Friends of the Arboretum Newsletter

Number 1

January 1981

J. C. Raulston


Well, finally here is Issue Number One of the members' newsletter. Trying to begin it between the Arboretum Dedication and the time I left to begin a year on sabbatical leave in California was just not the appropriate time. The combined pressure of the fall semester, clearing local commitments for the next year, making arrangements for the next year, packing and moving were all too much to get it done. Hopefully they will now come out on a regular schedule from here on. It has been an exciting time in the life of the arboretum with many additions this year, the new Friends of the NCSU Arboretum (now the JC Raulston Arboretum) membership program, the formal dedication and opening of the arboretum in September, and more things coming up in the near future. I felt it appropriate to try to cover these things in this first newsletter to give a feel of what has happened and where the arboretum is going in the future.

A word about my current situation. I am on sabbatic leave for one year living in San Francisco in order to be involved with four programs of that area which relate to my teaching and research at NCSU. I will be involved with the Department of Landscape Architecture at the Berkeley campus of the University of California to meet people in the department, sit in on courses, attend seminars and special programs ad utilize the library collections. Another program at Berkeley I will work with is the Berkeley Botanic Garden - unusual in that it is located in a unique microclimate permitting plants from all 5 continents to grow together successfully in a relatively small area. It is the largest University collection in the U.S. with over 10,000 species on display. A second plant collection of interest in the area is the Strybling Arboretum in San Francisco - again displaying over 6,000 species of an extraordinary range of plant species ranging from Alaskan spruce through New Zealand tree ferns. I will follow the sequence of changes in both collections through the year and work with the staff of each organization in observing arboretum management concepts. The fourth program in the area I will work with is the Saratoga Horticultural Foundation - a unique organization devoted to identifying superior native plants and cultivars of native plants, the working out of propagation techniques to produce these plants and subsequent production and release of stock to the nursery industry.

In addition to work with the above programs on a local basis, I plan to travel the west coast from San Diego to Vancouver observing the many excellent botanical gardens and arboretums of that region at different seasons for photographs and to collect propagation material for the NCSU Arboretum (now the JC Raulston Arboretum). I also wish to visit nursery production operations in this region. From these visits I hope to bring back over 500 new species for the NCSU Arboretum (now the JC Raulston Arboretum) - already I'm excited about all the new plants I've found that are not grown in the East and yet are adapted there.

A BRIEF OUTLINE HISTORY OF THE NCSU Arboretum (now the JC Raulston Arboretum)

1960 (estimated)

A brief attempt was made to start a woody plant collection with the older trees on the perimeter planted (obtained from Princeton Nursery in N.J.) and the older plants in the center of the arboretum installed. This project lacked support and failed after several years. No records exist of plant names or origin and the plants grew without care or maintenance for many years.


An ad hoc committee was appointed by department chairman Dr. James Strobel to develop long-range plants for the total woody ornamentals program at the Unit 4 farm. After a year of study, meetings and several proposals to the entire faculty, a report was developed for 3 major developments to serve the total teaching, research, and extension needs of the existing (3 people) and projected ornamentals faculty (now up to 11 people). These 3 developments included (1) a 3-acre field nursery at the SE corner of the farm (planted in 197), (2) a consolidated one-acre container stock area with a lathhouse, propagation space, storage building and soil preparation area (developed in 1980), and (3) the arboretum at the north end of the farm across the entire width of the property covering approximately 8 acres. The arboretum was designed to be used for teaching (50%) with an estimated 60,000 student-hours of use each year, research (30%) for testing and evaluating the performance of new plants in N.C. (now over 2,000 species) and extension (20%) for the public and commercial growers to study new plants and their landscape uses. Cuttings and plants of superior new plants to be released to nursery growers to get a greater variety of plants available in the industry.

  • Summer - Student team did a complete land survey and mapping of the farm including location of all plants.
  • Fall - First planting of new plants made of 30 plants obtained from local nurseries.
  • Winter - Master Plan for overall development completed by Mr. Fielding Scarborough as his MLA final project.


  • Summer - Bed development in NE quadrant of arboretum site with about 1 1/2 acres staked, beds prepared and planting begun. Many of the old plants planted years ago were removed.
  • Fall - The pathology rose plantings removed and developed into a planting bed. - Leyland cypress screening hedge planted at 6" tall rooted cuttings in the fall.

