Dan Hinkey (center) with J.C. Raulston (right) in the halcyon, hair days of 1991.

Last Chance to Register!

This is your very last chance to register for one of the very few spots left open for An Evening With The Explorers – Trials and Triumphs of the Plant Hunters this Friday evening, March 6 at the JC Raulston Arboretum!

You’ve procrastinated long enough and now you’re in danger of missing out on this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to rub elbows with some of the leading explorers in this modern golden age of plant exploration.  If getting to chat up folks like Dan Hinkley, Scott McMahan, Ozzie Johnson, Andrew Bunting, and Greg Paige isn’t enough, there’s more:

Heavy hors d’ouevres and noshes

Open bar with great NC craft beer and wine

Silent and live auction with extremely rare and choice plants including:

  • Weeping persimmon (Diospyros kaki (Shibamichi Weeping) – from the garden of Akira Shibamichi!
  • Cathy catkin yew (Amentotaxus cathayensis) – One of the rarest of all conifers
  • Vietnam golden cypress (Xanthocyparis vietnamensis) – Dan Hinkley’s wild collection
  • Five lobe maple (Acer pentaphyllum) – The world’s rarest maple
  • Asian chain fern (Woodwardia unigemmata) – Incredible red new growth
  • Red lotus magnolia (Magnolia insignis) – A red-flowered evergreen magnolia
  • Red-fruited helwingia (Helwingia sp.) – A Dan Hinkley collection of an unknown species!
  • Japanese maples, evergreen spicebush, dwarf linden & ginkgo, and many more

Plus there will be an opportunity to bid on a 2 night stay with Dan Hinkley at his gorgeous home on Bainbridge Island in Washington.

Register now or live with regret.

All proceeds from this fundraiser go to support plant exploration.

Weeping Asian persimmon (Diospyros kaki 'Shibamichi Weeping' from the garden of famed Japanese nurseryman, Akira Shibamichi.

Weeping Asian persimmon (Diospyros kaki ‘Shibamichi Weeping’ from the garden of famed Japanese nurseryman, Akira Shibamichi.

Special thanks to event sponsor Bartlett Tree Experts and speaker sponsor Spring Meadow Nursery.

Dan Hinkey (center) with J.C. Raulston (right) in the halcyon, hair days of 1991.

Dan Hinkey (center) with J.C. Raulston (right) in the halcyon hair days of 1991.

Visit us at jcra.ncsu.edu for all of the many happenings at the JC Raulston Arboretum!

 

Join Us for an Intimate Evening with the Plant Hunters!

I just returned from a fantastic trip to Seattle where I was able to spend time with some of the best of the modern day plant hunters to talk for 3 days about the genus Mahonia.  It may be hard to believe but this is a group of folks who could make a long weekend discussing green plants with yellow flowers fascinating.

The organizer of this “1st Biennial Orphaned Genera Summit” was none other than the acclaimed Dan Hinkley of Heronwood Nursery fame.  Among the highlights of this trip were visits to Dan’s personal garden and home, Windcliff, and Heronswood which is rapidly being restored to its former glory.  By far the largest contingent of participants were the JCRA/NCSU scions including Tony Avent of Plant Delights (see his post about the event here), Ian Simpkins (Vizcaya gardens), Todd Lasseigne (Tulsa Botanical Garden), Jon & Adrienne Roethling (Highpoint University & Paul J Ciener Botanical Garden), Todd Rounsaville (University of Kentucky), and NCSU’s Tom Ranney to name a few.

Our speakers, Dan Hinkley and Scott McMahan admire the new Heronswood totem with event panelist Greg Paige and former JCRA staffer, Todd Lasseigne.

Our speakers, Dan Hinkley and Scott McMahan admire the new Heronswood totem with event panelist Greg Paige and former JCRA staffer, Todd Lasseigne.

Interestingly, all of the speakers for the JC Raulston Arboretum’s upcoming “Evening with the Explorers” were in attendance.  This event, coming up quickly on Friday, March 6, is an intimate get together to share some of the trials, tribulations, and of course triumphs of plant hunting over tasty noshes, good wine, and excellent NC craft beer.  Dan Hinkley will be headlining the event and if you’ve never heard him speak, don’t miss your chance!  We’ve scheduled plenty of time for you to chat up our speakers before and during the program so can get to know them personally.

