Friends of the JC Raulston Arboretum Newsletter
Vol. 7, No. 1

Chancellor Marye Anne Fox and Ruby McSwain Dean James Oblinger, Ruby McSwain, and Chancellor Marye Anne Fox
Members' Preview BBQ Sponsored by the North Carolina Association of Nurserymen Dave Creech, Ph.D. - Members' Preview Guest Speaker

Director's Letter

Dedication Elation

By Bob Lyons, Director

I always scratch out an outline of the possible topics I'd like to address in this letter, pare it down about 50%, then find out I still have way too much to talk about! However, no matter what list I come up with, the lead story this time has to be the dedication of the Ruby C. McSwain Education Center. Planning for this event began over a year ago. I recall our early conversations regarding the actual date for the ceremonies; remembering at that time that we were due to move into the Center in spring 2002, and early spring at that! Well, wiser voices on the committee prevailed, such wisdom the result of having had the experience of building a house most likely, and we set our date for September 20 & 21, 2002. It seemed so far away when we set those dates, but did they ever creep up on us! We were still finishing up details from the construction punch list just a week before the Dedication.....I guess that's the way these things are meant to be. I don't know anyone who ever completes construction ahead of time. Even now, we're still completing several odds and ends, but few that are really very visible to our visitors.

I want to compliment the Dedication Planning Committee members on the quality of their work, especially considering all of its intricacies. By all accounts, and I do mean all, both days were enormously successful. Friday evening's crowd enjoyed a first look at the Center, which also included a special remembrance tribute to J. C. Raulston through a collection of assembled possessions and artifacts....thanks, Tracy Traer and Roy Dicks, for your help. Friday night attendees were also treated to one of the most fitting of talks for the occasion, presented by Dave Creech, Ph.D., Director of the Mast Arboretum at the Stephen F. Austin State University in Texas. As I mentioned to Dave following his visit, he hit the mark with his unique views and just the right dose of history, humor, respect, and irreverence......perfect! The barbecue, hosted by the North Carolina Association of Nurserymen, was a huge, huge, huge hit........kudos to Chef Skip Warrick! It was truly a highlight the next day to extend our appreciation to our donors who made the day possible at all, thanks to their contributions to our building fund. With NCSU Chancellor Marye Anne Fox and Dean James Oblinger leading the ceremonies, we were particularly pleased to publicly honor Ruby McSwain (the Center's namesake) for her philanthropic gesture of donating the largest gift towards the Center's completion: $1.2 million! I had a blast at each of the ribbon-cutting photo-ops and even ad-libbed my way through the short "computer difficulty" delay in our movie which documented the construction period. The weekend provided so much to remember.

Now that the new Center is in place, here are a few items worth noting. The gift shop is now open through a special partnership with the NCSU Bookstores. Our gift shop has limited hours of operation for the winter months (please call (919) 515-3132 for hours) and is staffed primarily with our own volunteers. Frankie Fanelli has done a marvelous job of coordinating this effort and a truly unique volunteer opportunity has been opened via this partnership. The gift shop will not be selling plants, so please continue to frequent your favorite garden center.

The new parking lot has an automatic gate for added security. If you ever find yourself inside after it closes, simply drive up slowly and wait for the gate to open upon sensing your vehicle. If you happen to be one of our many "pedestrian visitors," there's a gate directly behind the gift shop which will let you out. We anticipate that this and other special measures included in the new Center will increase the security and safety of our staff, students, and visitors. A campus "blue light" is also prominently placed within the JCRA boundaries for rapid alert and response to emergencies.

We turn an excited eye towards our new grounds......the rooftop, the old parking lot, the new West, and all the areas associated with the new Center. As I've mentioned to many others personally, look for our progress to be deliberate and calculated. We view our new-found open space as a gift to be developed over time, and we have begun in earnest already. All I ask for now is your patience during the process and understanding for the occasional temporary detour throughout the JCRA.

If you get my periodic comments via the JCRA Lyons' Den, then you will no doubt know about the serious ice storm that hit the Raleigh area in December......we were not bypassed. The damage toll was extensive, forcing us to close the Arboretum to visitors for almost a week as we cleared the debris from the grounds, freed loose and dangling branches from trees, and did some very delicate pruning at heights only an acrobat could manage. The JCRA staff, combined with the staff from the Horticultural Field Lab, performed miracles during the process. We often elected to retain certain trees where others may recommend their removal, but we're very curious to see what the "comeback" potential may be following almost catastrophic-like damage. We were also delighted to have the help of the Bartlett Tree professionals and their high-reaching bucket truck! In every sense of the phrase, they were sent from heaven, except I think they never really made it to earth, just to the tree tops where they seemed to be very comfortable! Perhaps the most significant and poignant loss was the huge white oak along Beryl Road near the brick house. Its massive limbs split apart almost symmetrically, coming to rest in the shape of a huge spider criss-crossing the grounds. We are still clearing away some of the more massive limb sections and are waiting upon FEMA conclusions to repair the chain link fence boundary border.

The class' favorite photograph from the May/June 2002 Horticultural Photography Workshop. Rudbeckia maxima - great coneflower
Photograph by Diane Skrutskie
Rudbeckia maxima

I am delighted to extend a special welcome to a new staff member at the JCRA.....Jon Roethling. Jon is a recent graduate of the NCSU Horticultural Science Department and has worked for us previously as a volunteer and student assistant. Through the generosity and, I think, foresight of several members of the nursery industry (see Todd's article in this newsletter), we were able to create this special, one-year position to assist with establishing our state-wide plant evaluation network. Jon will also be of special assistance to Assistant Director Todd Lasseigne in the area of plant collections management. Please welcome Jon when you see him. He is a great guy and we are lucky to have him with us! In the same breath, I must also bid farewell to one of the JCRA's most valuable staff members. At the start of 2003, Mitzi Hole decided to leave the JCRA as its steadfast research technician to pursue her interests in the private sector. She will be working with her good friend Kathy Lindsey of Lindsey Landscapes in all facets of the design, installation, and maintenance arena. Kathy's gain is the JCRA's major loss. Throughout her six year tenure here, Mitzi juggled more jobs than thought possible by the best of us; she mastered horticulture and the equipment to cultivate it; her knowledge of our plant locations was flawless, and she became intricately aware of the often circuitous maze of utilities on site. She was invaluable during the preparation of the "West" prior to construction, as she worked with her assistants to propagate and/or move literally hundreds of specimens before the impending earth movers came in to dig the foundation. She was one of the most instrumental people to facilitate the efforts of our volunteer curators and she held this place together immediately following J. C. Raulston's death. She will be sorely missed but she won't be far away, and she has already offered to come by in a volunteer capacity......we all thank you, Mitzi, and wish you the very best in your new career. As for her position, it is frozen like all positions these days, but we have already asked for its release....we need it badly! In the meantime, we will all fall in to pick up the slack, primarily Anne Calta, who has done a marvelous job of anticipating the most urgent needs in Mitzi's absence.

On a personal note, I'd like to use my forum here to extend my own heartfelt thanks to all of you who helped me get through my encounter with an on-coming car as a pedestrian back in October. Who actually gets hit by cars these days while walking across crosswalks? I guess some of us do! Doctors said I got off pretty easy with only four broken ribs; I don't doubt them, but "easy" is not the word I would have chosen......ouch! Thank you so much for your thoughts, prayers, cards, and food. My advice, watch the corner of Hillsborough and Brooks, and don't believe it when you are supposed to have the right of way!

Here's to a spring and summer with rain...see you around the JCRA!

Staff Notes

See Ya Later

By Mitzi Hole, Former Research Technician

When I received the call telling me I had the Research Technician job at the Arboretum in 1996, I was overcome with excitement. Just think: getting to work with J. C. Raulston, the volunteers and students, and the chance to be around all the wonderful plants. It was my dream job!

During my student years, I had worked in the Arboretum on weekends and during labs. I helped to dig the Japanese maple for the White Garden and planted the now gone parterre garden, among other things. At J. C.'s suggestion, my husband and I even got married in the White Garden. It was a thrill to come back and work here again.

Everyday at the Arboretum has been a learning and growing experience. Not only have I learned about more plants but I also now know how to drive large equipment thanks to Paul Lineberger and Bradley Holland. Working with Paul and now Bradley as the HFL Superintendent has been a true pleasure. They have helped me in so many ways.

I have enjoyed working with the student assistants through the years: watching Sarah Lane grow from a high school student to a Horticulture Senior during her five summers working here; Richard Olson as an undergraduate with an amazing plant knowledge going on to work on his Ph.D.; Shep Lassiter who started volunteering with me and now has started his own nursery; Diane Cutler, who now runs the landscaping division at Logan's Trading Company; Laura Jull, who now is Dr. Laura at the University of Wisconsin-Madison; Karen Jones and her wonderful attitude, who went on to have a family; Jason Burris whose passion for seeds was infectious; Anne Calta, who I was able to hire full-time and who I will miss working with a great deal; and Todd Lasseigne, who later became our Assistant Director. I am also indebted to the Internal Learning Experience students who worked with me over the years.

Working and getting to know all the wonderful volunteers has been a real treat. They helped me through some rough times after J. C. died and while the Arboretum was without a permanent Director or an Assistant Director. Their hard work and support means more to me than I could ever put into words. I look forward to joining them and working as a volunteer in the future. They are what make this garden so special.

I know I have probably forgotten to thank someone, but please know I could not have done my job without everyone's support and help. I will miss working with you all!

By the time you read this I will have started my new job with Lindsey Landscaping. I am looking forward to designing creative residential and commercial landscapes. I will still be around at FOA talks and working in the gardens so this isn't "goodbye" but "see ya later."


Annual Endorsements – Summer 2002

By Bob Lyons, Director

Summer 2002 will be remembered best for its heat and drought...... period! For what seems to be more than a couple years in a row, I find myself bemoaning the challenging weather of the previous growing season. Top that off with an unusually odd and damaging outbreak of thrips and spider mites, and all that goes along with those pests! But, as we all know, out of these challenges comes some great information concerning the cultivation of landscape plants.

Inventory for our trials truly ran the gamut in summer 2002. We examined dozens of cultivars from familiar garden annuals, previously unavailable and brand new cultivars, and a host of entries from the ever-enlarging palette of plants coming to be known as "tender perennials." Of course, the overriding impetus for any entry from any corporate participant in our trialing program this year could once again be condensed down to that well known mantra, "color, color, color." So, in the spirit of skimming off the winners and watching the losers sink to the bottom in an ocean of "annuals," here are our comments about the summer growing season gone by. We encourage you to seek out any of our recommendations from your garden centers, and if you don't find them....ask. Ask enough and you'll create a market.

First to the numbers. Since all our entries are rated throughout the season, it is easy for us identify the best and worst of the lot.....but suffice it to say that we don't always go by the numbers....more later. When we do, the following ranked among the best. Remember, these evaluations are for the Raleigh area; there is no guarantee that our performance data would be the same elsewhere.

The Best and the Worst for 2002

'Explosive Ignite' ornamental pepper
'Double Wave Lavender' petunia
'Tidal Wave Silver' petunia
'Ruffle Bright Purple Improved' petunia
'Angel Mist Light Pink' angelonia
'Angel Mist Lavender Improved' angelonia
'Princess Dark Lavender' verbena
'Fairy Tales Snow White' portulaca
'Fairy Tales Sleeping Beauty' portulaca
'Fairy Tales Cinderella' portulaca

If there is any unifying element in the above list, it may be the color lavender....I'm not sure what that means! Probably nothing I'd make any bets on.

Now for a review of those that struggled. These entries had a tough time during this past summer and it was likely due to heat and drought.

'Summer Blues' delphinium
'Promise Mix' phlox
'Ultima Morpho' pansy
'Temptation White' lobelia
'Cosmic Orange' cosmos
'Whisper Cranberry' diascia

To be fair, several of the plants in this dubious list are simply better suited to cooler climates, and one would expect a poor performance in our area. However, seed companies are forever trying to stretch the limits of tolerance to expand the useful range of their hybrids and we can't blame them for that.

It is always valuable, I think, to veer away from the objective data and make some additional subjective assessments. In my report to the industry, I call these my "off the cuff" comments. They allow me to read between the lines and inform my readers of personal notes made throughout the growing season. There may be some real gems that don't quite make it to the top of the list but have some underlying potential worth noting. And despite some faults, they may actually make interesting landscape plants for those of us who realize that perfection may just be too perfect! My comments are in alphabetic order according to species; this list is not exhaustive since not all entries in our trials received particular comments. Start planning for 2003!

Capsicum annuum (ornamental peppers) – Wow! Here's another group of plants that is no newcomer to the garden, but the new cultivars should revolutionize their popularity. I am specifically referring to 'Explosive Ignite' and 'Explosive Ember' which lit up our trials, particularly the latter half of the season. Heat seems to be its addiction and the drought did not seem to bother them at all. Best of all, their strong and vibrant dark purple foliage was more than a decorative backdrop to the purple, creamy, orange, and red fruits......nothing short of fabulous! We'd like to see some serious interest in these plants!

Catharanthus roseus (vinca) – Several species were well suited to our unusually hot summer and vinca was certainly one of them. One of the slower annuals to get going in the early spring, vinca jumps into action when warm weather finally sticks around. This year's standout was 'Big Ruby'. And while 'Victory Lavender' was not one of the best for all around performance, we particularly liked its unique flower color.

Centaurea gymnocarpa 'Colchester White' – Once again I find myself raving about this plant. Grown almost exclusively for its dusty silver foliage and spidery appearance, this "dusty miller on steroids" held on beautifully through our drought and heat. Neat and tight, most colors are set off even better with this plant as the backdrop or complement.

Dahlia ×hybrida 'Kingston Queen' – We thought we had seen the best of this group "evaporate" when we were hit with an unusually brutal double whammy of drought and mites/thrips this summer. Most of the cultivars we pinned our hopes on fizzled, but not 'Kingston Queen'. Its clean, dark, ruby foliage and vigorous, sturdy habit reaching 3' was the perfect backdrop for lovely burnished orange flowers. I remain confident in this group of what I see as an underused landscape plant, despite the difficult year; they are just too beautiful to give up on! And I fully endorse the dark-leaved cultivars like 'Kingston Queen'!

Datura wrightii 'Cornucopaea' (double purple angel's trumpet) – A perfectly confusing plant from a nomenclature standpoint but that didn't confuse the reactions of our visitors. They loved it. A real crowd pleaser that is always in flower, without the assistance of deadheading. Their "beaten egg white" texture and one-sided, deep purple appearance lit up the shrubby habit of the plant.

Ipomoea batatas (ornamental sweet potatoes) – Okay, I'm partial to the 'Sweet Caroline' series since they originated right here at NCSU, but I think you'll agree with my enthusiastic endorsement once you try them. Our 'Sweet Caroline Bright Green' was the most vigorous, but still more controlled than the familiar 'Sulfur'/'Marguerite', and you just won't find another cultivar with color similar to our 'Sweet Caroline Bronze'! Whether in the ground or in large containers, these plants are ornamental show stoppers and functional annual ground covers.

Ipomoea (morning glory) – Not really sure of the species here, although I doubt it is either I. purpurea or I. tricolor, the new 'Good Morning' series of morning glories kept us guessing all season! I'm delighted to see some new introductions in this arena and anxious to see what improvements had been made, we watched this group carefully. At first we figured that we actually had complimentary plants for the ornamental sweet potatoes! The irregularly and broken variegated foliage, and sprawling, non-vining habit tailored these cultivars for similar landscape use. However, we were pleasantly surprised to see the decorative picotee styled flowers, although we were concerned that they were often disguised by the canopy. This behavior improved by late season as flower appearance increased dramatically, like most morning glories, and the foliage seemed to "loosen up."

Lantana camara 'Samantha' (variegated lantana) – What a great change-up for a plant that is on the fast track for landscape use in the Southeast. 'Samantha' could easily hold its own even without a seemingly perpetual flowering habit; and you can add compact, low maintenance, and "border friendly" to its résumé.

Lantana trifoliata (trifoliate lantana) – Perhaps one of the more interesting tender perennials in our inventory last season, the trifoliate lantana had the flowering power of its L. camara cousin, but followed up by a lovely show of beautyberry-like fruits. In other words, they were purplish and beady, the color almost mimicked that of its flowers, and the fruits were held on elongated stalks.

Pentas lanceolata 'Stars and Stripes' (variegated pentas) – Off to a slow start but once the hot weather kicked in, so did this plant. The crayon-red flowers were offset strongly against the creamy, light green, and darker green foliage....and they were always in flower. Well branched, strong and rigid, a powerful color combination for the landscape. It's not often that we get a plant with both attractive, omnipresent flowers and equally vibrant foliage.

Pennisetum glaucum 'Purple Majesty' (purple millet) – At last, a contending alternative for the deservedly popular Penniseutm setaceum 'Rubrum' (annual purple fountain grass). Unlike its fountain grass cousin, 'Purple Majesty' is stiff and erect, and strong and glowing in the landscape. We've admired it for years and are pleased to add it to our list of favorites and highly recommended; it truly deserves its All America Selections Winner status!

Plectranthus – Man, have Swedish ivies come a long way, and we're probably talking about a complicated mix of species here. Here's another garden plant whose history goes back to the houseplant craze of the 70s. Well, I'm glad someone decided to remove the pot and place the plant in the landscape, and now we're even getting interesting flowers. 'Nicoletta' was a strong ground cover, compact, and still not in flower by early September; 'Mona Lavender' displayed lovely, dark green leaves and prominent flower spikes of its namesake's color late in the season; 'Zulu Wonder' and 'Nicodemus' were also well worth the time and worth our recommendation.

Saccharum officinarum 'Pele's Smoke' (purple sugar cane) – For pure originality, this is a great plant. 'Pele's Smoke' is not out to dethrone annual purple fountain grass as the "ornamental landscape grass of choice," but I hope it will do a good job of enhancing the landscape with its tall, erect, statuesque, sturdy, dusty purple appearance. This is another tender perennial that is slow to start following installation, but don't despair and don't give up. Once the summer warms up for good, so does the display of this plant.

Thunbergia alata (black-eyed Susan vine) – If you had asked me five years ago for my thoughts on the potential for vines in the "annual" landscape, I might not have had much to say. And I never would have predicted that breeders would be putting any effort into improving what we've got already. Enter the cultivars 'Sunny Yellow Star' and 'Sunny Orange Wonder' for this long-time vine favorite......both needed a little "help" in getting started up their supports, but once there, look out! They laughed at the drought and heat, flowering nearly non-stop all season. We thought that the yellow version was a bit better performer in the landscape than the orange, and the numbers proved that out.

Out with the Old...

Part 3

By Todd Lasseigne, Assistant Director

When we last visited the former West Arboretum, the Ruby C. McSwain Education Center was still observable only through fences as an ongoing construction project. Now, however, the McSwain Center is complete, and my treatment of the former West Arboretum is not. Thus, I have been charged by our able Newsletter Editor with finishing my story.

The West Arboretum, viewed by most of our visitors as only beds laid out in straight-lined rows, in actuality contained mini-collections/plant vignettes within these rows. One such vignette featured a trio of more-or-less columnar plants: Prunus persica 'Pillar' (columnar flowering peach); Ulmus minor subsp. angustifolia, then labeled as Ulmus minor var. cornubiensis (Cornish elm); and Fontanesia phillyreoides subsp. fortunei (Fortune's fontanesia). The first, the 'Pillar' flowering peach, is perhaps nowadays best known as one of the parents of the Corinthian peaches released by NCSU's Dennis Werner, Ph.D. 'Pillar', besides displaying the strongly upright growth habit, had the peculiar habit of producing mostly double-white flowers, although occasional branches sported double, clear-pink flowers. Both the Cornish elm and the fontanesia were grown as upright, deciduous, twiggy, small-sized trees/large shrubs. These reached a height of 17-20' in 10-12 years and thrived on a difficult site that was heavily compacted and had intense competition from other nearby specimens. All of these plants framed a portal of sorts that led visitors to the 'Fantasy' crepe myrtle (Lagerstroemia fauriei 'Fantasy').

Nyssa sinensis (Chinese tupelo)Beyond this portal and across from 'Fantasy' was the Nyssa, or tupelo, collection. Four taxa grew here: Nyssa sinensis (Chinese tupelo), N. sylvatica (black gum), N. ogeche (Ogechee lime), and N. ogeche var. acuminata (narrowleaf Ogechee lime). Of these plants, N. sylvatica is familiar to us as a common native tree of our eastern U.S. deciduous forests. Less familiar, but no less exciting for its fall color, was N. sinensis, which displayed larger leaves, and (on female plants), green, olive-like fruits that were produced in profusion on our plant. In many ways, N. sinensis and N. ogeche resembled each other more than either did N. sylvatica. Nyssa ogeche remains a poorly known southeastern U.S. native tree, occurring naturally only in southern SC, southeast GA, and north central to northeast Florida. Our specimens reached 25' tall in just over 12 years and were perfect candidates for the small-tree market (as also is N. sinensis), although female trees would be undesirable due to their abundant fruits which are similar in size and shape to those of N. sinensis. The last plant, for practically its entire existence, was labeled wrongly as N. aquatica (water tupelo). Later, it was corrected to N. ogeche var. acuminata by Bob McCartney (Woodlanders Nursery, Aiken, SC), and is a small-leaved variant of Ogechee lime. N. aquatica would have massive (for a Nyssa) leaves, reaching up to 12" long. All four prospered at the JCRA and were tough trees, tolerant of drought, poorly drained soils, and soil compaction. In good years, the fall color reached vibrant tones of yellows to oranges and reds.

Nyssa ogeche (Ogechee lime)Near the Nyssa collection, the old bed "W28" housed the intergeneric hybrid collection, a motley assortment of a half-dozen trees and shrubs whose only commonality was the fact that they originated from crosses made between two genera. ×Cupressocyparis notabilis (noble cypress), a sister cross to the ubiquitous Leyland cypress (×Cupressocyparis leylandii), was one plant in this bed. Noble and Leyland cypresses both share Chamaecyparis nootkatensis (Nootka falsecypress) as one of their parents. However, noble cypress, representing the cross with Cupressus arizonica var. glabra (Arizona cypress, grown for its exquisite blue foliage), tends to bear gray-green foliage, more so than the dark, somber green of Leyland (which has Monterey cypress, and not Arizona cypress, as its second parent). Noble cypress also grows equally as fast as Leyland, with mature specimens topping out at 35' after 15 years.

