History of  the Piedmont Chapter of NARGS

Sandra Ladendorf, Nancy Goodwin, and Edith Boyer, spurred on by NARGS president Norman Singer of Massachusetts, organized the Piedmont Chapter in the fall of 1985. From its beginning, meetings were held at the North Carolina Botanical Garden in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Since January 2010, meetings have been held at the JC Raulston Arboretum in Raleigh. Our chapter logo is Trillium grandiflorum, a woodland plant native to the piedmont of North Carolina, and for that reason our newsletter is titled “The Trillium.” Its editors have been: Sandra Landendorf, Bobby Ward, Barbara Scott, and jointly Marian Stephenson and David Duch.

Our chapter chairs have consisted of Sandra Ladendorf, Nancy Goodwin, Paul Jones, Bobby Wilder, Richard Hartlage, Norman Beal, Barbara Scott, Marian Stephenson, Bobby Ward, David White, Charles Kidder, Amelia Lane, and Cyndy Cromwell.

The chapter has hosted five national meetings (four locally): a Winter Study Weekend in January 1990, organized by Sandra Ladendorf; a Winter Study Weekend in January 1999, organized by Bobby Ward; an Annual Meeting in May 2004, organized by Marian Stephenson; an Annual Meeting in Asheville in May 2013, organized by David White; and an annual meeting in November 2017, organized by David White.

Local members of our chapter with national prominence include William Lanier Hunt, who was elected southern regional vice-president of ARGS (the NARGS predecessor) at its founding in New York City in 1934, J. C. Raulston (1940-1996), founder of the NCSU Arboretum (now the JC Raulston Arboretum); Nancy Goodwin (Montrose); and Tony Avent (Plant Delights Nursery and Juniper Level Botanic Garden).

An early gardener in North Carolina who wrote about rock gardening was Elizabeth Lawrence (1904-1985), who lived both in Raleigh and Charlotte. An unfinished manuscript titled “A Rock Garden in the South,” completed by Nancy Goodwin, Allen Lacy, and Paul Jones, was published posthumously in 1990. Lawrence was a member of NARGS and wrote many articles for the NARGS “Quarterly” and its predecessor publications. Along with her close friend, William Lanier Hunt (1906-1996), they stimulated an interest in regional rock gardening.

Two members of the Piedmont Chapter have served as NARGS presidents: Sandra Ladendorf (1990-1992) and Bobby Ward (2002-2004).

Three members of the Piedmont Chapter have received NARGS Marcel Le Piniec awards for the introduction of new plants available to rock gardeners: they are J. C. Raulston (1991), Tony Avent (1999), and Richard Dufresne (2017).

Two members of the Piedmont Chapter have received the NARGS Millstream Award for outstanding gardens: Tony Avent (Juniper Level Botanic Garden, 2017) and Nancy Goodwin (Montrose, 2017).

The chapter meets at the JC Raulston Arboretum, Beryl Road, in Raleigh, North Carolina, usually on the third Saturday morning of the month from September through April. We have a plant sale at the Arboretum’s Raulston Blooms event in April, and a spring picnic in May. Our newsletter, The Trillium, has details of the upcoming programs. The Piedmont Chapter has a Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/PiedmontNARGS

Written by Bobby Ward

Rev. August 1, 2019