Tuesday, June 30, 2015

July Calendar of Triangle Gardening Programs

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

Music in the Gardens: Laurelyn Dossett
Wednesday, July 1, 7-9 p.m.
Tuesday, July 7, 7:30-9 p.m.
Tuesday, July 14, 10 a.m. thru Thu, July 16, 3 p.m.
Durham Garden Forum Gardeners Fair
Tuesday, July 21, 6:30-8 p.m.

JC Raulston Arboretum
Ruby C. McSwain Education Center, JC Raulston Arboretum
4415 Beryl Road, Raleigh, NC.
Plantsmen's Tour: "Interns' Top Picks"
Tuesday, July 7, 9 a.m. and 6 p.m.
Drawing in Nature I: Botanical Illustration with Pencil and Pen
Preston Montague, Landscape Designer and Botanical Illustrator
Saturday, July 11, 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. 

Saturday, July 25
Hypertufa Trough Workshop
Beth Jimenez and Amelia Lane, Lasting Impressions and JCRA Volunteers
9 a.m.      
Drawing in Nature I: Botanical Illustration with Pencil and Pen
Preston Montague, Landscape Designer and Botanical Illustrator
9 a.m.        
Orchid Growers Day
Hosted by the Triangle Orchid Society in Cooperation with the JC Raulston Arboretum
9:30 a.m.        
Cast Concrete Leaf Birdbath Workshop
Beth Jimenez and Amelia Lane, JCRA Volunteers
1 p.m.
North Carolina Botanical Gardens
100 Old Mason Farm Road, Chapel Hill, NC.

Common Native Bees Slideshow and Garden Foray
Sunday, July 26, 2:30-4:30 p.m.

Emerald Ash Borer found in the Triangle, Wake Co. under quarantine

RALEIGH – Evidence of EAB was found by the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services staff in woods near the Raleigh-Durham International Airport.
“This brings the total counties in the state under EAB quarantine rules to seven, with detections in Granville, Person, Vance and Warren counties in 2013 and Wayne County earlier this year,” Troxler said. “We continue to monitor other counties for this highly destructive pest by trapping areas with ash trees. If you see the purple, triangle-shaped traps, please do not disturb them.”
The beetle was first detected in the United States in Michigan in 2002. It is responsible for the death or decline of tens of millions of ash trees across the country.
Under the state quarantine, all hardwood firewood and plants and plant parts of the ash tree -- including living, dead, cut or fallen, green lumber, stumps, roots, branches and composted and uncomposted chips -- cannot be moved outside the county.

The Plant Industry Division and the N.C. Forest Service are working in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.
Symptoms of emerald ash borer in ash trees include a general decline in the appearance of the tree, such as thinning from the top down and loss of leaves. Clumps of shoots, also known as epicormic sprouts, emerging from the trunk of the tree and increased woodpecker activity are other symptoms. The emerald ash borer is not the only pest that can cause these.
Emerald ash borers overwinter as larvae. The adult beetle is one-fourth to a half-inch long and is slender and metallic green. When the adults emerge from a tree, they leave behind a D-shaped exit hole. The larvae can also create serpentine tunneling marks, known as feeding galleries, which are found under the bark of the infested trees.
For entire news release, please see link: http://www.ncagr.gov/paffairs/release/2015/6-16WakeEAB.htm

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Farm to Table: Farm Fresh Bouquets

Remember to source local flowers and vegetables at the Durham Farmers Markets!
Floral bouquets by Ladybug Farm and MamaSpring at the South Durham Farmers Market.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

A Bouquet That's and Ode to Bohemian Living

The Arrangement: A loose collection of garden cuttings,
 such as the blue hydrangea and white peonies in this
arrangement, wouldn’t feel out of place in the domestic
 interior depicted in Robert Dash’s 1965 painting ‘Afternoon #2.’
 Photo: Stephen Kent Johnson for WSJ, Flower styling
 by Lindsey Taylor, prop styling by Carla Gonzalez-Hart.
The Inspiration:  Robert Dash’s 1965 painting ‘Afternoon #2’
        Photo: Parrish Art Museum, Water Mill, N.Y.
By Lindsey Taylor          

Had I been born in another generation, perhaps I would have tagged along with the committed bohemians who populated the East End of Long Island, N.Y., in the 1950s, ’60s and ’70s, when artists such as Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning and Jane Freilicher colonized the area.