About 150 new plants were added during the year including grasses, bamboo and dwarf conifer collections.


  • Planting of Nellie Stevens holly hedge by classes for screening in the arboretum.
  • Movement of perimeter fence to present location for enlargement of parking lot.
  • About 300 new plants added during the year including nandinas, pyracanthas, aucubas, cotoneasters, hollies, lilacs.


  • Removal of container stock nursery from area where visitor center now exists.
  • Beginning of construction of visitor center and paving materials area by classes under the direction of Mr. Will Hooker.
  • Movement of large camellias from parking lot area by classes under the direction of Dr. Ted Bilderback.
  • Development and paving of parking area.
  • Bed development of SE quadrant of arboretum.
  • Initial plantings of hedge and groundcover collections
  • Development of the calendar walk.
  • About 300 new plants added during the year including magnolias, euonymus, Japanese maples, willows, vines, crepe myrtles.


  • Development of first 2 model gardens - Native Plants and The Edible landscape
  • Movement of the specimen cutleaf Japanese Maple to the arboretum by a class under the direction of Ted Bilderback.
  • Development of the Dr. Russell Southall Memorial GArden
  • Installation of turfgrass variety trials.
  • Installation of the French Garden Parterre.
  • Beginning of Friends of the NCSU Arboretum (now the JC Raulston Arboretum) membership program.
  • September 27 - Formal Opening and Dedication of the Arboretum.


In this issue I want to feature a superb garden plant almost unknown in American Gardens - Prunus mume, the Japanese Apricot. The timing is appropriate for the real glory of the Japanese Apricot is that of the earliest flowering of all the ornamental trees - in Raleigh coming into bloom in February during warm periods and continuing into March. It is native to China and has been cultivated by the Chinese as an ornamental for over 1,500 years and has long been in Japan where it is one of the most popular garden trees - with great value placed on the early flowers symbolizing the end of winter and the rebirth of life. Over 300 named varieties exist in Japan with single and double flowered forms in white, pink and red colors. It has performed very well in the NCSU Arboretum (now the JC Raulston Arboretum), obviously not bothered by our heavy clay soils as the plants have grown 3-5' per year. We have 3 plants you might like to observe - one on the inside of the parking lot fence where the fence makes a 45% bend near the visitor center, and two varieties in the bed with all the crepe myrtles. Ultimate height is 10-20' depending on type and supposedly it is very pest free. It does not produce a usable, edible crop of fruit. It is very difficult to find in America and I have never found a source on the East Coast to buy plants. I'm excited to have just found a California nursery with 6 cultivars for sale which I've bough to send back for our plantings. At present probably the best collection to see is at Brookside Gardens in Washington, D.C. It can be propagated by grafting on to peach seedling understocks and I am hopeful that we can convince some N.C. nurserymen to begin to propagate from our stock so the public can more easily locate this beautiful and unusual tree.


Getting ready for the arboretum dedication on September 27 was certainly a stimulus to finish up long planned projects. The new turfgrass plots were installed by Dr. Carl Blake and Mr. Kim Powell and show a range of both cool and warm season grasses adaptable to the Raleigh area. With much help from many students the French Parterre garden was finally finished after over a year of planning (in fact the plants were propagated for it 3 years ago). It is based on the design of a garden in Paris and contains nearly 1,000 plants of a very dwarf Japanese holly - Ilex crenata microphylla - which will be kept sheared to a 5" height. The new paving area in front of the French Garden is Z-Block and Turfstone pavers. Various groundcovers will eventually be planted in the turfstone blocks to soften the area and provide a test for durability of plants to foottraffic. The new granite blocks paving was completed and groundcover plants continue to be added to the area. Collections of miniature roses and liriope cultivars were added here this year. The first two model gardens were installed with Ms. Carol Margolis of the horticulture department faculty handling the Edible Landscape Garden with her home horticulture classes, and Mr. Harry Phillips and Mr. Ken Moore of the UNC Botanic Garden providing the plants and labeling in the Native Plants Garden.

