Tag Archives: JC Raulston Arboretum

Summer 2016 Student Interns

Sending a big shout-out to JC Raulston Arboretum’s 2016 Summer Interns!

Back row: Kamen Dedmon (left) and Patrick Hamilton (right); Front row: Zoe Carmon-Rogers (left), Maddie Ciszewski ( middle), Tori Parker (right)

 

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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!

 

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.

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

Pic of the Day – Sabal palmetto (Bald Head Island, NC form)

This specimen was 2' tall when planted in 2008.

This specimen was 2′ tall when planted in 2008.

Sabal palmetto ranges from Florida to southeastern North Carolina.  It is the main trunked palm of the southeast US and the state tree of South Carolina.  This form is from the northernmost native stand of palmettos on Bald Head Island off the coast of Wilmington, NC.  It has proven to be one of the hardiest selections available, surviving to 6 F (-14 C) once established with no problem.  It can grow to 35′-40′ tall over time with a stout trunk and folded (costapalmate) fronds.  This plant enjoys a sunny, well-drained spot.  Transplanting palms can be confusing with some surviving easilyand others dying immediately.  Sabal palmetto and some other palms will only transplant well as field or garden grown plants if they are mature – generally about 10′ of clear trunk with fronds cut off for Sabal palmetto.  Palmetto roots die back when cut and will not grow new roots unless the plant is mature.  Large transplanted specimens should be kept well hydrated and fronds trimmed back until new roots grow.  For most gardeners, small (3g for best survivability) container grown plants are probably the best option.  Make sure to avoid cultivating around the base of palmettos too much as this will cut the roots.

Sabal palmetto (Bald Head Island form) in the foreground with Butia capitata in the back.

Sabal palmetto (Bald Head Island form) in the foreground after almost 2 years in the ground with Butia capitata in the back.

Pic of the Day – Aucuba japonica ‘Hosoba Hoshifu’

Aucuba are great for dry shade.

Aucuba are great for dry shade.

The JC Raulston Arboretum holds a significant collection of Aucuba, over 70 taxa at this point and growing steadily.  This form, ‘Hosoba Hoshifu’ is quickly becoming a favorite.  Long, narrow leaves are heavily serrated and covered in bright gold spots.  The lanceolate foliage gives a distinctive look to this speckled aucuba.  Spikes of small maroon flowers give rise to large, bright red fruits if there are male forms around to pollinate it.  ‘Hosoba Hoshifu’ is a slightly more compact form but will slowly grow to near 6′ over time.  Aucuba are great plants for growing in dry shade where they will tolerate the difficult conditions well once established and the variegation will brighten the gloom.

The narrow foliage is distinct on this selection.

The narrow foliage is distinct on this selection.