Raulston Blooms!

A Garden Festival for All Ages

  • Saturday, April 5, 2014 – 9:00 am5:00 pm

Looking for the 2015 Raulston Blooms! announcement? Please visit https://jcra.ncsu.edu/raulston-blooms/

What is it? Fun for the whole family! Learn, shop for your garden, get great ideas, and enjoy gourmet treats at Raulston Blooms! We're rolling out the red carpet for members, home gardeners, families, and children by offering a day that's packed with garden and nature activities, shopping, and outdoor fun.


  • Spring Plant Sale
  • Birdhouse Competition
  • Children's activities
    • maze
    • storytime
    • games
    • hands-on learning activities
  • Gardening talks and demonstrations
  • Arts and crafts vendors
  • Food trucks
  • NC State's Howling Cow ice cream
  • Thousands of plants in our world-famous gardens
Raulston Blooms!

Three Events in One

Raulston Blooms!

Raulston Blooms!

Children Activities

For kids there will be a grassy maze, story time, games, and hands-on learning experiences.


Adults can see and hear expert demonstrations on a variety of home gardening topics: growing heirloom tomatoes, DIY fence building, container gardening, composting, propagation, seasonal cooking, and more.

Spring Plant Sale

Spring Plant Sale

Gardeners love buying hard to find plants selected by JCRA staffers especially for our climate. Members save 10%.

Members-only Preview Sale

Members can shop early on Friday, April 4 from 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm.

Not a member? Join today.

14th Annual Birdhouse Competition

Birdhouse Competition

The birdhouse competition, which draws entries in categories from age six to adult, is inspiring, fanciful, and fun! It's a perennial hit with everyone from serious bird watchers and nature photographers to school classes and scouts.

But as always, the star of the festival will be the Arboretum. The JCRA is beautiful at every season. After our long, gloomy winter, this year's spring flowers will be especially welcome. Celebrate them at Raulston Blooms!

Schedule of Events

9:00 am
Raulston Blooms! opens
JCRA Plant Sale opens
14th Annual Birdhouse Competition opens
9:30 am
Ben Jones, Budget Friendly DIY Vertical Gardens
10:00 am
Liz Riley, Terrarium Tips
10:30 am
Helen Krause, Ph.D., Rain Gardens for the Home
11:00 am
Elizabeth Overcash, "One Bean" – family story/activity
Food trucks open
11:30 am
Jared Barnes, Ph.D., Contagious Container Gardening
12:00 PM
Mark Weathington, Hot Plants for Cool Gardens
12:30 pm
Brie Arthur, Tomatoes with Taste: Growing Heirlooms at Home
1:00 pm
Alicain Carlson, From the Garden or the Grocery Store—Make Your Cut Flowers Last Longer
1:30 pm
Lis Meyer, Home Propagation Techniques—Feed Your Need for Plants
2:00 pm
Elizabeth Overcash, "Grow Flower Grow!" – family story/activity
2:30 pm
Lizzi Lathers, How-to: Garden Fence
3:00 pm
Jeana Myers, Composting: Black Gold the Easy Way
Food trucks close
3:30 pm
Tammy Karant, Nutritious Seasonal Cooking
5:00 pm
All activities conclude

Demonstration Details

Ben Jones

Budget Friendly DIY Vertical Gardens – 9:30 am

Ben Jones

Learn to build an inexpensive and beautiful vertical garden to spruce up unused walls or divide outdoor space at home.

Ben Jones is a second year Master's student in the Department of Horticultural Science at NC State University. Originally from Hendersonville, North Carolina, he spent four years studying and practicing sustainable development while working on a carbon neutral home in Asheville, North Carolina. Currently, he is researching living roof and living wall technology, including a system of his own design (TerraPak Shingles). When he is not finding ways to grow plants on every available surface, he is probably enjoying a hike or making music at home.

Elizabeth Riley

Terrarium Tips – 10:00 am

Elizabeth Riley

Learn the secrets of creating enchanting and easy care terrariums. This how-to demo is perfect for gardeners of all ages.

Elizabeth Riley is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Horticultural Science at NC State University. She has a B.S. and M.S. degree in Horticultural Science also from NC State University. Her research focus is on substrate and species selections for rain gardens. In her spare time, Elizabeth enjoys making terrariums for her home, office, and as gifts.

Rain Gardens for the Home – 10:30 am

Helen Kraus

Rain gardens are not only useful, but can be a beautiful part of the landscape. Find out how to create your own rain garden at home.

Helen Kraus is the undergraduate coordinator for the Department of Horticultural Science and teaches several courses for horticulture majors and non-majors. Her teaching and research program focuses on best management practices that protect the quality of our waters. Helen Kraus and Anne Spafford published Rain Gardening in the South which won a Gold Metal for the Best Gardening Book from the Garden Writers Association. This home garden reference focuses on gardening practices that can reduce a landscape's impact on water pollution.

Jared Barnes

Contagious Container Gardening – 11:30 am

Jared Barnes

Creating memorable container plantings will be a snap after this informative and high energy how-to demonstration.

Jared Barnes is a recent horticultural science Ph.D. graduate from at NC State University and passionately cultivates plants and gardeners. Jared lived in an apartment throughout graduate school where his garden was his vast collection of potted plants. He has gained horticulture experience from travels across the United States and to ten countries to widen his perspective of horticulture. He aspires to be a college professor to help cultivate and inspire a new generation of gardeners.

Mark Weathington

Hot Plants for Cool Gardens – 12:00 pm

Mark Weathington

What are some of the best landscape plants from the brand new releases to proven performer? Find out here! All plants discussed will be available at the JCRA Plant Sale during Raulston Blooms!

Mark Weathington is the assistant director and curator of collections at the JC Raulston Arboretum. He earned undergraduate degrees in horticulture and sociology and a M.S. in horticulture from Virginia Tech. He has served as director of horticulture for the Norfolk Botanical Garden and horticulturist at both the Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center and the Atlanta Botanic Garden. Mark writes and speaks on a variety of topics in horticulture. He has recently revised and updated the Propagation Guide for Woody Plants at the JC Raulston Arboretum. He has been published in Horticulture, Carolina Gardener, American Nurseryman, and Virginia Gardener magazines as well as the Mid-Atlantic Gardeners' Book of Lists. In addition, he writes two weekly columns for the Virginian-Pilot newspaper and features for several regional newspapers.

Tomatoes with Taste: Growing Heirlooms at Home – 12:30 pm

Brienne Arthur

Heirloom tomatoes bring back memories of when tomatoes were packed with flavor and not bred to be packed. Learn how to start, nurture, and grow your own heirlooms in this session.

Brienne Arthur is originally from southeastern Michigan and studied landscape design at Purdue University. In 2000, she was an intern at Montrose in Hillsborough, North Carolina, where she fell in love with the South and returned to Chapel Hill in 2002. During the last 12 years, she has worked with many outstanding horticulture professionals. Brie is currently working as propagator and grower at Camellia Forest Nursery, Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

Alicain Carlson

From the Garden or the Grocery Store: Make Your Cut Flowers Last Longer – 1:00 pm

Alicain Carlson

Learn when and how to harvest your own cut flowers and foliage from the garden and how to keep cut flowers from your garden and grocery store lasting longest. We will also bust some myths about homemade floral preservatives.

Alicain Carlson is a graduate research and teaching assistant at NC State University finishing up her Ph.D. this spring studying various aspects of production and postharvest of cut flowers with John Dole, Ph.D. Alicain does extensive research on Eucomis as a cut flower, studies how bacteria and water quality affect vase life, and the genetic components behind rose senescence. She received her M.S. degree from NC State University in 2010 and her B.S. degree at Virginia Tech in 2008. Alicain also worked at Lynnvale Studios, a cut flower farm in Virginia as a grower and floral designer.

Home Propagation Techniques – Feed Your Need for Plants! – 1:30 pm

Lis Meyer

You don't need a greenhouse to propagate your own plants at home! Come learn about easy ways to make more of your favorite plants using various home propagation techniques including cuttings, layering, and seed.

Lis Meyer is a lecturer in the Department of Horticultural Science. She earned a M.S. at NC State University, focusing on ornamental plant breeding and propagation, and then returned to teach. Lis also serves as the adviser for the Undergraduate Certificate in Horticultural Science. She teaches several courses in the department, including Home Plant Propagation and Plant Propagation for the Agricultural Institute.

Elizabeth Overcash

"Grow Flower Grow!" – A Family Story and Activity – 2:00 pm

Elizabeth Overcash

Fran tries to feed her plant pizza and all her favorite foods, but it just won't grow. Come find out what happens and then participate in a take home planting activity. Just don't feed it pizza.

Elizabeth Overcash is the children's program coordinator at the JC Raulston Arboretum and a graduate of NC State University's Department of Horticultural Science. Her roots in horticulture started in her childhood growing up in eastern North Carolina. As a child, she spent countless hours picking seeds from cotton growing in the field at the end of her street, thumping melons in the fields, playing hide and seek among the corn stalks, and listening to tobacco auctioneers with one grandfather, and exploring the other grandfather's backyard farm of berries, vegetables, figs, pears, and roses. Two inquisitive daughters sparked her interest to teach young children about plants. In her work as children's program coordinator, Elizabeth strives to bring some of those same childhood experiences of exploring, growing, and wonderment to children and their families who visit the JC Raulston Arboretum.

