JC Raulston Arboretum e-Update
January 2024

Your Monthly News and Updates

Director's Note

By Mark Weathington, Director

Happy New Year! I love this time of year when the garden has been tidied up a bit from the fall and the winter flowers are popping. A quick walk through the Arboretum had me admiring the flowers on evergreen magnolias, camellias (of course), Algerian iris (Iris unguicularis), cyclamen, and much more. As always, we have a full slate of programming planned for the coming year including an amazing lineup for our Winter Symposium. I’ve shared the stage at other events with 2 of our 3 speakers and have been itching to get them here while the 3rd speaker is someone I keep missing when he’s on the road lecturing elsewhere. Hopefully I’ll see many of you for the Symposium. I just hope you schedule enough time to enjoy the winter landscape while you’re here.

See you in the Garden.

The New Year Brings New JCRA Board Members

By Amy Beitzel, Development Assistant

The JC Raulston Arboretum Board of Advisors, composed of individuals from a broad range of expertise and experience, supports the Arboretum's efforts to expand plant conservation, research, and education. The board members advise and assist Mark and the JCRA staff in fundraising, development, and the management direction of the Arboretum.

We’re thrilled to introduce three recent additions to this advisory board in 2024.

Sandy Harwood - Supporter & Volunteer

Sandy channels her expertise as an Extension Master Gardener Volunteer in Chatham County, dedicating herself to advanced Master Gardener training, children's programs, and landscaping. Her enthusiasm for volunteering includes the Arboretum, Juniper Level Botanic Garden, leadership in gardening societies, and local landscaping. Sandy is a tremendous addition to the JCRA board of advisors believing "Plants as well as the friendships formed and developed while gardening help to nourish, heal and sustain us. Getting ourselves and others into the garden is life.”

Brenda Pollard - Garden Club of North Carolina

Representing Garden Club of North Carolina on the JCRA Board of Advisors, Brenda helps advocate for the interests and needs of gardeners throughout North Carolina and fosters community support to ensure the success of the JCRA mission. Brenda brings a wealth of administrative experience from her career as executive assistant to North Carolina officials. Brenda passionately demonstrates leadership in public garden stewardship through active participation on several North Carolina commissions and foundations, preserving cultural, historical, and natural heritage, including the Garden Club of North Carolina.

Dr. Ashley Troth - NC Cooperative Extension

Ashley brings invaluable horticulture education expertise with a Ph.D. in plant genetics from Duke University and 5 years in the Durham County Cooperative Extension team. As the Horticulture Extension agent, Ashley helps home gardeners, landscape professionals, and ornamental nurseries and greenhouses thrive in addition to overseeing more than 120 Master Gardener℠ volunteers. Ashley also frequently contributes to educational programming at the Arboretum.

Rob Thornton, Chair of the JCRA Board of Advisors, invites your feedback.

“Join us in shaping our journey—visit regularly and share your thoughts!" Your ideas fuel discussions and your input contributes to a thriving plant-loving community and strategic growth for the Arboretum to explore future possibilities. You can email Rob directly at

The JCRA team extends our heartfelt gratitude to past and present board members, volunteers, members and supporters who sustain the Arboretum as one of the nation’s premier public gardens. We look forward to accomplishing many great things together in the coming year.

New Year, New Programs

By Elizabeth Overcash, Education and Communications Manager

The Education Team is kicking off the new year with plenty of opportunities for you to pick up a new skill or expand your expertise! We hope you’ll join us for a program either in person or online this winter. Here are a few we wanted to highlight, but check out the event calendar for all our current programs.

And be sure to mark your 2024 calendars for our weekly Midweek Programming every Wednesday at 3 PM. Each week our horticulture staff shares their knowledge and stories from the garden.

Summer Camp Registration is coming!

It’s that time of year again to let warm thoughts of summer keep you toasty as you plan for summer camp. Our 2024 Summer Camp schedule has been published on our website. We have nine amazing summer camps for all children from preschoolers to rising 8th graders. Each week of camp brings a different topic and group of campers into the gardens to explore, have fun and connect with the Arboretum.

Member registration begins on Monday, January 29 at 12:30 PM. Last year, seven of our eight camps were filled with only members, so make sure your membership is up to date and you’ve got a reminder set for the opening of registration! We will be sending out more information to help you with camp registration as we get closer to the 29th. As you wait for registration to open, read about the camps and share the camp information with your friends and family!

Two Can’t-miss Events in February

Even though February is a short month, we are packing in the excitement with two can’t-miss events: Intro to Gardening in the South and our Winter Symposium: “The Obsessive Gardener”.

This winter’s Intro to Gardening in the South sponsored by Leaf & Limb is sure to inspire your garden planning this winter. Three extraordinary speakers will be joining us that morning. Pam Beck will share a sampling of must-see gardens in North Carolina for you to include in your travels around the state. Doug Ruhren is going to share some of his favorite perennials for the Southeast, and Greg Paige will help demystify Integrated Pest Management. This free program will be offered in person and online. We hope to welcome as many new gardeners and newcomers to the area as possible in person, so we ask our more seasoned gardeners to join us online. You’ll still have the opportunity to receive any handouts and ask questions through the chat. It’ll be just like you’re right there in the room with us, but without you having to deal with traffic and parking!

The Winter Symposium is another absolute don’t-miss opportunity for getting your gardening fix while it’s still cold outside. We are thrilled to welcome three fantastic speakers:

Joseph Tychonievich is 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. His talk “Confessions of a Plant Nerd” will hit home with most of us since we are plant-lovers!

