Wednesday, January 30, 2013

NC Botanical Garden hosts workshop for Designing and Building a Residential Garden

Saturdays, February 9 and 16; 9:00 am–12:30 pm
Presented by:  Katherine Gill, Landscape Architect and co-owner of Tributary Land Design + Build
This two-session workshop teaches basic principles of sustainable residential landscape design, from site analysis through construction, and provides hands-on experience for designing and building one’s own garden. Using each participant’s home as the project, Class 1 teaches the design basics—scale, site analysis, principles of plant design using natives and edibles, site design of pathways and outdoor rooms, and discuss types and uses of landscape materials. Class 2 will apply learned principles and participants will create a scaled schematic site plan for a home landscape. Participants will take home the beginnings of a design for their own yard. Bring a plot of your property to first class.
Fee: $70 ($60 NCBG members). Register online at

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

2013-2015 Durham Council positions up for nominations at February Meeting

The Durham Council of Garden Clubs is now taking nominations for both officers and committee chairs for the 2013-2015 term. 

Per Article VI. Nominations of the DCGC Constitution, a slate of officers will be presented at the February meeting. Nominations are open to all Council members and may also be taken from the floor and subsequently voted by secret ballot.

If you have a passion and the savvy for: putting together unforgettable programs, working in tandem with area businesses, local governments and schools in furthering beautification, conservation, and preservation initiatives in Durham County, then the Council is the place for you! You will definitely find at least a committee or two eager for your talents!
Please submit your interest to Nomination Committee Chair Kim Van Horn (Kicg@yahoo) by Feb. 4. The next Council meeting is 10 a.m. Tuesday, Feb. 5, at the Hill House, Durham.

Seeking Organic Pest Recipes for Your Garden?


Looking to try some new, easy organic recipes for: insect repellent, fungus control, and more, in 2013? Try some of these from

Baking Soda/ Potassium Bicarbonate Fungus Control
Mix 4 teaspoons (about 1 rounded tablespoon) of baking soda and 1 tablespoon of horticultural oil into one gallon of water. Spray lightly on foliage of plants afflicted with black spot, powdery mildew, brown patch and other fungal diseases. Avoid over-using or pouring on the soil. Potassium bicarbonate is a good substitute for baking soda. Citrus oil and molasses can be used instead of horticultural oil.

Compost Tea
Manure compost tea is effective on many pests because of certain microorganisms that exist in it naturally. Here's how to make compost tea at home. Use any container but a plastic bucket is easy for the homeowner. Fill the 5-15 gallon bucket half full of compost and finish filling with water. Let the mix sit for 10-14 days and then dilute and spray on the foliage of any and all plants including fruit trees, perennials, annuals, vegetables and roses, and other plants, especially those that are regularly attacked by insects or fungal pests. It's very effective for example on black spot on roses and early blight on tomatoes. How to dilute the dark compost tea before using depends on the compost used. A rule of thumb is to dilute the leachate down to one part compost liquid to four to ten parts water. It should look like iced tea. Be sure to strain the solids out with old pantyhose, cheese cloth, or row cover material. Add two tablespoons of molasses to each gallon of spray for more power. Add citrus oil for even greater pest killing power.

Cornmeal Juice
Cornmeal Juice is a natural fungal control for use in any kind of sprayer. Make by soaking whole ground cornmeal in water at one cup per 5 gallons of water. Strain the solids out and spray. The milky juice of the cornmeal will permeate the water and this mix should be sprayed without further diluting. Cornmeal Juice can be mixed with compost tea, Garrett Juice or any other natural foliar feeding spray.

Garlic Pepper Tea Insect Repellent
In a blender with water, liquefy two bulbs of garlic and two cayenne or habanero peppers. Strain away the solids. Pour the garlic-pepper juice into a one gallon container. Fill the remaining volume with water to make one gallon of concentrate. Shake well before using and add 1/4 cup of the concentrate to each gallon of water in the sprayer. To make garlic tea, simply omit the pepper and add another bulb of garlic. For additional power, add one tablespoon of seaweed and molasses to each gallon. Always use plastic containers with loose fitting lids for storage.

Potting Soil
Potting soil – as opposed to native soil, loam, dirt or landscaper’s soil – is what should be used in pots - no matter what the crop. Potting soil should be light weight. Do not use  peat moss. Peat moss is excellent for storing bulbs or shipping food or other perishable material that would otherwise decay. Potting soil should not be sterile as some recommend, but alive and dynamic. It should be light, loose, well aerated, fertile, full of microorganisms and have the ability to stimulate quick and sustained growth.

Rcommended formula is:
60% Compost (compost, humate, coconut fiber, coffee grounds)
30% Rock (lava sand, Ditamoaecous Earth DE, zeolite, granite)

10% Sugar - (corn meal, dry molasses, wheat midlands)

Other amendments that can be in small amounts include greens and, beneficial microbes (Bacteria and fungi) and organic fertilizers. Some of the best fertilizers for interior plants include earthworm castings, kelp meal and coffee grounds. They are mild and odor free.

Toenail Fungus Treatment
What has been reported is to put ½” of cornmeal in a flat pan that’s large enough to get your feet in. Add enough warm water to cover the feet and soak over an hour. . Soak feet for over an hour. More than one treatment may be needed.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

2013 Joint Meeting to Dress up Your Wardrobe, March 5

It’s that time of year again – time to get with your gardening girlfriends from the 10 Durham Garden Clubs of the Durham Council!

The meeting will be held 10 a.m. - noon, at St. Paul's Lutheran Church, 1200 W. Cornwallis Rd., Durham.

This year’s Joint Meeting is slated to be a grand tea party, an outrageous fashion show, and a highly fascinating program by  bluebird specialist, Frank Newell. Frank heads up Eastern Bluebird Rescue Group, a non-profit and whose volunteers make bluebird houses and feeders, priced $10-12.

Models are still needed for the fashion show – if you can strut your stuff on a catwalk, please contact Joint Meeting Chair Mary Denson. (Models desired in all sexy sizes.) Please RSVP to your club President.
Also to be raffled is a poppin' handmade quilt by a local artist, so be sure to bring your pocketbooks!

See you at the 2013 Joint Meeting and Fashion Show!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Our State magazine profiles The Garden Clubs of NC!

Pick up the January copy of Our State magazine and you will see some familiar Durham and Raleigh "Garden Lady" faces.

GCNC President Judy Barnes spoke with Our State during the September Annual Meeting held in Durham, and let's just say the magazine was thoroughly impressed.

You can also check out the article online: