We first visited JCRA about twenty years ago, and have returned often. Located just off the Beltline (I-440) at Hillsborough St., it is a convenient stop. Whether you have an hour or a day to meander through the collection, it is a worthwhile stop.
When we were selecting plants for our new home 14 years ago, we spent time studying the specimens of almost everything that grows in the Raleigh area. It was wonderful seeing what the tiny plants we were considering putting in our yard might look like in five or ten years or more. It is important to understand how much space a plant will need as it grows and what kind of light and moisture is required for it to thrive.
This garden gave us many useful ideas about fantastic plants that can survive our climate. Today our yard looks outstanding full of healthy plants that have thrived on site. We also have relied heavily on a book called The Carolinas Gardener's Guide by Bost and Wilson.
This arboretum has been a training ground for many students in the landscape design programs at NC State and is quite active in serving the gardening community. Our landscaper (a grad of this program), Uli Gratzl, recommends this garden for checking out grown plants.
Select a cool morning or sunny later afternoon for a long walk through the arboretum, and take something for recording notes and photos of plants you will want at home. This is a wonderful place for the kids to experience plants in nature. And of course the elderly enjoy seeing healthy plants as well.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.