NC – J.C. Raulston Arboretum
The JC Raulston Arboretum was started in 1976 by Dr. J.C. Raulston as the NC State University Arboretum as a landscape arboretum. The following year, Leyland cypress were planted along the fence as a hedge and the installation of the conifer collection was begun with a diversity of genera specifically designed to dispel the myth that conifers do not grow in the South. A collection of dwarf loblolly pines were moved to the conifer collection and still form a unique part of the display.
In 1980, the Arboretum was officially dedicated and the Friends of the NCSU Arboretum was formed. 1985 saw the development of a major collection of Juniperus horizontalis in conjunction with a student’s M.S. project. In 1992, the NCSU Arboretum was awarded the prestigious AABG Award for Program Excellence.
The guiding force behind the Arboretum, Dr. J.C. Raulston, died in a car accident in 1996 and one year later the Arboretum officially changed its name to the JC Raulston Arboretum. Since that time, a Visitor Center and Education Center have been constructed, the original 8 acre campus was enlarged to 10.5 acres and a Master Plan has been developed.
Conifers play a significant role in the landscape beds throughout the Arboretum including the Perennial Border, the Mixed Border, the Japanese Garden, Scree Garden, Sunken Garden and Asian Valley. In addition, the conifer collection has expanded to include 870 conifers, comprised of 499 different taxa which includes 38 different genera from 7 different families. It continues to be the anchor garden for the northeast corner of the Arboretum.
The history of conifers at the Raulston was covered by Mark Weathington, Asst. Director and Curator of Collections, in the December issue of Southeastern Conifer.