Sunday, October 30, 2016

Highlights from the 2016 GCNC District 9 Meeting

Members of the District 9 of the Garden Club of North Carolina gathered for its annual October meeting
 in Roxboro, NC. Members celebrated their collective and individual milestones and achievements
to the theme of "Flowers from Our Gardens." District Director Andrea Lewis led about 70 members
 through the meeting hosted by the Roxboro and Hillsborough Garden Clubs.
Photos by Linda Hester of the Durham Daylily Garden Club.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Plant Now: WWI Centennial Poppy Project

By the Heritage Garden Club

Garden Clubs in District 9 of The Garden Club of North Carolina in conjunction with the NC Department of Transportation, Daughters of the American Revolution and Veterans Affairs are planting poppies and blue cornflowers to make the public aware of 2018 World War I Centennial and of the veterans who served.


Although barely anything survived in the muddy wasteland of the Western Front, by a miracle of nature one flower not only bloomed but thrived. That was the poppy (Papaver rhoeas)

The fact that the flowers were bright scarlet added to the uncanny aptness of its symbolism: the fragile red petals vividly suggested the spilt blood of the millions of young men who had died, while the growth of these flowers against all the odds represented hope in the face of despair.

Since the end of the conflict, the poppy has been an internationally recognized sign of remembrance for The Great War.


We are hoping to plant these seeds, poppies and cornflowers, i.e. bachelor buttons ( in public areas like Blue Star Memorials, libraries, government buildings, entrances to neighborhoods, and schools. It is hoped to get the seeds in the ground before November 1, 2016.

The first bloom in summer 2017 will be a trial. In the fall we will plant again and have signage available and news releases ready for your local media. Remember to keep talking about this project on your social media and share with us your photos.

The goal is to have a bed of poppies and bachelor buttons planted by every District 9 garden club and have the community aware of the 2018 World War I Centennial.

We are going to compete for a prestigious National Garden Club award. The cost of seeds is FREE to each club or organization. We just need to know who planted, when planted and where planted. In the spring we need photos of your poppies.

In 2017, the seeds will be FREE, and the estimated cost for an official WWI Centennial garden sign to educate the public will be $15, at cost for Heritage Garden Club. This is not an expensive project and will not take much time. It will be fun working together with other District 9 area businesses and organizations to compete for a national award by National Garden Clubs ( The towns and neighborhoods of District 9 (Alamance, Caswell, Durham, Granville, Orange, Person, Warren and Vance Counties) will be beautiful in their red and blue splendor, and the residents will be educated about World War I as we honor our veterans.

The Heritage Garden Club of Durham is paying for the seeds from the profit gained by their annual Poinsettia Project . We have always used the funds to furnish plants for the assisted living patients at the Durham VA, but as there is construction in their raised bed area, we were not able to help them this year.

Questions and ideas about the WWI Centennial Poppy Project can be discussed with Co-Chairs Marcia Loudon ( or 919-338-3957) and Pat Cashwell ( or 919-801-2446).

Durham Council Business Meeting: Nov. 1

The Durham Council of Garden Clubs will convene on Tuesday, Nov. 1 for its second business meeting of the 2016-2017 fiscal year. The meeting will be held at 10 a.m. at the John Sprunt Hill House, 900 S. Duke St, Durham, NC 27707.

Agenda items will include President Trish Stewart (DA) will present 2016-2017 projects and the March Joint Meeting. Council Committee Chairs will present their reports.

Guest speaking will be Durham Co. Cooperative Extension Agent Cheralyn Schmidt. Cheralyn will share her vision for adding a greenhouse to the Briggs Ave. Community Garden so that she can provide non-GMO plants seedlings to gardeners in community gardens. Steve Channing from The Durham Museum of History speak about "History Groves" being placed throughout the city with garden space, benches, and history spots dedicated to persons or organizations. Council Treasurer Shelley Dekker will present an update to the Maplewood Cemetery project, as well.

Beekeeping School thru Chatham County Extension: Jan. 9 - March 6

Back by popular demand, Debbie Roos, Agriculture Extension Agent with the Chatham County Cooperative Extension will team up again with the Chatham County Beekeepers’ Association to conduct an 8-week Beekeeping School in early 2017 to introduce others to the joys of beekeeping, and to increase the number of skilled beekeepers in our region. Come join us and find out how fun and rewarding beekeeping can be!

Date: Mondays, 6:30-9:00 pm from January 9-March 6, 2017; optional Ask a Beekeeper sessions begin at 6:00 pm before each class.

