Friday, May 26, 2017

Garden Spotlight: Discovering American Cemetery Gardens in Europe

Aisne-Marne American Cemetery in Belleau, Northern France.

By Diana Lambdin Meyer
Garden Destinations, Spring 2017

On the day before Memorial Day (Sunday, May 28, 2017) in the U.S., children in and around Montfaucon, France will lay more than 14,000 long stemmed red roses on the graves of American servicemen who gave their lives here in the final days of World War I. This is the site of the Meuse-Argonne Cemetery, the largest American burial ground on foreign soil. It is hallowed ground and a masterpiece of landscape design and gardening.

Among the most beautiful gardens in Europe are the American cemeteries managed by the American Battle Monuments Commission, a federal agency formed in 1923, just five years after the end of WWI, to properly maintain the final resting places of 124,905 soldiers and American civilians who lost their lives in service to the United States. There are 25 cemeteries and another 26 monuments or markers on foreign soil that honor this sacrifice from other wars, including the 94,000 who are listed as missing in action or were buried at sea.

The ABMC employs 73 gardeners to maintain the meticulous landscapes, designed by French-born, Philadelphia architect Paul Phillipe Cret and overseen by General John Pershing, leader of the American Expeditionary Forces in Europe during World War I.

The original plan for the eight World War I cemeteries in France, Belgium and England was void of flowers of any kind, instead focusing on both evergreen and deciduous trees and shrubs to create a distinctly American look in Europe. However, by the time work began in the 1930s, French and Belgian citizens living near the burial grounds had already planted a number of roses and other perennials at the American cemeteries. Not only would it have been a shame to destroy healthy, well-established flower beds, it would not have been a good community relations move. The land for all cemeteries has been deeded to the U.S. Government in perpetuity at no charge.

The first to be completed was the Flanders Field American Cemetery at Waregem, Belgium, a six acre cemetery honoring 43 soldiers missing in action and 368 burials. The original planting list, precisely maintained today, includes maple, birch, elm, oak, Swiss poplar, flowering plum and weeping willow.

Flanders Field American Cemetery. Photo by the American Battle Monuments Commission.

Square hedges of Norway spruce and English yew, trimmed to 1.3 meters by .5 meters, are complemented by additional hedges of small leaf boxwood and dwarf boxwood with equally detailed trim specifications outline the burial spaces. Hibernica yew, oval leaf privet and Irish ivy can also be found throughout the cemeteries.

Mixed colors of standard roses fill various beds and pink and red climbing roses adorn the wrought-iron fences to the cemetery. Additional flower beds are filled with blood red wallflowers and a blue pansy border in the spring. Summer flowers include rose geraniums and blue lobelia borders.

Although the size and design varies, these plantings are the basis of all American cemeteries on European soil. And of course, red poppies, the official flower of World War I based of the poem by Lt. John McCrae, can be found in paper or plastic forms around the gravesites and monuments, left by respectful citizens visiting from the around the world.

The US did not enter the war until April 1917 and already millions of lives had been lost in France and Belgium. So as we remember the lives lost during those brutal four years of global conflict, American and otherwise, we can also quietly give thanks for the efforts of so many volunteer and professional gardeners who keep their final resting places so beautiful.

Diana Lambdin Meyer is a travel writer whose grandfather, Sgt. Wilbert Eastman, survived the trench warfare of World War I and came home to find peace in his own little garden in southern Illinois.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

2016 Durham's Finest Trees: The Winners

FIRST in FINEST: Lemur Center Dawn Redwood.
Photo by Wendy Diaz, Durham Co. Master Gardener.
Winners of the 2016 Durham's Finest Trees (DFT) program were announced at the Trees Over Durham meeting in April. The DFT program is in part managed by the NC Cooperative Extension Durham County Master Gardener program and Durham's Sustainability Department.

Durham's Finest Trees program recognizes significant trees in Durham County, promotes discovery and ability to identify trees, and helps preserve the best examples of specific tree species, particularly native and those trees well adapted to Durham County. The program also promotes awareness of trees in the Durham community and hopes to catalog fine examples of magnificent specimens of trees due to their size, setting, historical importance, or significant feature.

Durham tree lovers of all ages are invited to submit their nominations for significant trees in Durham County on a rolling basis.  The next deadline is October 1, 2017 for 2017 nominations ( Nominations received prior to October 1 of each year will be considered for awards that year. Anything received after October 1st will be considered in the following year. Trees on private or public property can be nominated in each of the three categories: largest, historical, or meritorious. Preference will be given to native North Carolina tree species. Non-native trees may be considered if they are of a species, subspecies, variety or cultivar proven to be relatively long-lived and well-adapted to North Carolina. Winning trees will be recognized on Durham's Arbor Day. Please read the official rules before submitting a nomination.

The following 2016 DFT winners were all measured for girth by Durham Co. Master Gardeners Wendy Diaz and Robin Barth. NC Extension Foresters measured the trees for height using a tool called a clinometer. See the Extension publication of how to measure a tree:

Winning tree photos were taken by Wendy Diaz.

1. Lemur Center Dawn Redwood (Large/Historical Category) - 94 feet high, 102 inch circumference, 61 feet canopy; (private property, view from street/parking lot) 3705 Erwin Road/Duke Lemur Center. Photo taken December 1, 2016.

2. Cranford Rd. Dawn Redwood (Large) - 106 feet high, 110.5 inch circumference, 57 feet canopy; (private property, view from street) 2260 Cranford Road/Duke Lemur Center. Fall photos December 1, 2016.

3. Virginia Av. Loblolly Pine (Large) - 99 feet high, 103 inch circumference, 52 feet canopy; 2244 W. Club Blvd & Virginia Ave. These photos were taken October 29, 2016.

4. Main Street Ash (Large) - 54 feet high, 146 inch circumference, 65 feet canopy; 403 E. Main St. Photos taken October 29, 2016.

5. Parkwood East. Cottonwood (Large) - 68 feet high, 98.5 inches circumference, 66 feet canopy (view from the street/parking lot); beside Parkwood baseball field.
Photo taken  May 18, 2017.


6. Parkwood Catalpa (Large) - 43 feet high, 85 inches circumference, 44 feet canopy; In front of Parkwood Manor & east side of Revere Rd. Photographs taken October 26, 2016.

7.  Stagville Plantation Osage Orange (Historical) 4 trunks - 70 feet high, 45 inches circumference, 50 feet canopy; 5828 Old Oxford Hwy. Photos taken September 16, 2016 Photograph is of an adjacent Osage Orange Tree with unusual fruit.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

BOOKS: The Foodscape Revolution: Finding a Better Way to Make Space for Food and Beauty in Your Garden

The Foodscape Revolution: Finding a Better Way to Make Space for Food and Beauty in Your Garden
Author: Brie Arthur
Publisher: St. Lynn's Press (March 15, 2017)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1943366187
ISBN-13: 978-1943366187

From Amazon...

Foodscaping visionary Brie Arthur looks at under-utilized garden spaces around homes or in the landscaped common spaces of planned communities – and she sees places where food can be grown…lots and lots of it. And not in isolated patches, but inter-planted with non-food ornamental plants for year-round beauty. This is a new way of looking at public and private spaces, where aesthetics and function operate together to benefit individuals and entire communities. In The Foodscape Revolution, Arthur presents her status-quo-shaking plan to reinvent the common landscape – in a way that even HOA’s would approve. Call it food gardening “in plain sight,” and having it all.

In this entertaining and informative book, you’ll learn which edible and ornamental pairings work best to increase biodiversity, how to situate beds to best utilize natural water and light resources, and most importantly, how to begin an enriched gardening lifestyle that is beneficial, sustainable and empowering. With full-color photos, design plans, simple projects and bountiful tips, The Foodscape Revolution can be life-changing.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

District 9 Presidents Meeting in Durham: June 22

The District 9 Presidents Meeting of the Garden Club of North Carolina, Inc. will be held in Durham on Thursday, June 22, 2017. The meeting will commence at 10 a.m. at the John Sprunt Hill House 900 S. Duke St., Durham, 27707.

All Garden Club Presidents should attend to receive their GCNC information for the 2017-2018 fiscal year. Please contact District 9 Director Marcia Loudon if you have any questions.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Backyard Composting of Yard, Garden, and Food Discards

Kitchen vegetable scraps can be frozen first to expedite
breaking down cellular walls before adding them to the compost bin.
By Rhonda Sherman,                                           
Extension Solid Waste Specialist
Publication date: April 7, 2017AG-791;
Last updated: April 7, 2017

Instead of disposing of yard trimmings and kitchen scraps, you can compost them in your own backyard. Composting is an easy, fascinating, and natural way to recycle. Compost can be made from most organic materials such as leaves, kitchen scraps, and yard trimmings, and it can improve the health of your soil and plants. You can be as involved as you like with your compost pile: simply stack things up and wait for nature to take its course, or turn, water, and monitor the pile to speed up the process. When mixed with soil, compost increases the organic matter content, improves the physical properties of the soil, and supplies essential nutrients, enhancing the soil’s ability to support plant growth. Compost can also be applied to the soil surface to conserve moisture, control weeds, reduce erosion, improve appearance, and keep the soil from gaining or losing heat too rapidly. This publication explains how to build and maintain a compost pile and use the compost in your yard and garden.
Compostable Materials
Organic materials that can be composted are commonly characterized as “browns” and “greens.” Browns are sugar-rich carbon sources (carbonaceous) that provide energy to microorganisms, absorb excess moisture, and provide structure to your pile. Browns include dead fallen leaves, newspaper, straw, sawdust, napkins, cardboard, twigs, hay, dryer lint, and bark. Greens are protein-rich nitrogen sources (nitrogenous) that provide moisture to microorganisms. Greens include grass clippings, vegetables and fruit, coffee grounds, tea leaves, livestock manures, and alfalfa.
The following list provides examples of organic materials that may be added to your compost bin:
  • Autumn leaves, twigs, yard trimmings
  • Grass clippings
  • Vegetables and their trimmings
  • Fruit and their peels
  • Coffee grounds and filters
  • Tea leaves and bags
  • Paper napkins
  • Cereal boxes
  • Sawdust from deciduous hardwood trees
  • Bamboo skewers
  • Paper egg cartons
  • Pizza boxes
  • Twigs
  • Paper bags
  • Houseplant leaves
  • Paper rolls (towel, toilet paper, wrapping paper)
  • Cotton balls and swabs
  • Paper plates
  • Straw and hay (no persistent herbicides; see Extension publication AG-727, Herbicide Carryover in Hay, Manure, Compost, and Grass Clippings)
  • Nut shells (no walnut shells—they can be toxic to plants)
  • Stale herbs and spices
  • Wine corks
  • Toothpicks
  • Paper baking cups
  • Hair and fur
  • Dryer lint
  • Vacuum contents & floor sweepings
  • Pencil shavings
  • Newspaper
  • Loofahs
  • Cotton, wool, linen, silk, hemp, burlap, felt
  • Office paper, junk mail, envelopes (no plastic)
  • Used matches
  • Yard trimmings
  • Nail clippings
  • Freezer-burned vegetables and fruits
  • Aquarium water, algae, plants
  • Soiled paper
  • Dregs from juice, beer, wine
  • Spent potting soil
  • Dead blossoms
  • Eggshells and crustacean shells
  • Paper table cloths
  • Spoiled tomato sauce, paste
  • Dead flowers, blossoms
  • Potpourri
  • Beer and wine-making leftovers
  • Seaweed
  • Evergreen garlands and wreaths
  • Jack-o-lanterns
  • Dry dog, cat, fish food
  • Bread, tortillas, pitas
  • Cereal and crackers
  • Chips (tortilla, potato, etc.)
  • Cooked pasta, rice, other grains
  • Soy, rice, almond, coconut milk
  • Crepe paper streamers
  • Yarn, thread, string, rope, twine
  • Cork
  • Wood chips and bark
  • Dryer sheets manufactured by Seventh Generation or Method 
You can store food scraps in a container until you are ready to add them to your compost pile. Some people freeze food scraps in a container; others reuse a plastic container with a lid, or use a purchased compost kitchen container, and keep it under their kitchen sink or on the kitchen counter. Food scraps should be buried inside the pile to avoid attracting rodents.
Yard waste suitable for composting includes fallen tree leaves, grass clippings, straw, and non-woody plant trimmings. Although grass clippings can be composted, it is better to leave them on the lawn where they will decay and release nutrients, reducing the need for fertilizer. (See NC State Extension publication AG-69, Carolina Lawns.) When adding grass to a compost pile, mix it thoroughly with leaves so it does not compact and restrict airflow.
Newspaper and other types of paper can be composted, but the nitrogen content is low, which decreases the decomposition rate. If paper is composted, it should make up no more than 10% of the total weight of the material in the compost pile. It is better to recycle paper curbside or take it to a community collection site.
Some materials may pose a health hazard or create a nuisance and therefore should not be used to make compost.
The following types of organic materials should not go into compost piles:
  • Dog or cat feces and litter, and dirty diapers (may contain parasites and pathogens)
  • Meat, fish, bones, fats, grease, lard, oils, eggs, or dairy products, such as butter, milk, yogurt, and sour cream (may create odors, attract rodents and flies)
  • Yard trimmings treated with chemical pesticides (residual chemicals may kill beneficial composting organisms or affect plants where compost is placed)
  • Diseased or insect-infested plants (diseases and insects may survive and be transferred to other plants)
  • Black walnut tree leaves or twigs (release substances that might harm plants)
  • Weeds that have gone to seed
  • Weeds with invasive roots, such as dock weed, alligatorweed, or bermudagrass
  • Used facial or toilet tissue (may contain pathogens)
  • Charcoal ash or coal (resists decay and may contain substances harmful to plants)
  • Pressure-treated lumber, pressed wood, plywood (contain toxic chemicals)
  • Heavily coated paper (e.g., magazines, catalogs, wrapping paper, greeting cards with metallic inks, photographs)
  • Wood ash (a handful or two may be added, but too much may harm microbes, slow the composting process, cause smelly ammonia gas releases, and reduce nitrogen)
  • Pine needles (waxy coating resists decay)
 Getting Started
Set up your compost pile or bin in a convenient location that is more than six feet away from your home or wooden structures. To help it retain moisture, place it in a shaded area within reach of a garden hose. The location should be a flat, open space that is protected from flooding or runoff to surface waters or wells. Keep the areas in front of and above the pile or bin clear so you can work without difficulty.
You do not need to use a bin to compost. Some choose to use a bin to keep the pile neat, help retain heat and moisture, or because they live in a neighborhood where a bin would be more appropriate than an open pile. Many people make their own compost bins using concrete blocks, wooden pallets, wire mesh, 55-gallon drums, or garbage cans. Others construct a three-compartment wooden bin using plans from the Internet. There are a variety of manufactured composting bins available, including enclosed, spherical, or tumbler styles. Although meat, fish, bones, and dairy should not be added to a compost pile or bin, they can be placed in an in-ground digester such as the Green Cone.
Composting Methods
There are two basic styles of composting: (1) single batch, where you add materials all at once to form a pile; and (2) continuous pile, where you add organic materials as they become available. Build your pile three to five feet high and at least three feet in diameter so it can become self-insulating to retain heat. Add four or five inches of carbonaceous materials (browns), then two or three inches of nitrogenous materials (greens), and keep alternating the layers. Another method is to thoroughly mix up browns and greens during loading. Be sure to thoroughly water each layer to ensure even moisture distribution. Toss in a handful of soil on each layer to introduce more microorganisms. Top the pile with four or five inches of carbonaceous materials to prevent flies and other pests and provide a filter for odors.
For a simple compost recipe, combine leaves, grass, food scraps, and coffee grounds at a 2-to-1 ratio mixture of browns and greens. To help get your compost pile hot, dust small amounts of one or more of the following (in meal form) on top of your greens: alfalfa, bone, hoof, soybean, canola, cottonseed, or blood. Adding a mixture of water and molasses, sugar, syrups, or flat soft drinks also helps to activate your compost pile.
Carbon-to-Nitrogen Ratios
Leaves are the primary organic waste in most backyard compost piles; however, different types of leaves have varying carbon-to-nitrogen (C:N) ratios, which can affect the decomposition rate in your compost pile. For optimal decomposition, the ideal C:N ratio is from 25:1 to 35:1. Maple leaves have a C:N ratio near 30:1, so with the right moisture and frequent turning, maple leaves can break down in several weeks. Oak leaves have a C:N ratio of about 60:1 and contain high levels of decay-resistant tannins, so they take a lot longer to break down. Mixing oak leaves with high nitrogen materials will accelerate their decomposition. Table 1 lists C:N ratios for some commonly composted materials to help you determine the appropriate mix of materials for your pile.

Carbon-to-nitrogen ratios of commonly composted materials:
  • Autumn leaves 30-80:1 Vegetable scraps 15-20:1
  • Straw 40-100:1 Coffee grounds 20:1
  • Wood chips; sawdust 100-500:1 Grass clippings 15-25:1
  • Mixed paper 150-200:1 Animal manure 2-25:1
  • Newspaper; cardboard 560:1  
Source: Dickson, N., T. Richard, and R. Kozlowski. 1991. Composting to Reduce the Waste Stream: A Guide to Small Scale Food and Yard Waste Composting. Ithaca, NY: Northeast Regional Agricultural Engineering Service.
The Composting Process
Because decomposition happens on the surface of materials, particle size and shape are crucial to the composting process. Chopping materials into smaller particles creates more surface area and accelerates decomposition. Use a chipper, grinder, or a machete to reduce particle size, or place materials in a bucket and use a square-end shovel to chop them into pieces smaller than two inches. Don’t get carried away, because very fine particles will prevent air from flowing into your compost pile. To reduce the size of fallen tree leaves at little cost, run a lawn mower over them before or after raking. The shredded leaves can be collected directly if the lawn mower has an appropriate bag attachment. Rigid particles provide structure and ventilation to your pile, so it is beneficial to layer in small branches.
The decomposition process will slow down if there is too little or too much moisture. Approximately 40% to 60% moisture is needed in the pile. At this moisture level, the pile should feel like a wrung-out sponge. The compost is within the right moisture range if a drop or two of water can be squeezed from a handful of material. If no water can be squeezed out, the materials are too dry. Too much moisture will slow the decomposition process and produce unpleasant odors. If this happens, add dry leaves, paper, or sawdust to absorb excess moisture. Most often, compost piles are too dry, which slows down the composting process. Open piles can be covered with a tarp to hold in moisture.
Compost piles need ventilation. Anaerobic (lacking oxygen) piles smell bad, compost slowly, and produce dense, wet, and smelly compost. Aerobic piles with oxygen throughout will produce little or no odor. To aerate the pile, turn the organic materials with a digging fork or shovel. If you are unable to turn the compost pile, poke it with an aerating device or broom handle to help air flow into it. Mixing the pile once per week by moving the material from the outside to the center will hasten the composting process. A pile that is not mixed may take three to four times longer to produce useful compost.
During the early phase of decomposition, organic acids are produced and the compost pile becomes more acidic. Some people advocate adding lime during this stage to increase the pH of the pile and increase microbial activity; however, lime converts nitrogen to ammonia gas, thus removing nitrogen from the pile. Crushed clam or oyster shells, eggshells, and bone meal tend to reduce the acidity of composts. Over time, the pH in the pile rises so that the acidity of the composted material becomes near neutral.
Compost piles produce heat as microorganisms feed on waste. Pile temperatures must exceed 131°F to kill most pathogens harmful to humans and pets, and they must surpass 145°F to destroy most weed seeds. A pile temperature that climbs to 160˚F, however, can kill decomposers and slow the composting process. Temperatures will be hottest in the center of the pile, and they will be cooler on the outer edges. If the pile does not heat adequately, it may be too small, there may not be enough oxygen or nitrogen, or it may be too dry or too wet. (See Table 2 below to troubleshoot common problems.) Turn the pile when the center begins to feel cool to the touch. Turning the pile helps revive the heating process by introducing oxygen and undecomposed material into the center.
Some people ask, “Should I add worms to the pile to help it compost faster?” No, your compost pile should be too hot for worms to tolerate. Vermicomposting, in which earthworms break down the ingredients, is a different process. See Vermicomposting in North Carolina for more information.
It takes one or two years to compost if you leave the pile alone, or several months if you aerate the pile weekly. The pile will shrink 20% to 70% depending on the organic materials it contains.
Troubleshooting composting
  • The pile smells like rancid butter, vinegar, or rotten eggs. The pile is too wet, or there is not enough air, or there is too much nitrogen. Turn the pile; mix in leaves, straw, sawdust, or wood chips.
  • The pile is not heating up. The pile is too small, too dry, or does not contain enough nitrogen. Make the pile larger, provide insulation, add water while turning, and add nitrogen sources.
  • The pile is attracting animals. Food scraps are not well covered or meat and/or dairy products were added. Cover food with brown leaves, wood chips, or finished compost; keep meat and/or dairy out of the pile; enclose the pile in 1/4” hardware cloth.
  • The pile is damp but won’t heat up. There is not enough nitrogen. Mix in grass clippings, food scraps, and other sources of nitrogen.
  • The pile is dry. There is not enough moisture or too much airflow. Water and mix well; cover loosely with a tarp or landscape fabric to help hold in moisture.
  • The pile is damp and warm in the middle but nowhere else. The pile is too small. Add more material and moisten.

When heating ceases, cover the pile with a fabric weed barrier and let it cure for six to twelve weeks. During that time, mist the compost to keep it slightly damp and poke it occasionally to let air in. As the compost cures, particles will shrink, organic acids will dissipate, and pH will stabilize and move closer to neutral. Compost is basically ready to use when you cannot recognize the original materials, the pile temperature is less than 10 degrees warmer than ambient, it is dark brown or black, and it smells earthy (not like ammonia or rotten eggs). To make sure the compost is fully mature and stable, test it on radish seeds to make sure it does not prevent germination or damage the plants. You can send a sample to the North Carolina Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services* to determine the levels of nutrients, C:N ratio, pH, and soluble salts.
Using Compost
For smaller particles of compost, and to separate coarse, unfinished materials from finished compost, a simple screen can be made with half-inch mesh hardware cloth and a wood frame. Place the screen on top of a wheelbarrow or inclined at an angle on the ground. Load the screen with compost and use your gloved hand or a square-end shovel to scrape the compost against the screen. Remove the screen to reveal sifted compost. Organic materials that were too large to pass through the screen may be added back into your compost pile.
Potted plants, garden and field crops, lawns, shrubs, and trees can benefit from compost. In clay soils, compost improves aeration and drainage, and makes it easier to work with hand tools. In sandy soils, compost increases water-holding capacity and increases soil aggregation. Compost may suppress some plant diseases and pests, and it encourages healthy root systems. Although compost contains macro- and micronutrients, it is often not enough to supply all plants’ needs. Thus, you should have your lawn and garden soils tested** and fertilize accordingly. Your local Cooperative Extension center has soil test boxes and instructions.
*Send compost as “Waste Sample” to North Carolina Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services: Agronomic Services—Waste/Compost Analysis.
** Send soil as “Soil Sample” to North Carolina Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services: Agronomic Services—Soil Testing.

Friday, May 5, 2017

April Showers Bring NCDOT Wildflowers, Awards Presented May 3

 2016 NCDOT Wildflowers Program Awards: First Place – Division 11, which includes Alleghany, Ashe, Avery, 
Caldwell, Surry, Watauga, Wilkes and Yadkin counties. Pat Cashwell of the Durham Council of Garden Clubs
 is The Garden Club of North Carolina, Inc. Chairman for the NCDOT Wildflower Program.

NCDOT, RALEIGH – For more than 30 years, the N.C. Department of Transportation’s Wildflower Program has enhanced the overall appearance and environmental quality of the state’s highways. On Wednesday, The Garden Club of North Carolina, Inc., and NCDOT presented the annual Wildflower Awards program at First Baptist Church in downtown Raleigh.
Wildflower beds are installed and maintained across the state by Roadside Environmental personnel in each of the 14 highway divisions. Awards were given to the best-looking flower beds in each region, as well as the best overall highway division wildflower program.
“From improving the environment to encouraging economic development and tourism, the Wildflower Program not only makes our roadways more attractive, but it also contributes to North Carolina’s overall quality of life,” said Transportation Secretary Jim Trogdon.
Nearly 200 people attended the awards program, including First Lady of North Carolina Kristin Cooper.
The Wildflower Awards were given for beds that bloomed in 2016. The winners are:
Best Overall Division Wildflower Program:
  • First Place – Division 11, which includes Alleghany, Ashe, Avery, Caldwell, Surry, Watauga, Wilkes and Yadkin counties.
  • Second Place – Division 4, which includes Edgecombe, Halifax, Johnston, Nash, Wayne and Wilson counties.
William D. Johnson Daylily Award:
  • First Place – Division 13 – I-240 Median at Mile Marker 4 in Buncombe County.
  • Second Place – Division 12 – I-85/U.S. 74 in Gaston County. 
Best Regional Wildflower Planting, Eastern Region:
  • First Place – Division 2 – U.S. 264 at Mozingo Road in Pitt County.
  • Second Place – Division 4 – U.S. 117 in Wayne County.
Best Regional Wildflower Planting, Central Region:
  • First Place – Division 9 – U.S. 52 at Perch Road in Forsyth County.
  • Second Place – Division 10 – I-85 North at Graham Street in Mecklenburg County.
Best Regional Wildflower Planting, Western Region:
  • First Place – Division 12 – I-85/U.S. 74 in Gaston County.
  • Second Place – Division 11 – I-77 at Jonesville Road in Yadkin County.
A video of the awards can be viewed here and pictures of the wildflowers are here.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Durham Council of Garden Clubs Celebrates Final Annual Meeting

Highlights from the Annual Meeting (top to bottom):
Club Presidents and Council Executives gather for

refreshments before the business meeting at the
John Sprunt Hill House; Strawberry cheesecake cups courtesy
 of the Town & Country Garden Club;  
GCNC 2016 award recipients in the Council included
the Durham Council, the Forest Hills Garden Club
and Croasdaile Garden Club. Photos by the Durham Council.
The Durham Council of Garden Clubs convened for its final Annual Meeting May 2, at the John Sprunt Hill House. All eight member garden clubs were in attendance.

President Trish Stewart began the meeting with a historical presentation about the formation of the Council, officially dating 1945, but she recognized the first Durham garden club, was a club of Watts Street residents, organized in 1929.

On Wednesday morning May 15th, 1929, at the invitation of Mrs. S. C. Brawley, a group of women met at her home to consider the formation of a garden club.

With Mrs. Brawley acting as temporary chairman, the project was discussed and a motion passed to formally organize such a club. Officers were elected from the floor as follows
President - Mrs S. C. Brawley
Vice President - Mrs. C. N. Hibberd
Rec. Secretary - Mrs. S. M. Alexander

Treasurer - Mrs. W. E. Lipscomb

The President then appointed a committee consisting of Mrs. B. R. Jordan, Mrs. E. H. Young, and Mrs. Nello Teer to meet with the officers of the club to draw up a constitution.

All of those present were requested to consider a possible name for the organization and to telephone suggestions to Mrs. Brawley before the meeting of the constitution committee on Friday morning May 17, 1929.

It was decided to hold a second meeting of the club at the home of Mrs. E H. Young, on Tuesday,
May 21, 1929. The meeting then adjourned to Mrs Brawley's garden.
                                      - Organization Minutes of the Preliminary Meeting of the Garden Club

Stewart recalled childhood contacts involved with the formation of more than one garden club, and herself was an original member of the Forest Hills Junior Garden Club.

Agenda items of the meeting included wrapping up the Council’s finances, individual garden club annual reports, chairman reports and future steps for the Council historical properties, member communications and media.

Marcia Loudon, District 9 Director of The Garden Club of North Carolina, Inc. presented four state level awards during the meeting. Trish Stewart was honored with a lifetime membership to The Garden Club of North Carolina, Inc. which includes gifts made to the Daniel Boone Native Gardens (Boone), the Elizabethan Gardens (Manteo) and the Martha Frank Fragrance Garden (Raleigh) in her name. Three annual state awards (for 2016) were presented to the following Council recipients:
  • Durham Council of Garden Clubs - First Place, #173 Jennifer Corser Blog and Social Media Award
  • Forest Hills Garden Club – First Place, #180 Shorts ’ N Jeans Award for Dogwood/Crape Myrtle Planting
  • Croasdaile Garden Club – Second Place, #32 Frances Boyd Bluebird Award 
The Council Annual Meeting also featured the always highly anticipated gourmet tea party catering by Town & Country President Robin Marin.
President Trish Stewart was honored with a lifetime
membership to The Garden Club of North Carolina, Inc.
Closing Message from the President:
Our individual clubs’ memberships in GCNC and National Garden Clubs give us a strong sense of purpose, but the Council’s extra layer of bureaucracy is no longer necessary to either keep us involved or give us information. Dissolving the Council’s isn’t a sad day in the history of our garden clubs, because it’s not really an ending. We are taking different steps to continue a garden club tradition in Durham that was started 88 years ago. It is just a new day for us, and like every new day, it holds the promise of something exciting. I have loved being president of this group and I am very proud to be with you here today as we move our clubs forward in this new direction. - Trish Stewart.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Before You Buy - 21 Statistics Reveal How Much Stuff We Actually Own

Durham Council Environmental Chair Emily McCoy shared this article concerning environmental waste at a recent Council meeting--consider every personal purchase's environmental footprint before you buy!

Driftwood Garden Club Resurrects Itself with New "Co-ed" Members

Driftwood Garden Club President Nancy Cool with incoming
President Charlie Leverett and his wife Garden Club Rep Debbie Leverett.
The Driftwood Garden Club of Durham is proof positive of the passion of Durham gardeners to work together in beautifying their properties and their community. The garden club, organized in 1953, was dwindling in membership to five women and facing dissolution in 2016. (Treasurer Margaret Besser had held her board position continuously for 50 years.)

President Nancy Cool and remaining members were relieved this business year when Charlie Leverett and his wife Debbie of Durham's Sterling Circle neighborhood joined Driftwood GC and began inviting their neighbors to join. The club now has over 20 members and is fast approaching 30 with both men and women. Another change of the club’s revitalization is the addition of evening programs offered to accommodate working professionals. Charlie, who is the new incoming president, says he is excited to get busy on programming and eventually community projects like larger garden clubs in the Durham Council of Garden Clubs.