City of Raleigh honors JC Raulston Arboretum

The JC Raulston Arboretum at N.C. State University has been recognized for its outstanding appearance by the City of Raleigh. The arboretum received a 2012 Sir Walter Raleigh Award in the category of Maintained Outstanding Appearance. Awards in this category are for projects that are more than five years old and have consistently maintained a high quality appearance contributing to Raleigh’s image.

There were 12 award categories and 15 award recipients honored at the awards ceremony, held Oct. 9 at Raleigh’s Nature Research Center.

The JC Raulston Arboretum, part of N.C. State’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, is home to the most diverse plant collection in the Southeast. “Getting the Sir Walter Raleigh Award for Community Appearance was a big honor for us,” said Dr. Ted Bilderback, JCRA director.

N.C. State University also received two other awards at the event, for the Centennial Campus Stream Reclamation project and the Watauga Club Gateway project, which replaced the previous Hillsborough vehicle entrance near the Belltower with a pedestrian entrance.

This is the 30th year anniversary of the Sir Walter Raleigh Awards for Community Appearance, recognizing outstanding new contributions to the character, environment and appearance of the City of Raleigh. Since 1983, the Raleigh City Council has presented more than 200 Sir Walter Raleigh Awards to developers, designers, building owners, community groups, civic clubs, churches and citizens.

Jim Goodman, CEO of Capitol Broadcasting Company, was the keynote speaker at the event. Among those in attendance were CALS and JCRA staff members Anne Porter, Tim Alderton, Nancy Doubrava and Chris Glenn; JCRA Board of Advisers members Bobby Ward (BOA president) and Jerry Jackson (BOA past president); JCRA Friends of the Arboretum, including Roy Dicks, Bobby Wilder and Debbie Hamrick; and Dr. Tom Melton, CALS Cooperative Extension deputy director.

The 10-acre JC Raulston Arboretum, located on Beryl Road, was founded in 1979 by the late Dr. J.C. Raulston, a horticulture professor at N.C. State. The arboretum’s Ruby McSwain Education Center opened 10 years ago and is the site for many special events. The A.E. Finley Foundation Rooftop Terrace at the center was the first green roof at N.C. State University and one of the first in the city of Raleigh.

“There is something in bloom at the arboretum every day of the year,” said Bilderback. Visitors can wander the paths among the arboretum’s many specialty gardens that include plants from more than 50 countries around the world.

Among the gardens at the arboretum:

  • A Perennial Border, 300 feet by 18 feet, contains nearly 1,000 plants of a great diversity of color.
  • The Scree and Xeric gardens for plants from arid regions. The soil has been amended with Permatil to mimic the soil of dry climates.
  • A Contemplation Garden, under the shade of a giant water oak, with curving paths and seating for quiet reflection.
  • The Annual Color Trials feature new bedding plants that are tested for their production and hardiness. This area is one of the 21 official All-America Selections (AAS) testing sites for new cultivars of bedding plants.

A number of events draw visitors to the arboretum each year. These include:

  • An annual Birdhouse Competition hosted by the arboretum and the local Audubon Society. The next competition will be April 6, 2013.
  • Twice yearly plant sales by the student group Pi Alpha Xi. The spring sale will be April 13-14.
  • A holiday Poinsettia Open House, scheduled for Dec. 2. Visitors are asked to vote on their favorite poinsettias from trial selections.
  • Friends of the Arboretum lectures on gardening topics.
  • Popular family and children programs.

To find about events and other news from the JC Raulston Arboretum, visit the arboretum’s home page and special events calendar.

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