Location: Chatham County Agriculture & Conference Center, Pittsboro, NC
Cost for 8-week course (includes book + resource notebook):$90.00 

The school will include hands-on workshops and hive inspections as weather permits.

To view the course outline and download a registration form:
To register, send in payment along with your registration form. The deadline for registration is December 1.

For more information, email Debbie Roos or call 919-542-8202.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Managing Storm and Disaster Damage in Landscapes and Nurseries

Landscape flooding can create an environment for nearly all major plant pests.
Photo from
NC Cooperative Extension 
Publication date: Oct. 13, 2016

Storms and natural disasters are always difficult to prepare for and manage afterwards because they occur infrequently and everyone is usually physically, emotionally, and intellectually exhausted. Since there are not many reports on which plants grow well in production after flooding, the following is a compilation of ideas from specialists based on some research, reports in the landscape, experience, and intuition. These insights are for Hurricane Matthew (Oct. 2016) and may not apply to other storms or disasters that occur at other times of the growing season.​
Plant Material
Root rot and decline from lack of oxygen to the root system are major threats following floods. Perform a triage, separating seemingly healthy plants from those that are already showing signs or symptoms of flood-related damage. After the water recedes, inspect the roots (perhaps 5% of each block). Many plants listed in Table 1 ( as having “Poor” tolerance to flooding might have brown roots already. If many or all of the roots are brown, discard plants, as they either will not recover, or, if they happen to regrow, there may be too much infected tissue to make the cost of treating them worthwhile. The pesticide applilcation expense and production time it takes for the crop to recover might be the same time or longer as potting new, healthy liners and growing them to a saleable size. Plants marked “Good” may not present brown roots or above ground symptoms for several days, so check back in a week or two to see if roots are decayed and if any foliar symptoms like chlorotic foliage or wilting occur. In more advanced stages, above ground symptoms may include stunting of terminal growth, shortening of internodes and interveinal chlorosis. These plants are not likely to recover and, if they do, may need another season of growth or at least a new flush of growth before sale. Monitor them for the plant diseases outlined below in sub-heading Pathogens.
Table 1 contains plants designated as either “Good” or “Poor” flooding tolerance. These rankings are based primarily on information from landscape plantings flooded for more than 5 days and some as long as 30 consecutive days. Unlike container grown plants, these plants had established root systems in soil and were not without water when the floods receded. Additionally, their foliage was also not underwater. Thus, container-grown plants may experience additional stresses and may respond differently. Also keep in mind that the time of year a plant is flooded has a substantial impact on its survival. Dormant plants can survive flooding conditions longer than actively growing plants during very warm temperatures. Use the table and above triage process as a guide to determine whether to keep plants, monitor plants closely, or discard plants altogether. Data are compiled from the following four websites and publications, but we have modified the rankings to either “Good” or “Poor” survivability.
Containerized plants that were flooded with water containing silt or fine particles may result in decreased substrate air space and increased water holding capacity. Therefore, reevaluate irrigation scheduling to ensure that plants are not overwatered and that ample air is available to the plant roots to minimize potential root diseases.

Plants with controlled release fertilizer (CRF) incorporated into the container should be fine even though plants were flooded for several days. This is also true of plants potted up in late summer especially if a longer term CRF (more than 3-4 month release pattern) was used. Plants that were topdressed with CRF might have lost any remaining prills on top of the container substrate. Generally prills of CRF in containers whether on top or incorporated at this time of year have very little CRF available, so letting plants simply go dormant after recovery might be a better option than reapplying lost nutrients. Plants with dead root tips might not be able to absorb nutrients either, so a recovery period is necessary for new roots to develop. Monitor plants after recovery making sure not to overwater. Conduct pour-throughs if possible after a few weeks to determine nutrient availability. Determine which plants, depending on sale date in spring, might need more nutrients. Fertilizing a full rate in fall, this close to the first frost might stimulate growth and cause further damage. Additionally, if plants have compromised root systems, they may be more susceptible to salt damage. Fertilizing with a low to medium soluble fertilizer could be a good option to improve nutrition levels before winter without supplying sustained levels of nutrients that could inadvertently stimulate growth.
Monitor plants after recovery, making sure not to overwater or under water. Because roots systems are comprised, the plants will be dependent on the few healthy roots remaining to supply all water. Therefore, once the plants have dried to the point of needing irrigated again, short, frequent irrigation events are better than infrequent, heavy irrigation events, although take into consideration weather and plant demand for water.
Flooding can remove residual herbicides and bring in new weeds. When soil erodes, residual herbicides move with the soil; therefore, in highly eroded situations one can assume the residual herbicide is all but gone. Where soil erosion did not occur herbicides can leach, wash in surface waters, or decompose rapidly. The only ways to know if the herbicide has dissipated is to wait and watch for weed emergence or to conduct a bioassay. More detailed information is available in the factsheet: After the Flood – Weed Management for Nurseries and Landscapes.