Less known than either ×Cupressocyparis, but occasionally seen in catalogs is ×Chitalpa tashkentensis, commonly known only as chitalpa. This hybrid, developed in the Uzbek Academy of Sciences Botanical Garden in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, combines a southwestern U.S. native, Chilopsis linearis (desert willow) with our southeastern U.S. native Catalpa bignonioides (southern catalpa). While our native catalpa only comes with white, tubular flowers and the desert willow comes in vivid pink to maroon-burgundy flowers, the hybrid is intermediate with white to pink flowers on small-sized trees or large shrubs. Not fully tested in the southeastern U.S., long-term hardiness for chitalpa is not yet known.

×Pyracomeles vilmorinii (Vilmorin's pyracomeles)Four other intergeneric hybrids, all even lesser known than the above two, grew in bed W28. 1) ×Mahoberberis neubertii (Neubert's mahoberberis), an evergreen shrub of "loose habit" and "some horticultural merit" (quotes from the 2002 Hillier Manual), the mahoberberis have never been in the vanguard of ornamental shrubs. This one is a hybrid between Mahonia aquifolium (Oregon grapeholly) and Berberis vulgaris (common European barberry). This is at least a curiosity plant, and at best a great "fool your neighbor" plant. 2) ×Pyracomeles vilmorinii (Vilmorin's pyracomeles), on the other hand, is a much more worthy garden ornamental, although it can be devastated by fire blight in bad years. Originating in France in 1922 as a chance hybrid between Pyracantha crenatoserrata, one of the Chinese firethorns, and Osteomeles subrotunda, a poorly known but related genus with attractive, dissected foliage, pyracomeles forms medium-sized, semi-evergreen shrubs of arching habit. In spring, expect profuse displays of white to off-white flowers. 3) ×Sorbocotoneaster pozdnjakovii (Siberian sorbocotoneaster), an unusual deciduous shrub naturally occurring in the wild with its parents in Siberia, is the last plant that one would expect to grow in the summer heat of Raleigh, NC. Our specimen, although by no means a showstopper, grew unfettered as a large, loose shrub, reaching 15' tall in just over ten years. The leaves are lobed or only partly divided (depending on which leaf you observe), owing to the hybrid nature of the plant. 4) ×Sycoparrotia semidecidua (sycoparrotia) grew happily in the part-shade conditions of bed W28, forming a multi-trunked, smooth-barked tree reaching 18' tall after over just 12 years of age. In late winter, our plant shimmered with thousands of pale pink anthers dangling in the breeze. Sycoparrotia is a hybrid between Parrotia persica (Persian ironwood), a superb deciduous tree valued for its exquisite fall color; and Sycopsis sinensis (evergreen hazel), an evergreen large shrub/small tree not widely known or grown. What has been most interesting to observe is the tardily deciduous to semi-evergreen nature of sycoparrotia, a perfect intermediate of its parents. In Aiken, SC, specimens of all three grow side-by-side in the gardens at Woodlanders Nursery. Last year, I observed these trees in mid-January, with Parrotia being deciduous, Sycopsis being evergreen, and ×Sycoparrotia bearing yellow to orange fall color. The sycoparrotia had also outgrown the Parrotia, suggesting better vigor in hot climates. The conclusion that many writers have that sycoparrotia is not an improvement over its parents may not hold true in the southern U.S.

Cercis canadensis 'Flame' (eastern redbud)West past the intergeneric hybrid collection, you would eventually have come to the Cercis collection in the former West Arboretum. While these plants certainly need no mention to any long-time aficionado of the JC Raulston Arboretum, some comments are in order here. (For more on these plants, refer to the wonderful article written by Denny Werner in the spring 2000 issue of the JCRA Newsletter.) In the 25 year history of the Arboretum, J. C. Raulston assembled the most diverse collection of Cercis taxa of any garden in the world. Whether this is still true or not is debatable. Besides many cultivars of our native C. canadensis (eastern redbud), including 'Alba', 'Appalachian Red', 'Dwarf White', 'Flame', 'Forest Pansy', 'Pinkbud', Rubye Atkinson', 'Silver Cloud', and 'Tennessee Pink', the collection also contained plants from other parts of the continent and globe. There was C. canadensis var. texensis (Texas redbud), with its two cultivars, 'Oklahoma' (J. C.'s favorite) and 'Texas White'; and C. canadensis var. mexicana (Mexican redbud), with various unnamed forms, my favorite being the ones with highly glossy leaves with undulate margins. From the western U.S. came C. occidentalis (with its own white-flowered form, C. o. f. alba). From across the Pacific, we grew C. chinensis (Chinese redbud), especially its cultivars 'Avondale' (a super-floriferous cultivar), 'Shirobana' (also known as 'Alba'), and 'Nana'. The similar appearing C. yunnanensis was grown, and the cultivar 'Celestial Plum' was selected and named by J. C. for its ease of propagation from stem cuttings. Other poorly known Chinese Cercis species included: C. chuniana (Chun's redbud); C. chingii (Ching's redbud, a large, sprawling tree); C. glabra (smooth redbud); C. gigantea (giant redbud, with our old single-trunked tree in bed W37 having reached 35' tall with a trunk caliper of 12" – very impressive for a "mere" redbud); and last, but certainly not least, C. racemosa (chain-flowered redbud – the "holy grail" of Cercis due to its production of flowers in short, pendent racemes in spring). Moving westward out of China, J. C. had procured C. griffithii (Himalayan Judastree), noted for its blue-tinted foliage. For the closely related C. siliquastrum (Judastree) of Europe, our collection housed not only the typical species form, but also a white-flowered form (C. s. f. albida) and the cultivar 'Bodnant', selected at the famous Welsh garden of the same name for its darker pink colored flowers. All of these plants were among the first to be demolished for construction, as they were located more or less where the current entrance to the new parking lot now exists. As with the previously chronicled West Arboretum plants, these taxa have all been propagated, and they will soon again grace the Arboretum's grounds.

Adjacent to the Cercis collection grew three trees in the unrelated, although similarly-spelled genus Celtis, the hackberries. In my mind, the hackberries have never been first-class trees; at least, when one only considers two of our eastern U.S. natives, C. laevigata and C. occidentalis, even though these two species are exceptionally tolerant of poorly-drained to waterlogged soils. The foliage of both our native species always appears as a washed-out green to yellow-green in color. In the former West Arboretum, we grew C. bungeana (Bunge's hackberry), C. choseniana (Korean hackberry), and C. sinensis 'Green Cascade' (weeping Japanese hackberry). What distinguished these trees as superior garden ornamentals was their rich, glossy, dark green foliage and their small stature, with C. bungeana and C. choseniana both growing only to 20' tall after 13 years – perfectly sized for modern homeowners. On the other hand, C. sinensis 'Green Cascade' stood out for its outstanding weeping form, a true specimen tree in the making. Growing as a vigorous plant with cascading branches, 'Green Cascade' can easily be trained to form a living archway or weeping tree. Our specimen had reached 13' tall by 19' wide in only nine years!

