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JC Raulston Arboretum e-Update
March 2024


Your Monthly News and Updates

Director's Note

By Mark Weathington, Director

It’s hard to believe spring is already back again. I’m counting on at least one more cold snap before we’re in the clear but why fret over something I can’t control? Several projects are wrapping up as I write this and only need a couple more work days to be finished up — new columns along Beryl Road to continue what we started several years ago. We’ll only have one more stretch to bring us all the way down to our east edge. We also have a new entrance to the White Garden and what a beauty it is. This is the third iteration at what used to be our main entrance back in the early days and it just gets better every time.

In other news, school tours have started up for the spring, outdoor weddings are happening, summer interns have been selected, and we can’t keep our onsite plant sale buggy stocked. We’re also getting our big Day of Giving Zoomathon planned out and we’re going to need your participation. Our Board of Advisors has an $18,500 challenge for us if we get 250 other gifts. But even if you aren’t in a position to make a gift on that day, you can help us with some social media challenges from the University. Stay tuned for more information.

See you in the garden - and online on March 20th!

logo for 2024 NC State Univ. Day of Giving

Mark your calendars to Support JCRA on Day of Giving – Wednesday, March 20!

By Amy Beitzel, Development Assistant

NC State’s Day of Giving is just three weeks away! Last year, JCRA supporters like you played a pivotal role in helping Arboretum secure a matching gift from the JCRA Advisory Board. These gifts helped the JCRA welcome a team of 8 outstanding student interns last summer.

We are counting on the JCRA community again as we aim to meet a similar challenge. When the JCRA receives 250 gifts on Day of Giving, our JCRA Advisory Board members will donate an additional $18,000 to the JC Raulston Arboretum General Fund.

As a public garden, our passion for connecting people with plants is at the heart of everything we do. On March 20, we will present a special online program highlighting the history and impact of the JC Raulston Arboretum. Be sure to tune in for an exclusive sneak peek at our vision to enhance that impact for the future. Your support means the world to us. 

Please consider supporting JCRA through Day of Giving on March 20, 2024, by donating and sharing with your friends and family why you support the Arboretum! 

How can you make a difference for the JCRA on Day of Giving?

  1. Join the Head Start Challenge: Participate in this exciting opportunity to gain entries that could win a $1,500 bonus for the Arboretum. - Get a head start for JCRA!

  2. Donate on March 20th: Help us reach our challenge goal of 250 gifts on March 20.Your donation, no matter the amount, contributes to our success.  

  3. Spread the Word: Raise awareness within your network by sharing how the Arboretum positively impacts you. Invite your friends and family to join you and support all the great things happening at JCRA. 

  4. Stay Engaged: Follow us on social media for bonus challenges and updates throughout the Day of Giving. 

Together, we can grow the legacy of lasting impact at the Arboretum. 

For more information on how you can support the JCRA on Day of Giving, please reach out to Alycia Thornton, our Director of Philanthropy, at  or call 919-513-7068.

white flower

Marching into Spring with Education!

By Elizabeth Overcash, Education and Communications Manager

Spring is right around the corner. That means our “quiet” winter time is quickly ending and the rush of spring programming is here. We loved seeing everyone at our “Obsessive Gardener” Winter Symposium and hope to see you again in March!

  • Our Plant Lover’s Tour and Midweek Programming will be celebrating Women’s History Month. You’ll hear from our “Border Babes” volunteer team about the Mixed Border at the Plant Lover’s Tour. Sophia McCusker, nursery technician, is sharing her Top Picks and we will hear from our friends, Annabel Renwick and Maegen Luckett from Duke Gardens, during Garden Conversations.

  • Friends of the Arboretum lecture is back this month with a special presentation from director, Mark Weathington. He’s sharing highlights from the most recent JCRA trip to Cambodia and Vietnam floating down the Mekong River. If you haven’t already grabbed a spot, do it now!

  • If Mark’s travelog isn’t enough to get your travel bug going, join Brie Arthur’s Wanderlust Chronicles program. During this online program, she will take you on a virtual tour of some of the best public and private gardens all from the comfort of your favorite spot in your home. Travel to these great gardens without the hassles of packing!

  • Last year, we held our first program on Piedmont Prairies. Join Preston Montague as he brings the next program highlighting Piedmont Prairies from his unique design perspective. As a landscape architect, Preston has been Experimenting in Piedmont Prairies and working with clients to provide practical options for installing and maintaining prairies in home landscapes. Hear about his journey and how you might be able to learn from his experience!

  • Forest Bathing is back at the arboretum. Join Shawn Ramsey for a forest bathing experience where you can leave your stress at the Visitor Center and enter the gardens to slow your pace, awaken your senses to the present moment and experience a new way of being in nature. Join her either Thursday afternoon (March 21) or Sunday afternoon (March 24), or both!

  • And then, we have some familiar faces of the past returning in March. We are so excited to have Lizzi (Lathers) Dorn join Sophia for Midweek with Sophia to talk about gardening for (and with) kids. Don’t miss Doug Ruhren as he presents a class and demonstration on Herbaceous Perennials Propagation on Saturday, March 23.


