The JC Raulston Arboretum Raleigh, North Carolina is a nationally acclaimed botanical garden with a diverse collection of landscape plants adapted for life in the Southeast, in particular, the Piedmont North Carolina area. Covering 10-acres in the heart of Raleigh, the Arboretum is managed by the North Caroline University and is open to the public without charge.
The mission of the JC Raulston Arboretum is to display a variety of plants that diversify the local landscape, as well as provide an educational, economical and environmentally viable institution for the community to enjoy. The Arboretum not only acts as a ‘living laboratory’ for the students of the North Caroline University to study and learn from but also provides educational experiences for the community and visitors of all ages.
Established by Dr. Chester Raulston on 1976, the JC Raulston Arboretum consists of several different gardens displaying new plant introductions. Some of the gardens demonstrate new techniques in landscape design, some follow a formal plan with a specific theme, while others were built by landscaping students in their horticulture classes and address contemporary issues. The gardens are maintained by volunteer leaders and are always evolving to include new themes and matters and ensure an array of opportunities to educate visitors on current trends and techniques in horticulture.
A. E. Finley Foundation Rooftop Terrace
The A. E. Finley Foundation Rooftop Terrace is an energy-saving rooftop terrace that offers inspiration for green builders and features urban and container gardens with a variety of heat-tolerant plants, water-thrifty plants.
The Asian Valley Garden explores the historical roots of many of the eastern U.S. garden’s best-loved plants and boasts an array of beautiful contrasts and calming combinations, including evergreen shrubs, Asian trees, and subtropical plants.
Aptly named, the Butterfly Garden features a variety of low-maintenance herbaceous and woody plants that attract a variety of butterflies, moths, and skippers. This garden is a favorite with children.
The Color Trials garden tests and evaluates plants for seed and plug companies around the world and displays the winners of the best tested. The garden also features an array of the newest annuals and tender perennials in flower.
The Elm Circle garden is a formal, green gathering space which boasts several gorgeous trees, including a magnificent weeping winged elm tree. The Circle offers a beautiful venue for romantic weddings and outdoor events and is a favorite spot to enjoy a picnic.
Finley-Nottingham Rose Garden
The Finley-Nottingham Rose Garden is home to the world’s favorite flower – the rose. The garden showcases hundreds of old and new rose cultivars from miniature roses to antique climbers, a network of strolling paths and comfortable benches on which to relax and soak up the beautiful surroundings.
The Geophyte Border garden focuses on geophytes, such as bulbs, corms, tubers, and rhizomes, and highlights how these hardy, water-thrifty underground storage organs survive without the valuable resource of water.
The Japanese Garden is a tranquil, contemplative Zen garden with stone features, handcrafted wooden benches, rake gravel and serene plantings that blossom in all four seasons. This beautiful garden is a favorite among visitors and provides an unforgettable experience.
Klein-Pringle White Garden
The Klein-Pringle White Garden is a southern adaptation of a famous English garden and features a spacious outdoor room with a romantic Victorian gazebo that is a popular venue for romantic weddings and special celebrations of all sizes.
The Lath House is an award-winning shade lovers garden that showcases many of the South’s most popular plants that thrive in the cooler shade with more than 700 varieties on display.
Designed to inspire home gardeners with ideas for residential use, the Mixed Border garden features a strolling path, a charming bridge and a unique combination of shrubs, trees and lovely perennials that can be utilized in all types of urban gardens.
The Model Gardens are private, student-designed gardens that offer innovative ideas for small spaces and yards, including plant selection, raised beds, and seating options.
The Paradise Garden is a beautiful pleasure garden that has been designed to evoke the senses with a with a modern adaptation of a classical theme that includes waterfalls, splashes of color and aromatic fragrances.
The JCRA Perennial Border garden is a spectacular garden on a grand scale, with 18 foot deep, 300 foot long borders filled with hundreds of grasses, perennials, and shrubs. The garden features multiple textures, tones, colors and hues to visitors to enjoy.
The Scree Garden is home to some of nature's toughest plants that manage to survive in the extreme conditions of gravel scree. These hardy plants experience a plethora of challenges from high desert-like summer heat and arid conditions to extreme winter cold all year round, creating a garden like no other.
Southall Memorial Garden
The Southall Memorial Garden is an exclusive collection inspired by one of the university’s renowned professors of horticulture who inspired a love of plants in everyone he met. This charming garden features some of his favorite specimens, including a giant hemlock tree and is a favorite spot for visitors to study, picnic and play.
The Winter Garden displays the beauty of winter with a variety of cold-loving plants such as berries, bark, blooms, and fragrance. This gorgeous garden is in bloom all year round but is at its best from October to March.
The Xeric Garden inspires water-thrifty gardeners with an array of plants that adapt to dry conditions. Visitors can admire some of the world's most adaptable plants.
The JC Raulston Arboretum is located at 4415 Beryl Road in West Raleigh near the NC State Fairgrounds and is open to the public for free. The JCRA grounds are open every day of the year, however, is closed for several events throughout the year.
The JC Raulston Arboretum offers an array of educational programs, lectures, workshops and classes for learners of all ages.
Designed specifically for children and youth, the Children’s Program features a variety of fun, creative science-based programs that involve exploring the gardens and discovering the importance of the connection between plants and people.
Ongoing Programs include Garden Storytime, Garden Buds, Afternoon Walks, and summer camps include a week of learning, playing, creating and exploring in the gardens with friends. Other educational programs include Girl Guide and Scout Groups, Homeschool Groups and more.
Back to: Best Things to Do in Raleigh
4415 Beryl Rd, Raleigh, North Carolina 27606, Phone: 919-515-3132