Three other small-statured trees, suitable for use in space-limited modern landscapes, grew just a short walk down one of the "rows" from the Celtis. These were the hornbeams, or Carpinus, of which we grew C. laxiflora (loose-flower hornbeam), C. orientalis (Oriental hornbeam), and C. tschonoskii (Yeddo hornbeam). Both C. laxiflora and C. tschonoskii are fine-textured, small-sized deciduous trees, easily grown in all but dry soils, these species being natives of Japan and Korea. Mature specimens of C. tschonoskii I have seen growing in Japan bear attractive ghostly white stripes along the smooth-barked trunks. C. tschonoskii had reached 18' tall in about ten years and C. laxiflora grew 12' tall in less time. The specimen of C. laxiflora was salvaged and moved out of harm's way by transplanting it to bed W17, across from the Southwestern Garden. Of the two specimens we grew as C. orientalis, only one was true to name, the other suffering from an identity crisis with the well-known C. betulus (European hornbeam). Our accurately identified specimen of Oriental hornbeam grew in bed W08, squeezed between the Cercis collection and the tall Leyland cypress hedge along Beryl Road. Perhaps because of this, our tree had grown to 42' tall in just over 15 years.

Aesculus hippocastanum 'Baumannii' (buckeye)
Aesculus sylvatica (painted or Gorgia buckeye)

Bed W32, which formed one of the "row ends" in the old West Arboretum, housed the Aesculus (buckeye or horsechestnut) collection. Three plants that were too large to be salvaged deserve mention. Aesculus hippocastanum 'Baumannii', the double-flowered horsechestnut, was certainly not a prize-winner for its foliar effects, since this species is well-known as being highly susceptible to leaf scorch, a serious disease of most Aesculus. However, the large panicles of double, white, "powder-puff" flowers in late spring, later than "normal" horsechestnuts, always made this tree a showstopper. Growing nearby were two North American natives (ours being called buckeyes, while the European and Asian species are usually referred to as horsechestnuts): Aesculus sylvatica (also known as A. georgiana), painted or Georgia buckeye; and A. glabra, Ohio buckeye. Both Ohio and painted buckeyes produce rather demure flowers, offering pale yellow or greenish-yellow to pinkish-yellow tints, respectively. Neither species ranks among the showiest of the Aesculus when in flower. However, Ohio buckeye can offer stunning orange to red to yellow fall color. Painted buckeye grows commonly in forests around Raleigh as a deciduous shrub to small-sized tree and can display yellow fall color when the foliage is not shed early due to scorch.

Three oaks of mention also resided in the former West Arboretum. Perhaps one of the largest of any of the trees removed during construction was the old sawtooth oak (Quercus acutissima) growing where the Zone 8 greenhouse is now located. This tree, which predated the founding of the Arboretum, was approximately 50' tall, standing as a dark green backdrop for the nearby Lagerstroemia fauriei 'Fantasy' ('Fantasy' Japanese crepe myrtle). Since sawtooth oak is one of the most commonly planted oaks in the southeastern U.S., its loss from the Arboretum's accessions made less of an impact than did the loss of other trees. However, Q. acutissima remains one of the most valuable of the landscape oaks due to its consistent, late (late November for us), golden-yellow fall color. Closely related to Q. acutissima is another Asian species, Quercus serrata, commonly known as Konara oak. Three mature specimens grew in the West Arboretum, all originating from seeds collected in South Korea on the 1985 Korean Expedition, of which J. C. Raulston was a participant. Accessioned originally as Quercus glandulifera, an older name now considered synonymous with Q. serrata, Konara oak is distinguished from sawtooth oak by its smaller leaves, gland-tipped (not bristle-tipped) margins, and whitish color beneath (versus shiny green beneath). Konara oak remains poorly known in the U.S. Our three trees grew at unequal rates, measuring 12', 20', and 35', respectively, at 11 years of age. Despite losing these three specimens to construction, a fourth tree survives here at the JCRA in China Valley. The final oak of note from the West Arboretum is Quercus robur f. fastigiata Skyrocket®, a superb clonal selection of columnar English oak that was introduced in 1989 by J. Frank Schmidt and Son (Boring, OR). Touted by Michael Dirr, Ph.D., and others as being much more resistant to powdery mildew than the commonly offered seed-grown trees of columnar English oak, our tree of Skyrocket® measured 28' tall by only 3½' wide after only ten years. Based on the performance of our plant, I would tend to echo Dirr's praise.

Acer saccharinum 'Skinneri' (cutleaf silver maple)Perhaps one of the commonest groups of trees in the West Arboretum was the maples. Fourteen specimens worthy of discussion here were scattered throughout the former West Arboretum. One of the tallest trees was Acer rubrum 'Columnare' (columnar red maple), which stood out like a beacon as one walked down into the West from where the old staff building was located. Received by us from Princeton Nurseries (Allentown, NJ), our tree was already 28' tall in 1988 and had reached nearly 60' by 1999. In autumn, this tree always stood out for its yellow to orange foliar tints. Acer ×freemanii 'Jeffersred', commonly known as Autumn Blaze® Freeman maple, has long been grown by many nurseries in the U.S. Our tree, at only ten years old had formed a nice specimen, reaching nearly 40' tall by nearly 20' wide. Although the Freeman maples (representing hybrids between red maple, Acer rubrum, and silver maple, A. saccharinum) are commonplace trees in American landscapes, they are indispensable for their fast growth rate, reliable fall color, stress tolerance, and ease of transplanting. On the far end of the red-Freeman-silver maple spectrum, however, we also grew Acer saccharinum 'Skinneri', one of the cutleaf silver maple cultivars. Although silver maple has never been one of my favorite trees (as I can recall from my youth many rotting specimens trying to grow in the heavy clay soils of southern Louisiana), I have become enamored with the cutleaf selections. 'Skinneri' bears leaves that are deeply dissected, somewhat akin to the leaves of cutleaf Japanese maples but much larger in size. The deeply lobed leaves of 'Skinneri' shimmer with any breeze to reveal their bright, silvery-white undersides.

Acer nigrum 'Greencolumn' (black maple)Acer rubrum and Acer saccharinum are often referred to as "soft maples" by foresters and dendrologists due to their softer, lighter, less shock resistant wood. On the other end of the spectrum are the "hard maples," of which the following would be some examples. First and foremost in this group must be Acer saccharum, the sugar maple native to much of eastern North America. We grew A. saccharum 'Sweet Shadow', an attractive cutleaf form of the species. As it is widely known that all sugar maples are not created equal, at least when it comes to their tolerance to southern U.S. summers, 'Sweet Shadow' performed in stellar fashion, reaching 20' tall in ten years. It should be more widely grown in the southern U.S. Closely related is Acer nigrum (black maple), which basically exists as one of the western extremes of the sugar maple complex (and for which reason it is sometimes listed as A. saccharum subsp. nigrum). We received A. nigrum 'Greencolumn' from J. Frank Schmidt and Son in 1991; it formed a tree nearly 23' tall by 13' wide in just under ten years. As with 'Sweet Shadow' above, 'Greencolumn' was a welcome surprise and addition to the ranks of the "sugar maples" that are adapted for Southern landscapes.

Another species commonly seen in other parts of the U.S. but that is largely absent from the South is Acer platanoides (Norway maple). I was impressed with the performance of two cultivars, 'Lamis', known as Crystal®; and Oregon Pride®, a likely rename of 'Dissectum'. The first is orthodox in its characteristics, basically forming a tight-headed tree of rounded habit. Both Dirr and Arthur Lee Jacobson mention that it produces lighter-colored leaf tips, but I don't recall observing these (probably because I wasn't aware that I was supposed to look for them). Oregon Pride® is atypical for Norway maple in its production of dissected foliage, more deeply cut for Norway maple than is 'Sweet Shadow' for sugar maple. Some authors insist that the name "Oregon Pride" (appearing as recently as 1980 in a nursery catalog) is no different than 'Dissectum', a name dating back to the 1830s in Europe.

