Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Junior Garden Club Finishes School Year with Kite Flying Event

The Croasdaile Junior Garden Club finished their year with an April day of kite flying.

The Junior Club, which is organized by the Croasdaile Garden Club, is made up the Riverside High School special needs class. The kite flying event was held on the school grounds and is a big favorite of both garden clubs.

Students in the Croasdaile Junior Garden Club are able to participate in a variety of "garden therapy" activities during alternating school years. They will next convene in 2019.

Photos by Emily McCoy, Croasdaile Garden Club President.

Durham Council of Garden Clubs Annual Business Meeting: May 2

The Durham Council of Garden Clubs will hold its annual business meeting Tuesday, May 2, at the John Sprunt Hill House, 900 S. Duke St., Durham.

Committee Chairs should be prepared to report. Many final topics will be discussed at this meeting.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Fine Vines for Quick Displays

Vining sweet pea Lathyrus odoratus.
By Rita Pelczar
The American Gardener, Mar/April Issue
American Horticultural Society

Annual and tender perennial vines are the aerial acrobats of the summer garden. As if shot from a cannon, they quickly scale fences, cover trellises, and tumble over walls. In a single season, many grow 15 to 20 feet tall and produce an extended flower show while they’re at it!

Sure, this speedy growth may make certain vines pests, but there are plenty of choices that won’t take over the world. The following are some of the showiest, carefree, and well-behaved climbers for gardens across the country.

Climbing Canaries and Butterflies
Yellow-flowered canary creeper (Tropaeolum peregrinum, uSdA Hardiness Zones 9–10, AHS Heat Zones 10–5) grows 10 feet tall, using its threadlike petioles to grasp onto supports. native to the Andes mountains, this tender South American perennial bears an abundance of one-inch blooms from summer to fall. Each flower has five petals, the upper two are wide spread and fringed, resembling wings of a small bird. The deeply lobed gray-green leaves are an inch or two across.

Download and read the full article on vines from the American Horticultural Society:

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Golf Course Bluebird Haven Created by Croasdaile Garden Club

"Bluebird Monitoring Crew" of the Croasdaile Garden Club. Pictured front center (in blue) is Agnes Bordeaux, a charter Croasdaile Garden Club member who worked to establish the original Croasdaile Country Club Trail. Garden club bluebird monitors are able to informally take a golf cart (at no cost) once a week and make their bluebird runs.
One of 12 bluebird nesting boxes installed on the golf course.

Editor's Note: The following 2016 bluebird project was submitted by the Croasdaile Garden Club for consideration of the Frances Boyd Blue Bird Award #32 offered by The Garden Club of North Carolina, Inc.
Croasdaile Garden Club placed second (red ribbon) in the category which was announced at the 2017 GCNC Annual Meeting in April. Incoming Croasdaile Garden Club President Susan Antle was one of the primary authors of this paper. Photos by the Croasdaile Garden Club.

Project Summary

Hatchlings ready for dinner.
Beginning date: January 12, 2016. Completion date: Installation of new nesting boxes completed 4/15/16; will continue to monitor nesting boxes in 2017.

After a January Croasdaile Garden Club “Blue Bird FAQs” presentation by Ken Kernodle (President of NC Bluebird Society) and Steve McDaniel (County Coordinator for Durham County), the Croasdaile Garden Club decided to replace the original ten boxes that were falling apart or not habitable, on the nearby Croasdaile Country Club golf course and reset the outdated trail. Members also decided to purchase and install blue bird nesting boxes in their own yards. Replacing the original ten on the golf course with twelve boxes resulted in a 20% increase in nesting boxes. Our primary objective was to restore the Croasdaile Country Club golf course trail established at least 10 years ago at the initiation of Agnes Bordeaux, garden club member. Also coordinating the purchase and installation of blue bird nesting boxes at member homes provided members with a home project that paralleled the garden club project. These two objectives would increase the blue bird population at the Croasdaile Country Club and surrounding residential areas where many garden club members live.

