Special Event: Breakfast in the Garden

Are you curious about the role of Durham County Cooperative Extension Services? Join us for breakfast at Briggs Avenue Community Garden on Friday, May 31, 8:30 – 10:30 a.m. for our 2019 Report to the Community.

Enjoy a fresh garden breakfast, tour the garden, see our new greenhouse, learn about Extension’s work in Durham County, meet our new director, Donna Rewalt, and receive a small gift of appreciation for your support.

Photo by Andrea Laine

The event begins at 8:30 a.m. and a short presentation will take place at 9:20 a.m. The event is free but registration is required so we know how much food to prepare.

Register online or call 919-560-0521.

Briggs Avenue Community Garden is located at 1598 S Briggs Avenue in Durham, NC. Get Directions.

NC Agriculture Awareness Day: March 20

Come celebrate North Carolina’s biggest industry, and help educate NC Legislators and lawmakers of the importance of NC Agriculture and how we can grow stronger together.

Meet elected officials, see ag-related exhibits and celebrate the tremendous contributions agriculture provides to North Carolina and the world.

For more information click here.

The event will occur on March 20th at the Bicentennial Mall and Legislative Complex in downtown Raleigh. Participants will meet at the NC State Fairgrounds and will take a free bus to the event.

To register, click here.



The Roots Farmers Market Moves to Brightleaf Square

The Roots Farmers Market is moving to the historic Brightleaf Square for its fourth market season.  The Saturday market at Brightleaf, located at W. Main and Gregson Streets, runs from April 6th to November 23rd between 9 a.m. and noon. Tents will be set up within the Square and the W. Peabody Street parking lot.

According to Roots Farmers Market board member Mary Mudd, Durham County’s Farmland Preservation Board started this market because preserving Durham County’s farms requires providing more opportunities for Durham County farmers and horticulturalists to sell their products. Although the focus is on Durham County agricultural producers, they  welcome small and beginning farmers from Orange, Person, and Granville counties to encourage the next generation of regional producers.

The market seeks volunteers for a variety of needs, including market hosting, social media, and outreach. Contact organizers at durhamrootsfm@gmail.com. Producers interested in becoming vendors can find 2019 rules and an application at durhamroots.org. Note that they do not accept craft vendors.


Online Education Opportunities for Gardeners

zinia--Lucy Bradley
Image by Lucy Bradley

NC State University Department of Horticultural Science and Longwood Gardens, one of the premier public gardens in the world, are partnering to provide the general public with three fully-online introductions to plants. These survey courses will introduce people to plants that can be grown throughout the nation.

Participants will have access to the course resources 24/7 for the entire six weeks of the class and for six months after each course ends. There are no required presentations or any set times to meet online. In addition to the course fee you may choose to purchase an optional print copy of the online e-book that is included with the course.

Each course is focused on a different set of plant groupings and includes some favorites MOOCas well as a few introductions from the research and breeding programs at Longwood Gardens and NCSU. Through photo-stories, video presentations, online plant profiles, an e-book, flash-cards, vocabulary games, mystery plants and hundreds of beautiful images students will learn the key identifying characteristics of these plants and how best to use them in the landscape.

Below is a brief overview of each course followed by a link to enroll for that course or to be sent an invitation when offer dates are announced.

Learn to Identify Annuals, Perennials, and Vines – Fee $195 – Register by March 8 !
This course begins March 4th and features 45 plants. Late registration is accepted through March 8th.  To enroll: https://reporter.ncsu.edu/index.html Learn more: https://horticulture.cals.ncsu.edu/online/annuals-perennials-vines-and-groundcovers/

Edibles, Bulbs, and Houseplants – generally offered in March and September
Learn about the edible side of the landscape with an exploration of vegetables, fruits, nuts, and herbs. Extend your growing season with bulbs and even houseplants. https://horticulture.cals.ncsu.edu/online/edibles-bulbs-and-houseplants-online-non-credit-plant-id-course/

Trees, Shrubs, and Conifers: Identification and Use – generally offered in July and September.  https://horticulture.cals.ncsu.edu/online/trees-shrubs-and-conifers/

You may request an invitation to upcoming offerings.

And more!

Everything about Orchids – Free massive online open course (MOOC) – Open through May 6, 2019
Learn more about Longwood Garden’s orchid collection and how you can grow and enjoy orchids in your own home with Greg Griffis, Orchid Grower, and Peter Zale, Associate Director of Conservation, Plant Breeding and Collections. You will learn about different types of orchids, their cultural needs, and how to use these plants in your home, in floral designs, and even in the landscape. Learn tips and techniques for repotting and propagating orchids as Greg discusses the care and culture of Longwood’s orchid collection. Discover some unique native orchids and learn about how they are breeding and conserving some species.

This course is self-paced and is open for participants to join at any time through May 6, 2019. You will have access to the course resources 24/7 for the entire six weeks of the class and for six months after the course ends.

To enroll:  https://longwoodgardens.org/events-and-performances/events/everything-about-orchids-online-open-class

– A. Laine


NC Handbook for Gardeners

Book NCHandbookAmong the perks of being an Extension Master Gardener is receiving a comprehensive manual that accompanies you through the initial 40 hours of training and remains a trusted companion in the years thereafter. Now, for the first time, the North Carolina Extension Gardener Handbook, newly revised in April 2018, is available to all.

Written by a team of the state’s leading horticulture experts, the Handbook is a fundamental reference for anyone gardening in North Carolina or a neighboring southeastern state. It contains a wealth of information about the basics of gardening from soils and composting to vegetable gardening, garden design, and wildlife management. It covers maintenance of lawns, ornamentals, fruits, trees, and containers and specific management strategies for insects, diseases, weeds, and other pests.

The 728-page hardcover edition is enhanced with hundreds of color images, detailed graphics, diagnostic tables, case studies, and frequently asked questions. It normally retails for $60, but is currently on sale at  UNCPress.org for a 40 percent discount. (Use promotion code 01Holiday.)

A few more favorites

Here are a few more favorite gardening books chosen by this blog’s regular contributors.

The Southern Gardener’s Book of Lists: The Best Plants for All Your Needs, Wants, and Whims, by  Lois Trigg Chaplin. “This is an oldie but a goodie! Published in 1994 it has a plant list for everything in your garden. A few examples: Perennials for an Alkaline Garden; Trees with ‘Perfect’ Form, Shrubs that Bloom in the Shade, Perennials for Heavy Clay Soil … the lists go on and on!” – Kathryn Hamilton

Bringing Nature Home: How You Can Sustain Wildlife with Native Plants, by Douglas W.  Tallamy. “This book is both a motivational book and a quick reference for gardening with native plants in your area. The appendices are easy to use and the native plant lists for each area of the country are divided into different plant types for easy reference for your specific gardening needs: Shade and Specimen trees, Shrubs and Understory Trees, Conifers, Vines, Streamside plants, Ground covers and Herbaceous perennials, both dry & moist sites, Grasses, sedges and rushes and Ferns. I already gave my friend in British Columbia the list of natives for the Pacific Northwest. I go back to his native plant lists and butterfly host plant lists when I am trying to decide between two viable natives to plant and use his suggestion to increase the benefit to wildlife. The photographs of the insects are fascinating.” – Wendy Diaz

“The Triangle region is blessed with many places to explore nature – state, county and regional parks, or nature preserves like those managed by Triangle Land Conservancy. When I’m enjoying these places, I like to bring along Wildflowers of North Carolina by William S. Justice, C. Ritchie Bell and Anne H. Lindsey as a field guide. It contains 500 native or naturalized plants and though the entries are brief – two per page – there is a color image of each plant and enough pertinent information to help identify them in the wild.” – Andrea Laine  


Purchase the Extension Gardener Handbook at:

Learn more about the UNC Press Holiday Sale

The North Carolina Extension Gardener Handbook is also available online in an open access format: