Beat the Winter Blues at the Spring Plant Sale

After this chilly, wet winter, who’s ready for spring planting?

The weather finally seems to be looking up, just in time for the Duke Gardens Plant Sale, March 30, 8 am to noon. Durham Master Gardeners have spent the gloomy winter months planting seeds and digging and tending plants to sell at our booth at the sale—in many cases trying to relieve seasonal affective disorder by basking in the fluorescent glow of grow lights!

Our booth this year promises hundreds—literally more than a thousand—unique new and old-fashioned perennials, shrubs, houseplants, and native plants as well as specialty and heirloom vegetables, including tomatoes, hot and sweet peppers, eggplant, lettuces, and herbs.

The Plant Sale is our biggest fundraiser of the year, and funds raised support Cooperative Extension community garden programs and educational events throughout Durham County.

Here are just a few of the unique items we’re offering this year:

  • adorable dish gardens, featuring Hens and Chicks and Jade plants
  • Aleppo pepper seedlings—a popular gourmet spicy pepper from Syria—make your own seasoning mix by drying the peppers and mixing with olive oil and salt
  • Purple Zi Su Perilla or Shisho—an Asian herb that tastes of basil and mint, used to season vinegar and pink rice
  • An amazing assortment of hard-to-find Asian mustards and other Asian vegetables
  • Asclepias tuberosa—orange butterfly weed—a favorite of monarch butterflies
  • Giant Cambodian Green eggplant—a beautiful and exotic green and white Asian import
  • Lime and Japanese citrus trees
  • Baby Paw Paw trees
  • Many varieties of Hellebores
  • Night Blooming Cereus (a succulent with exotic fragrant blooms)—imagine it scenting your porch on a cool summer evening!
  • Many varieties of colorful and unusual Coleus
  • The ever popular Zinnia seedlings
  • And much, much more!

We hope to see you at the plant sale on March 30. If you are a member of Duke Gardens, you can get a head start at the member pre-sale on March 29, 4 to 6 pm.

The Potting Party was a Happening!

Durham Master Gardeners enjoyed a rare sunny day in February for the Spring Potting Party. Volunteers delivered plants from their gardens, and Master Gardeners divided, potted, and labeled the plants. Other volunteers took plants home to babysit until the Plant Sale.

Our Calendar of Events

Did you know that the blog has a calendar function? From our homepage, click on Calendar of Events (see red arrow in the screenshot below) to find out where our volunteers will be available to answer your questions and when you can enjoy an excellent gardening presentation.

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The calendar (below) is a familiar Google Calendar page integrated into the blog.

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You can click on individual events for location, hours, and more information.

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The calendar is frequently updated with lectures, talks and other public events, as well as dates and locations for our Ask a Master Gardener booth.

-Ann Barnes

Learn With Us, week of January 13

JAN. 16, 7-8:30 PM, Sarah P. Duke Gardens

Presenter: Craig Mauney, Mountain Horticulture Crops Research and Extension Center, NC Cooperative Extension
Greet the new year with information about new and emerging crops for the home garden. Perhaps expand your garden to include wasabi or upland rice! Craig will also review some exciting new varieties of both fruits and vegetables.

Please note the date has been changed to Wednesday, 1/16 due to a scheduling conflict.

No pre-registration necessary. Lecture fee: free for forum members with $25 annual membership; $10 per meeting for non-members, payable to Durham Garden Forum.

For membership information, email

Learn With Us, week of December 9

Controlling Invasive Plants – Durham Garden Forum
Tuesday, December 11, 2018
6:30 – 8:00pm
Duke Gardens, 420 Anderson St, Durham, NC 27708

What are the invasive plants that threaten North Carolina and how can we control these plants? Learn which plants to avoid and prevent problems before they begin. If the horse has already left the barn in your garden, Johnny Randell, NC Botanical Gardens Director of Conservation Programs, will help you learn how to eradicate these thugs from your garden and landscape. Meet at the Doris Duke Center.

For membership information, email

$10 per meeting payable to Durham Garden Forum. Forum members free with $25 annual membership.
(919) 668-1707

Learn With Us, Week of November 11

Gardening With Hellebores – Durham Garden Forum
November 13, 2018, 6:30 – 8 PM
Sarah P. Duke Gardens, 420 Anderson St, Durham, NC 27705


Hear from expert Richard Tyler, owner of Pine Knott Nursery, about how to successfully use hellebores in your garden, adding an array of beautiful colors, blooms times and deer resistance! Richard will review the many different species and hybrids available as well as companion plants. Pine Knott Nursery Hellebores will be available to purchase at the presentation. Meet in the Doris Duke Center.

For membership information, email

$10 per meeting for non-members, payable to Durham Garden Forum. Forum members free with $25 annual membership.
(919) 668-1707