Saturday, April 22, 2017

Fine Vines for Quick Displays

Vining sweet pea Lathyrus odoratus.
By Rita Pelczar
The American Gardener, Mar/April Issue
American Horticultural Society

Annual and tender perennial vines are the aerial acrobats of the summer garden. As if shot from a cannon, they quickly scale fences, cover trellises, and tumble over walls. In a single season, many grow 15 to 20 feet tall and produce an extended flower show while they’re at it!

Sure, this speedy growth may make certain vines pests, but there are plenty of choices that won’t take over the world. The following are some of the showiest, carefree, and well-behaved climbers for gardens across the country.

Climbing Canaries and Butterflies
Yellow-flowered canary creeper (Tropaeolum peregrinum, uSdA Hardiness Zones 9–10, AHS Heat Zones 10–5) grows 10 feet tall, using its threadlike petioles to grasp onto supports. native to the Andes mountains, this tender South American perennial bears an abundance of one-inch blooms from summer to fall. Each flower has five petals, the upper two are wide spread and fringed, resembling wings of a small bird. The deeply lobed gray-green leaves are an inch or two across.

Download and read the full article on vines from the American Horticultural Society:

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Golf Course Bluebird Haven Created by Croasdaile Garden Club

"Bluebird Monitoring Crew" of the Croasdaile Garden Club. Pictured front center (in blue) is Agnes Bordeaux, a charter Croasdaile Garden Club member who worked to establish the original Croasdaile Country Club Trail. Garden club bluebird monitors are able to informally take a golf cart (at no cost) once a week and make their bluebird runs.
One of 12 bluebird nesting boxes installed on the golf course.

Editor's Note: The following 2016 bluebird project was submitted by the Croasdaile Garden Club for consideration of the Frances Boyd Blue Bird Award #32 offered by The Garden Club of North Carolina, Inc.
Croasdaile Garden Club placed second (red ribbon) in the category which was announced at the 2017 GCNC Annual Meeting in April. Incoming Croasdaile Garden Club President Susan Antle was one of the primary authors of this paper. Photos by the Croasdaile Garden Club.

Project Summary

Hatchlings ready for dinner.
Beginning date: January 12, 2016. Completion date: Installation of new nesting boxes completed 4/15/16; will continue to monitor nesting boxes in 2017.

After a January Croasdaile Garden Club “Blue Bird FAQs” presentation by Ken Kernodle (President of NC Bluebird Society) and Steve McDaniel (County Coordinator for Durham County), the Croasdaile Garden Club decided to replace the original ten boxes that were falling apart or not habitable, on the nearby Croasdaile Country Club golf course and reset the outdated trail. Members also decided to purchase and install blue bird nesting boxes in their own yards. Replacing the original ten on the golf course with twelve boxes resulted in a 20% increase in nesting boxes. Our primary objective was to restore the Croasdaile Country Club golf course trail established at least 10 years ago at the initiation of Agnes Bordeaux, garden club member. Also coordinating the purchase and installation of blue bird nesting boxes at member homes provided members with a home project that paralleled the garden club project. These two objectives would increase the blue bird population at the Croasdaile Country Club and surrounding residential areas where many garden club members live.

On a weekly basis, five garden club members assumed the primary responsibility for monitoring the twelve new nesting boxes on the golf course. Several other members went on “ride-alongs” throughout the five months. In the late afternoon, using a golf cart, two monitors followed the trail to each box and wrote brief notes about their observations: whether a nest was built or not, number of eggs laid, number of babies visible, maintenance needed – cleaning out old nests and interior surfaces, things for next week’s monitors to do (or not). These notes were added to our master list and emailed to other monitors so they could have accurate data the following week. We continued monitoring weekly through the end of July. Through August we monitored sporadically as there wasn’t any nest building activity (Third Nesting Period) in any box.
Our Results: 
  • Total Blue birds hatched/fledged in Nesting Period One = 33
  • Total Blue birds hatched/fledged in Nesting Period Two = 35
  • Total Bluebirds hatched/fledged in Nesting Period Three = 0
  • Bluebirds Hatched/Fledged at Croasdaile Country Club = 68

Nesting boxes are marked in red along the golf course.
Involvement of club members, other organizations, etc.
Ken Kernodle, President of North Carolina Bluebird Society and Steve McDaniel, County Coordinator for Durham County encouraged us to support increasing the blue bird population. We took it to heart and fifteen nesting boxes were purchased and installed in member yards. Both Ken and Steve have remained in communication via phone calls and emails answering questions as they arose during the nesting period. Ken and Steve constructed the nesting boxes for individuals and for the golf club. They installed boxes at club member’s homes.

