Monday, August 31, 2015

September Calendar of Triangle Gardening Programs

Caterpillarology – The Study of Pollinator Precursors
will be held Sept. 20, 2:30 - 4:30 p.m. at the NCBG.
Ornamental grasses are the focus of programs
 at all of the university gardens during September.
Sarah P. Duke Gardens
420 Anderson St., Durham, NC.
Please call 919-668-1707 to register.
Soil Preparation 
Sept. 13, 3, 6:30 - 8:00 p.m.
Sept. 8, 2:30 - 4:00 p.m.
Sept. 11, 10:30 - 11:30 a.m.

Sept. 12, 9:30 - 11:30 a.m.

Sept. 12, 10:00 - 11:30 a.m.

The WOW Factor: Fall Containers 
Sept. 15, 10:30 a.m. - noon

Shade Gardening: Durham Garden Forum
Sept. 15, 6:30 - 8:00 p.m.

Sept. 16, 6:30 - 8:30 p.m.
Course meets for 4 sessions

Cooking from the Garden: Fresh Autumn Salads 
Sept. 19, 9:30 - 11:30 a.m.

Seeds of the Future
Sept. 24, 6:30 - 8:30 p.m.
Fall Plant Sale
Sept. 26, 8:00 a.m. to noon
JC Raulston Arboretum
Ruby C. McSwain Education Center, JC Raulston Arboretum
4415 Beryl Road, Raleigh, NC.
Plantsmen's Tour : "Amber Waves"
Mark Weathington, Director
Sept. 1, 2015 – 9:00 10:30 a.m. and 6:00 7:30 p.m.  
Late summer is an ideal time to appreciate the texture and color of grasses in the landscape.
Sept. 17, 8:15 a.m.

Drawing in Nature III: Botanical Illustration with Watercolor
Preston Montague, Landscape Designer and Botanical Illustrator
Sept. 19, 9:00 am
North American Rock Garden Society (Piedmont Chapter) Lecture: "Deep-rooted Wisdom: Stories from Generations of Gardeners"
Sept. 19, 10:00 a.m. 
Sponsored by the Piedmont Chapter of the North American Rock Garden Society in Cooperation with the JC Raulston Arboretum
Jenks Farmer

Landscape Potential III: Designing for Songbirds with Shrubs and Trees
Preston Montague, Landscape Designer and Botanical Illustrator
Sept. 19, 1:00 p.m.
North Carolina Botanical Gardens
100 Old Mason Farm Road, Chapel Hill, NC.

Native Plants for Pollinators
Sept. 3, noon - 1:00 p.m.
Learn about some great native plants that will help support pollinators in your home landscape. This talk focuses on native perennials and shrubs that provide nectar and pollen throughout the growing season, host plants for butterfly and moth caterpillars to feed on, and grasses and other cover plants to provide habitat. FREE, pre-registration required.

Pollinator Garden Tours at Chatham Mills
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. Meet on the sidewalk in front of Chatham Marketplace in Pittsboro. For more information: FREE, NO REGISTRATION REQUIRED.

Gardening for Pollinators
Sept. 12, 9:30 - 11:30 a.m.
Event is Full: Accepting Wait List Registrations
This workshop will help you recognize some native bees, understand their
relationships with plants, and support them with bee-friendly gardens. Appropriate for novice gardeners, but something for everyone—including plants to take home!

Native Seed Propagation
Sept. 12, 1:30 - 4:30 p.m.
This workshop is intended for a broad audience. Learn seed propagation techniques for native perennials and woody plants. Topics include seed collection methods, post-collection handling, cleaning equipment and techniques, seed storage, seed sowing techniques, sowing media, cultural requirements of seedlings, and dormancy requirements.

Plein Air
Sundays, September, 13, October 11, 18, 25; 1:15 – 4:45 p.m.
Plein Air Painting in the Garden is an elective four-week course designed to teach the basic techniques and tools of painting outdoors using watercolor. The nature landscapes in the Botanical Garden serve as the subject for the paintings.

Bee Health in an Urban Landscape
Sept. 13, 2:00 - 3:00 p.m.
This talk will describe how suburbanization of the landscape has affected bee biodiversity in Raleigh and Durham, NC and the pollination services bees provide to wild growing plants.