Dark of night is no match for a dedicated plant lover.  Dan Hinkley has been a long-time JCRA friend.  Photo by J.C. Raulston on a 1994 trek to Heronswood.

Dark of night is no match for a dedicated plant lover. Dan Hinkley has been a long-time JCRA friend. Photo by J.C. Raulston on a 1994 trek to Heronswood.

The event is strictly limited to 100 attendees and the poor weather over the past week has opened up a few spots (10 seats are available as I write this on March 2).  If you’d like to register, act quickly as these seats will be snapped up by folks who want a fun-filled evening, perhaps even a date night.

I’ll be talking a bit about my month-long stay with the Chachi people in the rainforest of Ecuador, my first foray into plant exploration.  They say the Inuit have 100 words for snow – I’m not sure if that is true but the Chachi have no word for privacy in their language, Cha’palaachi.  Scott McMahan will give a tour of his Asian collecting trips, and Dan will talk about how his collections have helped him create a truly unique garden on Bainbridge Island.  We’ll wrap up with a panel Q&A with our speakers and several other collectors who travel with us.

A typical Chachi house in Ecuador.

A typical Chachi house in Ecuador.

This is a fund-raising event to support plant exploration by the JCRA and our other speakers so come prepared to bid early and often on a range of drool-inducing plants including the rare Cupressus (Xanthocyparis) vietnamensis collected by Dan in Vietnam and a possibly new species of Helwingia with red fruit.  The highlight of the auction is a 2 night stay for 2 (or maybe even a 1 night stay for 4) at Dan’s incredible home (all that time spent with Martha Stewart has paid off) including a gourmet meal provided by Dan and Robert.

A photo from my 2010 pilgrimage to Windcliff.  A chance to spend 2 nights with Dan and Robert at their amazing home and garden is a truly once-in-a-lifetime opportunity available in our silent auction.

A photo from my 2010 pilgrimage to Windcliff. The chance to spend 2 nights with Dan and Robert at their amazing home and garden is a truly once-in-a-lifetime opportunity available in our silent auction.

Special thanks to event sponsor Bartlett Tree Experts and speaker sponsor Spring Meadow Nursery.

Visit us at jcra.ncsu.edu for all of the many happenings at the JC Raulston Arboretum!

 

Former JCRA Intern is Heading to Edinburgh!

We are very excited to announce that Amanda Wilkins, 2011 JC Raulston Arboretum intern and volunteer, has been accepted into the University of Edinburgh’s Master’s program in Biodiversity and Taxonomy of Plants at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh.

Amanda volunteering at a JCRA children's program event.

Amanda volunteering at a JCRA children’s program event.

She starts her year-long studies in September where she hopes to gain a better understanding of plant taxonomy and perspective on international public horticulture. She hopes to one day be a curator at a botanical garden. Amanda graduated from N.C. State with her bachelor’s in horticultural science in December 2013, and has since interned at the Polly Hill Arboretum on Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts.

Amanda (far right) and co-workers at Polly Hill Arboretum working hard.

Amanda (far right) and co-workers at Polly Hill Arboretum working hard.

She was just added to the staff at the Mobile Botanical Garden as curator of collections where she’s developing plants records for the camellia and azalea collections. She would like to thank all of the wonderful folks, staff and volunteers alike, at the J.C. Raulston Arboretum for all of their support over the last few years.

If you would like to donate to Amanda’s scholarship fund, please visit: http://www.gofundme.com/gradschoolinuk.

See what’s happening at the JC Raulston Arboretum!

Quarryhill manages to capture the serene beauty of a wild Asian mountainside.

Our Favorite Places – Quarryhill Botanical Garden

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Every garden is different but few public gardens are truly unique.  Quarryhill Botanical Garden is certainly an exception to this rule.  Quarryhill’s goal of “advancing the conservation, study, and cultivation of the flora of Asia,” has led them to create a beautiful garden that displays one of the largest collections of documented wild-collected Asian plants in the world.  The plants are displayed throughout much of the garden in naturalistic settings unlike most gardens that strive to create order out of nature.

