Thursday, January 28, 2016

2016 NCMA Art in Bloom Festival Seeks Designers

NCMA Art in Bloom festival will run April 7-10, 2016. Photo by NCMA.

The NC Museum of Art is hosting its second annual Art in Bloom April 7-10, and we have a few designer spots still available. Five participants from the Judges Council of GCNC will be participating again this year, plus professionals and hobbyists from all over NC and the Washington, DC  area. If you know of anyone who’d like to participate by creating a flower arrangement based on a work of art from our permanent collection will you please forward this application to them? The only requirement we have is a love of flowers and art. Spots will be filled on a first come basis. 
Laura Finan
Assistant to the Chief Deputy Director and Chief Financial Officer
North Carolina Museum of Art | (919) 664-6767

Monday, January 25, 2016

Durham Council of Garden Clubs Business Meeting: Feb. 2

The Durham Council of Garden Clubs will hold its next business meeting at 10 a.m., Tuesday, Feb. 2 at the John Sprunt Hill House, 900 S. Duke St., Durham, NC 27707.

The agenda will include an update by the Planning Committee for the Annual Meeting of The Garden Club of North Carolina, Inc., to be held in Durham April 17-19, 2016.

Council Committee Chairs should attend and present their respective reports.

In the Garden: Rare Breeds of Orchids

In a tucked-away Virginia greenhouse, two longtime enthusiasts cultivate a passion for heirloom orchids. 
By Joe Bargmann
Garden & Gun, December/January 2016
Floradise Orchids is a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it spot, a shady hideaway alongside James Madison Highway, in Gordonsville, Virginia. But as soon as you walk into the warm thick air of the arched-roof greenhouse, and you’re surrounded by the vivid colors and exotic shapes of a thousand blooms, you’ll know this isn’t your average roadside find.
Janet Cherchuck and Stephen Shifflett have been in business here, about a half hour’s drive from Charlottesville, for thirty-seven years. That’s a long time to dedicate to a singular pursuit, but then again, orchids are known to inspire devotion. “For us it’s been a sort of instinctive thing,” says Cherchuck, who met Shifflett at the University of Maryland in the seventies. She was studying library science and he horticulture, so it’s fitting that they bonded over a book about plants—Orchids You Can Grow, which Shifflett discovered in a secondhand store. The book guided him in cultivating a collection of dwarf orchids at his house (on Orchid Drive, no less).
Today, a handful of those plants are part of the much larger and more rarefied collection at Floradise. More than a thousand varieties—“We don’t really have time to get an exact count,” Cherchuck says—fill the tables and hang from the walls and metal-tube framing of 5,500 square feet of greenhouse space. With a few exceptions, most are available for purchase, and each one comes with a story. There’s the Dancing Doll orchid (Oncidium flexuosum), grown from a cutting procured from a fellow enthusiast in 1982, whose skirted flowers swivel and bob in the wind. Vanda Pakchong Blue, derived from Vanda coerula, is prized for its unusual hue and its curative powers—extracts are used to treat cataracts and glaucoma. And perhaps most impressive this time of year is an oversize beauty named Bulbophyllum echinolabium (Stinky Star), whose uniquely fragrant bloom measures fifteen inches from the top of its pointed hat to the bottom of its Fu Manchu–esque mustache.
This is an interesting time to be in the orchid business. Once costly and hard to find, orchids are now the top-selling potted flower in the United States, available for ten bucks or less at big-box stores, supermarkets, and even gas stations. The glut is due partly to a flood of imported moth orchids, or Phalaenopsis, from Taiwan.
See more beautiful orchid varieties and the full article at Garden & Gun magazine:

Saturday, January 16, 2016

KDB Community Beautification Grant Applications Due Jan 31

Keep Durham Beautiful seeks applications for its Community Beautification Grant Program. Durham-based residents, volunteer groups, non-profit organizations, businesses and educators looking to make a difference in Durham’s appearance are encouraged to apply for these semi-annual grants.

We will award competitive grants of up to $500 each to support well-defined projects that support our key objectives to reduce litter, encourage recycling, and promote community greening through tree and garden planting. “This program is a perfect example of public-private-community partnerships in action,” said executive director Tania Dautlick. “Pooling resources, Keep Durham Beautiful volunteers accomplish amazing transformations.”

The date to submit
Grant Applications for the spring funding cycle is January 31, 2016. The next round of applications will be due by July 31, 2016. For more information about grant requirements, please refer to the Grant Guidelines on the Keep Durham Beautiful Website. Questions? Contact us at or 919-354-2729.