Sculpture in the Garden Preview Party
Sept. 19, 4:30 - 7:00 p.m.
Preview Party will highlight the natural interplay between fine art and garden finery. Come meet the sculptors and celebrate the award winners.

Caterpillarology – The Study of Pollinator Precursors
Sept. 20, 2:30 - 4:30 p.m.
Join local naturalist Mike Dunn as he shares some of the secrets of the lives of local caterpillars. 

Landscape for Life
Saturdays September 26, October 3, 10, 17, 24 9:30 am - 12:00 p.m. 

Landscape For Life shows you how to work with nature in your garden, no matter where you live, whether you garden on a city or suburban lot, a 20–acre farm, or the common area of your condominium.

WonderFest: Music and Magic in the Garden
Sept. 26, 5:30 - 8:00 p.m.
Wear your most magical costume and join us for a fun-filled evening of hands-on nature activities and music in the Garden!

Cooperative Extension

Lawn Care in the Piedmont: Success, Failures and Muddling Through
Sept. 13, 3 - 4 p.m.
South Regional Library, 4505 S. Alston Avenue, Durham, North Carolina 27713

Presentation by Charles Murphy
Register online at the Durham County Library website
 Click on "Events" to find the full calendar of events. Go to the date of the class and sign up. You can also call the Information Desk at South Regional Library to register: 919-560-7410.  

Sunday, August 30, 2015

God's (Green) House: Church in New Zealand is the Epitome of Going Green

Tree Church
The Tree Church in Ohaupo, New Zealand. Ray Dixon, Cloudcutter Photography.

New Zealander Barry Cox has created a green church made entirely of living plants on his property in the town of Ohaupo. Walls built of copper sheen are covered with a fa├žade of camellia black tie, acer globosum, and thuja pyramidalis. Cut-leaf alder is slowly growing in as the chapel’s roof, but for now sunlight dapples the earthen floor, wooden pews, and Italian marble altar.
tree church
The lush church is still growing in. 
Cox, who runs his own tree-relocation service, built the church around an iron frame that he will remove once the trees and other plants grow strong enough to support the structure on their own. The 100-seat church is just a small part of his three-acre sanctuary, which features a labyrinth modeled after the ancient city of Jericho and a reception tent made from an old military parachute.
Cox intended that the structure would be a personal retreat, but increasing interest from his friends and family prompted his decision to open the church and gardens to the public. The venue will be available to rent out for weddings and other events.

Tree Church, 119 West Road, Ohaupo, New Zealand;

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

GCNC District 9 Meeting in Durham, Oct. 22

for web dist 9

District 9 Meeting

 Oct 22, 2015

St. Luke's Episcopal Church

1737 Hillandale Road, Durham, NC 27705  

Speaker Dr. Manny Reyes on


Natuculture makes the unnatural, natural.
Natuclture is any human-made system that mimics nature in human disturbed landscapes.
It involves designing biologically engineered systems to harmonize with nature.
Registration due Oct. 10:

Friday, August 21, 2015

National Honey Bee Day, August 22

 August 22nd is National Honey Bee Day!

In an effort to help feed a bee, NC State Extension Master Gardener Volunteers in Durham County have partnered with Bayer’s Bee Care Center to distribute free packets of wildflower seeds. 

You can get your free packet of wildflower seeds at public events where you find Durham County Master Gardener Volunteers like the Durham Farmers Markets.
See more about National Honey Bee Day at:

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Plant a Fall Garden

Harvest purple broccoli sprouting shoots before they flower
and remove all shoots from the plant.
Photo from
By Charlotte D. Glen
Agriculture Agent - Horticulture Chatham County

If excessive heat and drought ruined your summer garden or you never planted one, you now have a second chance. Many favorite cool weather vegetables can be planted over the next month for harvest through fall and into winter. Visit your local garden center or farmers market to shop for young plants. If you are more adventurous, many crops can also be grown from seed if sown within the next few weeks.

Cole Crops and Greens

When planted in late summer, hardy long-lived crops such as kale, collards, and cabbage will remain productive through early winter and longer if provided extra protection by a cold frame or heavy weight row cover. These plants can be established from transplants purchased at garden centers and planted in early September or from seed sown in August. Seeds can be sown direct in the soil or started in containers of potting mix and transplanted to the garden in four to six weeks.