Stem borers pose significant risk to recently flooded trees since granulate ambrosia beeltes are attracted to the ethanol that is produced by trees as a stress response to flooding. Fortunately, as of this time (October 2016), ambrosia beetles are done flying until spring 2017. It is difficult to say if trees flooded now will be more vulnerable in Spring 2017. For instance, if the roots are not severely impacted and do not succumb to a disease, such as Phytophthora, then they should be ok next spring. But, if flood stress this fall impacts various physiological processes. for instance disrupts dormancy and leads to winter injury or causes disease issues or impaired root function, then it could indeed result in trees being vulnerable to attack in the spring. Dr. Chris Ranger, Research Entomologist, USDA-Agricultural Research Service, Wooster, Ohio, has conducted short-term time course analyses of ethanol emissions on trees in spring. Ethanol is induced in dogwoods and redbuds within 1 day of initiating flooding, peaks around 7-10 days, and usually begins to drop off around 20 days. However, there is a surprising amount of intraspecific variability in stress induced ethanol emissions. He thinks it would be useful to monitor trees that are known to be intolerant of flooding during this fall, winter, and early spring before beetles start flying to see if any unusual symptomology appears. Dr. Christopher T. Werle, Biological Science Technician, USDA-ARS, Poplarville, MS, mentioned that stressed forest trees in the surrounding habitat may allow for a greater population of beetles around the nurseries due their own stresses experienced, and therefore there might be more attacks even further out from next spring, but that is just speculation. In either case, trap for beetles on nursery for the next three years or follow the guidelines below to become aware of when they merge in your area.

At this time it is not necessary to apply a nursery wide preventative spray of permethrin (or similar pesticide) to prevent borers from attacking trees this fall. In general, borers are not active in the fall and insecticide applications will not remain effective through the spring when flight begins again. Therefore, monitor traps and wait until borers emerge in spring before beginning a spray program.

Additionally, follow Steve Frank on twitter (@ornapests) to learn when beetles emerge in spring 2017. Trapping at your location is the best way to know when insects are active. For nurseries spread over different properties or very large nurseries, deploying several traps can help identify “hot spots” and prioritize pesticide applications. Begin trapping for beetles at your nursery by using this guide: Granulate [Asian] Ambrosia Beetle Trapping.

Industry articles and publications about flooding and ambrosia beetles:
New Research to Help You Beat Ambrosia Beetles
Developing a Media Moisture Threshold for Nurseries to Reduce Tree Stress and Ambrosia Beetle Attacks

Other borers, for example clear-winged borers, are known to attack stressed trees up to 1-2 years after the stress has occurred. Follow this link to learn their life cycle and methods to scout and monitor for them: Peachtree Borer in the Landscape. Maintaining a current spray program next spring when those borers emerge would be ideal. Flatheaded appletree borers emerge later in spring and also attack previously stressed trees especially if some sort of wound is present. Trees may already be infested with borers from earlier this spring, so scouting is important. Their life cycle is here: Wood Boring Beetles in Trees.
Other Pests
For other insect and mite pests that might occur generally as opportunists on stressed or damaged trees, visit Dr. Steve Frank’s (NC State) Ornamental and Turf Insect Information Notes to learn about life cycles, scouting and monitoring, and control measures.

An Ornamental Plant Pest Management Guide and Pesticide Rotation Planning Aid
Use this wonderful master-work for a comprehensive understanding of modes of action, rotating pesticides, trade names, and the insects and pests they control in the nursery and landscape. It is a beautiful contribution from the Universities of Tennessee and Clemson.