Quarryhill manages to capture the serene beauty of a wild Asian mountainside.

Quarryhill manages to capture the serene beauty of a wild Asian mountainside.

The garden began in earnest in 1987 when the founder, Jane Davenport Jansen, sent the first of many expeditions to Asia.  The young plants were planted on the hillsides above the vineyards of wine country in California.  The garden was the former site of a series of quarries giving rise to the garden’s name.  The abandoned rubble and rocky ground is certainly a challenge for gardening but the beauty of water-filled excavation sites and waterfalls provides a picturesque backdrop for the collections.

The beauty of the land is only enhanced by the plant collections.

The beauty of the land is only enhanced by the plant collections.

Leading the efforts of the garden for most of its existence has been Bill McNamara a well-known expert on the flora of Asia who straddles the divide between botanists and gardeners bringing the best of both disciplines to bear on his work.  Bill was made a field associate of the Department of Botany, California Academy of Sciences, San Francisco, and an honorary researcher of the Scientific Information Center of Resources and Environment of the Chinese Academy of Sciences in 2000. In 2001 he became an associate member of the joint Chinese-American Committee for the Flora of China. In 2006, Bill was made an international advisor for Curtis’s Botanical Magazine. He has been the curator of the Crombie Arboretum since 2003. Bill has a Master’s degree in conservation biology and is also a member of the San Francisco Botanical Garden at Strybing Arboretum Horticulture Advisory Committee. He received the Garden Club of America’s Eloise Payne Luquer Medal in 2009 and received the prestigious 2010 Scott Medal and Award from the Scott Arboretum of Swarthmore College. He was the recipient of the California Horticultural Society Annual Award in 2012. In 2013, he received the Award of Excellence from the National Garden Clubs.

Bill McNamara has spent 26 years studying and collecting plants in Asia.

Bill McNamara has spent 26 years studying and collecting plants in Asia.

We are thrilled here at the JC Raulston Arboretum to have Bill back to share some of his collected wisdom, keen insights, and dry wit for our Winter Symposium.  Bill was one of the highlights of our 30th Anniversary celebration and participants have been requesting his return.  Bill and I have had several conversations over the years about the diversity of roses throughout Asia and their potential to transform the modern landscape rose.  Quarryhill has created perhaps the only garden dedicated to the wild roses that have given rise to our modern selections.  As the JCRA celebrates the soon-to-be-finished Finley-Nottingham Rose Garden, I could think of no better person to be here for our “Stop and Smell the Roses” symposium on February 21, 2015.

Jiang Entian Chinese Heritage Rose Garden at Quarryhill Botanical Garden was dedicated in 2012.

The Jiang Entian Chinese Heritage Rose Garden at Quarryhill Botanical Garden was dedicated in 2012.

Follow me at @jcramark because life is too short for boring plants.

Stop and Smell the Roses all through 2015 at the JC Raulston Arboretum.

Stop and Smell the Roses all through 2015 at the JC Raulston Arboretum.

Check out all the happenings, see more images, and learn more at the JC Raulston Arboretum where we are Planting a Better World.

Tibetan prayer flags add to the Asian ambiance of the garden.

Tibetan prayer flags add to the Asian ambiance of the garden.

Plant Exploration, Citizen Science and More at the JCRA This Winter

Calling all armchair travelers, citizen scientists, and plant lovers!

The JC Raulston Arboretum at NC State University has some fantastic winter events lined up to help chase the winter blahs away with a phenomenal cast of speakers, interactive events, and an opportunity to visit the home and garden of one of the premiere plantsman in the world.

Coming up on the last day of January is one of our first Citizen Scientist programs at the JCRA. Project BudBurst is a network of people across the United States who monitor plants as the seasons change. We are a national field campaign designed to engage the public in the collection of important ecological data based on the timing of leafing, flowering, and fruiting of plants (plant phenophases). Project BudBurst participants make careful observations of these plant phenophases. The data are being collected in a consistent manner across the country so that scientists can use the data to learn more about the responsiveness of individual plant species to changes in climate locally, regionally, and nationally.

