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The JC Raulston Arboretum

Raleigh, Durham and Chapel together form the Research Triangle, which buzzes in both science and technology. Nevertheless, the NC capital is booming with several homegrown clothing labels and fancy restaurants creating strong entrepreneurial energy. Raleigh receives many people on vacation who come to get a piece of the action.

The JC Raulston Arboretum in Raleigh sits on a 10 acre piece of land which is being maintained by NC State University volunteers, staff, students and faculty. The Arboretum reached its 40th anniversary in 2016. The late Dr. James Raulston was a highly revered horticulturalist who devoted his life to nurturing and distributing plants. He transformed an 8 acre patch of land at the North Carolina State campus into one of the nations largest gardens with roughly over 7000 woody plant species. This plant hub is unmatched nationwide when it comes to plant variety. The institution basks in national acclaim for its diverse collection of cold temperate plants in Southeastern US.

There are several gardens within. Asian Valley, Model Gardens, Scree Garden, Xeric Garden, Japanese Garden, Lath House, Annual Color Trials and Winter Garden are a must visit. There are over 5000 groups of vines, bulbs, annuals, perennials, shrubs, trees and ground cover which have been assembled from over 50 countries. Among the most important plants here are the boxwood, maple, magnolia, oak, cypress and pines.

The Arboretum operates as a vital research and teaching garden. Plants can be selected and subjected to evaluation procedures and tests. Displayed inside too are plant materials which have been collected from all corners of the globe. Most of these plants auger well with the Piedmont North Carolina climatic conditions. The establishment also aims at finding better vegetative cover for the Southern landscapes.

One of the accolades it has received was being featured among the top 50 public gardens nationwide. The acclaim comes from the diversity and variety of plant species. The quality of education and conservation honor have been heaped onto the University degree programs connected to it. The Raleigh is distinguished in North Carolina as a leading teaching garden. Several lectures, education gatherings and symposia are held here year round. Present are several educational outreach programs which center on the community. Summer camps, family camps, boy and girl scouts among other events take place here.

The JC Raulton Arboretum hosts several educational programs and events annually. There are some children’s programs too. Some of the notable events in their calendar are the tours, Annual Plant Distribution, Lectures, Garden Galas, Friends of the Arboretum and workshops. More information is usually displayed on their event calendar. The institution has a competent membership program which supports their daily operations. The importance of this program is witnessed by the passion displayed by the community to keep it up and running. There are over 150 active volunteers who offer their services in facilitating special programs, tours and many other services.

The arboretum is open to the public every day from 8am until 8pm during the April to October season. From November to March, it’s open from 8am until 5pm. It’s located at 4415 Beryl Road, Raleigh. Admission and parking are absolutely free.

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Written by Amelia Gardner

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