Category Archives: Look Who’s Visiting Us Now!

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 for all of the many happenings at the JC Raulston Arboretum!


Dr. Peter Raven at the JC Raulston Arboretum

“Plant Conservation in the 21st Century”
Peter Raven, Ph.D., President Emeritus, Missouri Botanical Garden

  • Thursday, December 4, 2014 – 7:30 pm9:00 pm

About Peter Raven

Peter H. Raven is one of the world’s leading botanists and advocates of conservation and biodiversity.

For four decades, he headed the Missouri Botanical Garden, an institution he nurtured into a world-class center for botanical research and education, and horticultural display. He retired as president in 2010 and assumed the role of president emeritus and consultant through 2014.

Described by Time magazine as a “Hero for the Planet,” Peter champions research around the world to preserve endangered plants and is a leading advocate for conservation and a sustainable environment.

In recognition of his work in science and conservation, he’s the recipient of numerous prizes and awards, including the prestigious International Prize for Biology from the government of Japan and the U.S. National Medal of Science, the country’s highest award for scientific accomplishment. He has held Guggenheim and John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation fellowships.

Peter Raven was a member of President Bill Clinton’s Committee of Advisors on Science and Technology. He also served for 12 years as home secretary of the National Academy of Sciences and is a member of the academies of science in Argentina, Brazil, China, Denmark, India, Italy, Mexico, Russia, Sweden, the U.K., and several other countries.

The author of numerous books and reports, both popular and scientific, Peter co-wrote Biology of Plants, an internationally best-selling textbook, now in its sixth edition. He also co-authored Environment, a leading textbook on the environment.

From Missouri Botanical Garden’s Web site.

Free for Friends of the JC Raulston Arboretum members, NC State University students (with ID), and Department of Horticultural Science faculty and staff, all others $5.00.
Advance registration is not available.
Ruby C. McSwain Education Center, JC Raulston Arboretum at NC State University, 4415 Beryl Road, Raleigh, North Carolina.
Need directions? Click here.
Free parking is available at the JC Raulston Arboretum and along Beryl Road.
Please call (919) 513-7005 for more information about this lecture.

Magnolia Propagation Research

Not all great plants make their way to garden centers for a variety of reasons.  One significant reason that prevents some beautiful specimens from entering the mainstream is difficulty in propagating and producing them in enough numbers.

There are many evergreen magnolias from Asia that have proven very difficult to produce in any way other than seed.  Seed production for trees can be impractical in most cases for many nurseries for a variety of reasons.  At the JC Raulston Arboretum, we’ve been growing one species which we think is quite outstanding – Magnolia yuyuanensis or Chinese wood-lotus.  It bears pure white cupped flowers with deep red stamens in spring followed by pinkish-red seed pods and all backed by narrow, glossy, evergreen foliage.  Our plants have survived temperatures as low as -19C (-3F) for short periods and have had no issues with temperatures in the low teens.CTG18608

The propagator at Atlanta Botanical Garden, Ethan Guthrie, has been using very high rates of rooting hormone (50,000ppm KIBA or potassium salt of indolebutyric acid).  Typical commercial concentrates of KIBA top out at 10,000ppm KIBA so Ethan’s rates are through the roof but you can’t argue with his success.

An NC State Horticultural Science graduate student, Dominic Gillooly, is now working with Dr. Tom Ranney to get a handle on propagating M. yuyuanensis and other evergreen species.  He’ll be trying rooting hormone rates of between 10,000ppm to 50,000ppm with a control of 0ppm on these magnolias to try to develop a commercially feasible propagation regime for these outstanding plants.

Graduate student Dominic Gillooly collecting a couple hundred cuttings of Magnolia yuyuanensis for a research project.

Graduate student Dominic Gillooly collecting a couple hundred cuttings of Magnolia yuyuanensis for a research project.

