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JC Raulston Arboretum e-Update

December 2006

In This Issue

The Perfect Gift for Your Friends and Family

engraved bricksWhat to give the person who has everything?  A brick that will be placed in the walkway at the JC Raulston Arboretum.  For just $100.00, give the gift that will last a lifetime. Brick applications are available on our Web site or contact Autumn Keck at or (919) 513-3826 for more information. – Autumn Keck, Associate Director of Membership and Fund-raising Events

Featured Plant – December

Mahonia ×media ‘Winter Sun’Add some drama to your garden this month with Mahonia ×media 'Winter Sun'

Mahonia ×media 'Winter Sun' is often taken for granted and overlooked until the winter season arrives. One of December's many surprises, it lights up the garden with bright, fragrant, yellow flower spikes. In spring, expect an encore performance, as its clusters of small, blue berries attract birds to the garden.  These berry clusters give rise to its common name, grapeholly.

Mahonia is a member of the barberry family, Berberidaceae. Mahonia ×media is a hybrid between two Asian species, Japanese mahonia (Mahonia japonica) and the Burmese grapeholly (Mahonia lomariifolia). The Slieve Donard Nursery in Northern Ireland selected the cultivar, 'Winter Sun'. The genus Mahonia, received its name from botanist Thomas Nuttall in 1818. He gave this name in honor of the nineteenth century American horticulturist, Bernard McMahon (1775-1816).

There are three groups of Mahonia ×media 'Winter Sun' plantings at the JC Raulston Arboretum, but my favorite is easily spotted as you enter the Winter Garden. Here, you will find three mature multi-stemmed specimens grouped together that were planted in 1995 (Bed E19a).  

This medium size, evergreen shrub is slow growing, but ultimately can reach 8' to 15' tall and 8' to 10' wide. Evergreen leaves are pinnate, glossy, spiny, and thick and help to provide structure in the garden year-round. Plant Mahonia ×media 'Winter Sun' in your garden in a site with rich, well-drained soil, and partial shade, and you will enjoy it for many years to come.

Coming Attractions – Highlights of December

Arbutus unedo 'Elfin King' – compact strawberry treeConifer Collection
Cedrus deodara  'Glacier Blue' – dwarf Deodar cedar
Pinus taeda 'Nana' – dwarf loblolly pine
Pinus armandii  – Chinese white pine

Klein-Pringle White Garden

Acer palmatum [Dissectum Atropurpureum Group] – red lace-leaf Japanese maple
Cedrus atlantica 'Glauca Pendula' – weeping blue Atlas cedar
Fatsia japonica  – Japanese fatsia
'Natchez' – hybrid crepe myrtle

Japanese Garden
Lagerstroemia fauriei – Japanese crepe myrtle
Mahonia (Yucca Do hybrids) – grapeholly
Phyllostachys nigra
 – black bamboo

Lath House
Castanopsis cuspidata
var. sieboldii 'Angyo Yellow' – variegated Japanese chinquapin
Cleyera  japonica 'Variegata' – variegated Japanese cleyera
Illicium mexicanum 'Aztec Fire' – Mexican anise
Mahonia japonica – grapeholly
×media 'Underway' – grapeholly

Mixed Border
Cupressus arizonica 'Limelight' – yellow Arizona cypress
Daphniphyllum macropodum – false dahpne

Paradise Garden
Corylus avellana 'Contorta' – Harry Lauder's walking stick
Gardenia augusta – cape jessamine

Winter Garden
Camellia 'Winter's Charm' – Ackerman hybrid camellia
Mahonia ×media 'Winter Sun' – grapeholly
Poncirus trifoliata 'Flying Dragon' – contorted hardy orange

Other Areas of the Arboretum
Acer negundo 'Winter Lightning' – yellow-twig box-elder – W11
Berberis thunbergii
'Golden Ring' – purpleleaf Japanese barberry – E41
Cercis canadensis
subsp. texensis 'Traveller' – weeping Texas redbud – E43a, W01
'Carolina Cardinal' – hybrid winterberry holly – E35, E43b
Nandina domestica
– heavenly bamboo – E08, E16
Ulmus alata 'Lace Parasol' – weeping winged elm – E40

This show is free. We invite you to visit often. – Nancy Doubrava, Interpretive Specialist

December Calendar

Poinsettia Open House – December 3, 2006 (Sunday) – 1:00 PM-5:00 PM – Free

Sponsored by NC State Floriculture and the JCRA

NC State Floriculture is part of a national poinsettia program that tests poinsettia cultivars to determine which ones are best for consumers and for producers. You will have a chance to see these cultivars yourself and vote for your favorites. Over 110 different cultivars of poinsettias – including new experimental cultivars – will be on display. Stop by to see our famous 9' tall poinsettia tree and other displays. Help us decide which poinsettias are North Carolina's favorites.

Please join us at 2:00 PM for a "Holiday Landscape Plants" tour.

Friends of the Arboretum Lecture – December 10, 2006 (Sunday) – 1:00 PM – Free

Sponsored by Alan MacIntyre

"A Virtual Tour of the Oak Genus" presented by Guy Sternberg, Starhill Forest Arboretum, Petersburg, Illinois. There are perhaps 500 or more oak species on Earth – no one knows exactly. Many of them are found in remote, fascinating parts of the world, and many of these cannot be seen in cultivation outside their native habitats. Studying them must be done on their terms, in their homelands. Join International Oak Society past president Guy Sternberg for a travelogue of oak excursions to Central America, Mexico, eastern and western Europe, and eastern and western Asia.

Friends of the Arboretum Lecture – December 10, 2006 (Sunday) – 3:00 PM – Free

Sponsored by Alan MacIntyre

"The Artistic Morphology of Trees" presented by Guy Sternberg, Starhill Forest Arboretum, Petersburg, Illinois. Feel the inspiration of experiencing trees in a new light. They are the most dominant elements and structural bones of our outdoor environment, and their thoughtful installation or preservation is the single most important thing we do as garden designers and managers. Learn how to see trees and to use and appreciate their artistic features more effectively, season by season and under various conditions.

Friends of the Arboretum Lecture – December 11, 12, 13, or 14, 2006 (Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday)

We are working on a late-breaking Friends of the Arboretum Lecture for mid December. An announcement for this program will be sent out via our Cuttings from the JC Raulston Arboretum listserv.

Please visit the "Calendar of Events" section on the JCRA Web site for a complete listing of our upcoming programs.

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, December 2006

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