Project Budburst is a national citizen scientist program tracking plants as they go through seasonal changes.

Project Budburst is a national citizen scientist program tracking plants as they go through seasonal changes.

Project BudBurst is a great way for your family to become involved in a Citizen Science project in a great family-friendly environment. Join us on Saturday, January 31 at 10:30 for a free information session on how you can get involved in vital research. For more information go here and here.

Our theme for 2015 invites you to “Stop and Smell the Roses” and we are kicking off the year with a phenomenal line-up for our Winter Symposium. Join us on Saturday, February 21 for an informative and fun-filled morning. This program is not just for the rosarians, but for all plant lovers! As an added bonus, Plant Delights Nursery will be open especially for symposium attendees on Friday February 20. This will be your chance to visit the garden and shop for plants before the crowds descend for the regularly scheduled open house the following weekend!

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Dr. John Dole, one of the premiere researchers on cut flowers (he literally wrote the book on it), will take us on a tour of the secret life of cut roses. While most folks don’t think twice about where their Valentine’s Day roses come from, their history and modern production is fascinating. Bryce Lane, one of the country’s best-known teachers and speakers will bring his always informative and entertaining style to bear on encouraging us to slow down and enjoy the gardens we create by appreciating the power of plants to change lives. Our keynote speaker, Bill McNamara, has been collecting plants in Asia for over 2 decades for Quarryhill Botanical Garden where nearly half of the 200 wild rose species can be found. He has been collecting these roses and other plants for display, research, and conservation at one of the most unusual gardens in the world. His wit, wisdom, and passion are the hallmarks of his always fascinating talks. Go here for details. Space is limited and this event will sell out fast.

Bill McNamara has spent 26 years studying and collecting plants in Asia.

Bill McNamara has spent 26 years studying and collecting plants in Asia.

Rounding out our big winter programs is a fun-filled “Evening with the Explorers: Triumphs and Tribulations of the Plant Hunters” on Friday evening, March 6. This date night event will kick off with heavy hors d’oeuvres and a selection of local beer and wine. Fast paced and entertaining talks by Scott McMahan of McMahan’s Nursery and myself will be followed by plantsman extraordinaire Dan Hinkley – always one of the hottest tickets in the horticultural world – will highlight the highs and lows of collecting plants in the wild from the jungles of Ecuador to the peaks of China. We’ll cap the program with a panel discussion and Q&A for our speakers and a few other plant collectors including Greg Paige, Andrew Bunting, and Ozzie Johnson. Information can be found here.

Dark of night is no match for a dedicated plant lover.  Dan Hinkley has been a long-time JCRA friend.  Photo by J.C. Raulston on a 1994 trek to Heronswood.

Dark of night is no match for a dedicated plant lover. Dan Hinkley has been a long-time JCRA friend. Photo by J.C. Raulston on a 1994 trek to Heronswood.

This plant explorers evening is a joint fund-raiser to support the JCRA’s plant collecting initiatives and the expeditions of the Scott, Ozzie, Dan, and Andrew (SODA?) cabal. A selection of rare, choice, and highly lust-worthy plants will be offered in both a live and silent auction but the highlight of the auction will be a 2 night stay for 2 at Dan Hinkley’s personal home, Windcliff, overlooking Puget Sound, including a gourmet dinner and private tours of both Windcliff and Heronswood plus other Seattle area gardens. Bids start at $3000 and can be made prior to the event or by proxy.   This is truly a once in a lifetime experience and worth twice the starting bid at least.

A photo from my 2010 pilgrimage to Windcliff.  A chance to spend 2 nights with Dan and Robert at their amazing home and garden is a truly once-in-a-lifetime opportunity available in our silent auction.

A photo from my 2010 pilgrimage to Windcliff. A chance to spend 2 nights with Dan and Robert at their amazing home and garden is a truly once-in-a-lifetime opportunity available in our silent auction.

Special thanks to event sponsor Bartlett Tree Experts and speaker sponsor Spring Meadow Nursery.

Visit us at jcra.ncsu.edu for all of the many happenings at the JC Raulston Arboretum!