Our visit to the J.C. Raulston Arboretum

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.


  1. Gail says:

    I loved the slide show Dee! Nice photo of MA in the middle! There are times when i see the mixed borders and wish that I had the soil and sun to have those exuberant plantings! Loved Rosa Stokes…did you! gail

  2. Robin Ripley says:

    I wonder how many of us had bedrooms, as kids, full of plants? Interesting post. I’m remembering tonight back when you started your blog. Wow. Great job, Dee.

    Robin Ripley

  3. Mary Delle says:

    Your slide show was a great way to give us a tour. And the historical information was very interesting. Thanks for showing us the garden.

  4. Anna/Flowergardengirl says:

    You have done NC proud with your series of post. I’ve enjoyed reading them and seeing your slideshow.

    My dad’s best friend was a Raulston and have often wondered if there was a relation as there aren’t too many in our area. The Raulston in our area is credited with bringing IBM to us. He ask my dad to buy stock in the company but dad said it never would do well. My dad invested in plastics instead 😉

    To think–I could have inherited that.

  5. Nell Jean says:

    Terrific slideshow, thank you for sharing this with us. JC Raulston is another Great Garden I’d like to see before I die.

    Add my vote to wiseacre’s re your site design: Attractive, sleek and easily navigated.

  6. Beautiful pictures, this was a lovely garden to visit, and I enjoyed it, too!

  7. Jenny B says:

    Loved learning about the arboretum and the man behind it. I bet you came away inspired.

  8. Les says:

    One can only imagine what J.C. could have done for the gardening world if only he hadn’t have been pruned so early.

  9. Frances says:

    Hi Dee, I didn’t realize he was from Oklahoma! Way cool! You were fortunate to get to see the arboretum. I have studied it online and read his plant recommendations. We grow a plant that came from his trials, given to me by a landscaper friend from our first TN house when I had a landscaping business(small), Ulmus elegantissima ‘Jacqueline Hilliar’ from a cutting from J.C.’s own plant, which he grew from a cutting from the original in England, or this is what he told me anyway. Highly prized and moved with us from place to place. Texas next year you say?


  10. tina says:

    Sounds like we owe Mr. Raulston a great debt. Four season interest is key in my garden and now I know I have him to thank for it. The connection between Oklahome and NC is also interesting. Lovely slideshow. That beautyberry sure does stand out.

  11. wiseacre says:

    I’d love/hate to visit the arboretum. Love to see what’s there, hate not being able to grow some of what I saw.

    I was disappointed to see you didn’t make the nominations for Best Blog Design. IMO you have the best header I’ve seen.
    .-= wiseacre´s last blog ..Eyebright =-.

  12. rosey pollen says:

    The King Tut grass in the video has a fabulous name. Nice video, and nice blog.

    1. Dee Nash says:

      Thank you so much. I thought ‘King Tut’ was splendid myself.~~Dee

  13. I wish I could have been there, it looks wonderful. I like the movie format. Good job!

    1. Me too, MMD. It would have made it that much better. Come next year to Texas. Thanks. It was a trial, but now I can add movie format to my skill set. LOL!~~Dee

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