Sunday, May 31, 2015

June Calendar of Triangle Gardening Programs

Pollinator and perennial gardens are the topics of several gardening programs
throughout the Triangle during June.

Sarah P. Duke Gardens
420 Anderson St., Durham, NC.
Please call 919-668-1707 to register.

Thursday, June 11, 2015, 2-3 p.m
Thursday, June 11, 2015, 2:30-4 p.m

JC Raulston Arboretum
Ruby C. McSwain Education Center, JC Raulston Arboretum
4415 Beryl Road, Raleigh, NC.

Plantsmen's Tour: "Revel in the Roses"
Tuesday, June 2, 9 a.m. or 6 p.m.

Mark Weathington, Director

Propagation Workshop   
Saturday, June 6, 9 a.m.
Triangle Bonsai Expo
Hosted by the Triangle Bonsai Society in Cooperation with the JC Raulston Arboretum
Saturday-Sunday, June 6-7, 11-5 p.m.
Herbaceous Perennials Propagation Workshop
Douglas Ruhren, Ironwood Gardens and JCRA Volunteer
Saturday, June 20, 9 a.m.
Vegetable Gardening: From Site Selection to Harvest
Bryce Lane
Wednesday, June 24, 7 p.m.

North Carolina Botanical Gardens
100 Old Mason Farm Road, Chapel Hill, NC.

Plant Propagation course
Saturday, June 6, noon- 1 p.m.

Entomology course
Sundays, June 7, 14, 21, 28; 1:30 – 4:30 pm

Honey Beehive Tour
Sunday, June 7, 2- 3 p.m.
Come to the Carolina Campus Community Garden ( ) and learn about one of the world’s most fascinating insects. (Rain Date: June 27th)

Pollinator Garden Tours at Chatham Mills
Wednesdays, June 10, July 8, Aug. 12, and Sept. 9; 5:30–6:30 p.m.
Tours of Chatham County Cooperative Extension’s Pollinator Paradise Demonstration Garden will be led by Agriculture Extension Agent Debbie Roos and are FREE, open to the public, rain or shine.

An Exhibit: Fragile Flora: Rare Plants of North Carolina
Ending Sunday, June 14

Saving Our Pollinators 
Thursday, June 18, 7- 8 p.m.
Join us for a special lecture celebrating National Pollinator Week and the kickoff of the “Saving Our Pollinators” exhibition.

Sizzling Cities: Native Bee Communities and Urban Heat
Thursday, June 25, noon-1 p.m.

Summer Flora
Saturdays, Jun 27, Jul 11, 18, 25; 9:30–12:30 p.m.
Field trips and exercises provide experience in the use of identification keys and recognition of plants in a natural setting.

Sunday, June 28, 2015
Fun with Bees! Discovery Table
1:30-3:30 p.m.
Plant This, Not That for Pollinators
2-3 p.m., (rain date: July 19)
The Plant Pollinator Partnership and Special Importance of Bees
3:30-4:30 p.m.
BEE-hold the Humble Pollinator! Exhibit Opening Reception 
 4:30-5:30 p.m.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Books: Cadillac Desert: The American West and Its Disappearing Water

Cadillac Desert: The American West and Its Disappearing Water, Revised Edition
Author: Marc Reisner
Paperback: 608 pages
Publisher: Penguin Books; Revised edition (January 1, 1993)
ISBN-10: 0140178244
ISBN-13: 978-0140178241
Historians of the West have typically focused on events that opened the great landscape of the American Desert to settlers. Such events included the Lewis and Clark Expedition, wars with the Indians of the Great Plains, and the Homestead Act of 1862. New historians of the American West have been employing a political environmentalism to develop an environmental history, which has led to a number of revisionist approaches to American West narratives.
Marc Reisner's Cadillac Desert is such a revisionist history. His focus on the creation of infrastructure to support Western settlement exposes a history, not of rugged individualism and romantic cowboys, but of the construction of a heavily subsidized and tremendously expensive "hydraulic society," founded on and maintained by the greed and competitiveness that is behind the American Dream. Reisner examines the West's ecologically dangerous, and ultimately harmful, dependence on dams and aqueducts, as Americans pursue the ideal of taming the Great American Desert. The author focuses on the relentless building of dams and irrigation systems, as well as the corruption behind these developments, to show how the American need to control the environment has affected (and still does affect) the ecological welfare of national resources. Reisner also describes the rivalry between two governmental powers, the Bureau of Reclamation and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, in their attempts to transform the nature of the American West.
The year it was published, Reisner's book became a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. In 1999, Cadillac Desert was placed sixty-first on the Modern Library list of the most notable nonfiction English books of the twentieth century. Reisner's book has inspired an entire generation of historians and historically aware environmental activists.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Garden Club Presidents Meeting (District 9), June 3

