An Introduction to the Durham Garden Forum

by Karen Lauterbach EMGV

Does the pandemic have you thinking about gardening?  Are you considering growing your own food, looking for a way to spend time outside in a rewarding hobby, or working to improve your home landscape? If so, you should know about the Durham Garden Forum (DGF), a valuable resource for Durham residents and others in the Triangle area.

Now entering its 11th year, the DGF holds lectures once a month on a variety of gardening subjects, including growing vegetables, garden design, composting, tree care, controlling invasive plants, and gardening with native plants.

Since its inception in 2009, DGF meetings have been held at Sarah P. Duke Gardens from 7 to 8:30 pm on the third Tuesday of each month.  In March 2020, DGF moved online via Zoom. Since then, meeting invitations have been sent each month to all DGF members and Durham County Extension Master Gardeners. 

“We created Durham Garden Forum to provide members of our gardening community with research-based learning on a monthly basis at low cost,” explains Gene Carlone, one of the DGF founding members along with Rick Fisher, who was also an extension master gardener volunteer.  “We recruit qualified and effective speakers to present research-based information on a variety of gardening topics. Through our lectures, we inform the gardening community of resources available to improve gardening techniques and practices.”

And for the past two years, DGF has also provided a venue for plant sharing, with members bringing excess plants and leaving them on the plant-giveaway table.

“This service has been temporarily suspended while we meet via Zoom, but will be up and running again when we next meet in person, probably with a lot of pent-up supply and demand,” Carlone added.

DGF will be an online lecture series for the coming year. If you have not been receiving invitations to DGF online programs and would like to receive a meeting invitation, send your request to  You will be added to the email distribution list.

Here are the dates, times and topics for upcoming lectures:

  • August 25, 2020; 7:00 – 8:30 pm – Beyond Daffodils and Tulips (a review of all geophytes, including bulbs, corms, tubers, rhizomes, and tuberous roots)
  • September 15, 2020; 7:00 – 8:30 pm – TreesDurham (A review of historical policies that have created today’s inequitable tree distribution in Durham)
  • October 20, 2020; 7:00 – 8:30 pm- Hosta! (gardening with hosta, with a look at some of the newest varieties)
  • November 17, 2020; 7:00 – 8:30 pm – Houseplants 101 (how to bring the garden indoors)
  • December 15, 2020; 7:00 – 8:30 pm – Ten Mothers Farm (learn more about growing organic, nutrient-rich vegetables)
  • January 19, 2021; 7:00 – 8:30 pm – Extension Master Gardener Volunteer Tomato Grafting Project
  • February 16, 2021; 7:00 – 8:30 pm – Reptiles and Amphibians In Your Garden (learn about the variety of reptiles and amphibians in our area, separating truth from myth)

Topics for the remainder of 2021 will be announced as the program schedule is finalized. 

Questions?  Contact