raulston Blooms! & Spring Plant Sale: 10:00 AM-3:00 PM, Saturday, April 27

Annual Birdhouse Competition

Coming Attractions

By Nancy Kitchener, Volunteer

Camellia 'Snow Flurry' (Theaceae)
Ackerman camellia

Cercis canadensis var. texensis 'Oklahoma' (Fabaceae)
dark flowered Texas redbud

Chionodoxa forbesii (Hyacinthaceae)

Crocus tommasinianus 'Whitewell Purple' (Iridaceae)
Tommasini's crocus

Daphne genkwa (Thymelaeaceae)

lilac daphne

Edgeworthia 'Snow Globe' (Thymelaeaceae)
hybrid Japanese paperbush

YouTube Channel Update

Five programs were recorded in January. These videos were all were posted to our YouTube channel. Look for them on our channel or click the graphics below.

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.

Top Plant Picks - "Tim's Top Picks"
Midweek with Mark - "New Year, New Plant Obsessions"
Deeper in the Garden - "Build Your Own Mist System at Home"
NARGS Talk - Bobby Ward - “The Life of J. C. Raulston, Horticultural Ambassador”
Garden Conversations - "Tree Talk with Dr. Barb Fair"

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

Photos in this edition were taken by Ira Tucker, Kathryn Wall, Ralph Parker and Tim Alderton.

If you would like to join our volunteer photography program, please contact Kathryn Wall, at kbwall@ncsu.ed.

JC Raulston Arboretum
Campus Box 7522
Raleigh, NC 27695-7522
Contact us at

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