With spring in full bloom on the first Sunday in May, the JC Raulston Arboretum Garden Party and Rare Plant Auction returns to North Carolina State University. Rain or shine, white tent festivities will be held on the Arboretum’s Great Lawn, Sunday, May 5, 2019, 2:30-6pm.
Launched over 25-years ago, the annual Garden Party and Rare Plant Auction is the Arboretum’s signature spring event, catering an afternoon filled with tasty treats, local craft beer, wine, live entertainment, plus silent and live auctions. Rare and collectible plants will be picked up by the highest bidders, as well as a variety of exceptional plants for indoor, patio, or outdoor locations, including a selection of flowering perennials, flowering shrubs, and larger trees. Other items on the block include unique travel opportunities, dining experiences, and garden ornaments.
“The Garden Party is such a fun event and the best time of year to get together with people in one of the prettiest settings in North Carolina,” said Mark Weathington, Arboretum Director. “The live and silent auctions have something for everyone.”
Sponsored by the North Carolina Agricultural Foundation, proceeds will benefit the daily operations of the Arboretum. Tickets are available online. Due to limited capacity, a sellout is expected.
“The Garden Party and Rare Plant Auction would be a fantastic early surprise for Mother’s Day. There’s nowhere else you can have this combination of a fun outdoor party, entertainment, plant auction, beautiful flowers, and plants, which are always perfect for Mother’s Day. It’s definitely unique,” said Weathington.
“We often do quite a few succulents which are very popular for people in offices, condominiums, apartments, and smaller spaces. We’ll have some tropical type plants, indoor plants to put on your patio and bring inside during the winter. There will be garden art, pieces that help bring the outdoors inside if you feel like you don’t have a green thumb.
“For outdoor landscapes, ticket-holders will find pretty good size trees, flowering shrubs, and herbaceous flowering perennials for gardens. So, it really doesn’t matter whether you have sun or shade, a lot of space or a little space, we will have plants that fit into any location – something for everyone.
“The silent auction is mobile bidding. We have people set up at stations to help with the app on your phone. This allows people to have fun at the party, hang out with friends, meet new ones, and to keep up with the fun of the changing status of their bids.
“The live auction is reserved for the rarest of the rare with lots of excitement and suspense. The highest bid over the years was $4,500 for a trip for two to Portugal, and we sold beautiful smaller plants for as little as $25.
“The auction always includes a good number of choice and unusual Japanese maples. We usually have some unusual and cutting-edge things like hostas and hellebores, and just released hydrangeas. Another item we’re excited about is the introduction of a new redbud, and it’s called the Flame Thrower. Not publicly available yet, we will auction one at our sale. The Flame Thrower is a complete breakthrough with brilliant gold foliage that darkens to deep burgundy repeatedly over the season.
“Life’s just too short for boring plants. I think our gardens and plants can and should reflect our personalities. We all need to spend more time, especially with our children, families, and friends, reconnecting with the natural world,” said Weathington.
Proceeds from Garden Party and Rare Plant Auction will benefit daily operations of the JC Raulston Arboretum. Fund-raising efforts operate under the auspices of the North Carolina Agricultural Foundation, Inc., a 501(c)3 nonprofit (tax ID 56-6049304).
Read the interview with Mark Weathington.
Source: Robert B. Butler, www.RBButler.com