We need your help

Support the Future

We seek the philanthropic investment of those who share Tony’s passion for plants. The 20 million dollar endowment will generate operational income to preserve, maintain, and build upon Juniper Level Botanic Garden’s plant research, conservation, breeding, and garden operations. Please consider making your tax-deductible donation today.

We need your help

Support the Future

We seek the philanthropic investment of those who share Tony’s passion for plants. The 20 million dollar endowment will generate operational income to preserve, maintain, and build upon Juniper Level Botanic Garden’s plant research, conservation, breeding, and garden operations. Please consider making your tax-deductible donation today.

A unique opportunity


We must have your financial support as the two global horticultural giants, Juniper Level Botanic Garden and JC Raulston Arboretum, merge to create a one-of-a-kind resource for plant research, plant genetics, plant preservation, plant education and appreciation. JLBG’s research staff is actively involved in a number of programs including plant breeding, plant taxonomy, propagation research, plant exploration, and ex-situ conservation. The garden contains several still-unpublished new plant species, which will be new to science. JCRA and JLBG combined would most likely hold the greatest collection of plant genetics in the world, which is critical in the face of climate change.

By supporting the operational endowment, you ensure that this world-class resource remains for future generations. Please consider making your tax-deductible donation today.

Fund raising efforts for Juniper Level Botanic Garden operate under the auspices of The Endowment Fund of NC State University, a 501(c)3 non-profit, tax id 56-6000756. You will receive an official receipt for your donation.

Donation progress

We are incredibly thankful to all of our donors. Your meaningful support means the world to us! We are regularly updating this bar to honor your contributions and keep the excitement going.
 
The endowment total reflects two types of gifts: cash funds (checks, etc.) and life estate gifts (wills, trusts). The latter will not be available to the endowment until the donor passes away, which we hope is a long time.

If you’d like assistance setting up a life estate gift for the preservation of Juniper Level Botanic Gardens, NC State is glad to offer advice on structuring gifts, tax benefits, etc. NC State CALS College Advancement Director of Philanthropy, Alycia Thornton is glad to be of assistance.  You’ll find her contact information at https://cals.ncsu.edu/people/alycia-thornton/.

Join us for

JLBG Endowment Inaugural Fundraiser

Tony and Anita will be opening their 4 acre home garden for a JLBG Endowment Fundraiser on Friday, June 14, 2024 from 3-8pm. This will be the first of what we hope will become an annual event. 

9205 from Pit 1 toward house

Our story

When Tony Avent was young, he wandered the woods of Raleigh, NC, observing plants and making selections for his early garden. He began to share this passion with the world, first through garden writing, then overseeing the landscape at the NC State Fairgrounds for 16 years.

In 1986, Tony, and his now late wife, Michelle, opened Plant Delights Nursery. Juniper Level Botanic Garden was built to surround the nursery, first as a trial garden, and later as an ex-situ conservation and propagation garden.

Over the years, JLBG evolved into one of the most significant ex-situ plant collections in the world, and in doing so has hosted and worked with many of the worlds’ most brilliant horticultural minds.

In addition to plants, JLBG has been a source of wonder, inspiration, and information to gardeners worldwide. Information from JLBG has been instrumental in breaking down some of the greatest myths of gardening literature and in trialing new plants from around the world, many of which would go on to change the horticultural palette in the U.S. As of 2023, over 1,440 new plants have been introduced to horticulture by PDN/JLBG.

Thirty-seven years after its inception (2023), the Avents have approached typical retirement age. In preparation, Tony and Anita Avent executed legal documents with NCSU and the JC Raulston Arboretum in 2016 to gift their entire 28 acre estate to JCRA. In accepting this gift, the financial advisors at NC State require Juniper Level Botanic Garden to fully fund a $20 million dollar operational endowment before this merger can be consummated, unless Tony becomes incapacitated prior to that happening.

JLBG’s mission, which focuses on ex-situ plant conservation (currently 27,000 plant taxa), research, education, breeding, propagation, and plant distribution, has been entirely funded and supported by a portion of revenues from Plant Delights Nursery, Inc. The current operational funding level for JLBG is $500,000 annually. This does not include any overhead, capital expenses, or salary needed for a Director of Operations to replace Tony.

The Avent’s well-thought-out plans will ensure a measured transfer of research and plant collections, sustainable gardening methods and staff expertise, enabling NCSU to continue Tony’s life work unabated.

We seek the philanthropic investment of those who share Tony’s passion for plants. The 20 million dollar endowment will generate operational income to preserve, maintain, and build upon Juniper Level Botanic Garden’s plant research, conservation, breeding, and garden operations.

The operational endowment will provide the income needed to ensure that the Juniper Level Botanic Garden at JC Raulston Arboretum will reach its full potential. Our goal of funding a $20 million-dollar endowment is achievable with the support of those who share our vision.

Fund raising efforts for Juniper Level Botanic Garden operate under the auspices of The Endowment Fund of NC State University, a 501(c)3 non-profit, tax id 56-6000756. You will receive an official receipt for your donation.

Our Mission

Collect, study, preserve, propagate and share plants for a better world

JLBG actively promotes and preserves botanic diversity by bridging the gap between botany and horticulture through plant study, identification, educational outreach, global plant exploration, and by selecting, breeding, and propagating new and little-known perennials to share with plant researchers, botanic gardens, and gardeners around the world.

Looking into the future

Our goals

Once the operational endowment reaches its goal

1. NC State’s JCRA will hire a full time Director of Operations for JLBG.

2. JLBG will switch from an open house visitation model to being open as a full-time botanic garden.

3. Plant Delights Nursery will remain a division of JLBG, but will switch to a model that only ships plants to JLBG members. Non-members will still be able to purchase plants on-site when JLBG is open. Since JLBG’s ex-situ plant conservation mission also involves plant distribution, our goal for Plant Delights to remain in perpetuity must be a sustainable component of JLBG.

Capital changes

1. Construction of a visitor center where the current sales area and shipping facilities currently exists.

2. Relocation of the current sales area and shipping facilities to the area along the exit drive, currently used for stock growing greenhouses.

3. Relocate the stock growing greenhouses to the new, yet-to-be-acquired highway right-of-way property to the east of JLBG.

4. Rework the traffic flow to accommodate the above changes.

Tony and Anita (Image credit: Chris Beytes)

“Please help us protect and preserve these gardens for our children, their children, and many generations to come.”

Tony and Anita Avent
Nature lovers extraordinaire


Support the Future

Your support today will ensure that this incredible resource remains available for generations to come.

Donate by check

Checks can be made out to “NC State University” and write “JLBG Donation” on the memo line.

Mailing address:

NC Ag Foundation
NCSU Campus Box 7645
Raleigh, NC 27695-7645

For additional information, or if you have questions regarding funding, gifting, and the endowment fund for JLBG, please contact Alycia Thornton, Development Director at NC State University at Alycia_Thornton@NCSU.edu

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