Friday, August 26, 2016

Thank You, Duke Gardens Annual Fund Supporters!

Thank you for supporting the Duke Gardens Annual Fund during the 2015-2016 fiscal year!  More than 1,800 alumni, parents, students and friends gave over $600,000 this past year, another record for us. Our Annual Fund’s steady growth over the years confirms that Duke Gardens is and will continue to be an integral part of the Duke experience.

As “your garden,” we continue to grow and thrive thanks to your generosity. Here are a few examples of how your Annual Fund support helped Duke Gardens give back:

       - Hosted more than 30 Duke events, including undergraduate classes, alumni events and concerts for students.

       - Connected with Duke & local communities through a series of free educational and member events.

       - Supported Durham families in need with almost 2,000 lbs. of fresh produce grown in the Charlotte Brody Discovery Garden and given to local charities for distribution.

       - Brought innovative educational adventures to Durham schoolchildren through our expanding outreach programs.

Each gift to Duke Gardens’ Annual Fund, no matter the size, makes an impact not only at Duke but also in the Durham community.  Duke Gardens is incredibly beautiful, and its inspirational landscape is part of what makes Duke unique.  Thank you for joining me in supporting the Sarah P. Duke Gardens Annual Fund and recognizing the many ways we add immeasurable depth and value to the Duke experience.

Bill LeFevre
Executive Director
Sarah P. Duke Gardens

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Heat Wave! Stay Cool at Duke Gardens

The Blomquist Garden of Native Plants (gray area on the south side) and the Culberson Asiatic Arboretum (red area on the north side) are the shadiest areas of Duke Gardens.

By Sarah Leach Smith
Visitor Service Coordinator

It's that time again -- a sweltering mid-summer heat index is a daily occurrence and lower temperatures are nowhere in sight. It also happens to be an excellent time to visit Duke Gardens -- hibiscus, crape myrtle, black-eyed Susan and cardinal flower are all in full bloom.

Strawflowers in the Discovery Garden. Photo by Sue Lannon.
You can have a pleasant and comfortable experience at Duke Gardens this summer with a little bit of planning ahead. Below are some things to keep in mind before you arrive:
  • Wear light-colored and loose-fitting clothing made with a natural fiber such as cotton to help you stay cool.
  • Wear a hat at all times to shade your face and protect your skin from the sun. A parasol is also a good idea if you don't like wearing hats.
  • Drink plenty of water -- 4 ounces for every 30 minutes outside is a good goal to aim for. Bring a water bottle with you to the Gardens and refill it at one of our water fountains outdoors or in the Doris Duke Center. See our heat advisory map for water fountain locations. 
Sun shining in the Discovery Garden. Photo by Lindsey Fleetwood.
Once you're here, it's important to orient yourself to shady spots so that you can take a break from the sun. The Blomquist Garden of Native Plants is a great choice, with thick native tree canopies that keep the temperatures lower than anywhere else in the Gardens. Another cool spot is the Culberson Asiatic Arboretum, which is also heavily covered with trees. There are benches throughout these two areas, so have a seat and enjoy the shade.

As you depart from the Gardens, we recommend that you have a "cool down plan" to help regulate your body temperature after being outside. 

When you are the Gardens or exploring other cool places this summer, keep the symptoms of heat exhaustion in your mind and be on the lookout for people who may be showing signs.

If you or another visitor are in distress, please seek assistance. If you don't have a cell phone to call 911, Duke Gardens has several emergency phones, which are marked with telephone icons on our heat advisory map. Stay safe and have a wonderful summer!

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Pokemon GO: Catch 'Em All at Duke Gardens!

Horticulturist Nick Schwab and a Magikarp!
By Sarah Leach Smith, Visitor Services Coordinator
With help from Nick Schwab & Lindsey Fleetwood

Can you believe that the latest video game trend has people getting outside and exercising? Neither can we, but we love it!

Pokémon GO has officially invaded Duke Gardens. With a plethora of plant species and multiple bodies of water, Duke  Gardens is a hotspot for Pokémon diversity. We are also home to 3 Pokémon training gyms, all of which are presently owned by Team Mystic (also known as the blue team.) The gym locations are as follows:

  • The Fish Pool, at the base of the Historic Terraces
  • The red bridge in the Asiatic Arboretum
  • The small pond in the far north end of the Asiatic Arboretum (very close to the red bridge)
One of our many PokeStops.
We also have dozens of PokéStops and there are often lures in use to attract more Pokémon. Some of the Pokémon spotted in the Gardens include Tauros, Exeggcute, Slowpoke and Oddish. There are also plenty of Sandshrews, Rattata, Spearow and Pidgey. Think about using a Lucky Egg while you’re in the garden – those double XP will come in handy!
Psyduck spotted at the Red Bridge.

The area just outside the Gardens is awesome for playing, too. Along Anderson Street, it’s possible to stumble across Jigglypuff, and staff members at the Nasher Museum of Art have spotted several Pokémon inside their building as well. Walk toward West Campus and you’ll find even more.

We are so excited to see people out and about in the Gardens! Every now and then, when the game inevitably freezes and you have to pause, take a look around at your surroundings. You’re in a beautiful place! Please watch your step and stay on the paths in your quest for Pokémon. There may be rare Pokémon around, but we have some plants that are even rarer.

Do you have any more Pokémon GO tips for people at Duke Gardens?

Friday, April 8, 2016

Spotlight on: Bryce Lane & the Importance of Soil

The key to a gorgeous planting is soil. Photo by Brian Wells.
By Sarah Leach Smith
Visitor Services Coordinator

If you love plants and have never experienced a class taught by Bryce Lane, then you have no idea what you are missing!

In just a couple of weeks, Bryce Lane will teach "Soil," a 3-hour workshop focusing on the most important part of your garden. Bryce will take you through the process of understanding soils, learning how to build and improve your soil and how to prepare a bed for planting. The workshop will include hands-on activities and soil tests that you can use over and over again in your home garden.

Not long ago, I was a student of Bryce's in the Department of Horticulture Science at North Carolina State University. I can tell you that he is the most charismatic and engaging teacher I have ever had. Soil may not sound like the most interesting topic, but I must admit that I have signed up for this class myself, to have a useful refresher about soils, of course, but also to have the opportunity to experience another class taught by Bryce Lane.

I reached out to Bryce recently to find out more about what he has been up to and what he hopes to cover in this course. Our Q&A is below.

Will you tell potential students a little more about your background and your experience? 
Bryce Lane with one of his 3 Emmy awards.
Photo courtesy of Bryce Lane. 
I grew up in Western Massachusetts, where I first discovered my passion for plants and telling others about them while working at a local garden center through high school and college. I earned my B.S. in plant science from the University of Massachusetts in 1979 and an M.S. in horticulture from The Ohio State University in 1981. I came to the Department of Horticultural Science at N.C. StateUniversity as a lecturer, teaching in both the two-year and four-year programs. In 1987, I became the undergraduate coordinator, serving the department in that capacity for 26 years. In the past 30+ years, I have taught more than 20,000 students! I also hosted and produced a three-time Emmy winning UNC-TV public television show called “In the Garden with Bryce Lane”, which was on the air for 11 seasons.

Though I retired from N.C. State in January of 2014, I have enjoyed pursuing public speaking opportunities and teaching part time. I have actually been teaching soils workshops now for three years, and it's a regular winter workshop at the JC Raulston Arboretum in Raleigh every year

What can we expect from your class? What do you hope participants will gain from it?
Expect a dynamic, entertaining, yet scientifically packed presentation about soil, soil profiles, soil chemistry, soil structure, pH, organic matter, soil and bed preparation and soil building. I’ll also talk about container media and how it needs to be different, and treated differently from outdoor soil. Participants will gain a deeper understanding of the dynamics of soil, and how to apply the science they learn to create better garden soil for all their gardening endeavors. They will learn how to build soil and make it better for the environment, their gardens and their plants.
Bed preparation in the Discovery Garden. Photo by Lindsey Fleetwood.

What are you most excited about with regard to this class? 

I am most excited about how this workshop enables gardeners to be more successful growing plants in their gardens. By learning some soil science and committing to using that knowledge to improve soil, gardeners will be equipped to improve all their gardening practices.