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February 2013 JC Raulston Arboretum e-Update

In This Issue

Plant of the Month

Gardening Workshop with Noel Kingsbury

Spring Symposium

Gala in the Garden

Coming Attractions

Recent Members Only Additions

February Events

Propagation Workshop
Saturday, February 2, 2013
9:00 AM

Friends of the Arboretum Lecture
"Creative Stone Possibilities: Solving Problems and Creating Whimsical Structures with Stone Creatively"
Graham Fry, Winding Path Custom Stone Masonry
Thursday, February 7, 2013

7:30 PM (reception begins at 7:00 PM)

Children's Program
Children's Winter Discovery Series
"Sand, Silt, Clay, Loam … Oh My!"
Sunday, February 10, 2013
2:00 PM

Plantsmen's Tour
"Winter Color"
Mark Weathington, Assistant Director and Curator of Collections
Tuesday, February 12, 2012
1:00 PM

Friends of the Arboretum Lecture/North American Rock Garden Society (Piedmont Chapter) Lecture
Sponsored by the Piedmont Chapter of the North American Rock Garden Society
"Mining the Balkans for Great Plants"
Tony Avent, Owner, Plant Delights Nursery at Juniper Level Botanic Gardens
Saturday, February 16, 2013

10:00 AM (reception begins at 9:30 AM)

Plant of the Month

The Sweet Smell of Sweetbox

Sarcococca saligna

by Mark Weathington, Assistant Director and Curator of Collections

The quest for plants which hold up throughout all four seasons can be long and frustrating. Many plants are not looking their best during the dog days of summer, while others shed leaves or retreat below ground during the winter. Sweetbox or Sarcococca is one plant which can take it all. The genus is comprised of about 18 species from the Himalayas and southeast Asia and are related to boxwoods.

Undoubtedly the most popular and most cold hardy is the dwarf Himalayan sweetbox, S. hookeriana var. humilis often listed simply as S. humilis. This tough, evergreen, woody ground cover (to 16" tall) can quickly spread by underground stems to form dense weed-blocking mats. Like all of the sweetboxes, the flowers are only marginally attractive as they are mostly hidden by the glossy, 3" leaves. There is no hiding the heady fragrance in late winter or early spring when the flowers open, though. The sweet smell wafts through the garden leading the unknowing on a scavenger hunt for the perpetrator. Small blue-black fruits follow the flowers over the summer. The Himalayan sweetbox, S. hookeriana var. hookeriana, is a much larger shrub growing to the relatively giant size of 4'–5'. It does sucker like its diminutive relative, but at a much more restrained rate. In other respects, it is very similar to the dwarf form as is the variety digyna which has narrowly pointed leaves.


Gardening Workshop with Noel Kingsbury

"The Rabbit's Eye View—Long Term Plant Performance"

Saturday, March 9, 2013 – 9:00 AM

How long will plants survive? Will they spread? How will my new border look in five years time? This full-day garden-based workshop aims at encouraging participants to observe garden and landscape plants, focusing on their growth through the year, looking at how they compete with each other, how to assess prospects for their longevity and their suitability for a variety of garden locations. Gardeners and designers can then use their experience and knowledge of plants to plan for the maximizing of interest and the minimizing of maintenance at all seasons.

In this workshop, Noel aims to get people thinking about how plants are linked to their natural habitats and ecology and how this connects to the way we use them in gardens. He's particularly interested in getting students to get "the rabbit's eye view"—believing that close observation of garden plant growing habits and life cycles can add enormously to our ability to be good gardeners and designers but also add to a better appreciation of our plants.

Complete details about this workshop are available on the JCRA's Web site. For more information or to register, please contact Chris Glenn at (919) 513-7005.

Spring Symposium

"Magnolia Mayhem"

A Magnolia Study Day

Friday, March 22, 2013 – Tour
Saturday, March 23, 2013 – Presentations and Tours

by Christopher Todd Glenn, Programs and Education Coordinator

A trio of great plantsmen will share their knowledge in this not-to-be missed magnolia study day. Magnolia Society International board members Kevin Parris and Aaron Schettler will be joined by the JCRA's Mark Weathington. Kevin, a horticulture instructor and the arboretum director at Spartanburg Community College, will discuss recent magnolia hybridization successes while Aaron, the grounds manager at Meredith College, will highlight great magnolias for use in southeastern landscapes. Tours of the JCRA's and Meredith College's magnolia collections with Mark and Aaron follow the presentations.

