Perspectives Online

Major renovations under way at JC Raulston Arboretum

Big changes are taking root at the JC Raulston Arboretum, a research and teaching garden of N.C. State University.

In an effort to improve circulation and accessibility, provide more program space in the gardens and develop more plant beds, the arboretum is undergoing major renovations. It’s all part of its master plan, according to arboretum interim director Dr. Ted Bilderback, professor and Extension nursery specialist in NCSU’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

In 2005, the arboretum’s master plan committee of volunteer design professionals put out a call for design ideas and received more than 1,000 responses from staff, friends, volunteers and visitors. Volunteers cataloged the survey results into categories from which the committee developed the program analyses, needs assessments and the plan itself.

The arboretum's board of advisers voted unanimously to approve the master plan in April 2008.

Since then, several projects have been completed, including the crape myrtle circle, the central path, the southwest garden and the Asian valley.

“These projects already have resulted in vast improvements to circulation and accessibility, and they have provided more planting area for our expanding number of collections,” Bilderback said. “We’re grateful for our donors, friends and volunteers, whose generosity and hard work are making this exciting vision for the arboretum a reality.”

Projects currently under way are a new stone path in the Japanese garden that will provide access to the Asian valley, design for a lath house and new areas for the annual trials and plantsman’s woods.

Once the annual trials are relocated next spring, an “ellipse lawn” will be developed, surrounded by perennial and mixed borders. The lawn will serve as a gathering place in the heart of the arboretum.

For more information on the JC Raulston Arboretum master plan or to become involved in this initiative, please contact Anne Porter, arboretum director of development, at or 919-513-3826.