Knowing how difficult producing this plant from cuttings has proven to be we planted a hedge of them years ago with plans to coppice or cut them back regularly to produce good cutting wood for research on the best propagation methods.  We love it when our plans and our faculty and student’s needs coincide.  If Dominic and Tom can produce some good results, we’ll be sure to get these great magnolias and the knowledge of how to produce them into the hands of NC nurserymen fulfilling J.C.’s exhortation to “Plan – and Plant for a Better World.”

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

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

Look Who’s Visiting Us Now! – Scott McMahan


Scott McMahan, owner of McMahan’s Nursery in Clermont, GA and Garden*Hood (winner of Best New Plant Source by Atlanta Magazine) in Atlanta, GA stopped by for a visit and a raid on the JC Raulston Arboretum collections. Scott’s rare plant nurseries offer a wide variety of plants including selections from his many plant collecting trips to Asia. Scott has been collecting in China, Taiwan, Korea, Bhutan, etc. for years often with JCRA friends Dan Hinkley and Ozzie Johnson. Scott has been the source of some great plants growing at the JCRA including a fantastic, huge leaved Hydrangea longipes and the stunning vine Schizophragma megalocarpa. He brought us a few treasures such as 2 different unidentified species of snowbell and a Sinofranchetia. We sent him on his way with a few things from the nursery and a bag full of cuttings. Check out his retail nurseries next time you’re in GA, more information can be found at and
Follow me at @jcramark because life is too short for boring plants.

Look Who’s Visiting Us Now! – Moore Farms Botanical Garden

Ethan Kauffman and Erik Healy from Moore Farms Botanical Garden.

Ethan Kauffman and Erik Healy from Moore Farms Botanical Garden.

We love visits from our colleagues and were thrilled when Ethan Kauffman, garden director, and Erik Healy, lead horticulturist, from Moore Farms Botanical Garden in Lake City, SC showed up to trade plants and take some cuttings.  Moore Farms is still a young garden, just hitting its first decade.  I’ve still not yet had a chance to visit but the photos I’ve seen show exceptional design coupled with great plants.  After wandering around the JC Raulston Arboretum grounds and greenhouses with Ethan and Erik, it’s no wonder Moore Farms is doing so well.  They are both keen plantsmen with an eye for the really interesting material and taste as eclectic as ours here at the Arb.  We’ll be exchanging interns later in the summer, ours just for a quick visit but the Moore Farms interns will join our team for 3 days to enjoy work in the relative cool of the central NC summer (anyone who has been to east-central SC knows it may be the hottest place on earth in July or at least the most humid).  If you’d like to visit them, check out their open garden days and workshops since they’re not open for daily visits.

Raleigh Trolley

Yesterday, we had a special visit from the Raleigh Trolley. It brought 19 campers from the City of Raleigh’s Parks and Recreation, Camp Raleigh on the Go! The campers, all ages 9-12 years old, learned about the history of the JC Raulston Arboretum, smelled chocolate flowers (Berlandiera lyrata), and took pictures with the dragon on the Ellipse. Before hopping back on the Raleigh Trolley to their next destination, they engaged their senses in the Paradise Garden and enjoyed the shade under the majestic ‘Fantasy’ crape myrtle.

Delaware Center For Horticulture

We love having our colleagues come see what we’re doing.  It is a great opportunity for us to pick their brains and find out what we could be doing better.

This afternoon we had a crew from the outstanding Delaware Center for Horticulture stop by on their tour of NC (Bartlett Tree Research Lab, Sandhills Community College, JCRA, and Plant Delights Nursery).  The programs and development staff were interested in how we operate but also had a great appreciation for the plants and displays.  The Lath House was a huge hit as was our amazing bamboo dragon.

The crew from the Delaware Center for Horticulture.

The crew from the Delaware Center for Horticulture.

If you ever find yourself in the Delaware Valley, you have to stop by and see what they’re doing.  Better yet, make a point to go up for their annual rare plant auction – it is one of the must-do events in US horticulture.