The JC Raulston Arboretum has long ascribed to the philosophy that "plants don't read," so we have always considered that almost any plant is fair game for trialing in the North Carolina Piedmont. Early attempts with xeric plants met with mixed success; notwithstanding, some specimens have persisted for more than twenty years. Beginning in late 2006, the JCRA began an expansion of its Southwestern Garden (now called the Xeric Garden), with an emphasis on proper bed preparation to improve long-term plant survival. Several years later, a wide variety of plants from the U.S. Southwest, the Mediterranean, South America, and Australia have thrived, providing us with flowers during every season, as well as structural interest throughout the year. We'll take a look at our successes—along with an unshrinking examination of a few of our duds, warts and all—as we take a photographic tour of the JC Raulston Arboretum's xeric gardens.
Charlie Kidder has been a volunteer at the JC Raulston Arboretum in Raleigh, North Carolina, since moving to the area in 2003. He serves as garden leader for the Arboretum's xeric gardens, conducts tours, and served on the Board of Advisors for four years. In 2011, he taught a year-long course on woody plants at the Arboretum, inspired by JC Raulston's book, The Year in Trees.
Charlie took care of the entrance gardens at the North Carolina Museum of Art until they were removed to make way for an expansion. He is also a member of the North Carolina Native Plant Society, as well as the NC Friends of Plant Conservation. With the latter organization, he volunteers as a steward for a state preserve containing many locally rare plants.
Charlie writes a monthly gardening column for the Crozet Gazette and is an occasional contributor to the Triangle Gardener. He has lectured on various gardening topics for the Encore program at NC State University, as well as for other groups in the area.
Charlie currently gardens on his own Zone 7B-but-almost-Zone 8 half-acre in Cary. He will try to grow almost anything, but is of course partial to agaves, yuccas, and other prickly plants.
Cost: Free for Friends of the JC Raulston Arboretum and North American Rock Garden Society (Piedmont Chapter) members, NC State University students (with ID), and Department of Horticultural Science faculty and staff, all others $5.00.
Registration: Advanced registration is not available.
Location: Ruby C. McSwain Education Center, JC Raulston Arboretum at NC State University, 4415 Beryl Road, Raleigh, North Carolina.
Directions: Need directions? Click here.
Parking: Free parking is available at the JC Raulston Arboretum and along Beryl Road.
Questions: Please call (919) 513-7005 for more information about this lecture.