Program Highlights

  • Visit Tom Krenitsky’s private garden, the Charles R. Keith Arboretum, and Camellia Forest Nursery.
  • Magnolia Society International board member and landscape and grounds manager at Meredith College, Aaron Schettler, embraces "The Fascinating World of Magnolias."
  • MSI board member and horticulture instructor and the arboretum director at Spartanburg Community College, Kevin Parris, embraces recent hybridization efforts in Magnolia, focusing on evergreen taxa in "Recent Interspecific Hybridization Advances in Magnoliaceae: These Ain't Your Mama’s Magnolias."
  • Tours of the JCRA and Meredith College’s magnolia collections.

Complete details about this symposium are available on the JCRA's Web site. For more information or to register, please contact Chris Glenn at (919) 513-7005. A brochure with all the details and registration form is also available.

Gala in the Garden

The Year of the Garden—Asian Reflections

Sunday, April 28, 2013 – 3:00 PM

by Anne M. Porter, Director of Development

You are invited to the Gala in the Garden at the JC Raulston Arboretum—Raleigh's garden and Raleigh's best garden party!

Please join us for the JC Raulston Arboretum's premier event, featuring live entertainment, delectable local foods, beautiful spring gardens, and a silent auction not to be missed! The auction features more than $40,000 (retail value) in outstanding and unusual plants and an eclectic assortment of non-botanical items.


Sponsors are vitally important for the success of the Gala in the Garden. This is the Arboretum's main fund-raising event of the year, and the proceeds directly support its daily operations of teaching, research, and public outreach, and garden displays. Please consider a tax-deductible contribution to become 2013 Sponsor. The brochure describes all sponsorship levels and benefits—including a great deal with the Early Bird Special for those who respond by March 11, 2013. (March 11 is also the deadline for sponsor listing on the Gala invitation.)


The auction is a wonderful opportunity to showcase your business or special talent, since more than 500 guests will spend the afternoon perusing and bidding on all these items. If you wish to donate something for the auction, please complete the Auction Solicitation Form and bring it by the JCRA, or contact Anne Porter at (919) 513-3826 or anne_porter@ncsu.edu for more information. Your auction item is considered a tax-deductible "in-kind" gift.

Coming Attractions

by Nancy Doubrava, Interpretive Specialist

Weeping Walk
Narcissus 'February Gold'   Veronica umbrosa 'Georgia Blue'

Narcissus 'February Gold'
cyclamineus daffodil


Veronica umbrosa 'Georgia Blue'
creeping veronica

Iris 'Katherine Hodgkin'   Prunus mume 'Omoi-no-mama' 

Iris 'Katherine Hodgkin'
hybrid reticulate iris


Prunus mume 'Omoi-no-mama' 
Japanese flowering apricot

Helleborus ×hybridus (double flower)   Chaenomeles 'Scarlet Storm'

Helleborus ×hybridus (double flower)
double Lenten rose


Chaenomeles 'Scarlet Storm'
hybrid flowering quince

×Sycoparrotia semidecidua   Hamamelis vernalis

×Sycoparrotia semidecidua
hybrid fig-hazel 

  Hamamelis vernalis
Ozark witchhazel

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

Recent Members Only Additions

by Chris Glenn, Programs and Education Coordinator

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

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

Plantsmen's Tour - "Evergreen Oaks and Maples"

Friends of the Arboretum Lecture Video - "Tropical Travels: Studying, Working, and Interning in Paradise" - Amanda Wilkins

Friends of the Arboretum Lecture Video - "Rambling Roots—Inspiration for your Landscape from Around the World" - Jared Barnes

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 =

Your Membership Makes a Difference—Please Join or Renew Today!

The JC Raulston Arboretum is free to the public, but it is not free to operate. Memberships keep the gates open and the gardens in top shape. Membership gifts are the primary support for the Arboretum's daily operations and vital for its success.

Thank you for your support and advocacy of the JC Raulston Arboretum through the membership program. It's fast and easy to become a Friend of the Arboretum, and there are many great benefits for you and your family. Join or renew now using our secure Web site, or contact Judy Morgan-Davis at (919) 513-0264 or jvmorgan@ncsu.edu.

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