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beauty with remarkable depth

Visiting an Arboretum or Botanical Garden

By Thom Morgan, Springmoor Landscape Manager

If you are planning to travel this summer and have an interest in horticulture, you might want to go online and get a list of botanical gardens and arboretums along your route.

In Raleigh, we are fortunate to have the J.C. Raulston Arboretum, which is located on Beryl Road, just west of the NC State campus. It is managed by the Horticultural Sciences Department at NC State, and serves as a model for what an arboretum or botanical garden should do:  provide access and information about the widest possible variety of plants to the public.


Clients of landscape architects and designers can carry their plans with them to the arboretum and see how big a tree or shrub might get, or what color flower it might have.  A big plus is that a client gets to see it before going through the trouble of planting a tree or shrub that they may not like.

All plant material is identified with labels stating the common name, botanical name, and sometimes origin. Another benefit of visiting an arboretum, or botanical garden is that the plants are grouped into categories.  The J.C. Raulston Arboretum has a perennial border, a trial bed, a xeric landscape (drought tolerant plants), a Japanese garden, magnolia collection, and a very extensive conifer (needle-leaf evergreen) section.

I was fortunate enough to visit the National Arboretum in March of 2013, and my favorite plants- early spring flowering trees and shrubs were in their prime. The National Arboretum also has a conifer section, and Japanese gardens, which eventually lead you into the fantastic Bonsai exhibit.

Finally, visiting an arboretum, or botanical garden introduces you to plants from around the world that most people do not get to see. The best way to find an arboretum or botanical garden in your area is a quick internet search. There are several web sites which let you choose a state, and then it generates addresses and phone numbers.

July Focal Points at Springmoor

As you walk around Springmoor’s campus this July, be sure to look for the following plants:
Crape Myrtle (Lagerstroemia sp.) are in flower with red, white, and pink blooms.
Oleander (Nerium Oleander) so far we have just one on the campus, this shrub also has red, white, or pink varieties.
Abelia  (Abelia grandiflora Kaleidescope) gets 3 feet tall, and 3 feet wide. The leaves are pink, green, and white, and turn color in the fall. The pink flowers remain until a frost.
Butterfly Bush (Buddelia davidii) true to the name, this shrub attracts butterflies like crazy. Bloom colors range from almost black, to yellow, purple, pink, and white.
The butterfly bush can get leggy and wild looking so this one is not for the formal garden.
Knock Out Roses (Rosa x) require very little maintenance, and yield abundant flowers throughout the summer. However, they only come in two colors – red and medium pink.

July Landscape Things to Do

  • Visit botanical gardens and arboretums to get ideas for your landscape.
  • Enjoy any produce you might be getting from your vegetable garden; tomatoes, squash, corn, beans, pickles, and cucumbers should all be ripe by now.
  • Contribute any spare produce to a Food Bank, or start a Plant A Row program.
  • Apply a ninety-day pre-emergent herbicide to your lawns and plant beds.
  • Dead head spent blooms on Hybrid Tea Roses, and keep an eye out for Japanese beetles and black spot.
  • Sow pumpkins and butternut squash for fall

Fire Blight Hits the North Carolina Piedmont

We have been noticing many cases of fire blight here in the North Carolina Piedmont. Susceptible trees include Pears, Apples, Crabapples, Mountain Ash, and Bradford Pears. There is no cure for this disease. The symptoms are: leaves appear scorched by fire, and extensive leaf drop. Some trees will recover, and other trees will completely succumb to the disease. It’s been suggested that an application of fertilizer through the growing months may help.

Springmoor Life Care Retirement Community is a continuing care retirement community in beautiful Northwest Raleigh, N.C. To find out more about Springmoor, check out our website and find us on Facebook.