If you like kale, seek out heirloom types like ‘Red Russian’ and ‘Toscano’, both of which produce tender leaves with excellent flavor. For a different experience with cabbage, try one of the pointed head varieties, such as ‘Early Jersey Wakefield’. These cone shaped types, sometimes referred to as spring cabbage, are delicious and will be ready to harvest weeks earlier than round headed varieties.

This is also the time to seed broccoli, cauliflower, lettuce, spinach, Swiss chard, and Chinese cabbage. If you only need a few plants or don’t have space to start seedlings, you can purchase young plants in early September - just be sure to plant them by the middle of the month so they have time to mature before the depths of winter.

Root Crops and More

Root crops do not like to be disturbed and are best established by sowing seed in the garden where they are to grow. If you would like to grow turnips, beets, parsnips, carrots, radish, or rutabaga, plant the seed direct in your garden within the next month. For something different, consider kohlrabi. This cabbage relative makes a bulb just above ground level that can be sliced and eaten raw or added to salads or stir fries.

When sowing seed direct in the garden, first cultivate the soil and rake it level to create a smooth seed bed. Sow seed in one to two foot wide patches or single rows. Vegetables seeded in late summer are typically planted deeper than when seeded in spring – up to twice as deep. This is because soils are warmer and drier. Seeds sown too close to the soil surface are prone to drying out, resulting in poor germination.

Be sure to keep newly seeded areas consistently moist since young seedlings die quickly if allowed to dry out. Don’t forget to thin seedlings once they start growing. Leave enough space between plants for them to reach mature size. For example, carrots only need to be thinned so individual plants stand approximately two inches apart while cabbages should be thinned or planted to allow at least one foot between plants.

Other fall crops that are commonly seeded direct in the garden include lettuce and mesclun mixes, arugula, turnip greens, and mustard. These can be planted anytime during the next month, as can the cool season herbs parsley, cilantro, and dill. When growing parsley from seed, soak the seed in water for several hours before sowing to improve germination.

Onions, Garlic and Herbs

Other vegetables you can start from seed now for harvest this fall include leeks and green onions, but wait until late September to sow onion seed and to plant shallot bulbs and garlic cloves, which will not be ready for harvest until next spring.

Fall is also a great time to plant perennial herbs, including sage, chives, oregano, and thyme. Be sure to plant these drought tolerant plants in well-drained soil or raised beds where they will get several hours of direct sun each day.

Learn More!
More great vegetable gardening resources from NC State Extension:
Vegetable Planting Calendar:
Growing a Fall Vegetable Garden:
Additional Resources:

Seed Sources

Can’t find the seed you want locally? Looking for something different to grow from seed? Lots of seed companies offer free catalogs and take orders online. Here are some of my favorites:

Johnny's Seed: Flowers, vegetables, herbs, cover crops and excellent information! Request a catalog at
Seed Savers Exchange - dedicated to preserving heirloom varieties:
Seeds of Change - specializing in organically produced seed:
J.L. Hudson - No color picture but lots of interesting varieties - carries only open pollinated varieties (which means you can save your own seed and they will come true to type):
Sow True Seed – specializing in heirloom and open pollinated varieties. Based in Asheville, NC:
Select Seeds - specializing in heirloom flowers:
Burpee Seed - one of the oldest in the country!
Park Seed - located in Greenville, SC:

Use Extension Search to find research based information from Cooperative Extension systems across the U.S. or post your questions to be answered online via Extension's 'Ask an Expert' widget.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Van Gogh in a Vase: Late Summer Bouquet Inspired by Van Gogh and BBQ Condiments

Vincent van Gogh’s 1888 painting ‘The Red Vineyards at Arles’ 
        Photo: HIP/Art Resource, NY
Deep blue delphinium and purple salvia in this
bouquet echo the cooler hues found in
Vincent van Gogh’s 1888 painting
‘The Red Vineyards at Arles’ that help to mellow
the canvas’s fiery red and yellow colors. 
                    Photo by Stephen Kent Johnson for WSJ,
Flower Styling by Lindsey Taylor,
Prop Styling by Carla Gonzalez-Hart
By Lindsey Taylor
WSJ, Aug. 11, 2015

LONG AGO, when my parents’ summer cookout menus dictated a lot of mustard and ketchup, I developed a bias against pairing the colors red and yellow. I was more of a relish girl.

It’s important, however, to push yourself beyond your comfort zone on occasion. So, as the inspiration for this month’s flower arrangement, I chose “The Red Vineyards at Arles,” an 1888 painting by Vincent van Gogh that was, incidentally, the only canvas that he sold in his lifetime.

Even though the red-and-yellow color combination is one of my least favorites, the painting’s energetic palette reminds me of the “hot” colors found in gardens during the month of August, when sunflowers, helenium, goldenrod, amaranthus, black-eyed susans and red dahlias are blazing up the borders.

When I started to really analyze the canvas’s color scheme, I noticed how some of the quieter, and cooler, hues help mellow the harshness of the red and yellow. Note the periwinkle blue of the field workers’ uniforms and the creamy white brush strokes that accent the field, the sky above and its reflection in the water. Without these touches, the painting might have been too strident.

In keeping with the painting’s French country feel, I selected a simple copper bucket with a greenish-blue patina that picks up on the mad mix of colors found in the horse-drawn cart in the middle distance as well as the far-off tree line.

When it came to the blooms, I gathered
orange and red dahlias, bright yellow yarrow and billy buttons in a mustard yellow (deeper than the Kraft-brand glop of my youth) to represent the painting’s vines as they metamorphose into their fall colors. To echo the blue and cream mentioned above, I tucked in stems of indigo delphinium, purple salvia and white coreopsis.
Admittedly, my lifelong prejudice against red-and-yellow is still intact. But this arrangement opened my mind to the way that softening that palette with ameliorating shades can make it more, well, palatable, whether it’s for a bouquet, a larger patch of garden or an interior. And maybe even a hot dog.

Related: A Tour of van Gogh’s Picture-Perfect French Village

Thursday, August 13, 2015

"Almanac Gardener" Stays Evergreen 32 Years

By Dee Shore
NCSU College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, August 1, 2015

For “Almanac Gardener,” the questions keep coming: How do I get rid of moles and voles? Which grasses are the best for lawns around here? How can I avoid blossom end rot on my tomatoes? …

Over the 32 years that UNC-TV and Cooperative Extension at NC State University have worked together to produce the 30-minute how-to horticulture show, viewers have posed literally thousands of questions. …

 "Almanac Gardener" host Mike Gray (far right) answers
viewer questions with an Extension agent panel of,
from left to right, Bill Lord, Karen Neill and Jeana Myers.
Do I really need to take a soil sample? Will animal hair keep deer out of my garden? …

While the questions run the gamut, the answers, says show host Mike Gray, all come down to one thing: research.

To help people protect their landscape and gardening investment and keep North Carolina’s environment green and healthy, Gray says, “‘Almanac Gardener’ gives viewers answers that they can count on – answers that are based on research.”

And a recent online audience survey showed that gardeners are pleased with the science-based information they are getting from the show: 98 percent of respondents said they were better able to select plants suitable to locations, and about 80 percent said they’d changed the way they control pests, apply fertilizers and manage water in their landscapes based on what they’d learned.
Findings like those, plus viewer mail that includes words such as “informative,” “captivating” and “useful,” make Gray proud.

Gray has been with “Almanac Gardener” for longer than there’s been an actual “Almanac Gardener” – so long, in fact, that some people call him The Almanac Gardener. Gray joined Cooperative Extension in 1974, back when the 5-year-old show was known as “Backyard Gardener.”

The name change came in 1983, but the show’s formula has remained basically the same: Short feature stories take viewers out across North Carolina to see and hear about some of the latest trends in gardening and landscaping: For example, upcoming features cover moss gardening, growing medicinal herbs and a method of design known as pattern language.

Each show also includes a panel discussion among Cooperative Extension horticulture experts. Two of the most familiar faces on the panel are Bill Lord, area environmental education agent based in Franklin County, and Karen Neill, horticulture agent in Guilford County. Both have been with the show for decades.

Other regulars include Dr. Lucy Bradley, of NC State’s horticultural science department, and agents Jeana Myers of Wake County, Charlotte Glen of Chatham County, Amy-Lynn Albertson of Davison County; Scott Welborn of Forsyth County and Stephen Greer of Moore County.

Although they stay behind the scenes, show researcher Carolyn Alvarado, from the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences’ communications unit, and director Thomas Todd and the production crew from UNC-TV are important contributors, Gray says.

The years have been kind to “Almanac Gardener” – it’s not only a local favorite, it’s the longest-running series on UNC-TV, appealing both to long-time gardening aficionados as well as area newcomers who want to know what works in the local environment.

Staying fresh, for “Almanac Gardener” has in part meant staying true to tradition – in this case, Cooperative Extension’s 100-year tradition of embracing communications technology to reach the people of North Carolina with helpful information.

“Almanac Gardener” is not only available to viewers on UNC-TV each week from April through September, episodes are now available on the Internet: At, you can view past features and get a glimpse of what’s ahead for this season. There are also lots of links to online publications where visitors can find answers – research-based, of course – to many gardening questions.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Liberated Gardener Frank Hyman's Fall Programs - Deer Control, Mushrooms, Perennial Vegs

Keeping deer out of the garden is the
Liberated Gardener program topic for Aug. 22.
Not Tonight Deer
Saturday, Aug. 22,10:30 am-12:30
1006 Lamond Ave. Durham, NC 27701

Deer can eat up your garden whether you're in the country, the city or the suburbs. But Frank Hyman has designed many gardens that thrive despite being in deer territory. In this program you will earn 1) the many easy-to-remember categories of beautiful plants that deer don't like, 2) see the variety of handsome deer fencing options to protect other plants that deer do like and 3) hear about inexpensive deer repellents. Program includes comfortable seating, a slide show of professional photos, a handout with resources and tips and plenty of time for Q&A.
Seating is limited. Reserve your seat at this downtown Durham program by replying to and paying in advance. Payment can be made by mailing a check for $25 or via Paypal for $30.

A Year of Edible Mushrooms in One Night 
Tuesday, Aug. 25, 7-9:30 p.m. 
1006 Lamond Ave. Durham, NC 27701

Want to learn to safely identify morels, chanterelles and other edible fungi? Mushroom seasons come and go. But you can learn about an entire year's worth of more than a dozen edible, easy(ish) to identify mushrooms presented in one sitting. How to cook and preserve mushrooms will also be shared. Frank Hyman has harvested a 33-pound mushroom, made $100/hour selling mushrooms and has taught chefs and organic farmers how to forage mushrooms. He wrote the Feral Food column for Urban Farm magazine. Program includes comfortable seating, a slide show of professional photos, display of tools and field guides, a handout with resources and tips, plenty of time for Q&A.
Seating is limited. Reserve your seat at this downtown Durham program by replying to
and paying in advance. Payment can be made by mailing a check for $35 or via Paypal for $40.

Learn how to spot some of the edible mushrooms in NC on Aug. 25.

Ditch Your Day Job
Saturday, Aug. 29, 10 a.m.-1 p.m.
1006 Lamond Ave. Durham, NC 27701

Are you a creative person whose day job is getting in your way? Learn how creative people can be their own boss, stay true to themselves, make a good living and ditch that darn day job. Frank Hyman has made a great living without a day job for 23 years by using his creative skills in nine fields: stone masonry, photography, carpentry, design, writing, sculpture, political organizing, gardening and foraging. Here's a link to his essay in the NY Times about his worklife: He'll share practical steps for turning your creative skills into cash flows such as the 9% rule, the 3-legged stool of creativity, the 3-legged stool of successful self-employment, how-to-get-out-of-your-own way and more. Comfortable yet limited seating, short, introductory slideshow of professional quality images, a handout with resources and tips, plenty of Q&A time.
 Seating is limited. Reserve your seat at this downtown Durham program by replying to and paying in advance. Payment can be made by mailing a check for $45 or via Paypal for $50.