Monday, January 11, 2016

BOOKS: 'Gardening with Confidence' by Raleigh's Helen Yoest

Editor's Note:  Raleigh Gardening Author Helen Yoest will be the keynote speaker at the Annual Meeting of the Garden Club of North Carolina, Inc., April 17-19, 2016.
Gardening with Confidence: 50 Ways to Add Style for Personal Creativity
Author: Helen Yoest
Paperback: 224 pages
Publisher: GWC Press; 1st edition (September 20, 2012)
ISBN-10: 0985416807
ISBN-13: 978-0985416805

FOREWORD: It is always a joy to learn new things and to be reminded again of others. I m always looking for resources to continue to hone my gardening design skills. Gardening with Confidence accomplishes just that. This book methodically outlines a foundation of best practices starting with the basics and adding to those building blocks to help us develop into the best gardeners that we can be. The confidence gained by understanding how to add design features, while developing our own personal style, will take us and our gardens to that next level. Gardening with Confidence 50 Ways to add style for personal creativity is a true labor of Helen Yoest s love of our common pursuit. Helen has outlined 50 ways to add style to express one s personal creativity in the garden when in fact her 50 will inspire at least 50 more ideas in us. The author covers all of the topics that any beginning gardener will want to know about and offers more seasoned gardeners many inspiring ideas. I am taken in by all the themes but particularly by all of the chapters on garden styles and your garden environment. I am crazy about moss gardening and all of the wildlife topics that she documents in her book. In this book, she instills gardening self-assurance with her relaxed and easy, non-prescribed approach. She introduces us to basic concepts and patiently explains them with an informative and gentle voice written with the ease of someone who has garnered a wealth of personal experience over the years making her an ideal guide to lead readers through all of the helpful ideas and concepts giving readers the courage, the confidence, and the tools to strike out on their own to develop their very own personal style. Each step is a rewarding journey encouraging us to take that next step, then another and yet another. Gardening with Confidence provides all of us an overview of garden style without dictating what it should be. Helen helps readers explore, discover and express what their own style actually is. She helps us through this voyage of self-expression laid out not as a designer would approach the subject matter but as an enlightened guide who over the years has worked through the obstacles. It s obvious that the author has practiced what works and what doesn t. This experience helps her to communicate on the same level as the reader. Like working through a puzzle with a trusted friend she gives us the gift of gardening success through self-realization.
--P. Allen Smith

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Frank Hyman "Liberated Gardener' Series: Jan. 25 - Feb. 16

Tapping sugar maples will be a Durham workshop offered in early February. Photo:

The following are local and regional educational programs highlighted in "Frank Hyman's Gardening (plus) newsletter..."
Jan. 8, 2016

The Beauty of the Built Garden—Free
January 25, 3-4 p.m.
NCSU Horticulture Building
2721 Founders Drive
(NCSU campus near Hillsboro and Brooks Ave.)
Raleigh, NC
This is a seminar/slide show I’m doing pro bono for students at my alma mater. I’ll be showing slides of many of my residential garden projects and sculptures: decks, stone walls, water gardens, sculptural clothesline posts, a greenroof on a doghouse, chicken coops, tree sculptures, raised beds, brick paths, treehouses, etc. And sharing my experiences and insights on creating garden structures and sculptures that are beautiful, functional and sustainable. You can see some pics at my website. 
A Year’s Worth of Wild Edible Plants in One Day--$25
January 30, 2-4 p.m.
BW&A Books
1006-A Lamond Ave.
Durham, NC
February 1,  6:30-8 p.m.
Rockbridge Regional Library
138 S. Main St.
Lexington, Va. 24450
For any questions about the site or the organization contact the program chair Nell Lancaster at
Ramps, redbud flowers, beach arugula, samphire, fiddlehead ferns, sunchokes, juneberries, nettles and maple syrup are just a few of the delicious native, wild, edibles that can be found in North Carolina. In less than two hours this indoor program will cover four seasons’ worth of plants so you’ll see how many opportunities there are. We’ll cover leaves, shoots, roots and fruits that ripen throughout the year. Program includes a slideshow, a handout (with links to local foraging groups, books, websites and tool tips), free magazines and plenty of Q&A time. Frank Hyman, a professional forager, horticulturist and foraging columnist for Paleo magazine will lead the class. Indoor seating is limited so you must pay in advance via Paypal at
Tapping Sugar Maples for Sap and Making Syrup--$25
February 6, 2-4 p.m. (Rain date February 7, dress appropriately)
Montessori Farm School
2400 Broad Street, Suite 2
Durham, NC 27704
There’s no law that says we can’t tap maple trees in the South. All maples (sugar, red, silver, etc.) produce sap that can be tapped and cooked down to produce delicious maple syrup. In the South the sap isn’t rich enough to be commercially viable. But that doesn’t mean we can’t go all locavore and produce some backyard syrup. Half the funds for this program go to support the Montessori Farm School. We’ll meet in their parking lot (shared with Broad St. Family Medicine) and learn how to safely tap maple trees on site. We’ll also cook down some of the sap into maple syrup (and Symple Syrup) for tasting (there won’t be vast quantities). If there’s time, Frank Hyman (professional forager, horticulturist and foraging columnist for Paleo magazine) will teach us a little about other wild, edible plants on site. Program includes a one-page handout on foraging, sources for tapping supplies, etc., plenty of time for Q&A (and free copies of Paleo magazine!!). Pay in advance to secure a spot through the Paypal button on this page.
Foraging For Fun and Profit—Free
February 16, 5:30-7:30 p.m.
Site: TBD
Beaufort, SC
This is a little event organized by Green Drinks Beaufort. Monthly they meet at different sites (mostly places with bars) to hear a short presentation on a topic that pertains to “green living.” I’ll talk for about 10 minutes about sustainable foraging for mushrooms and wild edible plants. The rest of the gathering will be Q&A and D&S (drinking and schmoozing). Check out their FB page for details:

Thursday, January 7, 2016

January Tips for the North Carolina Gardener

Spend 10 minutes with NC Cooperative Extension's Linda Blue reviewing timely garden tasks for January. See tips for water, garden design and more!

Saturday, January 2, 2016

'Bee Schooled' for Triangle Beekeepers: Jan. 18 - March 21

'Bee Schooled' is provided by the Durham County Beekeepers and runs 10 weeks.
Bees help make all gardens more prolific!

Learn everything necessary to be a successful beekeeper. This 10-week course will cover the fundamentals, including planning, equipment needs, annual calendars and hive products. You will also learn specific information about bees, from genetics and nutrition to disease prevention and nectar and pollen sources.

The instructors are experienced, certified beekeepers and State of North Carolina apiary inspectors. Participants will complete their testing to become certified beekeepers.

Instructors: Durham County Beekeepers Club.

Meeting dates: 10 Mondays, Jan. 18-March 21, 6:30-8:30 p.m. Saturday field session, March 28, time TB

Fee: $50. Proceeds support the Durham County Beekeepers Club and Duke Gardens.

Registration/information: 919-668-1707919-668-1707 or

Friday, January 1, 2016

January Calendar of Triangle Gardening Programs

A Leopold Bench Building Workshop will be held at the North Carolina Botanical Gardens, Jan. 16. 

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

Bee Schooled 
Mon., Jan. 18, 6:30-8:30 p.m.
Course meets for 10 sessions
Wed., Jan. 20, 6:30-9 p.m.
Course meets for 4 sessions
Sat., Jan. 23, 9:30-11:30 a.m.
Sat., Jan. 30, 1-3 p.m.

Tue., Feb. 2,  6:30-9 p.m.
Course meets for 2 sessions
JC Raulston Arboretum
Ruby C. McSwain Education Center, JC Raulston Arboretum
4415 Beryl Road, Raleigh, NC.
Plantsmen's Tour:   "40th Anniversary Tour—Signature Plants"
Tues., Jan. 5, 1 p.m.
Mark Weathington, Director

North American Rock Garden Society (Piedmont Chapter) Lecture:  "Piedmont Members' Presentations"
Sat., Jan. 16, 10 a.m.
Piedmont Chapter Members

School's Out!: Terrific Terrariums
Tues., Jan. 19, 9–3 p.m.

Friends of the Arboretum Lecture
Thurs., Jan. 21, 7:30 p.m.
Sponsored by Malissa and Russel Kilpatrick and Bobby G. Wilder
"Contemporary Planting Design in Landscape Architecture"
Richard Hartlage, Land Morphology

Gardening Adventures with Extension Master Gardener Volunteers
Mon., Jan. 25, 10 a.m.
"Right Plant, Right Place Means Success"
Robert McKay, Wake County Master Gardener

Propagation Workshop
Sat., Jan. 30, 9 a.m.
JC Raulston Arboretum Staff
North Carolina Botanical Gardens 
100 Old Mason Farm Road, Chapel Hill, NC.
Wed., Jan. 6, 1 p.m.
Wednesdays, January 6, 13, 20, and 27 (inclement weather date: February 3); 1-4 p.m.

Sat., Jan. 9, 16, 23, 30 (Inclement weather date: February 6); 1 – 4 p.m.
Ecological relationships at the organism, population, community, and ecosystem levels are examined, using examples from the rich and diverse North Carolina flora.

Sat., Jan. 16, 2-4 p.m.
During this workshop, participants build a Leopold Bench to take home. This bench is simple, yet classic for any garden and landscape. Rough sawn cedar wood will be cut to size for assembly by the participant. If you can, please bring a power drill/screwdriver. Otherwise, tools will be provided.

Sat., Jan. 23, 1- 4 p.m.