Archive for JC Raulston Arboretum

JC Raulston Arboretum Announces Interim Director

Dr. Julia Kornegay has appointed Dr. Ted Bilderback Interim Director for the JC Raulston Arboretum at N.C. State University. Dr. Bilderback will begin as Interim Director at the J.C. Raulston Arboretum the first week of January, 2009.

Dr. Bilderback has been a faculty member in the Department of Horticultural Science for 32 years. Ted was born in Kansas and was raised in a farming community near Valley Falls. He received his B.S. and M.S. degrees in Biology from Emporia State University, and his Ph.D. in Horticulture from Kansas State University. He also served in the Naval Reserves.

Ted was hired as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Horticultural Science at NC State in 1977 with research and teaching responsibilities in nursery production. From 1977 to 1987 he co-taught Nursery Production and Management courses each fall with JC Raulston and Tree and Grounds Maintenance spring semesters. He continued to teach these courses for two years after Dr. Raulston’s death in 1997.

In 2003, Ted developed a new graduate level course, Environmental Nursery Production, which is taught on campus and through distance education – one of the first DE courses to be offered by the Horticultural Science Department. In 1987, Dr. Bilderback took on responsibilities as the Nursery Extension Specialist for the department. Since then he has worked closely with the nursery industry to develop cost effective and environmentally conscious cultural practices for growing nursery stock with emphasis on container substrates, plant and substrate nutrient levels, and irrigation management.

His work has resulted in 51 scientific papers and 535 published articles. He has also advised 22 graduate students. Ted serves as the Educational Advisor to the NC Nursery and Landscape Association, and presents approximately 25 talks a year to nursery audiences in North Carolina and elsewhere.

Dr. Bilderback has received numerous awards for his work, including the American Association of Nurserymen’s Extension Award, Southern Nurserymen’s Association Porter Henegar Memorial Award for Research, Extension Education Award from the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service, Environmental Award from the Southern Nursery Association, NC State College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Outstanding Extension Service Award, and the Distinguished Alumni Award of Emporia State University.

In 2000, Ted was initiated as a charter member of the NCSU Academy of Outstanding Faculty Engaged in Extension, and in 2008, elected Fellow of the International Plant Propagators Society Southern Region North America Chapter. Dr. Bilderback was a long time colleague and friend of JC Raulston and feels a deep affinity for the Arboretum. JC and Ted’s students were responsible for planting many of the older specimens in the collections, and all the holly borders.

Ted looks forward to serving as the Interim Director and offering his knowledge and experience to help the Arboretum advance in its mission. Ted is married to Linda Bilderback and they have two sons.

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Buddleja ‘Blue Chip’ and ‘Miss Ruby’

‘Miss Ruby’ Number one with me too!

Buddleja 'Miss Ruby'

Two new Buddleja introductions have been released!  Many garden centers are carrying them now and they will be widely available in the spring of 2009. ‘Miss Ruby’ and ‘Blue Chip’ were developed by Dr. Dennis (Denny) Werner, plant breeder in the NC State University College of Agriculture and Life Science. Unusual dwarf butterfly bushes, ‘Miss Ruby’ and ‘Blue Chip’ are very, very low seed setters. As such, it is unlikely they will produce unwanted seedlings. They are the firsts to be introduced as part of Proven Winners ® Lo & Behold ™

In trials this summer at the Royal Horticulture Society, “Miss Ruby’ and ‘Blue Chip’ were grown along with 105 other cultivars commonly found in the trade.  It was announced that ‘Miss Ruby’ and ‘Blue Chip’ were the number one and two selections, respectively, chosen by the public as the best  – by a wide margin.

At the JC Raulston arboretum, they can be found planted enmasse – spectacular!

For more information on these new introductions, visit Tim Wood’s blog The Plant Hunter

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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

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Drought and Climate Change! New Ways to do Business, JCRA Friends Lecture

Friends of the Arboretum Lecture

“Drought and Climate Change! New Ways to do Business”
Tracy Traer, Landscape Designer

November 20, 2008 (Thursday) – 7:00 PM

FOA Lecture

It ain’t over ’til the fat lady sings!  For several years now, all reputable scientific organizations agree that we are and will continue to undergo rapid climate change in the decades to come.  The nursery and landscape industries have a great opportunity to respond to climate change.  Our industries are in a particularly good position to provide positive solutions and to develop alternative regimes.  Tracy Traer will discuss associated issues and present some strategies to switch gears.

