What happens when you have an internationally recognized plant hunter come to North Carolina State University? You learn everything you can from him and then name the eight-acre arboretum (which he founded) after him.
J.C. Raulston came to NCSU in 1976. I found this interesting because, at nearly the same time, in Oklahoma, I began to really think about gardening. I was in high school, and my bedroom was full of houseplants in containers and hanging macramé holders. That was when I knew I could grow things. A few years later while in college, I actually went outside and placed plants in the ground.
While visiting the arboretum, I discovered that James Chester Raulston was born on a wheat farm and cattle ranch in Oklahoma. He went to Oklahoma State University. Eventually, he made his way to North Carolina where he made connections with other plant geeks all over the world and changed people’s perception about many things like:
- Increasing the plant palette by finding and introducing new varieties; and
- Pushing for plants which had four season interest. He tried to make gardening interesting for the entire year, not just spring.
While walking the extensive paths, I especially enjoyed the deep perennial borders flanking the main walkway. I also loved the row of grasses situated behind the trail gardens. It was raining and turned cold while we were there, so I didn’t get to see the xeriscape garden, but I did learn more about the man credited with changing the face of horticulture in the southeastern U.S.