Among those drawn to the area’s then-cheap historic homes, creative pursuits and unfrenzied mood was Robert W. Dash (1931-2013), an American painter, poet and gardener. In 1967, he bought a cluster of 18th- and 19th-century farm buildings in Sagaponack, where he would live and work until his death in 2013, painting landscapes of strawberry and potato fields along with scenes of quotidian life. He also experimented with plant combinations, colors and textures in his much-admired garden, which he named Madoo, an Old Scottish word that means “my dove.” (On June 19, the annual event “Much Ado About Madoo” opens there, showcasing works by Mr. Dash that will be on view over the summer.)

My jumping-off-point for this month’s arrangement, “Afternoon #2,” is a moody 60-by-60-inch canvas that I stared at fixedly in an exhibition at the Parrish Art Museum in Water Mill, N.Y., last year. Painted in 1965, it depicts the interior of the Southampton home of Mr. Dash’s close friend, artist Fairfield Porter, where the two would often paint together.

Taking cues from the periwinkle walls in the painting, I started with seasonal, blue hydrangeas, then used pure white peonies and a hit of mountain laurel to represent the white and green patches that stretch from the blurry bouquet in the piece’s foreground to the verdant lawn seen through the window. Plum-colored drumstick alliums stand in for the table in the far room. For the vase, I found a cream-colored ironstone pitcher at a flea market, one I imagined Mr. Dash using to pour out some midcentury concoction. Off to one side, I dangled some clematis to emphasize the looseness I was going for.

In other words, nothing fancy or trying too hard, just easy gestures, as reflected in the varied heights of the flowers. I wanted the arrangement to feel like a casual assortment of garden cuttings, with a rhythm that might echo the improvisational.


Sunday, June 21, 2015

The Queen's Sustainable Gardens

One of the many graceful scenes taken from the gardens at Buckingham Palace in the documentary, The Queen's Gardens. Image from PBS.org.
June is the coronation anniversary month of British monarch Queen Elizabeth II, and what better way to celebrate her 63rd anniversary than to take a video tour of her Buckingham Palace gardens.

Oxford Scientific Films created a 55 minute documentary about the 39 acres of gardens that you can watch in its entirety on the PBS website:  http://www.pbs.org/program/queens-garden/. (And don't forget to show your support for the network while you are there!)

In addition to the video, the Official Website of the British Monarchy The Queen's Gardens highlights the many sustainable practices employed in the garden from water recycling to composting, biodiesel, a 10% turf mandate, reseeding practices and more:

Mark Lane, Gardens Manager at Buckingham Palace, describes a number of initiatives
which ensure that the gardens at The Queen's residences will look their best whilst encouraging wildlife and plant life to thrive without any detrimental effects on the environment:

"At Buckingham Palace, 99% of green waste is recycled on site. Green waste includes grass cuttings, twigs, branches and 'arisings' (soiled straw from the stables in the Royal Mews).

"Waste is also brought in from Kensington Palace and Marlborough House grounds. This is put through a shredder so that bacteria can operate more quickly on smaller pieces of material.

"The waste is regularly turned until it has rotted sufficiently to be used as mulch. We then use this when preparing new flower beds. The mulch protects plants from heat and cold, retains water, suppresses weed germination and prevents soil from being washed away in the rain."

Encouraging wildlife to flourish
Large pieces of wood are stacked in piles in the Palace grounds. These piles provide habitats for a variety of flora and fauna, including beetles, spiders and fungi.

Tree stumps are not removed, but are left to rot away naturally, providing a perfect environment for insects to lay their eggs and hatch their larvae in. Dead trees are also left alone, with one such tree at the bottom of the Rose Garden currently providing a habitat for a family of Woodpeckers.

"The use of pesticides is kept to a minimum, and the aim is that eventually they will be phased out completely," says Mr Lane.

"Whereas weed killer was once used on the paths of the Buckingham Palace grounds, now a weed burning machine is used instead. This breaks up the cells of living plants so that they explode through heat, meaning that there is no need for chemicals which could potentially be harmful to wildlife."

Recent surveys have shown that five damsel and seven dragonfly species live in or near the lake, and 42 species of birds have been seen in the garden. The highlights of the sightings were of Kingfisher, Woodcock, Chiffchaff and Redwing. Since 2009 the garden has supported four successful bee hives positioned on the island, surrounded in the summer by wildflowers.

Sustaining plant life
Sustainable plant life is encouraged, with a long grass policy currently in use over approximately 10% of the Buckingham Palace garden area. 
Around 320 different types of wildflowers grow in these areas, such as Creeping Buttercup and Herb Robert, and are allowed to go through an entire yearly cycle of growth (including seed spreading), before the grasses are cut at the end of August.

This means that wildflowers are allowed to reproduce and sustain themselves without interference. In addition, an 800 metre stretch of ground around the edge of the lake is cut on a rotational basis every 4 years, again, allowing flora and fauna to prosper uninterrupted. As well as sustaining existing flora and fauna, new wildlife and plant life is also encouraged. Over the last 10 years, many more seed bearing plants have been introduced into the garden; these encourage a wealth of bird life to come into the Palace grounds to feed during the winter months.

More native plants have also been brought in. Seed bearing plants include a wide variety of Cotoneaster and Rowans, and natives have included the Aspen and female Black Poplar. Mr. Lane adds:

"We also ensure that the machinery which is used for the upkeep of the gardens is environmentally sound. The weed burning machine runs off the same liquid petroleum gas supply which is used for The Duke of Edinburgh's taxi. Biodegradable diesel, lubricants and oils are used in lawn mowers and other pieces of machinery."

The Queen's gardeners, along with the rest of the Royal Household staff, are committed to remaining as 'green' as possible.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

A Map of North Carolina for Nature Lovers

In 1937 the Garden Club of North Carolina, Inc. commissioned Mabel Pugh, Art Instructor at Peace College in Raleigh to design a map depicting major areas of the state and featuring the birds and flora of the state. Thus “A Map of North Carolina for Nature Lovers” was created.

In 2001 the Standing Committee for the Martha Franck Fragrance Garden, located at the Governor Morehead School for the Blind in Raleigh, requested permission to offer reprints of this map to assist in funding the initial installation of this third garden endorsed by the state organization. These were sold primarily to garden club members throughout the state. In 2005 Trustees of the Garden Club of North Carolina, under President Dr. Rusty Van Pelt, granted permission to Jane McPhaul, Inc. to print a smaller edition of the map.

The 2014 ‘green’ edition is 24.5” x 14.5”, 65#, 10% recycled, acid free paper. A portion of the proceeds will go to the Franck Garden to continue the development of Phase Three of the Master Plan, known as the Children’s Plaza. The final design to be installed in this section is the North Carolina Garden, featuring: tactile symbols of the State; the Great Seal; the flag; a land map of the State; and the “Toast to North Carolina”

The map's price is $30. Contact Jane McPhaul for details on payment and shipping. jhmcphaul@nc.rr.com, Jane McPhaul, Inc.

Meet the Tomato Bug!

Tomato bug adult. Note the beak tucked underneath the head.
This beak is inserted into plant tissue for feeding.
Photo by Debbie Roos.
By Debbie Roos, Extension Agent
Agriculture - Sustainable/Organic Production
Chatham County
Damage caused by tomato bug feeding.
They seem to only feed on the top half of the plants.
Photo by Debbie Roos.

I got a call from a Chatham County greenhouse tomato grower recently about an insect flying around that they had never seen. I visited the greenhouse and saw many tiny insects moving around the plant canopy. They were quite active so we brushed a few of them onto a yellow sticky card just to get a good look at them. Although it was something I had never seen I knew it was some type of Hemipteran, or true bug, by looking at the mouthparts. I sent a sample off to North Carolina State University’s Plant Disease and Insect Clinic for identification.

Our NCSU entomologist Dr. Bob Blinn identified the insect as a tomato bug, Engytatus modestus, in the family
Miridae along with tarnished plant bugs and many others. I have never heard of this insect, much less seen one! It turns out there is very little information about it but it can cause significant damage to a tomato crop (see photos below).

Both adults and nymphs feed on plants by inserting their piercing, sucking mouthparts into leaves and stems. They move quickly and the adults are good fliers. The nymphs resemble aphids but move fast. Tomato bug feeding causes leaves to shrivel and die.

I came across some references in the literature to the tomato bug being a biological control agent. I asked Dr. Blinn about this and he said the tomato bug was likely a facultative predator,
meaning it can feed on both insects and plants. There are some similar species of Mirids (e.g. Dicyphus hersperus) used as beneficial insects in tomato greenhouses to control thrips and whiteflies. What an interesting insect!

Now that you have learned a little about the tomato bug, keep your eye out for it in the field and greenhouse. Growers are advised to scout early for it. Fortunately for the greenhouse tomato grower the pest showed up towards the end of the tomato season so negative impacts from feeding damage were minimal. Since so little is known about this insect we have not been able to find any research on organic control options. NCSU entomologist Dr. Jim Walgenbach suggested that organic pesticides effective against stink bugs would likely also be effective against tomato bugs. Research has shown that neem, spinosad, and pyrethrum provide the best control of nymphs but very little control of adults. Make sure and read the labels carefully and if toxic to bees avoid spraying when they are actively foraging.


Saturday, June 13, 2015

NC Botanical Gardens - Saving Our Pollinators, June 15 - Oct. 3

The majority of all flowering plants rely on pollinators, a group of animals that includes over 200,000 species. Our food and natural habitats rely on these animals, and each of us has an active role to play in shaping their future.
The Saving Our Pollinators four-month exhibition running June 15 - Oct. 3, 2015, features 29 events, including workshops, exhibits, talks, and tours that highlight the acute plight of pollinators, including bees, birds, bats, and butterflies.

Discover the importance of our pollinators as the Garden illustrates their challenges and offers solutions to stabilize and secure their future.

Click here for detailed event program information and registration: https://reg.abcsignup.com/view/view_month.aspx…

7 Ways to Spend the Night in a Classic English Garden

Sissinghurst Castle gardens.
By Marilyn Young
WSJ, June 12, 2015

On a recent tour of English gardens, a friend and I visited Sissinghurst Castle, a 90-minute drive south of London. Home of writer Vita Sackville-West and politician-writer Harold Nicolson, the site is today run by the U.K.’s National Trust (nationaltrust.org.uk). Rather than leave at day’s end, we spent the night at the Sissinghurst Castle Farmhouse, where we took afternoon tea before returning to have the garden almost to ourselves. In the morning, we strolled the grounds again then ate breakfast in a dining room decorated, appropriately, with bouquets of yellow daffodils (from about $230 for two including tea and breakfast, Cranbrook, Kent,
Charleston was a retreat for the Bloomsbury Group.

An hour’s drive southwest of Sissinghurst, Charleston was Virginia Woolf’s sister Vanessa Bell’s country retreat until 1961. Set amid chalk hillsides in what is now the South Downs National Park, it was a sanctuary for the Bloomsbury Group and opens onto a garden filled with sculptures and flowers that inspired paintings by Ms. Bell and her lifelong companion Duncan Grant (Lewes, East Sussex, charleston.org.uk). Stay nearby at Cobbe Place Barn, the former home and pottery workshops of Ms. Woolf’s nephew and biographer Quentin Bell (from about $170 for two with breakfast, bluedoorbarns.com).

For other well-known English gardens in the counties south and west of London, with lodgings on-site or nearby, see full article:

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Exquisite Embroidery with Elisabetta Ricami a Mano

The Italian blog Elisabetta Ricami a Mano draws an international following for its splendid examples of hand embroidery. Many readers who visit–enchanted by the extraordinary ability of its talented founder–linger to experience the bliss of her journey with a needle and thread.

For needle artist Elisabetta Sforza, of San Bonifacio, Italy, childhood strolls through the ancient byways of Assisi led to creative expression. Women sat outdoors then, she recalls, embellishing linens with mythological figures rendered in powder blue or rusty brown. Captivated by this style of cross-stitch, the 7-year-old was also taken with the camaraderie among the villagers as they worked. 