Tracy Traer has spent her life observing Mother Nature’s climates and micro-climates.  She grew up exploring the mountains of North Georgia, received her MLA from NCSU School of Design under the direction of J. C. Raulston, lived and studied in England and Europe for two years.  Upon her returned to the United States, she joined the faculty in the Department of Horticultural Science where she taught planting design and ornamental horticulture for 18 years.  She has designed and managed the construction of projects ranging from large estate projects to fire temples and container gardens – always with an emphasis on suitability to site conditions and natural systems.

I hope to see you there!

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Wednesday October 29, 2008 Plant Hunting in Taiwan and Getting to know China with Mark Weathington of the JCRA

nAlocasia in Taiwa

Alocasia in Taiwan

Mark Weathington has a great job; one many of us can only dream about.  As assistant director and curator of collections of the JC Raulston Arboretum, he gets to go around the world building international relationships and plant hunting. 

Tony Avent accompanied Mark on his latest plant hunting adventure…or was it the other way around?  In any case, two southern boys went to Asia. 

Mark presented his adventures to many at a recent Friends of the Arboretum Lecture.  I was unable to attend, as were some others, so Mark graciously told his tales again to a group of JCRA Volunteers via a brown bag lunch seminar.

Mark Weathington discussing his China trip

Mark Weathington discussing his China trip

The first part of Mark’s talk was about his 3 week trip to China.  The purpose of this trip was about getting to know China’s plants and her people.  The group he travel with were from a class at NC State. 

The second part of his talk was about his 3 week adventure with Tony Avent in Taiwan.   Tony has posted his travel log on his website  Mark promises to write his soon.  

An engaging and knowledgable speaker, Mark made us feel we as if we were with him on his journeys.  I’ve never been disappointed to hear him speak; today was no different.  Below is a his slide list. 

  Asian Adventures:Plant Hunting in China and Taiwan
  Friends of the Arboretum Lecture   10/2/08
  Mark Weathington
1 Huangshan Mountains – China
2 Map – China
3 Our intrepid leaders: Dr. Xiang, Dr. Fu (
4 Students
5 Weed
6-7. West Lake, Hangzhou
8-9. Cinnamomum camphora
10-20. Signs, signs, everywhere signs
21 ????
22 Map – China
23-25. Shanghai
26 China’s new national symbol
27 Humble Administrator’s Garden
28 Podocarpus macrophyllus bonsai
29-31. The new China
32 Map – China
33 Map – Putoushan
34-35. Putoushan
36-37. Neolitsea aurata var. chekiangensis
38 Euonymus hamiltonianus
39 Glochidium puberum
40 Carpinus putoensis
41 Amorphophallus kiusianus
42 Map – China
43 Tianmushan, Hangzhou
44 Platycarya strobilacea
45 Cryptomeria fortunei
46 Acer buergerianum
47 Bischofia polycarpa
48 Calycanthus chinensis
49 Deutzia ningpoensis
50 Paris polyphylla
51 Saxifraga stolonifera (black leaf form)
52 Map – China
53 Anhui Province
54-57 Huangshan (Yellow) Mountains, Anhui
58 Good reason to stay in school
59 Woody plant diversity in eastern China
60 Acer elegantulum
61 Enkianthus campanulatus
62 Rhododendronsp.
63 Paliurus hemsleyanus
64 Briggsiasp.
65 Tibetan macaque
66-70 Temples and details
71 Aesculus chinensis
72 500 year old Pistacia chinensis
73 Liquidambar formosana
74 Ulmus szechuanica
75 Podocarpus macrophyllus
76-84 Dinner?
85 Taiwan
86 Map – Taiwan
87 Cyathea spinulosa
88 Dipteris conjugata
89-90 Illicium arborescens
91 Land crab
92 Bad luck on our first day
93 Always read the signs!
94 Map – Taiwan
95 The opposite of south
96 Typical mountain road
97-98 More signs
99-101 More typical mountain roads
102 What are they trying to tell us?
103 Road out
104 Liquid courage at the gas station
105 Our roadside collecting competition
106 Rubus taiwanicola
107-108 Begonia chitoensis
109 Trillium tschonoskii
110 Arisaema grapospadix
111-113 Arisaema taiwanense
114 Hydrangea aspera
115-116 Tetrapanax papyrifer
117-119 Fatsia polycarpa
120 Dendropanax pellucidopedunculatus
121 Sinopanax formosanus
122 Schefflera taiwaniana
123-125 Hotels
126-129 Detour
130 Bushwacking
131-132 What a welcome
133-137 Asarumspp.
138 Rohdea watanabei
139 Titanotrichum oldhamii
140 Zingiber kawagoii
141 Mahonia oiwakensis
142 Helwingia chinensis
143 Trochodendron aralioides
144 Callicarpa sp.
145 Ardisia crenata
146 Tony starts thinking big
147 Disturbing sign
148 Formosan rock macaque
149 Refreshing beverage
150-151 Rock gardening, Taiwanese style
152 Green roofs
153 The south gives back