The final duo in this sextet of hard maples represents the offspring of hybridization work done by J. Frank Schmidt and Son's Keith Warren, one of the foremost North American experts on street and shade trees. Acer 'Keithsform' (trademarked as Norwegian Sunset™) and Acer 'Warrenred' (trademarked as Pacific Sunset™) resulted from crosses between A. truncatum (Shandong maple) and A. platanoides. To my surprise, both plants prospered on tough, exposed sites, reaching nearly 20' tall by 12-13' wide after a decade's growth. During the few autumn months when I was able to observe these plants, I only recall a medium yellow fall color, certainly nothing to rival some of the aforementioned maples. However, the trees exhibited nice, dense canopies, and displayed good dark green summer foliage. At least one of these cultivars has been planted on the NCSU campus since our trees were lost.

Acer buergerianum 'Mino yatsubusa' (trident maple)At one end of the maple spectrum stand the following three cultivars of Acer buergerianum (trident maple): 'Goshiki kaede', 'Maruba tokaede', 'Mino yatsubusa'. With none of these being street tree plants, but rather specialty or garden accent specimens, they should be considered in a different light than all of the maples discussed above. Trident maple, valued now as a popular landscape tree due to its small size, elegant foliage, and rich, exfoliating bark also has sported several diverse cultivars, all of Japanese origin. 'Goshiki kaede' is a superb variegated tree that produces leaves irregularly splashed white (tricolored pink on new growth). Our plant, originally received from Shadow Nursery (Winchester, TN), had reached 30' tall by 20' wide after nearly 13 years in the ground. Although some authors have disparaged 'Goshiki kaede' for its uneven/unstable variegation, I found that our tree produced just enough variegated leaves to interest those who ventured close by to observe these details, and at the same time, formed an attractive specimen from a distance so as to appear to be a proper landscape tree. In contrast to 'Goshiki kaede', which forms a full-sized landscape tree, both 'Maruba tokaede' and 'Mino yatsubusa' are dwarf, nearly shrub-like, cultivars of trident maple. 'Maruba tokaede' is easily distinguished by its leaves, much smaller and thicker-textured than in a typical trident maple, that bear rounded-off lobes, instead of pointed lobes. Our plant, given to us by Shadow Nursery, was 2' tall in 1988 and had towered up to 8' tall by 1999. 'Mino yatsubusa', also a dwarf tree, contrasts strongly with 'Maruba tokaede' because of its elongated leaves with long-pointed lobes. Although appearing in leaf like a Japanese maple (A. palmatum), the tan-gray exfoliating bark clearly identifies this cultivar as falling within A. buergerianum. This specimen, listed as being nearly 7' tall in 1999, was salvaged by the JCRA horticulture team due to the plant's stunning beauty. It now resides in front of Kilgore Hall on the NCSU campus.

Acer stachyophyllumThe last of the maples that graced the grounds of the former West Arboretum exist as small trees, an ever-expanding and important category of landscape plants. Acer cissifolium, ivy-leaf maple, is one of several trifoliate (three leaflets per leaf) maples, this one hailing from Japan. Dirr sums up the familial relationships best, stating "(this) species is...allied to Acer negundo (box elder), but this is like allying a Rolls Royce with a Pinto." In any regard, A. cissifolium makes a fine, small-sized tree with a round head, ours growing to 16' tall by 12' wide in ten years. Although our plant suffered in its latter years from digging activity in its root zone, it was attractive for its perfect shape and small stature. It should be more widely considered for landscape potential in the southeastern U.S. Close to A. cissifolium stood a magnificent, less than ten-year-old, tri-trunked specimen, 30' tall by 22' wide, of Acer stachyophyllum subsp. betulifolium (birchleaf maple). Of all the maples discussed thus far, this was the rarest, representing a species rarely seen in cultivation. We received our plant originally from a specimen growing at the Coker Arboretum (Chapel Hill, NC). What impressed me so much about birchleaf maple was its attractive, smooth, silver-gray bark; its lustrous dark green summer foliage that turned orange-red in the fall; and its small to medium stature. When an unknown plant such as this comes your way, it speaks of the unheralded diversity and utility of the world flora. Birchleaf maple, by these virtues, deserves wider consideration and testing for its garden and landscape merits.

Twelve other trees that are worthy of discussion, unfortunately, cannot be discussed at length, here at the end of this article. This "delightful dozen" of the West Arboretum included the following taxa: 1) Phellodendron insulare (Korean corktree), a statuesque specimen plant hailing from collections made by J. C. in South Korea in 1985; 2) Ehretia acuminata (Japanese ehretia), a summer-flowering tree (yes, tree!) in the Boraginaceae (borage family), cold hardy for us for over 15 years; 3) Pterocarya stenoptera (Chinese wingnut), of which we had 2 beautiful, large trees casting dappled shade, these probably being local "champions" (champion-sized trees for this species); 4) Picrasma ailanthoides (known only as picrasma), a lovely, noninvasive relative of tree-of-heaven (Ailanthus altissima – a weedy scourge of the Interstate road system throughout the eastern U.S.); 5) Maclura pomifera 'White Shield', discovered growing on the creek of the same name in western Oklahoma by plantsman Steve Bieberich (Sunshine Farm and Nursery, Clinton, OK), a tree that Dirr pronounces as "the most thorn-free clone to date...(with) beautiful leathery lustrous dark green leaves;" 6) Zanthoxylum schinifolium (prickly ash), a shrubby tree with super-glossy leaves that, when crushed, smelled just like "lemon-fresh Pledge®;" 7) Prunus padus (bird cherry), a tree I was surprised to see thrive in NC Zone 7b, and that produced beautiful, pendent racemes of white, cherry-like flowers in spring (resembling our native black cherry, Prunus serotina, on steroids); 8) Tilia americana 'Redmond' (American basswood), a common street tree further north, but one that surprised us with its performance here, growing to 30' tall by 20' wide in nearly 15 years; 9) Fraxinus pennsylvanica 'Summit' (green ash), a popular, widely grown clone of a tree popularly used, especially further north, as a street tree; 10 & 11) Ulmus 'Cathedral' and 'Homestead', two hybrid elms resistant to the legion of diseases that plague and have destroyed so many elms in U.S. landscapes, these showing much promise here based on their performance over a 15-year period; and lastly but not leastly, and a plant that illustrates the awesome diversity formerly growing in the West Arboretum, 12) an unknown species of Schima, surviving for years under the wrong name of "Lithocarpus sp.," but since Schima is an evergreen relative of Camellia and Lithocarpus are related to oaks, this plant grew under an amnesic condition for virtually all its life. On this last plant, I realized too late to place this plant on our "to be propagated" list (after all, who wouldn't like an evergreen camellia relative that had withstood 15 years of NC winters?), alas, the cuttings did not root. And, there goes the tale of the West Arboretum.

Our New Horticultural Assistant

A Model of Industry Support of the JCRA

By Todd Lasseigne, Assistant Director

Jon Roethling, Horticultural AssistantAs Bob Lyons mentioned in his Director's Letter, the JCRA recently has been able to expand its staff through the creation of a special new position – a new Horticultural Assistant. Jon Roethling was hired just as the holiday season approached last year, and he has already been invaluable in assisting me in the mammoth task of keeping track of our plant collections, preparing for the upcoming installation of the Statewide Plant Evaluation Network later this year, and working on many other various and sundry JCRA tasks. Jon's addition to the JCRA, as Bob has said before, comes at a critical time for us, and we know that the Arboretum will benefit from his knowledge and horticultural expertise.

