Cholorphyll In His Veins: J.C. Raulston, Horticultural Ambassador

Bobby Ward’s new book Chlorophyll in His Veins, J.C. Raulston, Horticultural Ambassador has been released.

Here’s is what is being said about Bobby’s latest book.


John Grimshaw Garden Diary book review

Finally, the inspirational story of this century’s most important horticulturist can be told.  Bobby Ward’s well-researched chronological biography weaves J. C.’s life-long diary entries with outside perspectives in detailing J. C.’s lifelong passion for learning about plants, his desire to share with others, and the against-all-odds stories that shaped his life.  Even those who knew J. C. for decades will be surprised to learn the “rest of the story” of the man who shaped so many gardening lives . . . a truly fascinating read.

–Tony Avent, Raleigh, North Carolina, Plant Delights Nursery, author of So You Want to Start a Nursery

Countless gardeners and nursery owners benefited from J. C. Raulston’s extensive travels in his search for new and worthy plants.  Two rare mahonias in my own garden, Mahonia chochoca and M. lanceolata, testify to his generosity.  This book is a celebration of the life and accomplishments of one of the most-loved personalities the gardening world has known.

–Pamela Harper, Seaford, Virginia, author of Time-Tested Plants

Still to this day, after so many years passed, hardly a day passes without being reminded of J. C.  There will be a plant encountered in the garden that he gave me, or mention of a book or film or something in the kitchen that brings him back briefly, fondly remembered.

Though, like many others, I felt I knew J. C. as a friend and mentor while accepting the complex texture of his personality, Bobby Ward’s biography on this giant of American horticulture makes me realize, in truth, how little I knew of his life.  He has written a highly readable and intimate biography that ensures the legacy of this man will continue unchecked into the future.  As we owe J. C. Raulston an enormous debt of gratitude for what he proffered the horticultural community of North America, a certain ration of thanks should also be reserved for Bobby Ward for guiding this project through to a befitting conclusion.

–Daniel J. Hinkley, Indianola, Washington, plantsman and author of The Explorer’s Garden: Shrubs and Vines

J. C. Raulston, a professor of horticulture at North Carolina State University and founder of the arboretum now named in his memory, was arguably the most important and influential figure on the American gardening scene during the last half of the twentieth century. The number of uncommon but highly desirable plants for both the residential and the commercial landscape is unmatched. It is everyone’s good fortune that in Bobby Ward’s biographical assessment of his life and works Raulston’s significance is assayed with both wit and accuracy. Readers who are familiar with the academic scene and its often petty politics will be fascinated by this book’s treatment of the history of Raulston’s arboretum.

–Allen Lacy, Linwood, New Jersery, author of The Gardener’s Eye

In all pursuits, there are those individuals who excel beyond reason, who set the standard so high we ultimately deify them: in North American horticulture, names like Meehan, Sargent, Bailey, Wilson, Wyman, Creech, Dirr, and Raulston. For those of us who knew J. C. Raulston–the countless students, his colleagues or dear friends–this book begins to connect the dots, making the person we know as J. C. more real, more human, and even more inspiring.

–Richard T. Olsen, Washington, D.C.,  United States National Arboretum

The late great J. C. Raulston was a man for all seasons in and out of the garden. His prodigious energy for work, travel, books, students, and friends was legendary, and with this biography those who knew him—and those who didn’t—will be awed by the way an Oklahoma farm boy overcame many obstacles, including his own self-doubts, to become what The New York Times called ‘a generous-spirited giant among horticulturists’. He was troubled, like all people of great talent, living in a troubled world.  But his motto, ‘Plan and plant for a better world’, was a serious, lifelong effort to leave the world better than he found it.  He was a North Carolina treasure, whose legacy is the NCSU Arboretum in Raleigh.  And his legacy is also legions of friends, among them, new readers like myself.

–Emily Herring Wilson, Winston-Salem, North Carolina, author of

No One Gardens Alone: A Life of Elizabeth Lawrence

Contact Bobby today to purchase your copy Chlorophyl in His Veins, J.C Raulston, Horticultural Ambassador

When you have finished reading Bobby’s book, please e-mail me your comments to and I will add your comments with the others.

Helen Yoest is a garden writer and coach through her business Gardening with Confidence™

Follow Helen on Twitter @HelenYoest and her facebook friend’s page, Helen Yoest or Gardening With Confidence™ Face Book Fan Page.

Helen also serves on the board of advisors for the JC Raulston Arboretum


  1. […] Countless gardeners and nursery owners benefited from J. C. Raulston’s extensive travels in his search for new and worthy plants More here: Cholorphyll In His Veins: J.C. Raulston, Horticultural Ambassador … […]

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  5. Anna/Flowergardengirl said

    Oh, I want this for certain! A must have for my NC library.

  6. Absolutely Anna! Also a fascinating read. H.

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  8. Tea Madden said

    This book is such a fitting tribute to one who contributed so much to the gardening community today. J.C. Was committed to his horticultural vision and because of his commitment and generosity, he opened doors for so many in the plant world. A great book! Thank you Bobby Ward.

  9. Mark Kane said

    I happened to be in the office shack one day long ago, when the Arboretum was young and penniless. J.C. walked in, home at last from a long trip. He opened his briefcase and began unpacking woody cuttings, each rolled up thinner than a cigar in damp paper and plastic wrap. There were hundreds of them. And this was a normal trip for J.C. At a lecture that evening he gave away some of the cuttings, spreading both knowledge and plants. You are missed, J.C.

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