On the other side of the arboretum between the main building and Beryl Road we have been developing the Dr. Southall Memorial Garden during 1980. With the addition of a memorial stone this area will be ready for formal dedication later in 1981. Dr.Southall taught Plant materials at NCSU and was greatly loved by is students and inspired an interest in plants to many, many people. His untimely death of brain cancer in 1979 lead to the concept of this garden as a hemlock tree grove containing many of his favorite plants and a space that could be used as an outdoor classroom, lunch area, games, etc.

Major donations of plants received during the fall include a gift of 2,000 Apeldoorn tulip and Unsurpassable daffodil bulbs from J. B. van der Schoot, Hillegom, Holland; an excellent collection of hostas from Powell's Gardens, Princeton, N.C.; and rhododendrons from Rhododendron Farm, Mountain Home, N.C. and Beeson's Rhododendron Nursery, Randleman, N.C. Major plant switches occurred as the entire Euonymus collection was moved to its permanent location near the crab apple trees and the viburnum collection assembled during 1980 was installed in the are where the euonymus had been.


At present the farm crew is actively working on the next two major developments in the arboretum - the Rare Plants House and the Japanese Garden. The lathhouse was stripped of old lath this fall and will be recovered this spring. Inside, the rectangular beds used for research are being removed and raised beds of pine bark will be installed with paths to take visitors through the house. This will allow us to grow many plants that require shade or well-drained soil conditions that we could not grow elsewhere on the property. The first bed has been installed and planted and others will soon follow. There are so many things we want to display that the house will fill very quickly.

Behind the lathhouse on the west side many truck loads of soil are being hauled in to level the area for development of the Japanese garden. Planting will begin this spring and development of the entire garden - walks, fences, plants, stones, etc. will take at least 2 years. One special feature will be an area for display of bonsai plants. The garden will contain a wide array of Japanese plants and a large raked stone Zen contemplation garden.

During the different flowering seasons of 1981 the staff of Southern Living Magazine will be photographing the arboretum for a major story to appear in the magazine in 1982. We're quite excited about this publicity. Also, the NCSU Arboretum (now the JC Raulston Arboretum) will be listed in the National Council of Garden Clubs Guide to American GArdens and also in the next edition of this publicity hopefully many more people will become aware of the arboretum, stop to see it, and begin to learn from it.


All of these accomplishments do not just happen automatically of course, and I would like to introduce you to some of the cast of individuals responsible for the many good things happening. Unfortunately dozens must go unnamed as many, many students have volunteered to help in so many projects and have given hundreds of hours of labor to accomplish them. My secretary, Miss Rachel McLaughlin, receives your memberships, handles the newsletter, and all correspondence connected with the arboretum - she hates to type Latin names of plants as much as many of you hate to encounter them - but otherwise is great. Mrs. Mary Liner struggles with my unorthodox purchasing methods and tries very hard, but not always successfully, to keep the arboretum financially solvent. Your support has allowed the hiring of 2 students - Ms. Dee Stuckey and Mr. Ronald Brooks for a few hours each week to help with plating, labeling and maintenance. They are both totally dedicated and I appreciate their great interest and careful, hard work. Mr. John Scott, the farm manager and Clifton Ryan give enormous help on materials, construction and maintenance and have been essential for our development. And of course, I must give my most sincere and deepest thanks to my technician, Newell Hancock, who does everything - propagating, growing, building, installing, maintaining, etc. and whom I totally depend on when I don't have any idea how to get something done and he always has the solution. A wonderful person and totally dedicated professional. If you contact or meet any of these people, get to know them and perhaps extend your appreciation also for the arboretum would not exist without them.


In the arboretum visitor center is a box for distribution of a list of "Catalogs of Choice an Unusual Woody Plants." No retail nursery can possibly carry all of the thousands of plants available and this list can lead people to unusual materials not available locally. We've ordered from many of the companies listed and all are dependable firms that will deliver quality plants. Recently I've discovered several new places listed below that you might want to try.

Company Product

Washington Evergreen Nursery
$1.00 catalog and will mail
Mostly dwarf conifers and companion plants
P.O. Box 125, South Salem, NY 10590

Hortica Gardens
$50 catalog and will mail
The best selection of Satsuki azalea cultivars anywhere, many maples, dwarf conifers, dwarf cultivars of many woody plants. Very reasonable prices - mostly $1-5
P.O. Box 308, Placerville, CA 95667.

