Perspectives Online

JCRA hosts gardening communicators during national conference


Participants from the Garden Writers Association national conference make their way on a path between the perennial border and the bedding plants trials area at the JC Raulston Arboretum. The four-day conference, which took place in Raleigh in September, included an evening of tours and a buffet dinner at the JCRA on the campus of N.C. State University. Becky Kirkland Photos

The JC Raulston Arboretum was abuzz with activity in late September, as garden writers from across the country and beyond arrived during the national conference of the Garden Writers Association. The four-day event, based at the Raleigh Convention Center, included an evening of tours of the nationally renowned JCRA at N.C. State University, complete with sponsor tents, followed by a buffet dinner, sponsored by the N.C. Landscape and Nursery Association, the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and The Green Industry Council.

A burst of fall color greets guests from the Garden Writers Association national conference as they tour the perennial border at the JC Raulston Arboretum. Measuring 300 feet long and 18 feet deep, the perennial border contains thousands of diverse plants, including herbaceous perennials, bulbs, small shrubs and ornamental grasses designed to provide exciting displays of texture, color and form throughout the year.
The Garden Writers Association is an organization of horticulture, gardening, and environmental communication professionals. It includes gardening book authors, magazine publishers, newspaper columnists, plant society newsletter editors, and garden and nature photographers, as well as home and garden show TV and radio hosts. Also affiliated are nursery owners, plant breeders and marketing specialists, along with landscape architects, arborists, university faculty, master gardeners, community garden organizers, chemical engineers and heirloom seed savers.

More than 500 of the conference participants attended the JCRA buffet and tours, which showcased the arboretum, including its College of Agriculture and Life Sciences horticultural research and Extension programs, N.C. State University and the local gardening community.

Mark Weathington, assistant director and curator of collections at the JC Raulston Arboretum, leads Garden Writers Association members on a tour of the nationally acclaimed gardens and horticultural research site at N.C. State University.
Pam Beck, JCRA board member and a lead coordinator of the GWA conference, afterward reported that the JCRA event was “one of the most amazing and talked-about evenings of the Garden Writers Association conference. The gardens were gorgeous, and everyone had a great time. They loved the North Carolina style barbecue and were astonished by the number of our volunteers who turned out to warmly welcome them.” —Terri Leith

Cameras of all types were put to use by the Garden Writers group, capturing images of the diverse annuals, perennials, vines, groundcovers, shrubs and trees from more than 50 different countries – all displayed in beautiful garden settings at the JC Raulston Arboretum.

Gardening communications professionals tour and take shots of the colorful plant collections – including more than 5,000 total species and/or cultivars – featured on the eight acres of the JC Raulston Arboretum.