Perspectives Online

2005 Gala in the Garden is a fair-weather success

Dean Johnny Wynne and his wife, Jackie, at JC Raulston Arboretum on gala day
Photo by Becky Kirkland

Unlike last year, when attendees had to duck for cover when tornado clouds were spotted in the area, the 2005 JC Raulston Arboretum Gala in the Garden fund-raiser on May 1 went according to script.

Arb enthusiast, Ruby McSwain (left).
Photo by Becky Kirkland
Maybe better. Attendees enjoyed perfect spring weather as they strolled the paradisial grounds, munching gourmet food while live band music wafted softly over the buds, blossoms and silent auction kiosks.

To top off a perfect day with a perfect ending, this year's gala was the best arboretum fund-raiser ever, said Anne Porter, the arboretum's development director.

"The auction alone netted more than $27,000, and total figures topped $78,000," she said.

JC Raulston Arboretum on gala day
Photo by Becky Kirkland
New N.C. State University chancellor James Oblinger noted that many current and future ornamental plants that grace our homes and landscapes have been and will be introduced by the arboretum. The JCRA, he said, "serves as a living laboratory for N.C. State students and is committed to its mission to train the next generation of horticulturists, while supporting the economic growth of the nursery and landscape industries in North Carolina."

As of mid-April, the eight-acre arboretum had 4,794 plants and trees on display and 2,260 more in the nursery, he noted. "The arboretum has achieved an international reputation for its outstanding plant introductions, research and most importantly the sharing of information and plant collections throughout the industry," Oblinger said.

North Carolina's "green industry" ranks third nationally, with annual farm-gate cash receipts for our greenhouse and nursery operations exceeding $1 billion, College Dean Johnny Wynne said in his welcoming remarks.

Wynne recognized 2005 gala co-chairs Bev and Ron Gelvin, North Carolina Association of Nurserymen president and long-time arboretum board member.

JC Raulston Arboretum on gala day
Photo by Art Latham
Oblinger introduced 2005 gala honorary co-chairs Annabelle and Lew Fetterman, who sponsor the Annabelle and Lew Fetterman Office of Membership and Donor Relations at the arboretum.

Wynne also introduced arboretum and College benefactor Ruby McSwain, as well as Smedes York and Phyllis York Brookshire, whom he thanked for subscribing to the naming rights for the York Auditorium. Finally, noting the work of interim director Kim Powell, Wynne said, "The arboretum is looking the best that it has looked in years."

- Art Latham