Catherine Bukowski’s talk “Transforming Landscapes: Food Forests for Gardens and Communities” will cover design and maintenance of food forests and inspire us with examples of the transforming power of these landscapes in communities where they have been built. She is the author of The Community Food Forest Handbook: How to Plan, Organize, and Nurture Edible Gathering Places.

Mike P. Gibson will captivate us through topiary and show us the transformative power of pruning with his talk “Topiary Therapy: Healing Through Creative Pruning.” Mike was featured on the HGTV reality show “Clipped” and was named the “Topiary-Artist-in-Residence” at Pearl Fryar Topiary Garden in 2021.

Registration is open for both programs. Early registration for the Winter Symposium runs through Sunday, January 21. Space is limited in both programs, so make sure to save your spot today!

Intro to Gardening in the South - In Person
Intro to Gardening in the South - Online
Winter Symposium - In Person
Winter Symposium - Online

New Citizen Science Programs

By Joy Burns, School Tour Coordinator

New for 2024! Did you know the JC Raulston Arboretum is now a “Hot Spot” for ecoEXPLORE? This community-based science program is a collaborative effort among environmental educators throughout North Carolina and is a rewarding activity for children in kindergarten through eighth grade.

Children are encouraged to explore the outdoors and participate in community science while earning badges and prizes at the same time. Throughout January, JCRA is encouraging interested families to sign up for the program through the ecoEXPLORE website. It’s free to sign up!

Then, to help you earn your ornithology badge, plan to attend our first ecoEXPLORE program of the year, For the Birds! This event requires pre-registration and is slated for Friday, February 16, 10:00-11:30 AM. We'll learn all about birds in the garden — what attracts them, how to keep them (or deter them) and how to thoroughly enjoy them. We will also spend time as a group watching birds, identifying them, counting them and submitting our observations to the Great Backyard Bird Count to help scientists better understand and protect birds around the world.

Stay tuned for other ecoEXPLORE programs at the JCRA designed to help participants earn badges all year long.

JCRA Membership Benefit Highlight

Take your membership card with you!
Your JC Raulston Arboretum membership entitles you to special admission privileges and discounts at 360+ gardens throughout North America. This is offered through the American Horticulture Society's Reciprocal Garden Network and all JCRA membership levels qualify. Take a look at the participating gardens and start planning your adventures.

Learn more about the gardens and offers at

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

Upcoming Events, Programs, and Sales

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, January 6–Sunday, January 14, JCRA Open Hours

In Person

Lunch and Lit in the Garden*

“Beatrix Potter & Friends”

Tuesdays, January 9–January 30–12:00 PM-2:00 PM

In Person

Midweek with Mark

“New Year, New Plant Obsessions”

Mark Weathington, Director

Wednesday, January 10–3:00 PM-3:30 PM


Garden Science*

Calendar of Firsts

Friday, January 12–10:00 AM-11:30 AM

In Person

Introduction to Mushroom Foraging

Frank Hyman, Cottage Garden Landscaping

Saturday, January 13–9:00 AM-11:00 AM

In Person

Not Tonight Deer: No More Long-legged Rats in Your Garden

Frank Hyman, Cottage Garden Landscaping

Saturday, January 13–1:30 PM-3:00 PM

In Person

Explore Cambodia and Vietnam

Wednesday, January 17–Monday, January 29

In Person

Deeper in the Garden

“Build Your Own Mist System at Home”

Sophia McCusker, Nursery Technician

Wednesday, January 17–3:00 PM-3:30 PM


North American Rock Garden Society (Piedmont Chapter) Lecture

"Unusual Native Plants of the U.S. Southeast"

Zachary Hill

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

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

In Person and Online

Camellias Unveiled

Brie Arthur, Author and Horticulturist

Tuesday, January 23–6:30 PM-8:30 PM


Garden Science*

Windowsill Gardening with Herbs

Wednesday, January 24–10:00 AM-11:30 AM

In Person

Garden Conversations

Greg Paige, Director of Horticulture

Wednesday, January 24–3:00 PM-4:00 PM


Winter Storytime*

Friday, January 26–11:00 AM-12:00 PM

In Person

Propagation Workshop

"Advanced Hardwood Cuttings"

Tim Alderton, Research Technician

Saturday, January 27–8:30 AM-12:30 PM

In Person

Propagation Workshop

"Beginner Hardwood Cuttings"

Sophia McCusker, Nursery Technician

Saturday, January 27–1:30 PM-4:30 PM

In Person

Summer Camp Registration Opens for Members*
Monday, January 29–12:30 PM

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

Horticulture Hour

Horticulture Staff

Wednesday, January 31–3:00 PM-4:00 PM


* Denotes a children's program.

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

snowy palmettos

Coming Attractions

by Kathryn Wall, Membership and Volunteer Manager

wild ginger

Asarum maximum 'Ling Ling'

panda face wild ginger

witch hazel

Hamamelis mollis 'Early Bright'

Chinese witch hazel

flowering apricot

Prunus mume 'Bridal Veil'

weeping flowering apricot

Camellia japonica 'Professor Charles S. Sargent'

Japanese camellia

Magnolia 'Green Mist'

hybrid magnolia

YouTube Channel Update

Four programs were recorded in December. 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.

Plant-lover's Tour - "Cut Greens for Decorating"
Gardening 101 - "December Gardening Tasks"
Midweek with Mark - "Well-mannered Replacements for Garden Thugs"
Garden Conversations - "Global Exploration Featuring Janice Swab"

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
Contact us at

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