Columbia Star

Moonlight in the Garden

Stopping to smell the flowers


 

 

The JC Raulston Arboretum ( JCRA) at N.C. State University in Raleigh is nationally recognized for its diverse collection of landscape plants adapted for use in southeast home and public gardens. From its start in 1976 under the direction of horticulture professor JC Raulston, the research garden has acquired and assessed over 20,000 types of plants and currently displays 7,400 taxa across ten and a half acres. Plants are displayed in outdoor rooms in the Japanese Garden, White Garden, Rose Garden, Rooftop Terrace, and more. Among the plant inventory are two nationally acclaimed collections of redbud and magnolia.

The mission of the JCRA is “to introduce, display, and promote plants that diversify the American landscape, thereby benefiting our communities economically, environmentally, and aesthetically, as well as provide educational experiences to the general public, students of all ages, and the green industry.”

One of the best ways to reach the public is through creative and captivating programming. The November fall-back time change provides an opportunity to light up the garden at night to give a glimpse of how magical things look and how lighting can enhance any garden after dark. “Moonlight in the Garden” is held the second and third weekends in November. This year marks the fourth year of opening the garden Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights to children, families, individuals, and the professional plant and design community.

Tropical nights demand tropical lights.

Tropical nights demand tropical lights.

Education is an important part of the garden’s mission. Informal programs like “Moonlight in the Garden” reach the inner core of human imagination and feelings. Mark Weathington, Director of JCRA states, “Children love being in the garden, respond well to beauty, and appreciate and enjoy something that looks and feels magical. Anything you do that gets children out and looking at plants, gardens, and natural areas is an important thing. It’s a powerful way to instill an appreciation for the environment around them.”

Volunteers designed and built Air Bee and Bee, a five-star urban habitat for pollinators.

Volunteers designed and built Air Bee and Bee, a five-star urban habitat for pollinators.

One new exhibit to illuminate and debut in the garden is Air Bee and Bee, a five-star urban habitat for pollinators. The structure, designed and built by volunteers, resides on the perennial border. It is intended to house solitary bees and wasps that do a majority of the pollinating in the wild and will serve as a conversation piece on the vital role of pollinators to construct and maintain a healthy environment.

“Moonlight in the Garden” dates include two showings each night on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, November 7-9 and November 14-16, 5:30-7:30 p.m. and 7:30-9:30 p.m. Tickets sell out in advance. jcra.ncsu.edu/events.

Artistic uses of lights show how different plants appear in a night context.

Artistic uses of lights show how different plants appear in a night context.

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