Save the Date for This Summer’s Southeastern Plant Symposium and Rare Plant Auction.

Join us and Juniper Level Botanic Garden as we host this year’s Southeastern Plant Symposium and Rare Plant Auction, Friday, June 7, and Saturday, June 8, at the Hilton Raleigh North Hills in Raleigh, NC.

Here’s a sneak peak of the speaker line-up. Colston Burrell, garden designer, award winning author and photographer will be the Friday morning keynote speaker.  Also joining us on Friday: Dan Heims of Terra Nova Nurseries, Lisa Roper of Chanticleer, Sam Hoadley of Mt. Cuba Center, and Kevin Vaughn. Saturday brings more speakers and great talks about past great horticulturists, orchids, ferns and sempervivums to name a few. I won’t give all the details away so I can keep you intrigued, but let’s just say it’s going to be a great symposium!

Registration is now open.  Take advantage of the early registration rate happening now.  As in years past, you can register for either in-person attendance or online attendance. Participate in person and enjoy all the presentations as well as meet and network with fellow plant lovers and horticulture influencers. Or join us virtually for the presentations if you’re not able to get to Raleigh. If you’re attending in person, don’t forget to opt in for an extra presentation on Friday evening along with dinner.

And of course, be on the lookout for the Rare Plant Auction. It’s part of the Symposium and you’ll see all the great plants if you attend in person. Whether you’re in person, online or even if you’re not attending the symposium, you can still participate in the auction! There will be hundreds of amazing plants to lust after and bid on. Plant teasers will be shared closer to the auction, but if you have something you really want to be in the auction - let us know!

Register To Attend
Register for Online Participation
Lewis Ginter Botanic Garden Tulips & Fountain

Making Travel Plans? Pack Your Membership Card!

By Kathryn Wall, Membership and Volunteer Manager

For the price of your JCRA membership, you can open the gates to over 360 gardens through the American Horticultural Society Reciprocal Garden Network. This is a member benefit that gives you special discounts and privileges at these gardens.

These are the four newest gardens joining the network:

  • Dubuque Arboretum & Botanical Gardens in Dubuque, Iowa, is an expansive site with an assortment of offerings, including a Veteran’s Memorial, Children’s Playground, amphitheater, sculptures, and more. The Arboretum features three conifer collections and a deciduous tree collection of 600 specimens.

  • Hermitage Museum & Gardens in Norfolk, Virginia, is home to an early 20th century historic, arts and crafts-style house museum with frequent art exhibitions. Known for 12 acres of semi-formal gardens, woodlands and wetlands, the property is bordered by the Lafayette River, an estuary of the Chesapeake Bay.

  • Hope Botanical Garden in Leoma, Tennessee, promotes conservation of nature and native species. The property includes a mile of walking paths, multiple koi ponds, a Children’s Garden, and bird watching opportunities, as well as events throughout the year.

  • The University of Idaho Arboretum & Botanical Garden in Moscow, Idaho, features native plants alongside introduced plants. The garden, an educational site intended to aid instruction in plant sciences, hosts public lectures throughout the year.

Be aware that not all public gardens are part of the program. Also, gardens within 90 miles of the garden where you hold our membership can sometimes be excluded, so it’s best to call ahead, if you have any questions before visiting.

Send me a selfie from one of your garden trips!

See the list of participating gardens

JCRA Membership Benefit Highlight
Member Seed Distribution 2024

Seed Catalog opens on Monday, March 4 - watch for email with link

Requests should be submitted by Monday, March 11

We know you share our passion for plants, and the Member Seed Distribution furthers our mission to share plants and information to as wide an audience as possible. No matter where you live, all members may request free seed from our collection and the Juniper Level Botanic Garden. This is a great opportunity for our members outside the local area because we are happy to mail seed to you! 

Watch your email on Monday, March 4, for a link to the plant catalog. If you don't see it by the end of the day, please let me know so I can fix it for you. Please submit your requests in by midnight on Monday, March 11, and our volunteers will begin filling orders. We expect the pick up for local members to begin in mid-April for 3-4 weeks.

If you have any questions, please contact Kathryn Wall at Thanks to our amazing seed collecting volunteers for making this possible.

Calling All Creatives!

Meaghan Kane, Rental and Events Assistant

Spring is just around the corner, and we are hard at work preparing for our 22nd Annual Birdhouse Competition. One of our most cherished Raulston Blooms! traditions. The judging will take place on Friday, April 26, with the showcase going live during Raulston Blooms! on April 27. 

This year we are aiming for the largest, most extravagant birdhouse showcase yet! If you love nature, birds, and unique garden art then this is the competition for you. Get out your sketch pad, paints, and tool box to start building your creation today.

No matter your style, there is a category for you. The categories this year include Flight of Fancy, Functional, Creativity for All, and Children (by age group). As an awesome bonus for participating, all participants will receive a Raulston Blooms! family ticket. 

Whether you join as a competitor or just come to admire the creations and cast your vote for the People’s Choice Award, our 22nd Annual Birdhouse Competition will surely be an experience you’ll never forget. For more information regarding judging criteria and the various categories, please visit our website to find out more!

