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March 2012 JC Raulston Arboretum e-Update

In This Issue

Plant of the Month

JCRA Spring Symposium

Western North Carolina Nursery Trip

Friends of the Arboretum New Member Welcome

12th Annual Birdhouse Competition

Children's Program

Coming Attractions

Recent Members Only Additions

March Events

Friends of the Arboretum Lecture
"Express Yourself—Garden Art That Enhances and Inspires"
Helen Yoest, Gardening With Confidence
March 1, 2012 (Thursday)
7:30 PM

Triangle Camellia Society's 4th Annual Camellia Show and Plant Sale
Hosted by the Triangle Camellia Society in Cooperation with the American Camellia Society, the JC Raulston Arboretum, and the Raleigh Garden Club
March 10, 2012 (Saturday)
10:00 AM–5:00 PM

Plantsmen's Tour
"Early Spring Perennials"
Mark Weathington, Assistant Director and Curator of Collections
March 13, 2012 (Tuesday)
1:00 PM

Friends of the Arboretum New Member Welcome
March 15, 2012 (Thursday)
6:30 PM

Friends of the Arboretum Lecture
"Rednecks to Rocket Scientists—Botanizing in Alabama"
Tony Avent, Plant Delights Nursery at Juniper Level Botanic Gardens
March 15, 2012 (Thursday)
7:30 PM

Friends of the Arboretum Lecture/North American Rock Garden Society (Piedmont Chapter) Lecture
Cosponsored by the Piedmont Chapter of the North American Rock Garden Society and the JC Raulston Arboretum
One Writer's Garden: Eudora Welty's Home Place"
Susan Haltom, Garden Designer, Preservation and Maintenance Coordinator of the Garden at Eudora Welty House, and Author
March 17, 2012 (Saturday)
10:00 AM

JCRA Spring Symposium
Featuring Dick Bir, Bryce Lane, Tom Ranney, and a trip to Architectural Trees and Pine Knot Farms
March 23 and 24, 2012 (Friday and Saturday)

Children's Program
"Spring Egg Scavenger Hunt"
March 31, 2012 (Saturday)–April 8, 2012 (Sunday)

Plant of the Month

Arundo donax 'Peppermint Stick'

Arundo donax 'Peppermint Stick'

by Mark Weathington, Assistant Director and Curator of Collections

While most gardens do not have the space for the species, many people have grown the variegated form known both as 'Versicolor' and as 'Variegata'. This form grows somewhat smaller, generally to 15', and clumps a bit slower than the species. It emerges in spring brilliant white and slowly green stripes form, eventually becoming solid green by early summer, especially in warm climates. While the spring show is spectacular, the quick turn to green makes it ultimately an unsatisfying garden plant. Finally, with the introduction of 'Peppermint Stick', the unfortunate habit of turning green has been kicked.

Arundo donax 'Peppermint Stick' was brought into the United States from the Shanghai Botanic Garden by the late Greg Speichert. This form of giant reed maintains the broad stripes of green throughout even the hottest parts of the summer. It is somewhat more restrained in size, generally only growing to about 10' where it makes a wonderful backdrop for other plants. Purplish-brown plumes appear in late summer. It does not form seed in the eastern United States and as such is not an invasive plant, although people sometimes mistake it for Phragmites.

Giant reed is at home in dryland areas as well as permanently damp sites and so is easy to grow in the home landscape. This variegated form is happiest in rich, damp soil, but will tolerate almost any conditions you give it. Cut it to the ground in winter and hire someone with a strong back to divide it every few years unless you have the space for a large clump.

We will have small plants of this selection for sale at our spring plant sale on April 13 and 14. Make sure to mark your calendar for that weekend so you don't miss any of the fabulous offerings we'll have available then.

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JCRA Spring Symposium

Prunus subhirtella 'Scott Early'

by Christine Ramsey, JCRA Volunteer, and Christopher Todd Glenn, Programs and Education Coordinator

"A Passion for Plants 2.0"

March 23 and 24, 2012 (Friday and Saturday)

Join the JC Raulston Arboretum at NC State University as we celebrate the university's 125th birthday with three forward-thinking landscape visions for home gardeners, plant enthusiasts, and professionals in the Southeast.

Program Highlights

  • Visit Architectural Trees, a specialty tree nursery, and Pine Knot Farms, a perennial nursery specializing in plants for shade.
  • Renowned Extension nursery specialist, award-winner author, and educator, Dick Bir, embraces shade, using tough, water-thrifty native plants for "Gardening in the Understory."
  • Distinguished professor and host of UNC TV's Emmy award-winning garden program, Bryce Lane, taps into the trends of downsizing, re-urbanization, and smaller yards with "Landscaping in Small Spaces: Big Ideas for Little Gardens."
  • Acclaimed plant breeder, researcher, and bold gardener, Tom Ranney, demonstrates the totally unique transformation of his personal garden: ripping out the entire front yard and "Building a Mountain Bald."

For more information or to register for this symposium, please contact Chris Glenn at (919) 513-7005 or chris_glenn@ncsu.edu. A downloadable registration form is also available.

Western North Carolina Nursery Trip

Blue Ridge Parkway, North Cove Overlook

by Christine Ramsey, JCRA Volunteer, and Christopher Todd Glenn, Programs and Education Coordinator

Visit Six "Destination" Nurseries in One of North Carolina's Great Vacation Destinations

September 7–9, 2012

Western North Carolina is home to cool mountain air, stunning vistas, and some of the Southeast's most gifted and passionate nurserymen. From prized orchids, to dwarf conifers, rare Japanese maples, and stunning native plants, get the insiders' tour as a VIP guest.