On a weekly basis, five garden club members assumed the primary responsibility for monitoring the twelve new nesting boxes on the golf course. Several other members went on “ride-alongs” throughout the five months. In the late afternoon, using a golf cart, two monitors followed the trail to each box and wrote brief notes about their observations: whether a nest was built or not, number of eggs laid, number of babies visible, maintenance needed – cleaning out old nests and interior surfaces, things for next week’s monitors to do (or not). These notes were added to our master list and emailed to other monitors so they could have accurate data the following week. We continued monitoring weekly through the end of July. Through August we monitored sporadically as there wasn’t any nest building activity (Third Nesting Period) in any box.
Our Results: 
  • Total Blue birds hatched/fledged in Nesting Period One = 33
  • Total Blue birds hatched/fledged in Nesting Period Two = 35
  • Total Bluebirds hatched/fledged in Nesting Period Three = 0
  • Bluebirds Hatched/Fledged at Croasdaile Country Club = 68

Nesting boxes are marked in red along the golf course.
Involvement of club members, other organizations, etc.
Ken Kernodle, President of North Carolina Bluebird Society and Steve McDaniel, County Coordinator for Durham County encouraged us to support increasing the blue bird population. We took it to heart and fifteen nesting boxes were purchased and installed in member yards. Both Ken and Steve have remained in communication via phone calls and emails answering questions as they arose during the nesting period. Ken and Steve constructed the nesting boxes for individuals and for the golf club. They installed boxes at club member’s homes.

Charles Sheffield, Golf Course Superintendent, and his staff removed all ten decrepit nesting boxes and installed the twelve new boxes. In this process, the trail was partially reset because the original box locations were 1) unreachable in overgrown areas along the creek, 2) not viewable by golf club members, or in 3) undesirable locations (poor flight paths for the blue birds). We evaluated all the existing boxes and made recommendations to Charles. The identified boxes were then moved to more appropriate spots. See the first picture below of the golf course layout with the new trail identified with red dots.
Project Budget
Croasdaile Garden Club donated $200 to purchase ten new nesting boxes. A garden club member donated two more houses. A total of fifteen nesting boxes were purchased and installed in garden club members’ yards. The monitors purchased cleaning materials to use when nesting boxes required maintenance.
Scope of Work
As our records show, we monitored on a weekly basis from March through July and periodically in August. We will continue monitoring in 2017. In addition to the five who monitored the nesting boxes in 2017, several more club members want to monitor in 2107. The golf course staff will maintain the structural components – braces, bolts, etc. Garden club members will be responsible for cleaning the nesting boxes.
Field Notes (Sample)
Hole #17
Box #12
Field between 17/18 across from the fairway bunkers
3/29 -nest empty
4/8- 4:00 5 eggs
4/13 -5 eggs babies could hatch as early as 4/18 or as late as 4/22
4/19 -5 eggs
4/21  -4 babies, 1 egg
4/26  -5 babies 4:35 pm
4/30  -5 babies 5:10 pm  (don’t open box after 5/4 unless birds have fledged)
5/4 5- babies 5:20 PM
5/10 - nest empty; box cleaned need a green container  (done)  4:50 PM
5 bluebird fledglings Round one
5/15 -no nest
5/25 -nest one egg
6/1 -five bluebird eggs
6/8 -five bluebird eggs
6/16 -new babies
6/22- babies
7/1 -fledged cleaned nest
5 bluebird fledglings Round 2
7/10 -not checked too wet
7/15 new nest, no eggs
Round 3 no eggs/babies
5 Round one
5 Round two
0 Round three
Total babies 10
Hole #12
Box #7
Left side of turf “nursery”  - by pond
3/29 -no nest
4/8 -3:50 nest no eggs
4/13 -2 eggs in nest/1 broken on ground
4/19 --3:35pm 3eggs
4/26 -3 eggs, mom on clutch
4/30 -3 babies  (don’t open box after 5/12 until fledge)
5/4 -3 babies
5/10 -3 babies
5/15 -3 babies
3 bluebird fledglings Round one
5/25 -new nest
6/1 -wren nest started
6/8 -bluebird sitting on box
6/16 -most twigs gone
6/22 -4 bluebird eggs
7/1 -4 bluebird eggs
7/10 -little babies
7/15 -medium babies
4 bluebird fledglings Round two
Round 3 no eggs/babies
3 Round one
4 Round two
0 Round three
Total babies 7

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Blossom Garden Club on the Move in 2016-2017 Business Year

The Blossom Garden Club of Durham curated a fun year of inspirational and educational gardening field trips across the Triangle during the club's 2016-2017 business year.

For a community project, Blossom GC has had an annual mission of maintaining the perennial beds of Trinity Park, the historical Durham neighborhood where many club members reside. (Blossom members also added neighborhood beautification through their natural Christmas arrangements and decorations crafted at December's meeting.)

Past President Chris Jewell (pictured center in group photo) has been instrumental in floral designing centerpieces for the Durham Council of Garden Club-hosted events for The Garden Club of North Carolina, Inc. and District 9 meetings in recent years.

Highlights of Blossom Garden Club in 2016-2017:
April:  Backyard Shed Tour in Old West Durham

December:  Christmas Decoration Workshop

November:  Art in the Garden Tour of the North Carolina Botanical Gardens, Chapel Hill

September: Tour of Sarah P. Duke Gardens Prairie Garden.
(The "cathedral"/outdoor learning center was under construction.)

Photos by Bebe Guill of Blossom Garden Club

Trees Over Durham Forum: April 25

Come learn all about trees in Durham, and tell us what you would like to see in the future. Start the day learning all about trees, then participate in visioning sessions where you get to tell us what you think. We really want to know. At the end, we’ll hear from people who have made trees work for diverse communities, and produce a vision statement of what we want for our trees and communities in Durham.

Trees Over Durham Forum

Tuesday, April 25, 2:30– 8 p.m.
Durham Arts Center, 120 Morris Street
Dinner will be available for registered participants.
Childcare will be available, but you must register below to let us know how many children will need care.

A draft agenda is available now. A complete agenda of the forum will be available here when it is finalized. Please check back!

This forum is organized by the Durham Tree Advocates with financial support from Leaf and Limb Tree Service, Vaguely Reminiscent, and Duke Energy.

2017 Earth Day Festival in Durham: April 23

From Keep Durham Beautiful:

Earth Day Festival Rain or Shine | Free Event

When: Sunday, April 23, 2017 | 12-5 PM
Where: Durham Central Park located at 502 Foster Street

“Go Green” at Durham’s Earth Day Festival. Participants will enjoy “green” activities and demos; learn about many green practices and products at the Sustainability Expo and Earth Day Market; and enjoy great music, food and much more!

Plan your trip to Earth Day! Do your part to “Go Green” and walk, skate, bike, ride the bus, or carpool to the event.

There is something for everyone! Highlights include:
  • Sustainability Expo – Enjoy a showcase of environmentally friendly businesses and organizations sharing information and resources with the community.
  • Earth Day Market – Browse and shop for local, hand-made green goods, crafts and environmental art! Information will also be available about green products and services including sustainable building, energy and water conservation, gardening, and more!
  • Live Music and Entertainment – for the full schedule of events, visit: 2017 Durham Earth Day Festival
  • Waste Wise – Help us strive for zero waste during the festival by properly sorting your waste into compost, recycling and trash bins. Zero waste is a philosophy of thoughtful reuse, composting and recycling in order to minimize the amount of waste sent to the landfill. Waste Wise volunteers will be available to help you sort and answer any questions.
  • Earth Day T-shirts –Purchase your very own Eco-Friendly Earth Day T-shirt made on the spot.
Volunteer Information
Interested in volunteering? Help Keep Durham Beautiful divert waste by showing festival-goers how to properly recycle and compost. Volunteers will receive a free Keep Durham Beautiful reusable cup and tote bag. Sign up for a two hour shift here.
For more volunteer opportunities, visit the Earth Day volunteer page.

Vendor Information
Education, art, food and non-food vendor opportunities are available. If you would like to be a vendor, submit a vendor application.

Event Contact
For more information, call 919-560-4355 or email Tina Chavis .
The Durham Earth Day Festival is presented by Durham Parks and Recreation and Keep Durham Beautiful, Inc.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

BOOKS: The Nature Fix: Why Nature Makes us Happier, Healthier, and More Creative

The Nature Fix: Why Nature Makes us Happier, Healthier, and More Creative
Author: Florence Williams
Hardcover: 304 pages
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; 1 edition (February 7, 2017)
ISBN-10: 0393242714
ISBN-13: 978-0393242713

From Amazon...
An intrepid investigation into nature’s restorative benefits by a prize-winning author.

For centuries, poets and philosophers extolled the benefits of a walk in the woods: Beethoven drew inspiration from rocks and trees; Wordsworth composed while tromping over the heath; and Nikola Tesla conceived the electric motor while visiting a park. Intrigued by our storied renewal in the natural world, Florence Williams set out to uncover the science behind nature’s positive effects on the brain.

In this informative and entertaining account, Williams investigates cutting-edge research as she travels to fragrant cypress forests in Korea to meet the rangers who administer “forest healing programs,” to the green hills of Scotland and its “ecotherapeutic” approach to caring for the mentally ill, to a river trip in Idaho with Iraqi vets suffering from PTSD, to the West Virginia mountains where she discovers how being outside helps children with ADHD. The Nature Fix demonstrates that our connection to nature is much more important to our cognition than we think and that even small amounts of exposure to the living world can improve our creativity and enhance our mood. In prose that is incisive, witty, and urgent, Williams shows how time in nature is not a luxury but is in fact essential to our humanity. As our modern lives shift dramatically indoors, these ideas―and the answers they yield―are more urgent than ever.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Croasdaile Garden Club Doubles Second Spring Auction/Luncheon

Croasdaile Auction attendees enjoy some spring shopping for charity.

The Croasdaile Garden Club of Durham hosted its second bi-annual Springtime Auction/Luncheon this week at the Croasdaile Country Club. Attendance and revenue were double from the 2015 Auction with 100 garden club members and their guests participating, including members of the Croasdaile ladies golf league.

The Croasdaile Garden Club raised nearly $9,000, up from 2015’s revenue of $4,000 with only 45 attendees. Durham charities that have benefit from the garden club’s fundraisers include: SEEDS, Good Samaritan Inn, Interfaith Food Shuttle, Durham Rescue Mission, Habitat for Humanity, NC Bluebird Society, DPS Hub Farm and the Croasdaile Junior Garden Club with Riverside High School.

Scores of silent and live auction items ranged from garden-themed home & garden items, spring and Easter arrangements, a dozen-bottle wine collection, a 3-day Myrtle Beach vacation rental, a “original art” box, and various service packages. Attendees blew toy noisemakers during the live auction when prompted, “Ladies, make some noise!” for winning bidders.

Music during the auction/luncheon was provided by pianist and garden club member Vanessa Kozman. She is the organist and choir director at Lystra Baptist Church in Chapel Hill, and commonly performs background music for public and private events. Previously Kozmon taught middle school and high school choral music in Falls Church City and Prince William County Schools in Virginia.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Audubon Society Native Plant Tool Makes Zip Search into Shopping List

The Audubon Society has now made choosing bird-attracting native plants as easy as a zip code search!

Native plants can be searched with this database tool and filtered by: grasses, succulents, shrubs, trees, vines and evergreens. Some examples of native species for Durham's 27703 zip include:

American Beauty-Berry (Callicarpa americana)
American Beech (Fagus grandifolia)
American Hazelnut (Corylus americana)
American Holly (Ilex opaca)
American Hornbeam (Carpinus caroliniana)
American Plum (Prunus americana)
American Pokeweed (Phytolacca americana)
Anise-Scented Goldenrod (Solidago odora)
Ash-Leaf Maple (Acer negundo)
Cardinal-Flower (Lobelia cardinalis)
Catawba Rosebay (Rhododendron catawbiense)

The native plant tool can be used to support the Audubon North Carolina’s "Bird-Friendly Native Plants of the Year" program. The program is creating more availability of native plants that specifically benefit birds, but also the environment and local economy. NC Audubon is partnering with local plant nurseries and growers to offer more bird-friendly native plants to add to your garden. These plants help to replace food sources that have been lost to development and bring a variety of birds to your yard all year.

Forest Hills Garden Club Adds Beautification to Pauli Murray Event

Restored Pauli Murray House. Photo by the News & Observer.
The Pauli Murray Center for History and Social Justice celebrated an Open House last weekend and received a bit of beautification from the Forest Hills Garden Club of Durham.

Members of the garden club provided potted plants which were used to decorate the front porch, interior of the home and outside in a hospitality tent. The Forest Hills Garden Club was listed as a contributor to the event.

The Pauli Murray project has created an online exhibit detailing key events in Murray’s life, and in a hallmark achievement earlier this year, Murray’s childhood home was designated a National Historic Landmark and received a $238,000 federal grant to open to the public in 2020.