Perennial Vegetables and Fruits for the Home Garden

Saturday, Sept. 12, 10 a.m.-1 p.m. 
1412 N. Mangum St., Durham, NC 27701

Enjoy a tour that covers a dozen delicious and drought-hardy perennial vegetables (Artichoke, Ground Nut, Solomon Seal, Asparagus and more) as well as ten sweet fruiting trees, brambles and shrubs like purple raspberry, figs, Yuzu citrus, bush cherry and more. They're perennials, so you plant them only once but harvest from them every year. Rain or shine, dress appropriately. Garden tour, refreshments, handout, plenty of Q&A time.
It’s a small garden so space is limited. Reserve your spot at this downtown Durham program by replying to and paying in advance. Payment can be made by mailing a check for $30 or via Paypal for $35.

Containers for Edibles + Ornamentals + Low Maintenance
Sept. 19, Saturday, 10 a.m.-1 p.m.

1412 N. Mangum St., Durham, NC 27701

Learn how to plant containers that survive droughts, produce flowers or food and look great with minimal attention. This hands-on demo and tour will cover herbs, dwarf citrus trees, flowers, edibles, orchids, houseplants, free supplies, potting soils, funky containers, permanent mulches and more.
Rain or shine, dress appropriately. Garden tour, refreshments, handout, plenty of Q&A time.
It’s a small garden so space is limited. Reserve your space at this downtown Durham program by replying to and paying in advance by either sending a check for $35 or via Paypal for $40.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Lessons from Garden Designer Edmund Hollander's Own Unassuming Oasis

Garden designer Edmund Hollander’s lawn is a mix of bluegrass, fescue and clover, and the patio is bluestone. The pool is saltwater, a choice made because it requires fewer chemicals and ‘feels like swimming in silk,’ he said. This elite landscape architect’s own Sag Harbor backyard is modest proof that a low-maintenance garden need not lack refinement. Photo: Stephen Kent Johnson for WSJ
See article and slideshow of tips for clean, low maintenance backyard:

Books: New Junior Garden Book: Cool projects for kids to make and grow

New Junior Garden Book: Cool projects for kids to make and grow (Better Homes & Gardens)
Better Homes and Gardens Books, Rushing, Felder
Published by Better Homes and Gardens, 1999
ISBN 10: 0696208490
ISBN 13: 9780696208492

Unlike other children’s books, this one talks to kids, not their parents. Vibrant copy and zany illustrations will excite them about digging in the dirt, planting, making special projects, and loving nature.
  • 38 kid-tested and kid-approved projects for young gardeners ages 6-14.
  • More than 50 illustrations energize the book.
  • Every page piques kids’ curiosity about plants and sparks their creativity.
  • Primer on tools, identification of plant parts, and simple vocabulary.
  • Easy-to-follow format makes gardening doable.
  • All projects include materials that can easily be found around the house.
  • Teaches how to create garden spaces from a recycled pop bottle planter to a raised garden bed.
  • Long-term projects are paired with short-term crafts.
  • Step-by-step instructions and illustrations, plus color photographs of finished projects.
Features children’s gardens from the American Horticultural Society and Garden Clubs of America.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Emerald Ash Borer Public Meeting for Durham Co., Aug. 20

Tunneling damage patterns created by the emerald ash borer.
Information will be presented by the North Carolina Forest Service and NCDA&CS Plant Industry Division about the emerald ash borer, management options, and the quarantine which effects the movement of ash logs and all hardwood firewood.

The Orange/Durham meeting is scheduled for August 20 at 9 a.m. The meeting is being held at the Orange County Whitted Human Services Center (Building A) Room 230, 300 W. Tryon St., Hillsborough, NC.

Below are the links to the news releases from the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services about Wake, Orange and Durham Counties being added to the emerald ash borer quarantine.
Orange and Durham Counties

Addition information about the emerald ash borer and the quarantine can be found at these websites.

Council Business Meeting, Yearbook Distribution set for Sept. 1

The Durham Council of Garden Clubs will meet for its first business meeting of the 2015-2016 fiscal year on Tuesday, September 1, 2015 at the historical John Sprunt Hill House in Durham.

The business meeting will begin at 10 a.m. Durham Garden Club presidents and Council representatives will have an opportunity to receive the new Council Yearbooks for their members. Also on the agenda is a review and vote to approve the 2015-2016 Budget, discuss and preview the District 9 Meeting on Oct. 22, and discuss the GCNC Annual Meeting in April 2016.