Water was not a shortage in China

Water was not a shortage in China



He stated he brought back about 300 plants from Taiwan.  Describing the process of caring for the plants prior to returning home and to legally get the plants out of Taiwan and into the USA sounded daunting, but that’s part of being a plant hunter.  If it were easy, we would all be doing it – maybe.     

I would love to go plant hunting one day.  I love to travel and have been to more countries than states.  If I could choose,  the first country would be Japan.  I’ve never been and it is near the top of my list.  Depending on the day, it is at the top. 

 I went to China in 1993…it sounded like a lot has changed, ‘cept maybe the air pollution. 

Mark Weathington taking questions

Mark Weathington taking questions

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Wednesday October 15, 2008 What’s this Caterpillar Devouring my Loblolly?

What is this Caterpillar devouring my dwarf Loblolly?  And not just any dwarf Loblolly, but the one I got from the JCRA connoisseur plant distribution.   They’re gone now, but I still want to know what they were.  I checked my Mac’s Field Guide for Bad Garden Bugs of the Southeast and wasn’t able to identify them. 

Half the plant is gone, I hope it survives.

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Saturday October 11, 2008 2008 JCRA Annual Plant Giveaway

From the sidelines, I watched this annual event with great joy.   No doubt, as a spectator, the prespective was very different from the folks in the crowd. I  had so much fun.  They did too.  It’s obvious form the photos.    

I am posting a couple different stories.  The Event– the lines, the line up, the free for all, the bounty.  To put the reader in the event, I have also chronicled my friend Adrienne in her journey.  Thanks Adrienne for being such a good sport about it.  Oh, and Gloria is in there because when I reviewed the photos, a sequence of her presented itself!

There were some 5000 plants (about 300 taxa).  Members knew in advance where the plants were placed.  Careful strategies were involved.  See below some strategy photos. 
There are 3 rounds:  First, Second, and Free for All.  The first and second rounds allow each to choose 3 plants.  After a couple of minutes to reposition themselves, it goes to round 2.  Again, they can choose 3 plants each.  The final round is a free for all.  They can take as much of anything they can grab.



The line





From the line to their first position


Position before the start – they must be behind the white line.  There is a faint white line there…their toes must be covering it.

The Free for All

Helen in the empty field 

Good thing he had a moon roof – see tree coming out the top

 The Adrienne Chronicles

Adrienne is in the pinkish sweatshirt, in the center.  Here she waits in line.


Here’s Adrienne in the lineup.  I’m wondering if she is re-thinking her strategy.   Gloria is standing next to Adrienne.  It would appear Gloria is confident in there strategy.



There goes Adrienne -sprinting to the next position.








This is serious stuff


If I thought of it, I may have staged this shot…but I didn’t.  This really happened and they both got to the pot at the same time.  Adrienne graciously gave in to Ging – a friend of ours.  On the left, is Charlie Kidder, a friend and fellow JCRA board member.


The Bounty!  Adrienne went home happy.








Here we have a post event gathering to compare notes.  The smile of Jayme’s face says success to me.  Their palms reveal their mapping strategies.  Each had the details of their individual priority mapped on their hand as to where to be at each round.  Jayme and her husband Phil Abbott will open their garden for the Garden Conservancy’s Open Days tour also benefiting the JCRA in September 2009.  I’m sure she will be happy to show you the plants she got.



The game plan






Plan B







Here’s Gloria

Now you see her…





There she goes…sprinting the 3 feet to the first pick



Now you don’t see her…but look closely, there she is picking up her plant.

1 second from beginning to end.



Here’s Gloria with her friend Ruth – both are volunteers maintaining the Winter Garden with others from the Raleigh Garden Club.

The Carriers

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