This position arose through the generosity of a select list of nursery, landscape, and design businesses long associated with the JCRA. Without their financial donations, this position would not exist. The JCRA cannot thank them enough, and we would like you, our supporters, to consider likewise thanking, the following generous individuals/businesses.

  • John Barbour, Bold Spring Nursery – Monroe, GA
  • Jim Berry, PDSI – Loxley, AL
  • Tom Bland, Bland Landscaping Co. – Apex, NC
  • Chip Callaway, Callaway & Associates – Greensboro, NC
  • Doug Chapman, Plantworks Nursery – Rougemont, NC
  • Tom Foley, Hines Horticulture – Vacaville, CA
  • J Guy, Carolina Nurseries – Moncks Corner, SC
  • Randy Hefner, Hefner's Nursery – Conover, NC
  • Dan Hinkley, Heronswood – Kingston, WA
  • David Johnson, Johnson Nursery Corporation – Willard, NC
  • John Monroe, Architectural Trees – Bahama, NC
  • Tom Saunders, Saunders Bros. Nursery – Piney River, VA
  • Schmidt Charitable Trust – Boring, OR
  • Nicholas Staddon, Monrovia Nursery Co. – Azusa, CA
  • Karen Suberman, Barefoot Paths Nursery – Chapel Hill, NC
  • Richard Taylor, Taylor's Nursery – Raleigh, NC
  • Eelco Tinga, Jr., Tinga Nursery – Castle Hayne, NC
  • Steve Worthington, Campbell Road Nursery – Raleigh, NC


Planting the Seeds for Development

By Anne M. Porter, Director of Major Gifts

Ginger Taylor, Bob Lyons, Ruby McSwain, Dean James Oblinger, and Joe TaylorDedication Excitement

The September 21, 2002, dedication of the Ruby C. McSwain Education Center was a long-awaited and thrilling event. From the very special Members Preview with NCAN's delicious BBQ dinner and the entertaining and educational presentation by Dave Creech, Ph.D., to the spectacular Saturday dedication, with all the ribbon cutting festivities and hundreds of mums donated by Campbell Road Nursery, it was an event to remember!

There was one couple at Saturday's dedication who was so caught up in the excitement that they decided to sponsor a garden that day. Joe and Ginger Taylor, of Wrightsville Beach, NC, became the Ruby C. McSwain Education Center's newest donors – sponsoring one of the patio pocket gardens. In fact, Joe insisted that he give us a check for the new garden right then and there. Now that is an enthusiastic JCRA supporter!

Joe and Ginger are ardent supporters of NC State's College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. They are currently co-chairs of the College Capital Campaign Committee, along with Ruby McSwain and Larry Sykes, Ph.D. The Taylors, along with two other families affiliated with Holden Beach Enterprises, donated two pristine tracts of land at Holden Beach, NC, that are being utilized for important coastal and sea oats research. In addition, Joe is leading the effort for a new statewide campaign to encourage citizens of North Carolina to donate land and farms to be preserved for the benefit of all North Carolinians.

Joe and Ginger enjoy visiting the Arboretum and the garden Galas. This new garden sponsorship is just another way they show their support of the JCRA and its important mission. Thanks, Joe and Ginger! We appreciate all that you do for NC State and the JC Raulston Arboretum.

More Named Garden Opportunities

There are still many gardens and areas surrounding the Ruby C. McSwain Education Center that are available for naming. This is a wonderful way to pay tribute, remember or honor a family member, friend, or colleague.

Please contact Anne Porter at (919) 513-3462 or <anne_porter@> for more information or a private tour of the McSwain Education Center Complex.

Available Naming Opportunities at the McSwain Education Center Complex

  • Entrance (Front of Parking Lot) Garden* ($100,000.00)
  • Entrance Sweep Garden* (Back of Parking Lot) ($100,000.00)
  • Parking Circle Container Gardens* ($2,500.00 – small) ($5,000.00 – large)
  • Entrance Pocket Gardens* (Small Sidewalk Areas) ($5,000.00 each)
  • Front (of building) Garden* ($100,000.00)
  • Fantasy Sweep Garden* (Includes the Fantasy Crepe Myrtles) ($100,000.00)
  • Rooftop Lattice Vine Collection* ($25,000.00)
  • Patio Pocket Gardens* ($5,000.00 each)
  • Patio Slope Garden* ($25,000.00)
  • Kitchen ($50,000.00)
  • Director's Office* ($50,000.00)
  • Zone 8 Greenhouse Area & Gift Shop ($350,000.00)
  • Perennial Border ($500,000.00)
  • Horticulture Field Lab Shop & Offices ($300,000.00)
  • Horticulture Field Lab Support Office (JCRA Staff Building) ($250,000.00)
  • Reception Desk ($25,000.00)
  • Dry Stream Garden* ($75,000.00)
  • West Point Rooftop Terrace Overlook* ($50,000.00)

*Named areas pending NC State Trustee approval.

Having Your Cake and Eating it Too

Would you be interested in investing $25,000.00 in a program that you strongly support knowing that you will receive the following benefits?

  • Satisfaction of making a major gift
  • Ability to direct how the gift is to be used by the Arboretum
  • A rate of 10.9% if you are 55 now and defer payment till age 65
  • Income tax deduction of $4,948.00 this year
  • $2,725.00 per year for life – $806.50 each year is tax-free
  • Preferential capital gains tax treatment
  • Assets accumulate tax-free during the deferral period

Establishing a deferred charitable gift annuity with the JC Raulston Arboretum (through the North Carolina Agricultural Foundation, Inc.) can give you benefits like the ones shown above for a married couple both aged 55 who want to defer receiving the benefits until they are 65. Deferred charitable gift annuities are excellent retirement income supplements since there is no annual limit as there is with an IRA or a 401(K) plan. You can invest in your own future and that of the JC Raulston Arboretum at NC State with a deferred gift annuity tailored to your specifications and needs. To receive a no-obligation projection of the benefits you and your family could receive, contact:

Joan DeBruin
Director of Gift Planning
Box 7501
Raleigh, NC 27695-7501
(919) 515-9076


Anne Porter
JCRA Director of Major Gifts
Box 7645
Raleigh, NC 27695-7645
(919) 513-3463

The brick house at the JC Raulston ArboretumMore....This Old "Brick" House

In the last issue of the newsletter, I told you a little about the beloved JCRA Brick House. Bob Lyons, JCRA Director, is working with the University Facilities Management regarding the brick house and planning its renovations and future use. There are great expectations awaiting this historic old house that for 25 years was the hub of Arboretum volunteer activities, site of horticultural classes, the center of Gala in the Garden preparation, home to the staff of the Horticultural Field Lab, and more.

If you would like more information regarding this project or any other JCRA development opportunities, please contact Anne Porter at (919) 513-3463 or <>.

Developing News

By Donna Walker, Development Associate

Benefit Providers

The following wonderful businesses and organizations (specific locations may apply) want to give you a special deal or discount for being a JCRA member. Be sure to visit them and say hello and pass along your thanks. A detailed benefit providers brochure is available at the Ruby C. McSwain Education Center and on the JCRA's Web site.