Mr. & Mrs. R. D. Havens
Free catalog and will mail
All daffodils - new, unusual and collector cultivars - hundreds listed and many beautiful color photographs. Prices range from $.80 to $125 per bulb. Yes - that's not a typographical error - one hundred and twenty five dollars per bulb. But over 100 varieties are less than $3 apiece.
P.O. Box 218 Hubbard, OR 97032

We are always looking for new sources and if you have a favorite catalog not in our listing, we would appreciate knowing of it.


A new addition to books dealing with woody plants in the South is "Southern Living Gardening, Trees and Shrubs, Groundcovers and Vines." The book covers 150 of the most common Southern landscape plants with over 400 photographs and information on size, rate of growth, moisture, sun, etc. It is priced at $17.95 and is done with the high standards of quality one expects from Southern Living. Highly recommended and readily available in the gardening section of most bookstores.

For the specialist interested in unusual plants, I would highly recommend the "Sunset New Western Garden Book" - 512 pages for $9.95. It is published by Sunset Magazine, a western equivalent of Southern Living and on the west coast is the absolute Bible of gardening. Excellent discussions of climate effects on plants with 1,200 drawings and coverage of over 5,000 different plants. Many of the plants are tropical drawings and coverage of over 5,000 different plants. Many of the plants are tropical and subtropical, but much of the material can be used profitably by a North Carolina plantsman, particularly someone interested in unusual materials. Had become one of my 5 most used books, even before moving to California. Often available where the Sunset books are sold, probably more information per dollar than any hort book one can buy.

An excellent specialty book not available in any bookstore is "The Lagestroemia Handbook/Checklist" - a thorough and detailed 72-page manual covering every aspect of Crepe Myrtles - history, culture, a listing of all cultivars and their origin, and numerous photographs. It is available for $5.00 from: Executive Director, AABGA, Dept. of Biology, 124 Botany Bldg., UCLA, Los Angeles, CA 90024.

A well-edited magazine that some might be interested in trying is Pacific Horticulture, about 69-70 pages per issue and published 4 times a year for $8.00 (Pacific Horticulture Subscription Office, P.O. Box 485, Berkeley, CA 94701). Although it is obviously oriented to the west coast, articles are well done and present many new plants and ideas. Perhaps a quarter of the articles are rather universal (bonsai, house plants, vegetable gardening, etc.) and could directly be used by easterners as well. There are reviews of new books and the advertisements section is where I find many of the specialty mail order firms I recommend. They list many firms dealing in perennials, house plants, succulents, cacti, etc. that do not directly relate to the woody plants emphasized at the arboretum and thus are not in my list of catalogs.


(Note - write these on your calendar as no further reminders will be sent.)

April 2 - Thursday - 8:00 PM - A slide show on the gardens and plants of California will be presented in Room 159 of Kilgore Hall on the NCSU Campus. Bring a friend. Each member will be given a plant of Euryops pectinatus - the yellow daisy featured in the visitor center entrance planters last summer. it is a wonderful flower - blooming all summer and late into the fall (it took 23°F in full bloom and was still showy December 20!)

April 4 - Saturday - 11:00 AM - A plant walk will be conducted at the arboretum. Met at the visitor center, stroll, listen, look ask questions. Some of the recent new introductions to be tried in 1981 will be on display for viewing. Plantings should be a peak of spring bloom and new growth starting with much to see.

May 9-23 - I will lead a garden tour of Holland, Germany, Switzerland, France and England beginning with Keukenhof gardens (best bulb display in the world) and ending with the Chelsea Flower Show (best bulb display in the world) and ending with the Chelsea Flower Show (best garden show anywhere) with many gardens in between. The cost is $1,900 per person leaving from New York City and the reservation deadline is March 20. Write to me if interested and I will send a detailed brochure explaining the entire trip. (Send to European Tour information, NCSU Arboretum (now the JC Raulston Arboretum), Department of Horticultural Science, NCSU, Raleigh, NC 27607)

Watch your neighborhood gardens for the time of daffodil and tulip blooming here and schedule a visit to the arboretum to see the 1,000 daffodils and 1,000 tulips planted in various places.


We will begin to get caught up since I've settled to a regular writing schedule in my new location. The next issue will be a bulky one - our annual inventory listing all of the plants in the collection - quite a job with over 2,000 different kinds of plants now on display. Hopefully ready in early March.

