Garden Photo of the Day

GPOD on the Road: J. C. Ralston Arboretum

Highlights of an iconic public garden

small tree with variegated foliage

Today Helen is taking us along on a visit to the beautiful J. C. Ralston Arboretum in Raleigh, North Carolina. There are absolutely stunning plantings there, and it is free.

large tree with colorful barkWhile crape myrtles are best known for their beautiful flowers, the cinnamon-colored bark on this Japanese crape myrtle (Lagerstroemia fauriei ‘Fantasy’, Zones 6–9) arguably is even more beautiful.

dark burgundy leavesIn addition to its bright flowers in the spring, this weeping red-leaf redbud (Cercis canadensis ‘Ruby Falls’, Zones 5–9) has trailing branches covered with beautiful leaves.

plant with small bright red flowersSalvia ‘Red Letter’ (Zones 7–9) has clouds of red flowers all summer long, and can be grown as an annual where it isn’t hardy.

small tree with variegated foliageEach leaf of this Japanese maple (Acer palmatum ‘Okukuji Nishiki’) is splashed with cream variegation for a beautiful effect. Like many variegated plants, it is a little sensitive to burning in intense sun, so it is growing here in the shade of the lathe house.

lacy fernThis incredible frond belongs to the upside-down fern (Arachniodes standishii, Zones 4–8). I’m not sure why it is called upside-down, but its lacy fronds are beautiful.

small tree with multi-colored foliageRed maples (Acer rubrum, Zones 5–9) are native to much of the eastern half of North America, but this is a variegated version called ‘Snow Fire’. The leaves, splashed with white, blushes pink on the newest growth.

twisted stem of a plantThe twining stems of summer wisteria (Wisteriopsis reticulata, Zones 7–10) make maybe an even more dramatic statement than the clusters of purple flowers that will arrive in the summer.

large red flowerBright red amaryllis (Hippeastrum ‘Hercules’) is familiar to most of us as a bulb grown inside, but many varieties, like this one, are hardy in Zone 7 and warmer.

For more on this garden, visit the website:


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View Comments


  1. User avater
    treasuresmom 06/10/2022

    That Japanese Maple is stunning.

  2. User avater
    simplesue 06/10/2022

    Wow the twining stems of summer wisteria are very eye catching! And oh I love Ruby Falls Weeping Redbud, such an interesting little tree!

  3. user-5117752 06/10/2022

    I would so much like to visit there! Beautiful pics! Thank you!

  4. btucker9675 06/10/2022


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