Custom monograms–whether depicted with traditional padded letters or with modern floral interpretations–are a mainstay of the artist’s commissioned designs. For her garden-inspired initials, trailing vines bloom with a profusion of bullion roses and other exquisitely conceived blossoms.

Intricate botanical reproductions draw the eye with their realism. Technically, the pattern develop from a series of long and short stitches laid in sequential rows, like brushstrokes–a method referred to in Italian as punto pittura (stitch painting). The secret of such nuanced replicas, Elisabetta explains, is choosing the right palette. Graduating from pastel, sun-kissed colors to darker hues, she blends embroidery floss to form softly shaded petals that appear true to life.

For more on Elisabetta Sforza’s needlework, see “Harmony Among the Stitches,” in the
July/August 2015 issue of Victoria magazine.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

National Garden Week: June 7-13, 2015

Use this week to encourage pride in communities and cooperation among groups interested in educating the general public on the importance of general gardening information. The more involved in the community that your garden club can be, the more awareness we can generate for the National Garden Club and its mission.
Ideas include:
  • Sponsor a hands-on "How Do You Select Flowers/Shrubs for Your Garden" workshop at an area nursery.
  • Beautify a manageable blighted area with the cooperative efforts of another group.
  • Host a member garden tour. Include features such as a water garden, vegetable garden, rose garden, etc.
  • Conduct a "Get to Know Us" event at the public library.

See a national list of projects and important links on the National Garden Club website: http://www.gardenclub.org/…/ongoi…/national-garden-week.aspx

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Garden Product: Diatomaceous Earth (DE) for Organic Pest Control

DE also comes in food grade formulations,
however, the particles are small enough for
human inhalation when attempting
to treat bedbugs. Use the DE ant formula!
Diatomaceous Earth (DE) is a dust-like product that contains the crushed fossilized algae (diatoms) from fresh water. These crushed diatoms feel like powder when we rub it in our hand. But it’s very sharp to insects with delicate exoskeletons. When you apply DE, dust is ingested by the crawling insect or the insect crosses through the powder. The DE will cut their exoskeleton. This causes the insect to dehydrate and die. Insects cannot develop a resistance to it since there are no chemicals to which they can build up immunity. Not all DE is the same. This DE is made of Silicon Dioxide. This comes from a freshwater source. It is the same type as used in food-grade diatomaceous earth. Be careful of products made of Diatomite DE. It is made from unnatural sources.   
  • Diatomaceous earth dust kills ants by dehydration or ingestion
  • Treats up to 250 sq. ft.
  • Powder is ready to use directly from the container
  • Odorless to avoid a sharp insecticide smell
  • Chemically inert to help protect the environment
  • Organic Materials Review Institute (OMRI) listed


Wednesday, June 3, 2015

District 9 Holds Presidents Meeting in Hillsborough

District 9 Vice-Director Andrea Lewis calls the 2015 Presidents Meeting to order.

The Presidents Meeting of District 9 of The Garden Club of North Carolina (GCNC) met Wednesday, June  3 in Hillsborough at the Hillsborough United Methodist Church. District 9 is comprised of garden clubs from Alamance, Caswell, Durham, Granville, Orange, Person, Warren, and Vance counties. Members of the Durham Council Garden Clubs, as well as Hillsborough, Roxboro, Chapel Hill, Mebane Garden Clubs and a few others were in attendance.

Vice-Director Andrea Lewis led the meeting focusing on state awards submission by garden clubs. A total of 17 GCNC awards were not given out from lack of submission this past fiscal year. Samples of winning award entries were circulated to meeting attendees and will also be published on the website of GCNC to promote increased participation.

Marcia Loudon, First Vice President of the DCGC, then presented upcoming state and District 9 meetings to be hosted in Durham:
  • 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.

The Presidents Meeting wrapped up with garden club presidents sharing popular programs and projects they had held during the past year. For example, the Mebane Garden Club made a "worm tower" for school children and highly recommended the children's garden club projects found in the book, New Junior Garden Book: Cool projects for kids to make and grow (Better Homes & Gardens) by Better Homes and Gardens Books and Felder Rushing.