Lizzi Lathers

How to DIY: Build a Garden Fence – 2:30 pm

Lizzi Lathers

A demonstration on how to build a garden fence that: keeps small critters out, uses repurposed materials, and creates a beautiful focal point in your garden.

Lizzi Lathers is a Horticulturist at the JC Raulston Arboretum. She has a horticulture degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and gained valuable experience through internships at public gardens before coming the the JCRA. Armed with a creative flair and the thriftiness that one only gains from growing up on a farm, she tackles any gardening situation that comes her way. Working at the JCRA compliments her gardening style in which plants are the focal point and the garden infrastructure should work efficiently, look beautiful in all seasons, and be easy to maintain. She recently started gardening her own land in Apex, after years of creating for public gardens, and is thoroughly enjoying making a personal outdoor oasis with her husband and their rabbit-chasing dog.

Composting: Black Gold the Easy Way – 3:00 pm

Jeana Myers

In this session you will learn some simple ways to make your own superb garden amendments without fancy equipment. It's all about giving Mother Nature what she needs to do the job, and then stepping back!

Jeana Myers is a soil scientist who works as the horticulture Extension agent for Wake County. She has traveled extensively, visiting farms and gardens around the world, and worked for two years as a Peace Corps extension agent in Zaire, Africa. Jeana and her husband, Will Hooker, a retired landscape design professor, garden on their 1/3 acre of land near downtown Raleigh. They grow fruit trees, vegetables, herbs, flowers, chickens, and honey bees!

Nutritious Seasonal Cooking – 3:30 pm

Tammy Karant

Join Tammy, the healthy eating specialist at Whole Foods Market in Raleigh, as she demonstrates quick and easy recipes using fresh and seasonal produce. Tammy has a passion for keeping her vegetables healthy and proves that healthy is delicious. Stop by for a sample!

Tammy Karant is a healthy eating specialist at Whole Foods Market.

Artists, Craftsmen, and More

Wake Audubon
Information about birds and children's activities.
North Carolina Bluebird Society
Information about bluebirds.
Mary Jo Stephenson
Birdfeeders and garden art made from recycled lamps and other found objects.
RedWorks Jewelry
Whimisical jewelry in a variety of metal and techniques.
Beth Crowder
Prints and original pastels of landscapes and sheep.
Gullett Designs
Three dimensional watercolors of historical buildings and botanicals.
Lisa Stewart
Leather, fine arts, and gifts.
Silver Palate Feeders
Unique vintage silver plated birdfeeders—each signed, dated, and numbered.
Whimsical Robyn
Unique mosaics garden art in a variety of whimsical shapes and one of a kind pieces.
One-of-a-kind wood crafts.
Cary Pottery
Handturned stoneware pottery: flower vases, frog houses, and more.
Jean Cheely
Original designs in kiln fired glass, also featuring jewelry designs in sterling silver and glass.
Longnecker Tools
Denim aprons and fine garden tools.
Benchmark Earth Works
Composters, rain barrels, and more.
Sassy Virginia Lady (Judy Price)
Garden gifts, such as hummingbird and miscellaneous bird feeders, terrarium supplies, herb scissors, and glass bird baths.

Food Trucks



Bayer Advanced
Hoffman Nursery
Pender Nursery, Inc.

A. E. Finley Foundation, Inc.
Linda and Ted Bilderback
Southern Farm Bureau Life Insurance Co. and North Carolina Farm Bureau
Bobby Wilder

J. C. Sponsor (Supporting Children's Activities)
Han-Dee Hugo's

Sponsorship Opportunities

Please contact Anne Porter at (919) 513-3826 or anne_porter@ncsu.edu if you would like to support the JCRA through a Raulston Blooms! sponsorship.

There are many sponsorship opportunities. Sponsorships are a great way to get your business name out in front of the public and demonstrate your support of this great community resource—the JC Raulston Arboretum!

Diamond Sponsor
$15,000 (Premier Event sponsor—including special recognition and 2014 Gala in the Garden sponsor benefits)

Platinum Sponsor
$5,000 (Raulston Blooms event sponsor—including special recognition and 2014 Gala in the Garden sponsor benefits)

Gold Sponsor
$2,500 (Birdhouse Competition and Exhibition Sponsor—including
special recognition and 2014 Gala in the Garden sponsor benefits)

Bronze Sponsor
$1,000 (Demonstration Sponsor)

J. C. Sponsor
$500 (Children 's Activity Sponsor)

Friend Sponsor

Free for members, $5.00 for nonmembers, $10.00 per family. Admission includes admission to the 14th Annual Birdhouse Competition and JCRA Plant Sale, too.
Pay at door.
JC Raulston Arboretum at NC State University, 4415 Beryl Road, Raleigh, North Carolina.
Need directions? Click here.
Free parking is available along Beryl Road and in the Brickhaven Building's parking lot.
Please call (919) 513-3826 for more information about this event.