  • Better Tree Care Associates
  • Butterfly Pavilion – Myrtle Beach, SC
  • Down to Earth – Raleigh, NC
  • Sarah P. Duke Gardens – Durham, NC
  • Fairview Greenhouse & Garden Center – Raleigh, NC
  • Franklin Herbs and Plants – Franklinton, NC
  • The Gardener's Edge – Raleigh, NC
  • The Garden Hut – Fuquay-Varina, NC
  • Green Heron Landscaping, Inc. – Apex, NC
  • Gypsy's Malt Shop – Cary, NC
  • Homewood Nursery & Garden Center – Raleigh, NC
  • Hoyt Bangs Landscape Design Services – Raleigh, NC
  • Indigo Marsh Nursery – Florence, SC
  • The Last Unicorn – Chapel Hill, NC
  • The Lehmann Design Group, Inc. – Huntington Woods, MI
  • Long Hill Bed & Breakfast – Winchester, VA
  • McDonald's Nursery – Cameron, NC
  • Mountain View Nursery – Clyde, NC
  • New Leaf Garden Design
  • Night Magic Lighting, Inc. – Raleigh, NC
  • Norwood Road Garden, Inc. – Raleigh, NC
  • Oakmont Nursery – Siler City, NC
  • Outdoor Images, Inc.
  • Peters Tree Service, Inc. (DBA – Stephens Ace Hardware)/The Back Porch – Wilson, NC
  • Pleasant Gardens Nursery – Pittsboro, NC
  • Ragazzi's – Cary, NC
  • Raleigh Little Theatre – Raleigh, NC
  • Secret Gardens, Inc. – Savannah, GA
  • Site Light – Richmond, VA
  • Smith & Hawken – Raleigh, NC
  • Sugar Lake Nursery – Pittsboro, NC
  • The Unique Plant, Inc. – Chapel Hill, NC
  • Wakefield Nursery & Landscaping – Zebulon, NC

If you own a business and want to be a part of this program, please contact Donna Walker at <> or (919) 513-3826.


Volunteer News

By Frankie Fanelli, Volunteer Coordinator

Isn't this an exciting time of the year? Every trip to the garden leads to a discovery of brand new shoots poking out of the ground or a bud that has just broken into flower!

Many JCRA events marked this past fall and winter. The success of these events was due to many volunteers contributing their time and talents! Pictures tell the best story so we are sharing the best shots from these events with you.

We wish you a happy spring filled with joyful garden chores that bring you many rewards!

The Dedication

The Mixed Border team led by curator Amelia Lane pot up plants that were given as special mementos to named garden donors. Volunteers Kathleen Thompson and Vivian Finkelstein work with Anne Porter, Director of Major Gifts, greeting and registering guests as they arrive for the dedication.
Dee Welker and Jane Avinger welcome visitors at the reception desk. Volunteers Elaine Pace and Linda Glenn visit with guest, Sara Malbon and enjoy the delicious barbecue contributed and slow cooked by the NCAN staff and members for Friday night's event.

The dedication of the Ruby C. McSwain Education Center was a major success! Over thirty dedicated volunteers along with Board members took part in all aspects from planning, preparation, registration, hosting to cleaning up. We could not have done it without you. All of the staff joins me in expressing a gigantic thank you for an outstanding job!

The Mixed Border team led by curator Amelia Lane (right - upper left) pot up plants that were given as special mementos to named garden donors.

Volunteers Kathleen Thompson and Vivian Finkelstein work with Anne Porter, Director of Major Gifts right - (upper right), greeting and registering guests as they arrive for the dedication.

Dee Welker and Jane Avinger (right - lower left) welcome visitors at the reception desk.

Volunteers Elaine Pace and Linda Glenn visit with guest, Sara Malbon (right - lower right) and enjoy the delicious barbecue contributed and slow cooked by the NCAN staff and members for Friday night's event. Carolyn Fagan and Bob Wilder took on a brand new volunteer challenge, the cash register in the book shop that opened for the first time dedication weekend.

Carolyn Fagan and Bob Wilder (left) took on a brand new volunteer challenge, the cash register in the book shop that opened for the first time dedication weekend.

JCRA T-shirt quilt by Susie Crowder.All of us were surprised with this very special gift! Susie Crowder hunted up all of her husband's JCRA T-shirts and stitched them into this fabulous quilted wall hanging (right). She even brought the wooden rod to hang it – how thoughtful and what talent! This historical work of art hangs in the hallway that leads to the staff/volunteer area. This place of honor was selected since the volunteers initiated the shirt program. These shirts were designed and sold by the volunteers over the years! Thank you Susie and Rick Crowder, the staff and volunteers appreciate your thoughtfulness. We are reminded of your generosity each time we walk down the hall.

The Distribution

Nancy Simonsen and Jean Mitchell team up making sure the plants are in just the right place. Barbara Kennedy is doing her share to make the plant distribution a successful event.

The JCRA Annual Plant Distribution took 10 to 12 volunteers a day for four days prior to the big event. The volunteers worked with Mitzi Hole, Research Technician, and Anne Calta, Horticultural Technician, tagging, loading, wheeling, and unloading plants.

Nancy Simonsen and Jean Mitchell (right) team up making sure the plants are in just the right place.

Barbara Kennedy (right) is doing her share to make the plant distribution a successful event.

Other Volunteer Contributions

Other events as well as the on-going activities certainly deserve our attention. Many of these activities are the underpinnings of the garden!

This newsletter comes to you courtesy of the many volunteers that respond to our call for help. Bob Wilder, Vivian Finkelstein, and Claude and Mary Caldwell are attaching labels for the fall mailing.This newsletter comes to you courtesy of the many volunteers that respond to our call for help. Bob Wilder, Vivian Finkelstein, and Claude and Mary Caldwell (left) are attaching labels for the fall mailing.

Todd Lasseigne, Assistant Director, leads the Tour Guides in a training session in preparation for the "A Walk in the Winter Garden" program.Todd Lasseigne, Assistant Director, leads the Tour Guides in a training session in preparation for the "A Walk in the Winter Garden" program (right). The guides have had a busy fall and winter meeting for monthly enrichment sessions. Bob Roth, Lath House Curator, and Amelia Lane, Mixed Border Curator, have also led guide sessions giving the guides a more in depth perspective into their gardens. Val Tyson, Plant Recorder, demonstrated the accession, mapping, and recording process. All of this information helps us to be better guides! Thank you Bob, Amelia, and Val for taking your time. A special thanks to the tour guides for their dedication – it has been great fun getting to know you all even better! The tour guide team includes: Tom Bumgarner, Claude and Mary Caldwell, Joy Cowan, Kathy Crosby, Genelle Dail, Vivian Finkelstein, Roland Flory, Kathy Hafer, Barbara Kennedy, Jennette King, Guy Meilleur, Harley Mudge, Dick Pearson, Catherine Poff, Kathe Rauch, and Sheldon Welstein.

The JCRA booth at the NC State Fair.The JCRA is back at the North Carolina State Fair thanks to volunteers, Kathleen Thompson and Bob Wilder! Kathleen designed these fabulous floral arrangements and Bob saved the day with constructing a carpeted display board and guiding the setup (right). Thousands of fair visitors passed through our display outfitted with terrific pictures, a map showing "you are here and we are here" along with a giant container of the Sweet Caroline series of ornamental sweet potatoes. Nancy Doubrava, Interpretive Specialist, designed and printed a great handout for the event.

Judy Morgan-Davis studies the Perennial Border for the "Now Showing" plants.Judy Morgan-Davis (left) studies the Perennial Border for the "Now Showing" plants.

Patrice Cooke and Charlotte Presley work with Tom Bumgarner, Labeling Curator. This is a weekly task that takes constant dedication! Patrice Cooke and Charlotte Presley work with Tom Bumgarner, Labeling Curator (right). This is a weekly task that takes constant dedication!

Formatted into HTML by Christopher Todd Glenn
Programs & Education Coordinator
JC Raulston Arboretum
Department of Horticultural Science
North Carolina State University
Raleigh, NC 27695-7609

© The JC Raulston Arboretum, March 2003