Charles Sheffield, Golf Course Superintendent, and his staff removed all ten decrepit nesting boxes and installed the twelve new boxes. In this process, the trail was partially reset because the original box locations were 1) unreachable in overgrown areas along the creek, 2) not viewable by golf club members, or in 3) undesirable locations (poor flight paths for the blue birds). We evaluated all the existing boxes and made recommendations to Charles. The identified boxes were then moved to more appropriate spots. See the first picture below of the golf course layout with the new trail identified with red dots.
Project Budget
Croasdaile Garden Club donated $200 to purchase ten new nesting boxes. A garden club member donated two more houses. A total of fifteen nesting boxes were purchased and installed in garden club members’ yards. The monitors purchased cleaning materials to use when nesting boxes required maintenance.
Scope of Work
As our records show, we monitored on a weekly basis from March through July and periodically in August. We will continue monitoring in 2017. In addition to the five who monitored the nesting boxes in 2017, several more club members want to monitor in 2107. The golf course staff will maintain the structural components – braces, bolts, etc. Garden club members will be responsible for cleaning the nesting boxes.
Field Notes (Sample)
Hole #17
Box #12
Field between 17/18 across from the fairway bunkers
3/29 -nest empty
4/8- 4:00 5 eggs
4/13 -5 eggs babies could hatch as early as 4/18 or as late as 4/22
4/19 -5 eggs
4/21  -4 babies, 1 egg
4/26  -5 babies 4:35 pm
4/30  -5 babies 5:10 pm  (don’t open box after 5/4 unless birds have fledged)
5/4 5- babies 5:20 PM
5/10 - nest empty; box cleaned need a green container  (done)  4:50 PM
5 bluebird fledglings Round one
5/15 -no nest
5/25 -nest one egg
6/1 -five bluebird eggs
6/8 -five bluebird eggs
6/16 -new babies
6/22- babies
7/1 -fledged cleaned nest
5 bluebird fledglings Round 2
7/10 -not checked too wet
7/15 new nest, no eggs
Round 3 no eggs/babies
5 Round one
5 Round two
0 Round three
Total babies 10
Hole #12
Box #7
Left side of turf “nursery”  - by pond
3/29 -no nest
4/8 -3:50 nest no eggs
4/13 -2 eggs in nest/1 broken on ground
4/19 --3:35pm 3eggs
4/26 -3 eggs, mom on clutch
4/30 -3 babies  (don’t open box after 5/12 until fledge)
5/4 -3 babies
5/10 -3 babies
5/15 -3 babies
3 bluebird fledglings Round one
5/25 -new nest
6/1 -wren nest started
6/8 -bluebird sitting on box
6/16 -most twigs gone
6/22 -4 bluebird eggs
7/1 -4 bluebird eggs
7/10 -little babies
7/15 -medium babies
4 bluebird fledglings Round two
Round 3 no eggs/babies
3 Round one
4 Round two
0 Round three
Total babies 7

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Blossom Garden Club on the Move in 2016-2017 Business Year

The Blossom Garden Club of Durham curated a fun year of inspirational and educational gardening field trips across the Triangle during the club's 2016-2017 business year.

For a community project, Blossom GC has had an annual mission of maintaining the perennial beds of Trinity Park, the historical Durham neighborhood where many club members reside. (Blossom members also added neighborhood beautification through their natural Christmas arrangements and decorations crafted at December's meeting.)

Past President Chris Jewell (pictured center in group photo) has been instrumental in floral designing centerpieces for the Durham Council of Garden Club-hosted events for The Garden Club of North Carolina, Inc. and District 9 meetings in recent years.

Highlights of Blossom Garden Club in 2016-2017:
April:  Backyard Shed Tour in Old West Durham

December:  Christmas Decoration Workshop

November:  Art in the Garden Tour of the North Carolina Botanical Gardens, Chapel Hill

September: Tour of Sarah P. Duke Gardens Prairie Garden.
(The "cathedral"/outdoor learning center was under construction.)

Photos by Bebe Guill of Blossom Garden Club

Trees Over Durham Forum: April 25

Come learn all about trees in Durham, and tell us what you would like to see in the future. Start the day learning all about trees, then participate in visioning sessions where you get to tell us what you think. We really want to know. At the end, we’ll hear from people who have made trees work for diverse communities, and produce a vision statement of what we want for our trees and communities in Durham.

Trees Over Durham Forum

Tuesday, April 25, 2:30– 8 p.m.
Durham Arts Center, 120 Morris Street
Dinner will be available for registered participants.
Childcare will be available, but you must register below to let us know how many children will need care.

A draft agenda is available now. A complete agenda of the forum will be available here when it is finalized. Please check back!

This forum is organized by the Durham Tree Advocates with financial support from Leaf and Limb Tree Service, Vaguely Reminiscent, and Duke Energy.