Three days, six nurseries, thousands of stunning plants—join Mark Weathington, the JCRA's assistant director and curator of plants, on a long-weekend that will change your gardening perspective.


Appledorn Landscape Nursery – Specializing in evergreen and dwarf conifers, Appledorn was home to an acclaimed miniature railroad complete with tiny living landscape.

Meadowbrook Nursery/We-Du Natives – Native azaleas, rhododendron, and mountain laurel headline an extensive list of southeastern plants in a 20 acre park-like setting complete with trails and a lovely lake.

B.B. Barns Garden Center – Western North Carolina's largest selection of orchids and much, much more, B.B.Barns is a favorite shopping and plant education destination for serious gardeners from three states.

Nichols Nursery – Rare Japanese maples are the passion of the Nichols family. See more than a 100 hard-to-find species grown on site at their East Flat Rock nursery.

Mountain Meadows Nursery – Unusual evergreens, dwarf conifers, and miniature hosta are all grown on-site at this extraordinary 30 year old farm.

Western North Carolina Farmers Market (including Jesse Israel and Sons Nursery) – Legendary Asheville growers with a devoted clientele that crosses state lines to buy their top-performing plants.

For more information or to register for this trip, please visit the JCRA's Web site or contact Chris Glenn at (919) 513-7005 or chris_glenn@ncsu.edu.

Friends of the Arboretum New Member Welcome

Carpinus turczaninowii and Forsythia giraldiana 'Golden Times'

by Judy Morgan Davis, Membership and Special Projects Coordinator

March 15, 2012 (Thursday) – 6:30 PM–7:30 PM

We appreciate the support of our Friends of the Arboretum and we would like to thank you in person. New members are invited to mingle, meet the staff, and enjoy refreshments. All members are encouraged to attend and help our newest friends feel welcome. Weather permitting, we'll take a walk in the garden with one of the directors.

12th Annual Birdhouse Competition

Birdhouse Competition

by Christine Ramsey, JCRA Volunteer, and Christopher Todd Glenn, Programs and Education Coordinator

Imaginations Run Wild—Birds Take Flight

April 12–14, 2012 (Thursday–Sunday)

The 12th Annual Birdhouse Competition returns to the JC Raulston Arboretum on April 12-14 so get out your sketch pad, paints, and tool box. Entries will be accepted and judged on April 13. The competition is a wonderful opportunity to raise awareness about bird habitats, while expressing your own creativity.

Enter or Visit

Over a hundred inspiring birdhouses in serious, fanciful, and children’s categories will be on display over a special spring weekend of Arboretum events for bird and garden lovers. The competition is open to adults and children and is free to enter and see.

If you love the natural world and unique garden art, don’t miss the 12th Annual Birdhouse Competition.

Children's Program

by Elizabeth Overcash, Children's Program Coordinator

"Spring Egg Scavenger Hunt"

March 31, 2012 (Saturday)–April 8, 2012 (Sunday)

Looking for a different egg hunt this spring? Bring your family to the JC Raulston Arboretum's first spring egg scavenger hunt! No baskets required!

There will be eight brightly colored eggs hidden throughout the Arboretum. Begin the hunt by picking up a clue sheet in the Bobby G. Wilder Visitor Center during open hours. Then search the Arboretum and collect eight letters on the hidden eggs to unscramble a secret word. After unscrambling the word, come back during regular business hours to tell us the secret word and receive a small prize.

This is a self-guided, fun family activity for all ages. The eggs won't be tricky, so no need to climb the trees or dig in the mulch. Just come with your sense of adventure and a little bit of spring fever!

Coming Attractions

by Nancy Doubrava, Interpretive Specialist

Klein-Pringle White Garden
Chaenomeles 'Scarlet Storm'   Crocus chrysanthus 'Cream Beauty'

Chaenomeles 'Scarlet Storm'
Darley heath


Crocus chrysanthus 'Cream Beauty''
spring crocus

Camellia japonica 'Reg Ragland'   Ficaria verna Flore Pleno Group

Camellia japonica 'Reg Ragland'
Japanese camellia


Ficaria verna Flore Pleno Group
double-flowered fig buttercup

Acer fabri   Cercis canadensis 'Tennessee Pink'

Acer fabri
Faber maple


Cercis canadensis 'Tennessee Pink'
eastern redbud

Corylopsis spicata   Forsythia giraldiana 'Golden Times'
Corylopsis spicata
spiked winterhazel
  Forsythia giraldiana 'Golden Times'
gold-margined early forsythia

Visit Showtimes for a much more detailed listing of what's in flower in March at the Arboretum.

Recent Members Only Additions

by Chris Glenn, Programs and Education Coordinator

Four new videos were recorded for the Members Only section on the Arboretum's Web site in February.

Click on the image below to play the video or visit the Members Only section to for a complete listing of all videos.

Friends of the Arboretum Lecture - Brian Jackson - "Sex in the Garden: Hidden Secrets"

Plantsmen's Tour Video - Mark Weathington - "Scintillating Cypress"

FOA Lecture - Cindy Watson - "Winter Garden Interest"

FOA Lecture - Suzanne Edney - "Woodland Garden Plants - Part 2"

Content in the Members Only section is password protected and is only available to Arboretum members. In order to access these special features, members need to know the password that was printed on the label (use all lower case letters) of the latest Friends of the Arboretum Newsletter or included below.

user name = jcra
password =

JC Raulston Arboretum e-Updates are published electronically every month for everyone interested in the Arboretum and are e-mailed to the Arboretum's members. If you are a member and need to update your contact information or wish to be removed from this mailing, please contact Judy Morgan-Davis.

Contact information:
JC Raulston Arboretum
NC State University
Campus Box 7522
Raleigh, NC 27695-7522

(919) 515-3132