Friends of the NCSU Arboretum (now the JC Raulston Arboretum) - Initial Membership - November 1980

In the first six months since establishing the membership program for the Friends of the NCSU Arboretum (now the JC Raulston Arboretum), we have broken the 50 member level and our hopes are to grow to 200 members during 1981. With that number we an establish a student internship program to help with routine maintenance of the plantings which will allow my technician, Newell Hancock, to devote more time to propagation and growing of new plants and for construction of new facilities. We thank you for your assistance and interest in the arboretum at this beginning point. For historic purposes, I felt it would be nice to have a permanent list on record of those who were the first members of this group to look back on when we top 1,000 members in 1983? 87? 90?

*Life Members' Names Capitalized

Mr. & Mrs. G. A. Aulis - Raleigh
Mr. & Mrs. Carey H. Bostian - Chapel Hill
Mr. & Mrs. D. James Cagle - Seagrove
Capitol City Lumber Company - Raleigh
Ms. Lucy M. Cheves - Bunn
Mr. & Mrs. Patrick G. Crowley, Sr. - Apex
Ms. Nancy S. Doubrava - Chapel Hill
Mr. & Mrs. Cal Edmondson - Raleigh
Ms. Barbara H. Emerson - Raleigh
Ms. Barbara H. Emerson - Gwynedd Valley, PA
Fairfield Harbour, Inc. - New Bern
H. Fass - Raleigh
FCX, Inc. - Raleigh
Ms. Vivian Finkelstein - Raleigh
Mr. James Ford - Wilmington
Mr. & Mrs. Albert L. Hall - Raleigh
Dr. Robert N. Harper - Raleigh
Mr. & Mrs. Bob Hatcher - Raleigh
Mr. Robert McCague Hays - Raleigh
Mr. Fussell L. Hibbard - Chapel Hill
Mr. & Mrs. John M. Hinkle - Chapel Hill
Mr. Ed Hobbs - Raleigh
Ms. Elisa Jones - Chapel Hill
Dr. & Mrs. William A. Knapp, Jr. - Raleigh
Mr. & Mrs. K. L. Kolbe - Raleigh
Mr. Frank C. LeBron - Oxford
Ms. Susan P. Little - Raleigh
Mr. Randy W. Morgan - Raleigh
Nelson Nursery - Mooresville
Mr. Mac Newsom - Raleigh
Mr. Cheyney A. Nicholson - Raleigh
Mr. Jesse Perry - Raleigh
Mrs. Loleta Powell - Princeton
Mrs. Dietolf Ramm - Durham
Ms. Karen Reynolds Reilly - Raleigh
Dr. & Mrs. Stephen L. Renner - Raleigh
Mr. Lee Roth - Raleigh
Dr. & Mrs. Robert H. Sager - Raleigh
Sandy Creek Nursery - Louisburg
Sarah P. Duke Gardens - Durham
Mr. Ben W. Smith - Raleigh
Mr. Michael D. Stallings - Knightdale
Mr. J. L Summerell - Raleigh
Sunbelt Planning Associates, Inc. - Raleigh
Ms. Anthea T. Tate - Vass
Mr. Ken Tilt - Raleigh
Mr. Walter Trott - Chapel Hill
Mr. Avery C. Upchurch - Raleigh
Mr. Bobby J. Ward - Raleigh
Ms. Dot Wilbur - Chapel Hill
Mr. Bobby G. Wilder - Apex
Mr. Ross F. Williams - Greensboro
Mr. Peter N. Witt - Knightdale
Ms. Rebecca Zinn - Chapel Hill

Additional Members

Mr. Tony Avent - Raleigh
Mr. Lowell E. Bullock - Durham
Mr. John Wade Deme - Kinston
Mr. & Mrs. Tom Dickey - Raleigh
Mr. Ken Legge - Raleigh
Dr. & Mrs. J. D. MeRee - Wake Forest
Mr. Jim Parrott, Jr. - Raleigh
Mr. Surry P. Roberts - Raleigh
Miss Julie W. Skinner - Rlaeigh
Mrs. Dollie S. Taylor - Raleigh
Taylor's Nursery, Inc. - Raleigh