Dr. Dennis (Denny) Werner, Ph.D steps down from the JC Raulston Arboretum

This news isn’t actually hot off the press, but it was difficult for me to announce it sooner.  Denny Werner is one of my favorite people.  Those close to him took his stepping down hard, but out of love and respect for this great man, we understand he has other things to do.

Denny Werner’s leadership and work will be remembered as one of the greats and his imprint will always be remembered.   Fortunately for all of us, he will continue with plant breeding.  His Buddleja ‘Blue Chip’ and ‘Miss Ruby’ are important introductions to the gardening community.

This from the JCRA:

A Fond Farewell

It is with regret that we announce that Denny Werner, Ph.D., has decided to step down from the position of director of the JC Raulston Arboretum to pursue his interest and passion in plant breeding in the Department of Horticultural Science.  During his three-year tenure at the JCRA, Denny made significant improvements to the Arboretum and its programs.  Under his direction, the new JCRA Master Plan was developed through a collaborative effort of Arboretum staff, volunteers, and members.  The Master Plan serves as a guide for the future plant collections, new garden exhibits, and infrastructure improvements in the Arboretum.  Of significant note has been the installation of the new Scree Garden and Xeric Garden; the rooftop gardens were completely renovated; a Geophyte Border was created; and more recently, a renovation of the Asian Valley has been initiated.  Consistent with the Master Plan’s focus on accessibility, a central path was installed from the rooftop to the Necessary.  Denny has also improved the Arboretum’s relevance to students and the public by nearly doubling the educational programs offered by the Arboretum and adding interpretive signage in the garden.  In addition to the improvements to the grounds and educational programs, Denny has helped to ensure the long-term stability of the Arboretum by increasing the JCRA Endowment for Excellence threefold to over $190,000.  Overall endowment funding now exceeds one million dollars.

Although Denny will be greatly missed at the Arboretum, he will remain a vital part of the Department of Horticultural Science at NC State where he will continue to teach and build on his successful breeding program in Buddleja and Cercis.  Thanks to Denny’s great generosity, this program will, in turn, help to build the JCRA endowments even more.  We will miss his passion for the Arboretum, and wish him well. – Julia Kornegay, Ph.D., Head and Professor, Department of Horticultural Science, NC State University and Mark Weathington, Assistant Director and Curator of Collections


Helen Yoest, JCRA Board of Advisors


1 Comment »

  1. tina said

    We’ll look for great things to come from him in the form of redbuds and butterfly bushes then. What fun to be able to be breed them now.

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