Advanced registration is open now! Click here to enter your birdhouse. 

raulston blooms! daisy logo

Mark your spring calendar!
Raulston Blooms!

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

Spring Plant Sale – 3 ways to shop:

  • Online Sale, April 3-10

  • Members Only Sale, 4:00–7:00 PM,
    Friday, April 26

  • Plant Sale at Raulston Blooms!, 10:00 AM–3:00 PM, Saturday, April 27

More Details

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Upcoming Events, Programs, and Sales

Current Garden Hours through March 31

9:00 AM-4:30 PM, Monday–Friday

10:00 AM-5:00 PM Saturday–Sunday

Plant Buggy Sales

Daily at the Bobby G. Wilder Visitor Center

Garden Story Walk

Saturday, March 2–Sunday, March 10, JCRA Open Hours

In Person

Early Spring Gardening Checklist

Bryce Lane, Distinguished Professor and Gardener

Saturday, March 2–9:00 AM-12:30 PM

In Person-FULL and Online

Plant-lover’s Tour

“Best of the Perennial Border”

The Border Babes, Garden Volunteers

Tuesday, March 5–1:00-2:00 PM

In Person

Top Plant Picks

“Sophie’s Top Picks”

Sophia McCusker, Nursery Technician 

Wednesday, March 6–3:00-3:30 PM


Friends of the Arboretum Lecture

Travelogue: Cruising the Mekong River

Mark Weathington, Director

Thursday, March 7–6:30-8:00 PM

In Person 

Growing Hardy Citrus in the Triangle

Frank Hyman, Cottage Garden Landscaping

Saturday, March 9–9:30-11:00 AM

In Person 

Introduction to Mushroom Foraging - WAITLIST

Frank Hyman, Cottage Garden Landscaping

Saturday, March 9–1:00-3:00 PM

In Person - WAITLIST

Wanderlust Chronicles: Exploring America's Best Gardens in 2024

Brie Arthur, Author and Horticulturist

Tuesday, March 12–6:30-8:30 PM


Midweek with Sophia

“Gardening for Kids”

Sophia McCusker, Nursery Technician 

Wednesday, March 13–3:00-3:45 PM


North American Rock Garden Society (Piedmont Chapter) Lecture

"A Grand Tour: Experiencing the Rock Gardens of the Czech Republic"

Paul Spriggs, NARGS Traveling Speaker

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

Saturday, March 16–10:00-11:30 AM

In Person and Online

Y Guides in the Arboretum

Sunday, March 17–2:00-4:30 PM

In Person

Gardenside Chat with Bryce

Bryce Lane, Distinguished Professor and Gardener

Monday, March 18–6:30-8:30 PM

In Person and Online

Day of Giving at the JC Raulston Arboretum
Wednesday, March 20 – 10:00 AM-6:00 PM

Deeper in the Garden

“Perennials You Can’t Kill”

Horticulture Staff

Wednesday, March 20–3:00-3:30 PM


Forest Bathing

A Guided, Immersive Experience

Shawn Ramsey

Thursday, March 21–1:30-3:30 PM

In Person

Herbaceous Perennials Propagation Class and Demonstration

Douglas Ruhren 

Saturday, March 23–9:00-12:00 PM

In Person

Forest Bathing

A Guided, Immersive Experience

Shawn Ramsey

Sunday, March 24–1:00-3:00 PM

In Person

Garden Conversations

“Featuring Annabel Renwick & Maegan Luckett”

Greg Paige, Director of Horticulture

Wednesday, March 27–3:00-4:00 PM


Experiments in Piedmont Prairies 

Residential-scale Restorations

Preston Montague, MLA

Thursday, March 28–6:30-8:30 PM


✽ Denotes a children's program

Coming Attractions

By Nancy Kitchener, JCRA Volunteer

magnolia bloom

Magnolia stellata 'Chrysanthemumiflora'

many-petalled star magnolia

flowering quince

Chaenomeles 'Orange Storm' (Double Take) - An NC State University Introduction

Double Take hybrid flowering quince

eastern redbud in bloom

Cercis canadensis 'Appalachian Red'

eastern redbud


Forsythia×intermedia 'White Gold'

variegated forsythia

Carolina jessamine

Gelsemium sempervirens 'Pride of Augusta'

double Carolina jessamine

Thanks to this month's photographers: Blake Wentley, Eileen Carey, Kristi Traynor, Ira Tucker, and Tim Alderton.

YouTube Channel Update

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

Intro to Gardening in the South - "Nothing Could be Finer" - Pam Beck
Intro to Gardening in the South - "A Perennial Primer" - Doug Ruhren
Intro to Gardening in the South - "IPM Basics for Beginner Gardeners" - Greg Paige
Intro to Gardening in the South - "Speaker Q&A" - February 3, 2024
Plant-lover's Tour - "Midwinter Flowers"
Gardening 101 - "Tissue Culture 101"
NARGS Talk - Zachary Hill - "Unusual Native Plants of the U. S. Southeast"
Midweek with Tim - "Spring Ephemerals"
Deeper in the Garden - "Evergreen Asian Magnolias"

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

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