Category Archives: What’s Growing On

JC Raulston Arboretum Featured on UNC TV’s Almanac Gardener

Check out the video on UNC TV’s home page to hear about some great summer plants.

 

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

 

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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!

 

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!

 

New 2015 JCRA T-shirts Have Arrived!

Each year around this time we unveil our new t-shirt design for the coming season and we couldn’t be happier about how this year’s artwork turned out.  The design for 2015 features 3 color botanical sketches from The JC Raulston Arboretum’s significant dogwood collection on the front and an outline sketch on the back along with the list of all 55 taxa currently in the garden.  Shirts are available in several colors including black, deep blue-green, charcoal and periwinkle.photo-44

The featured dogwood is the phenomenal new Cornus ‘Ncch1’ (Little Ruby™) from the breeding program of NC State’s Tom Ranney and introduced in conjunction with the North Carolina Nursery and Landscape Association.  This small tree is the offspring of the much-loved pink flowering kousa dogwood Cornus kousa ‘Miss Satomi’, and the evergreen C. hongkongensis ‘Summer Passion’.  The new hybrid features thick textured foliage which turns vivid burgundy red in the fall and lasts through much of the winter.  New foliage in spring emerges with burgundy highlights before deepening to green and the flowers are a lovely rose-pink often with more than the typical 4 “petals” (actually bracts if you really care to know).

The outstanding fall and winter color of Little Ruby dogwood. (photo T. Ranney)

The outstanding fall and winter color of Little Ruby dogwood. (photo T. Ranney)

Little Ruby can be grown as a small tree or an upright shrub for full sun to part shade.  It is exceptionally heat tolerant and has proven to be quite disease resistant as well.  Perhaps most surprisingly it is hardy to at least USDA zone 6b even keeping its bright winter foliage until the temperatures drop below about 15 degrees F.  This completely new hybrid has really changed the way dogwoods can be used in the landscape and is sure to become a garden mainstay.The pink flowers of Little Ruby dogwood. (photo T. Ranney)

The pink flowers of Little Ruby dogwood. (photo T. Ranney)

 

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.

Raulston Blooms! Plant Sale

Part of the 2013 plant sale area.

Part of the 2013 plant sale area.

Raulston Blooms! is back and bigger than ever.  The annual JC Raulston Arboretum plant sale, garden festival, and birdhouse competition will be in full swing on Saturday April 5 (and that’s no April Fool’s joke).  This year we’ve moved the sale area to the center of the garden where we’ll be joined by art vendors, kid’s activities, and some of the best food trucks in Raleigh.

The sale kicks off at 9am and goes until 5pm with some great how-to lectures on everything from container gardening to creating compost, building vertical gardens and making wattle fencing.  Cost is $5 per person or $10 for a family but free of course to members of the Arboretum.

For information on the event and a partial plant list go to:

http://jcra.ncsu.edu/horticulture/sales/plant-sale/index.php

For JCRA member’s ONLY there will be a preview sale from 4pm to 7pm on Friday April 4.  New folks are welcome to join on Friday to receive all the benefits of membership including the 10% discount on plant purchases and reduced rates on lectures and workshops throughout the year.ARB-LogoBFin

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.