Orientation and business meeting for new and continuing Garden Club Presidents.

Fiscal Year instructions, forms, and everything under the sun that Garden Club Presidents should learn!

Wednesday, June 3 at 9 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
Hillsborough United Methodist Church
130 W Tryon St., Hillsborough, NC 27278
(919) 732-3460

RSVP to District 9 Vice-Director Andrea Lewis,

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Biltmore 2015 International Rose Trials

The Biltmore's Rose Garden features more than 250 rose varieties

May 29-30, 2015
1 Lodge St, Asheville, North Carolina 28804
(800) 411-3812
Tickets Available:

Since 2011, Biltmore's historic Rose Garden has been home to the Biltmore International Rose Trials. During this time, more than 90 varieties from growers and breeders worldwide have been planted and cared for by Biltmore's horticulture team. Each trial of approximately 30 varieties lasts two years and a permanent jury judges the roses four times per year.

The trials are a valuable way for the home gardener to learn what roses do well and what may be potential candidates for their own gardens. Trials of this type are open to rose breeders around the world ­ from professional to beginner. New rose varieties will be planted for trial each May. They are evaluated for overall health and rigor; fragrance; disease resistance; and ability to repeat bloom.

Be our guest at the Friday evening Rose Garden reception, Saturday's judging, lunch, and awards ceremony! On Saturday, learn about judging rose plants and help judge this year's best rose in our permanent rose display.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Exploring Frida Kahlo’s Green Side: The New York Botanical Garden brings together her paintings and plants, recreates her garden

Inside the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory, Frida Kahlo's home and garden come back to life. Here, an interactive space inspired by Kahlo's studio, which overlooked the garden, includes artist’s supplies. Cassandra Giraldo for The Wall Street Journal. For a slide show of the Frida Kahlo NY Botanical Garden exhibit images, see:
By Susan Delson
WSJ, May 13, 2015

Is there anything more to say about Frida Kahlo? As the focus of a critically acclaimed biography, a big-budget Hollywood movie and countless art exhibitions, she is a certified cultural icon, from her over-the-top, indigenous Mexican costumes to that imposing unibrow.

But less attention, it turns out, has been paid to her garden.

Opening Saturday at the New York Botanical Garden, “Frida Kahlo: Art, Garden, Life” brings a multifaceted approach to Kahlo as a creative force, grounding her art in her relationship to the natural world.

At the core are two exhibitions. In the conservatory, a colorful plant and flower show transports visitors to the
Casa Azul, the home and garden near Mexico City that Kahlo shared with her husband, Diego Rivera. In the library building, a small gem of an art show—14 works total—explores Kahlo’s evocative use of plant imagery, including species in her garden.

“We’re not an art museum, and we’re not trying to be an art museum,” said New York Botanical Garden President and Chief Executive Gregory Long. “But we’re really interested in gardens that are made by artists…and the connections that those gardens have to their thinking and their work.”

For Kahlo, those connections were lifelong. The Casa Azul had been her childhood home. With Rivera’s help, she assumed ownership in 1930, and she would die there in 1954. Kahlo had good reason to make the Casa Azul
a richly expressive personal environment: A harrowing traffic accident at age 18 left her in chronic pain, subject to numerous surgeries, and at times largely housebound.

“It’s clear to me why she chose to live the last years of her life there,” said Scott Pask, the Tony Award-winning set designer who arranged the conservatory show. “Casa Azul is an enchanted place.”

In the conservatory, Mr. Pask’s settings reimagine key locations in the casa and its garden—among them, the blue walls that give the house its name, a whimsical mosaic fountain depicting a pair of frogs and an evocation of Frida’s studio overlooking the garden, where visitors are welcome to sit and imagine themselves in her space.

The show’s centerpiece is a striking rendition of the Mesoamerican-style pyramid that Rivera had built in the Casa Azul garden to display his collection of pre-Columbian sculpture. Fittingly, the conservatory’s version shows off plants instead: an array of cactuses and succulents native to the Mexican desert, similar to those installed at Casa Azul in the 1940s.

The exhibition’s path to the pyramid underscores Kahlo’s and Rivera’s transformation of their outdoor space, from a European-style garden to one that reflected their deep affinity with Mexican identity and indigenous Mexican culture.

“Kahlo and Rivera were among the most important advocates of a nationalist sensibility,” said Adriana Zavala, the Tufts University art historian who guest-curated the art exhibition. “But within their nationalism, they were resolutely cosmopolitan.”

Well-traveled, hosts to a stream of visiting artists and intellectuals, Kahlo and Rivera were midcentury citizens of the world.

Themes in Kahlo’s art echo, in a surreal way, that cosmopolitan sensibility—most distinctively, the human-plant hybrid. That motif emerges in works such as Kahlo’s 1931 “Portrait of Luther Burbank,” which shows the renowned botanist and horticulturalist literally taking root. Many were made at a time when fascism, Nazism and notions of racial purity were on the rise world-wide, and hybridity of any kind, said Ms. Zavala, “was considered a very negative thing.”

Though Kahlo’s work has been pored over by art historians for decades, this may be the first time a team of botanists and horticulturists has examined it so closely.

“It was a bit of detective work,” said Todd Forrest, the botanical garden’s vice president for horticulture and living collections. “It was: ‘I think that’s yucca gigantea, because of the shape of its foliage,’ or ‘I think that’s nopal [cactus] because of the way the spines are organized on the pad.’ ”

In some paintings, Kahlo’s depictions are so realistic that investigators could identify not only the plant, but its stage of growth—as with the philodendron leaves in the Luther Burbank portrait. In others, Kahlo uses actual plants as a springboard for fantastic variations—the anthropomorphic forms in “Sun and Life” (1947), for instance, or the wall of greenery resembling elephant-ear leaves in her 1940 “Self-Portrait with Thorn Necklace and Hummingbird.”

“It’s a very astute approach for an institution like the botanical garden to take,” said Mary K. Coffey, a scholar of Mexican visual culture and head of the art history department at Dartmouth. “This exhibition is fleshing out the information we need on the botany, and why she might have been drawn to these particular plants. That’s continuing to inform an intelligent reading of her paintings.”

The botanical garden’s Frida fiesta extends beyond the core exhibitions. In the library’s rotunda, for instance, “The Two Fridas,” an installation by Mexico City artist Humberto Spíndola, reinterprets Kahlo’s painting of that title, recasting its costumes as three-dimensional paper dresses, using techniques reminiscent of centuries-old folkcraft. And poems by Octavio Paz, a contemporary of Kahlo and Rivera, are scattered throughout the garden.

Meanwhile, a program on the mobile guide—accessible at—lets users embellish a selfie with typical Kahlo touches: flowers in the hair, parrots and monkeys on the shoulder, maybe a pair of those Frida eyebrows.

Then, of course, there are the tequila cantina and the taco truck.

“It’s immersive,” said Mr. Long. “We call it the Mexican makeover of the New York Botanical Garden.”

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Witherspoon Rose Culture 'First Bloom' Celebration, May 16

Witherspoon Rose Culture 'First Bloom' Celebration
 will be from 9-4 p.m. May 16, at 3312 Watkins Road in Durham.
It was a long, cold winter this year and we are ready to enjoy the first blooms of the spring.
This year we will be celebrating the rose with classes that will cover all of your questions about growing roses. 
We are also proud to announce that we are welcoming back Pam Beck, freelance garden writer, lecturer and photographer, as our guest speaker in Durham. 
Our 2015 event is also a celebration of children.  Witherspoon will be donating a portion of our sales to local children’s hospitals as a way for us to give back to our community.  Also, we will have a “Kids’ Korner” at both locations with various activities throughout the day for the little ones – so the whole family can enjoy the event. 
There will be food provided and sales on some of our most popular products. 
Most of all it will be a great opportunity to get out and enjoy a spring day in the roses. 
We are looking forward to seeing you there – and please stay connected with our Facebook page and website for additional details in the coming days!

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Highlights from Durham Council's Annual Meeting

GCNC Ways and Means Chair, Youth Club Chair and District 8 Director Darene Honeycutt installed the new 2015-2017 Durham Council Officers. L-R: Treasurer Martha Sanderford, Secretary Bonna Robbins (Rhonda Pollard accepting), Second Vice-President Marcia Loudon, First Vice-President Karen Bordeaux (Linda Yankes accepting) and President Ardith Pugh.

The Durham Council of Garden Clubs was "tickled pink" as it held its Annual Meeting May 5 at the James Sprunt Hill House in Durham. Six of the 10 Council garden clubs were in attendance. Highlights of the meeting included installation of 2015-17 officers and discussion about hosting two large district and state level meetings during the 2015-2016 fiscal year.
Future hosted meetings include:
  • District 9 Meeting, "Birds, Bugs and Butterflies Aid Sustainability" -  October 22, 2015, at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church on Hillandale Road, from  9-2 p.m.
  • The Garden Club of North Caroline Annual Meeting ,"Unfrozen" -  April 17-19, 2016, held at the Sheraton Imperial off of I-40 and Page Road in RTP.

Second Vice-President Marcia Loudon, who is chairing both meetings, put out sign-up sheets and made a call for volunteer roles needed for the events.

The Council Annual Meeting also entertained discussion about the proposed 2015-2016 budget and fundraising for the hosted meetings. Incoming Council President Ardith Pugh reported already starting a sizeable “trash-to-treasures” collection for the 2016 GCNC Annual Meeting. (During the 2012 hosting of the GCNC Fall Board Meeting, the Durham Council raised over $2,300 in combined revenue of silent auction and trash-to-treasures sales.)

Installation of new officers wrapped up the Council's Annual Meeting. Special guest District 8 Director Darene Honeycutt took cue from incoming President Ardith Pugh’s passion for antique hunting and brought in a hot pink plastic trash can filled with a broad range of ironic gifts and tools for each officer to fulfill her respective duties, for example, Treasurer Martha Sanderford was given an assortment of cutting/trimming tools. Most items were branded with pink ribbon breast cancer awareness logos as Darene exclaimed she was “tickled pink” to usher in the Durham Council’s new directors.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Pest Spotlight: Plum Curculio

By Jim Walgenbach
NC Extension Entomology Specialist (Fruits/Vegetables)                                        
Immature Damson plums infected by
Conotrachelus nenuphar show the emergence of larvae.
Photo by J.S. Corser, Durham Co. Master Gardener.
Publication date: Feb. 23, 2015v

Background and Description

Plum curculio (Conotrachelus nenuphar; PC) are weevils (snout beetles) that are native to North America and occur from Canada to Florida and west to central Nebraska. Historically, they were sporadic pests of apples in western North Carolina, but in recent years they have become a significant problem in some orchards. In addition to apple, PC will attack peach, plum, cherry, and blueberry.

PC adults are approximately 1/4 inch (6.5mm) long, with a curved snout about one-third of the length of the body. The body itself is warty and brown-gray with patches of white, and there are two bumps on each wing cover that help to differentiate PC from other common weevils. When disturbed, adults fold their legs close to their bodies and remain motionless. (In this posture, their strong resemblance to bark or debris makes them extremely difficult to detect.) Full-grown larvae are 1/3 inch (7.5mm) long, legless, and white with brown heads.                                    

Plum curculio adult. Photo by Steve Schoof, NCSU.
Life history

Adult PC overwinter in leaf litter in and around orchards. In the spring, when the daily maximum temperature exceeds 70°F (near bloom or petal fall), adults emerge, mate, and lay eggs under fruit skin. Depending on weather conditions, new adults can continue to enter until at least the first cover spray. Eggs hatch within a few days of being laid and feed in the fruit. First generation adults usually emerge about 8 to 10 weeks later. There are two generations per year in most areas of the Southeast, but only one generation occurs in higher elevations of the southern Appalachians.


A female PC uses her snout to cut a crescent-shaped slit beneath each egg she lays in order to keep the growing apple from crushing the egg. This slit becomes a crescent-shaped scar as the apple grows, though the damage is often only cosmetic. However, larvae sometimes bore tunnels, and heavily-infested fruit may become knotty or fall to the ground. Later in the season, adult beetles may create numerous round punctures in fruit skin.

Monitoring and Control

PC activity is correlated with weather conditions after bloom: infestation tends to occur the first day after petal fall when high temperatures exceed 70° F. After bloom, check fruit twice weekly for feeding and egg-laying scars. Typically, an insecticide at petal fall and first cover (if adult emergence is protracted) is used for control. However, second generation adults emerge and can damage apples from late June through July, depending on location. Additional insecticides should be applied if any new damage is observed.

For detailed information on insect emergence times, degree-day calculations, and the most current control practices (including mating disruption and recommended insecticides), read the "IPM Practices for Selected Pests" and "Relative Effectiveness of Insecticides and Miticides" sections of the Integrated Orchard Management Guide for Commercial Apples in the Southeast.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Forest Hills Garden Clubs Pitch in at Briggs Ave. Community Garden

Members of the Forest Hills Garden Club and Junior Garden Club last weekend gifted five new Russian pomegranates (Punica granatum) and four yards of shredded mulch to the Briggs Avenue Community Garden in Durham.

The garden clubs' annual service day accomplished in less than two hours planting the pomegranates and spreading mulch over the orchard's rows, the garden's front perennial bed and more for the FHGC blueberry bed. Extension Agent Michelle Wallace was ecstatic for the gifts to the garden and shared a bounty of huge radishes for Forest Hill's sweat equity and addition to the orchard.

Russian pomegranate (Punica granatum):
These plants can survive temperatures down to 5 degrees in zones 6-11. Plus they produce an abundance of beautiful bright orange flowers over an extended period of time during the spring. Flowers and fruit are produced at a young age. Pomegranates are both self-pollinated and cross pollinated by insects. Trees grow to about 10 feet in height with and equal spread at maturity. Russian pomegranates prefer full sun for best fruit production but will tolerate some light shade. They are adaptable to almost any type of soil providing the soil is well-drained and quite drought tolerant when established.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Books: The Paper Garden: An Artist Begins Her Life's Work at 72

The Paper Garden: An Artist Begins Her Life's Work at 72
Author:  Molly Peacock
Paperback: 416 pages
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA; Reprint edition (April 24, 2012)
ISBN-10: 1608196976
ISBN-13: 978-1608196975

From Amazon...
In 1772, upon the death of her second husband, Mary Delany arose from her grief, picked up a pair of scissors, and, at the age of seventy-two, created a new art form: mixed-media collage.

Over the next decade, Mrs. Delany produced an astonishing 985 botanically correct, breathtaking cut-paper flowers, now housed in the British Museum and referred to as the Flora Delanica.

Nest Fragrances and Laura Slatkin collaborated with
master perfumers to translate the works of Mrs. Mary Delany
into fragrances and adorn the products' packaging. 

As she tracks the extraordinary life of Delany—friend of George Frideric Handel and Jonathan Swift—internationally acclaimed poet Molly Peacock weaves in delicate parallels in her own life and, in doing so, creates a profound and beautiful examination of the nature of creativity and art. This gorgeously designed book, featuring thirty-five full-color illustrations, is to be devoured as voraciously as one of the court dinners it describes. 

Friday, May 1, 2015

May Calendar of Triangle Gardening Programs

Bamboo (Phyllostachys viridis 'Robert Young') and Japanese-style arched bridge in the Culberson Asiatic Arboretum. Photo by Rick Fisher.
Sarah P. Duke Gardens
420 Anderson St., Durham, NC.
Please call 919-668-1707 to register.

Plant Propagation: Cuttings  
Tuesday, May 5, 2015, 10:30 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Course meets for 2 sessions
Tuesday, May 5, 2015, 3-4 p.m.
Wednesday, May 13, 2015, 4-6 p.m.
Course meets for 4 sessions
Thursday, May 14, 2015, 10:30 a.m.-2 p.m.
Tuesday, May 19, 2015, 10:30 a.m.-12 p.m.
Tuesday, May 19, 2015, 6:30-8 p.m.
Wednesday, May 20, 2015, 7-8:30 p.m.
Thursday, May 21, 2015, 10:30 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Thursday, May 21, 2015, 6:30-8 p.m. 

Gala in the Garden: "Stop and Smell the Roses"
will be held at the JC Raulston Arboretum
Sunday, May 3, 2015.
JC Raulston Arboretum
Ruby C. McSwain Education Center, JC Raulston Arboretum
4415 Beryl Road, Raleigh, NC.

Gala in the Garden: Stop and Smell the Roses
Sunday, May 3, 2015, 3:30 p.m.–7 p.m.Stop and Smell the Roses … at a garden party that will entertain the family, friends, and business associates … while supporting the JC Raulston Arboretum.

Plantsmen's Tour: "Spring is in Full Swing"
Mark Weathington, Director
Tuesday, May 5, 2015 – 9 a.m.–10:30 a.m.
Tuesday, May 5, 2015 – 6 p.m.–7:30 p.m. 
 Friends of the Arboretum Lecture: "Five Simple Tasks for Great Roses"
David Pike, President and CEO, Witherspoon Rose Culture
Thursday, May 14, 2015 – 7:30 p.m.–9 p.m.

Pollinator Garden Workshop
Elsa Youngsteadt, Margarita López-Uribe, April Hamblin, Anne Spafford, and Bernadette Clark, Department of Entomology and Department of Horticultural Science, NC State University
Saturday, May 16, 2015 – 8:30 a.m.–11:30 a.m.

"Native Southeastern Medicinal Plants"
will be held May 17 at NCBG.
North Carolina Botanical Gardens
100 Old Mason Farm Road, Chapel Hill, NC.

Meet Roy Underhill
Sunday, May 3, 2015, 4-5 p.m.
The Longleaf Pine Forest in the American South
Sunday, May 5, 2015, 7-8 p.m.

Family Gardening Series: Herbs
Saturday, May 9, 2015, 10-11:15 a.m.

Plant Taxonomy
May 10, 2015, 1:15-4:45 p.m.
Sundays, May 10, 17, 31; 1:15–4:45 p.m.
Mother's Day Tree Walk at Mason Farm
Sunday, May 10, 2015, 2-4:30 p.m.

LUNCHBOX Series: Urban Landscaping for Wildlife
Wednesday, May 13, 2015, 12-1 p.m.

LUNCHBOX Series: Bending Sticks: The Documentary
Thursday, May 14, 2015, 12-1 p.m. 

Penny's Bend Wild Blue Indigo Hike
May 16, 2015, 9:30 a.m.-1 p.m.

Flowering Plant Families
Saturday, May 16, 2015, 1-4 p.m.

Native Southeastern Medicinal Plants
Sunday, May 17, 2015, 1:30-4:30 p.m.