Learn With Us, week of February 2

Straw Bale Gardening – South Regional library
Sunday, February 2⋅3:00 – 4:00pm

South Regional Library
4505 S Alston Ave, Durham, NC 27713
Description: Growing a successful vegetable garden is challenging enough if you have terrific soil in which to plant, but with poor soils it can be virtually impossible. Straw Bale Gardening allows anyone, even those with the worst soil conditions, to grow a terrific garden that is productive and much less labor intensive. Presentation by Georganne Sebastian and Darcey Martin.

Classes are free. Registration is required.

Register online at the Durham County Library website durhamcountylibrary.org. Click on \”Events\” to find the full calendar of events. Go to the date of the class and sign up.
You can also call the Information Desk at South Regional Library to register: 919-560-7410.

Please complete our survey :)

We’d like to learn more about you and your gardening interests so we have created a brief survey to be completed by followers of our blog. There are just 7 questions plus one comment box (optional) where you can tell us anything you want. (Yes, blog followers who are master gardeners are encouraged to take the survey, too!)

Miniature daffodils. Photo taken April 14, 2019 by A. Laine

If you have a gardening question, please visit us at our office (721 Foster Street, Durham, NC), or contact us by phone (919-560-0528), or by email (mastergardener@dconc.gov). Office hours are Monday – Friday, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.

In case you missed it, here’s the link to complete the survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/T7H689T

Thank you!

Learn With Us, week of January 26

Pruning – South Durham Library
Sunday, January 26⋅3:00 – 4:00pm

South Regional Library
4505 S Alston Ave, Durham, NC 27713
Description: February is usually prime time for pruning and shaping. Charles will discuss the goals of pruning, why it’s NOT cutting back, and how to go about it, including needed tools.

Classes are free. Registration is required.

Register online at the Durham County Library website durhamcountylibrary.org. Click on \”Events\” to find the full calendar of events. Go to the date of the class and sign up.
You can also call the Information Desk at South Regional Library to register: 919-560-7410.

In 2020 I Resolve to …

by Andrea Laine, EMGV

If you’re still searching for a new year’s resolution, I’ve got a really good one for gardeners. It doesn’t require sacrifice or expense yet can be very rewarding. Repeat after me: “I resolve to go on a monthly walk … in my own yard!”

Intentionally walking your yard on a monthly basis will result in a custom task list for your garden. Sure there are things we know we ought to do at certain times of the year, but it is easy to overlook them when they are out of view. During a monthly tour, nothing remains out of view.

I’m the only bonafide gardener in my household, so I do a solo walk. But if your partner gardens alongside you, then include them on the tour.

If not for the monthly tour, I would miss the little joys in a winter garden like the orange hips on this Gardenia ‘Lynn Lowrey.’ Photo by A. Laine.

Schedule your monthly walk for a day of the week that you are generally home and for a time of day when the yard is well lit. This is especially important if there are shady spots on your property. It can also be beneficial to conduct your walk at different times of the day throughout a season to observe where light falls in your yard.

Wear comfortable, seasonal-appropriate shoes and clothing. Take along a notebook and pencil, or a smartphone or tablet if you prefer. Whatever suits you for note-taking. The amount of time to allocate will depend on the size of the property and how many plantings it has. I generally spend 30 minutes or so to tour an acre.  

Your mission is to stroll the property at a semi-leisurely pace. Cover as much ground as possible and observe what’s happening in the garden. Get close to plants, linger a little. As you go along, record what plants or areas need attention and in what way(s). Empty spaces — opportunities for new plants — will become more clear. The monthly walk is also an optimal time to note what’s in bud or bloom or current weather conditions if you keep a gardening journal or would like to begin one.

On my January 3 tour, I noticed the first blossoms on a Camellia Japonica — a very early occurrence as this one usually blooms in February. Photo by A. Laine.


The challenge is to note what needs doing without actually doing it right then and there. I know this is hard, but it is important, so please try. Resist the urge to pull a few weeds, deadhead a flowering plant, or sweep a walkway. Help yourself stay focused by not bringing any gardening tools with you. I don’t even wear gloves (and I always wear gloves to garden).  

The monthly tour is something I’ve come to look forward to as I find it relaxing and meditative as well as productive. It really sets me up well for a good day’s work on the following days of the month that I do devote to actual working in the garden. One year my September monthly tour revealed a downed maple tree (about six-inch trunk diameter) behind our detached garage. It had most likely fallen during a recent tropical storm, but would have gone unnoticed for much longer had it not been for a sighting on the monthly tour.

Further Reading
The monthly garden tour is an excellent way to begin a garden journal. Here are two good Extension resources to learn more about what that may entail.
https://extension.psu.edu/garden-journaling

https://content.ces.ncsu.edu/extension-gardener-handbook/appendix-a-garden-journaling

Learn With Us, week of January 19



Where Have All the Fireflies Gone? – Durham Garden Forum
Tuesday, January 21, 2020⋅7:00 – 8:30pm

Sarah P. Duke Gardens
420 Anderson St, Durham, NC 27708
Dr. Elsa Youngsteadt, Assistant Professor of Applied Ecology at North Carolina State University joins us to look at the facts about insect decline. Remember years ago when you had to frequently wash your windshield to remove bugs? Why does that not happen as much now and what does it mean in terms of environmental health for us all?

The Durham Garden Forum is an informal group that meets once a month to enrich our gardening knowledge and skill.
Lectures free for members, $10 general public.
No pre-registration necessary.

CONTACT US: durhamgardenforum@gmail.com