With the passage of spring break in the university schedule, we have reached the midpoint of the semester and the advent of prolonged warmer outside temperatures. This time is also marked by a renewed effort to make changes, additions, accommodations, and modifications to hardscapes and garden spaces at the JCRA. This spring is no exception and you'll see the handiwork of several groups very soon. First off, the combined efforts of the North Carolina Association of Nurserymen and the North Carolina Landscape Association have transformed a couple of very difficult sites around the Ruby C. McSwain Education Center. The landscape designs were hashed out among these industry professionals and the workdays in early April accelerated the implementation of their creative efforts. They have done a great job of solving drainage issues, establishing steep slopes, and concealing necessary but unsightly utility storage boxes. I am personally delighted to have the areas outside our front office windows developed, as well as seeing the steep areas around our parking lot become more safe and beautiful. More to come on this project!
Take a short trek from the McSwain Center over to the East JCRA for a look at the new vine supports created and built by the students in Anne Spafford's construction class. Yes, this was the same course that did the trellises last year so successfully, so we asked Anne to do it again. I just viewed the conceptual designs in 3D and you are in for a special treat again.......and that's great because I've secured many more special vine species for 2003. By midsummer, these "sculptures" will have more than rewarded us with their inventive architecture and functional display of those rambling ornamentals! – Bob Lyons, Director
The Used Garden Book Sale was a huge success. Many thanks to everyone who donated books for the sale and who came out on Saturday, March 1, 2003 to purchase some great books for great prices. A special thanks to the volunteers who helped out with preparing the books, setting up the sale and manning the checkout desk on the day of the event. This was tremendous fun and we hope to be able to offer the same number of wonderful books at our next sale. If you're moving or have a windfall of garden books that need a new home, don't forget us. We'll be collecting throughout the year.
The Gala in the Garden committee has continued to work hard on preparations for the gala on May 4, 2003. Invitations will be mailed in a few weeks. If you are interested in becoming a corporate sponsor, get in touch with Anne Porter at (919) 513-3463 or Donna Walker at (919) 513-3826. Be sure to call Donna if you'd like to have an invitation sent to a friend. Watch for more information on the special drawing to be held at the gala.
The Gallery C at Ridgewood Shopping Center and the JCRA are getting together to present the artwork of Henry Isaacs. The artist's reception to benefit the Arboretum will be Friday evening, June 6, 2003. Tickets to the reception may be purchased the night of the event or in advance for $25.00 each. A painting workshop will be held the preceding weekend. For more information on the workshop, visit their Web site. Mark your calendars for this unique opportunity to support the JCRA! – Donna Walker, Development Associate
Many times a donor will tell us that they would like to make a larger gift in support of the JC Raulston Arboretum than they feel capable of making. They are interested to learn that they can use life insurance to accomplish that objective. As people get older, they generally find their need for life insurance is less. Their mortgage is paid, the children are grown, and retirement income is providing financial stability. Cashing in a paid up policy could have income tax ramifications – - so they hesitate to do that. Using that policy to make a charitable gift to the JCRA can provide some attractive tax benefits and may allow them to make that larger gift they would like to make.
When the JC Raulston Arboretum is made both the owner and the beneficiary of a life insurance policy, the donor will receive an immediate income tax deduction and the policy value will be removed from their estate. (When JCRA is only named as the beneficiary of the policy, it will not be taxed in the estate, but there is no up-front income tax deduction.)
Many people have enjoyed the eight acres of planted gardens at the JCRA, but very few have ever seen the plant nursery. Our nursery space is located south of the Arboretum proper on the back acres of the HFL, so it is off limits to the public. This is a forum for me to share some of the plants and happenings that you may not know about.
The first plant to jump out and actually motivate me to write is Ilex colchica (Black Sea holly). As you may remember, Todd Lasseigne went on a plant expedition to the Nation of Georgia the summer of 2001. Todd hiked miles up steep slopes, through gorges and valleys hunting out species to try in the Southeast. He sent back a significant amount of cuttings and seed for us to propagate. The pressure was on.
We currently have thirty plants in our nursery from the Georgia expedition. Most of the cuttings rooted well, but we did lose a few. This winter, Ilex colchica began flowering and setting fruit! I know, what is so exciting about seeing a holly with an insignificant white flower? Well, it was important to determine the sex of each batch of cuttings for our records. My favorite form is the one with a groundcover habit, which barely edges out the one with a true dwarf form. Their leaves are all a dark rich green with several different types of leaf margins. Todd tells me this is the largest batch of different new clones of Ilex colchica in the United States. For now, you can only enjoy the picture, but we are planning on planting several of the forms into the Arboretum this summer. – Anne Calta, Horticultural Technician
Keeping the charge of everything that J. C. had going on here at the Arboretum is no small feat, recently described in terms of the new cliché, "It takes a village." While we are not quite a village here at the Arboretum, we are making progress as demonstrated by the revival of the "gift packs" that J. C. used to distribute. We are using this program as both a vehicle to get new plants out to nurseries, strengthening the ties with the industry, as well as reciprocating for gifts and donations that we receive. These "gift packs, sent out as determined by Todd and me, afford the Arboretum the opportunity to evaluate plants beyond the borders and climate of the Arboretum.
Half the challenge of this program involves deciding what to include in the packs: while the other half of the challenge lies in how to fit the plants in the boxes for shipping! No matter, the response that we have received from the first rounds of gift packs has been overwhelmingly positive, encouraging our efforts for next year. As we gear up for the coming growing season, Todd and I already have a propagation list brimming with new plants for next years' batch. Keep your eyes out as this program continues to grow. – Jon Roethling, Horticultural Assistant
Coming soon around the Opha Mae Powers Memorial Parking Circle Garden will be a grove of columnar, or fastigiate, trees. Deciding that this area should have some sense of enclosure or isolation from the north (the Beryl Road side), we are in the process of acquiring new trees, as well as relocating other suitable ones from elsewhere in the Arboretum for this garden area near the McSwain Education Center.
The first two trees planted are Laburnum anagyroides 'Columnaris' (columnar golden chain tree). Now, for those in the know, you would normally say, "We can't grow Laburnum in the South." I would normally agree, but this tree thrived in our field nursery for 3 years, and as such, we are giving it the opportunity to shine "out front." This tree is planted in bed D04, near to the actual parking spaces. Across from the Laburnum on the far side, adjacent to the Gift Shop, is a newly acquired specimen of Sinojackia xylocarpa 'La Grima' (columnar Chinese jacktree – pictured here). This unique plant arose as a chance seedling in the nursery of Brian Upchurch (Highland Creek Nursery, Fletcher, NC), and it will be a significant addition to the ranks of upright, small-statured flowering trees.
Watch for additional trees, including Cornus florida 'Dixie Colonnade' (an upright flowering dogwood from Don Shadow at Shadow Nursery, Winchester, TN) and Liquidambar styraciflua 'Slender Silhouette' (a columnar sweetgum, also from Shadow Nursery). We hope to transplant our specimens of columnar European beech (Fagus sylvatica 'Dawyck') and upright panicled goldenrain tree (Koelreuteria paniculata 'Fastigiata') from other beds in the Arboretum to this new area. Keep your eyes peeled to this location. – Todd Lasseigne, Assistant Director
Wow, spring! Everything is starting to go crazy with trees, shrubs, and bulbs in bloom everywhere. This month brings the striking beauty and fragrance of the Wisteria Collection, reaching its peak typically by mid-April. Watch for Wisteria ×formosa 'Issai' with individual flowers opening simultaneously along the length of the inflorescence. Near the end of the month look for two outstanding cultivars of American wisteria (Wisteria frutescens 'Longwood Purple' and 'Amethyst Falls') in the east Arboretum which will continue to flower on and off throughout the summer.
Lilacs in the South? Why not? The early lilac (Syringa oblata var. dilatata) appears to be one of the best choices for our region with its increased heat tolerance and mildew resistance. Take the path to the Winter Garden to see the outstanding collection of viburnums full of their spring flowers and fragrance. The Lath House continues to awaken with nearly 20 different mountain laurel cultivars (Kalmia latifolia) flowering later in the month.
Just as tulips graced early Persian gardens, the Paradise Garden has nearly
800 tulips posed to emerge this month. See if you can pick out the best of these
19 different tulip cultivars planted among the many other bulbs in this garden.
This show is free. We invite you to visit often. – Nancy Doubrava, Interpretive Specialist
Tours of the JC Raulston Arboretum are available to the public free of charge every Sunday at 2:00 PM from April-October except:
Pi Alpha Xi Spring Plant Sale – April 12, 2003 (Saturday) – 8:00 AM-4:00 PM and April 13, 2003 (Sunday) – 10:00 AM-3:00 PM
The Annual Pi Alpha Xi Spring Plant sale offers rare and unique annuals, perennials, and woody ornamentals. Proceeds of the sale go to horticultural scholarships and area charities and nonprofit organizations.
Arboretum Plantsmen's Tour – April 22, 2003 (Tuesday) – 1:00 PM – Free
"Rarest of the Rare" – In celebration of Earth Day, join Todd Lasseigne, JCRA Assistant Director, to explore some of our planet's rarer plants – some in peril in faraway places, and others in danger of extinction right in our own back yards. Walk our wonderful world of plants vicariously through the JCRA collections.
Friends of the Arboretum Lecture (Cosponsored with the Triangle Camellia Society) – April 16, 2003 (Wednesday) – 7:30 PM – Free for JCRA Members and TCS Members/$5.00 for Nonmembers
"How Not to Grow a Camellia" presented by Tom Johnson. Tom Johnson's talk on "How Not to Grow a Camellia" is one of his most popular. He will discuss common things most people do wrong in camellia culture, and hopefully everyone learn how to grow camellias correctly from the lessons learned. Many examples he will discuss come from questions he receives from the "Ask Tom" part of the American Camellia Society's Web site. Tom lives in the middle of the camellia gardens at Massee Lane Gardens in Fort Valley, GA and gets to travel the country helping people grow camellias and promoting the business of the American Camellia Society.
Friends of the Arboretum Lecture (Cosponsored with the North American Rock Garden Society) – April 24, 2003 (Thursday) – 7:30 PM – Free for JCRA Members and NARGS Members/$5.00 for Nonmembers
"The Maritime Alps – A Wealth of Plants on the Borders of Italy and France" presented by Malcolm McGregor. Malcolm McGregor has been growing alpine plants for 25 years and has been the Editor of the Saxifrage Society journal since 1993. He compiled the International Register: Saxifrages the Complete Cultivars and Hybrids in 1995 and (with Winton Harding) Saxifrages: the Complete List of Species in 1998. He has traveled widely, particularly in the last ten years, in Europe, Turkey, North America, and the Himalayas looking at and photographing plants in the wild. Malcolm has been a professional lecturer for thirty years as well as having worked in arts administration and in writing computer software – he is now a freelance writer and artist, and an enthusiastic lecturer on alpine plants and gardening.
JC Raulston Arboretum e-Updates are published electronically every month for everyone interested in the Arboretum. Did you find this edition informative? What information would you like to see in future editions? Send Christopher Todd Glenn your suggestions. To remove yourself from this mailing, please write Christopher Todd Glenn.
© The JC Raulston Arboretum, April 2003