Canker Diseases
A wide range of fungi incite canker diseases in both hardwood and conifer hosts by invading the bark, cambium, and outer sapwood of branches and stems weakened by mechanical injuries, insect feeding, water extremes, or other diseases. Branches and main trunks of trees submerged in flood waters or injured by floating debris will be prime targets for invasion by canker fungi. Some of the most common canker diseases include Nectria, Cytospora, Botryosphaeria, and Botryodiplodia.
Cankers appear as localized dead areas on branches or stems and are commonly associated with wounds or dead branch stubs. They often appear discolored or sunken, and the bark may or may not remain attached to the face of the canker. Some canker diseases such as Nectria produce zonate or target-like cankers in response to successive layers of callus tissue forming at the progressing edge of the canker. Cankers can girdle branches or small stems and result in wilting or dieback. Canker diseases are rarely fatal to their hosts unless large or multiple cankers girdle the main stem.
Because wounding and predisposition play a role in the development of canker diseases, the best approach to management is to minimize tree stress and injuries.
Phytophthora and Pythium Root Diseases
Species of Phytophthora and Pythium, commonly known as water-mold fungi, are ideally suited for waterlogged soil conditions. Plant roots stressed by reduced oxygen in waterlogged soils exude more amino acids and ethanol, which attract infective, swimming spores (zoospores) to root surfaces. Zoospores are dispersed in surface water such as flood, runoff and irrigation waters and therefore; an increase in root and collar rot diseases caused by species of Phytophthora and Pythium can be expected.
Symptoms of Diseases Caused by Species of Phytophthora and Pythium
Symptoms include stunting, leaf chlorosis, reduced leaf size, basal stem cankers which often ooze sap, root and collar decay, crown dieback, wilting, and death. Pythium spp. cause damping-off and root rot on young seedlings in nurseries and can infect nearly all conifers and hardwoods. Phytophthora spp. incite root and collar rot diseases, as well as a number of foliar diseases, on a wide range of nursery and forest tree hosts including Rhododendron, Azalea, Kalmia, Abelia, Leucothoe, Viburnum, Pieris, Camellias.
Management of Phytophthora and Pythium Root Diseases
Avoiding waterlogged or puddled areas is key to managing these pathogens. Removing plants from waterlogged areas as soon as possible will help limit disease. Additionally, there are several fungicide drenches and sprays available that will help reduce disease. See Relative Effectiveness of Various Chemicals for Disease Control of Ornamental Plants for products.
Black Root Rot. This is specific for black root rot on hollies and other hosts.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Art in Bloom: Oak Leaves, Pink and Gray (1929) Georgia O'Keeffe

Floral arrangement inspired by Georgia O'Keefe's 1929 painting
"Oak Leaves, Pink and Grey" Photo: Stephen Kent Johnson for WSJ,
Floral Styling by Lindsey Taylor, Prop Styling by Carla Gonzalez-Hart,
Stem Vase by Marité Acosta, $425,
Georgia O’Keeffe, Oak Leaves, Pink and Grey (1929)
Frederick R. Weisman Art Museum Collection,
University of MN, Minneapolis, © 2016
Georgia O'Keeffe Museum/ DACS, London

By Lindsey Taylor
WSJ, Oct. 7, 2016

I was in London recently and saw the Georgia O’Keeffe exhibit at the Tate Modern. The show—which gathers over 100 paintings, drawings and notebooks, and runs through Oct. 30—blew apart my fairly narrow preconceptions of the American artist’s work. Of course, I know the canvases O’Keeffe (1887-1986) produced in New Mexico—the sun-bleached animal skulls, the arid landscapes—but I’d never seen the lusher work she undertook during a series of summers (which sometimes extended into November) she spent on Lake George in the Adirondacks, and that’s what triggered this month’s arrangement.    
The color palette of “Oak Leaves, Pink and Gray” (1929) got me thinking about fall bouquets, which so often hit obvious, yawny color notes, from oranges to russets. But look closer at the changing leaves, as O’Keeffe persuades us to, and you will see a whole range of pinks and greens and grays—a refreshing scheme to home in on if you want to usher nature indoors this time of year.

To interpret this intimate painting, I started with a murkily glazed vessel called Stem Vase from New York ceramist Marité Acosta, with its individual cylinders for flowers and foliage. My first stop for living things was, as always, my own garden, from which I cut pinky blooms and rhythmic forms that reflected the work. I conscripted a large Café au Lait dahlia as the arrangement’s showstopper. Astilbe, whose feathery plumes shift to deeper shades of rose and brown as it dies off, helped layer other tones into the bundle. Foliage from my Cotinus ‘Purple Smoke’ mimicked the gestural shapes of the oak leaves. Finally, I was excited to find a branch of fruiting blackberry to give the bouquet the sensual quality O’Keeffe conjured with such apparent ease whenever she interpreted the world around her.