Tuesday, June 30, 2009

July Facebook photo contests

Duke Gardens’ first Facebook photo contest was such a big hit that the Gardens will now make it a monthly feature. The July themes: water lilies and summer scenes.

Hundreds of Gardens enthusiasts joined the Gardens’ new fan page, posting more than 225 photos in six categories to vie for prizes. Others visited the online exhibits of photos to vote or comment on them. Daily page views climbed to 440, its peak so far.

Capturing water lilies should pose no problem for Gardens visitors. The Gardens is once again host to the International Waterlily and Water Gardening Society's annual New Waterlily Competition (more info here). You can see the contestants all summer in the fish pond at the foot of the Terrace Gardens, and vote on them at the Gardens or online. And there are yet more lilies in the pond behind the Doris Duke Center.

For prime Facebook contest photo opportunities, consider taking on of the free Water Lily Walks that aquatic plants specialist Tamara Kilbane will lead in July through September. The Gardens will also host a Water Lily Photography Workshop with photographer Jennifer Weinberg on July 18 and 19. For more information on the workshop and walks, see the events link in Facebook (www.facebook.com/dukegardens) or Duke Gardens' education brochure here.

HOW TO ENTER OR VOTE: To enter the photo contest or view the exhibit, join Facebook (it’s free and easy), then go to www.facebook.com/dukegardens, sign up to be a fan and click on “events.” You’ll see two exhibit listings, one for water lilies and one for summer scenes. Click RSVP on the exhibit topic you want and then enter the event page. You can post photos (one per member per category) or simply click “like” on others’ photos to vote for them. Press the “share” button on the event page to tell all your Facebook friends to join and vote.

The contest ends July 31 at 1 p.m. The top vote-getter in each category will win a 2010 wall calendar. Second prize is a DVD about the Gardens’ history. Third prize is a Duke Gardens plant (for pickup only). Top prize winners may pick a lower prize if they prefer. Or all may opt instead for a certificate for 30 percent off a one-day total purchase through 12/31/09 at the Gardens' gift store.

Kilbane and a panel of judges will grant additional awards for their top photo picks.

Please check back for more contests each month. And you can still see the June exhibits by going to the last page under the events tab and clicking "past events."

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Music in the Gardens: Alina Simone

Some highlights from last night's show, which began -- not unexpectedly -- with a set sung entirely in Russian.
Performing with Simone are guitarist Shawn Setaro and drummer John Lynch.
For more Music in the Gardens photos, go to Duke Gardens' Facebook fan page.
Read a review here.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

July classes and events at Duke Gardens

We've got some more events in store that weren't included in our earlier summer events post.

If you love seeing the dramatic array of lilies in the International Waterlily & Water Gardening Society's annual competition at Duke Gardens, but you can't seem to capture them well in photos, Durham photographer Jennifer Weinberg can help. Weinberg will teach a water lily photography workshop July 18 and 19, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. You can get extra practice during the Gardens' new, free Water Lily Walks. July dates are the 2nd, 16th and 30th, from 9 to 11 a.m.

The monthly Walk on the Wild Side in the Blomquist Garden of Native Plants will feature tour guide Jeff Pippen, of Nicholas School of the Environment. He'll talk about native wildlife. That's Thursday, July 2, from 11 a.m. to noon. Meet at the Blomquist gate house.

On July 23, you can take a field trip to Holly Hill Daylily & Crinum Farm and learn more about how to incorporate Crinum lilies into your late summer garden. Travelers will leave the Gardens at 9 a.m. and return at 1:30 p.m.

The Triangle Orchid Society will discuss orchids of the Venezuelan Grand Sabana July 13 at 7 p.m. Admission is free and anyone may attend.

Teachers can learn how to bring nature into their curriculum in the free training workshop "The Nature of Art & The Art of Nature: Connecting Science & Art for the Elementary Classroom." That's July 21, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. It repeats July 24. More info here.

For our full July-December brochure, go here. To register for classes, call 668-1707 or send an e-mail.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Following in Andy Goldsworthy's path

Children in Duke Gardens' Nature Adventure Camp worked on an art installation inspired by artist Andy Goldsworthy. Over four days, they built a bridge, a leaf path and a hut. You can see their process below -- including much creative collaboration and muscle power.

Next week's campers will build a whole new installation. Stay tuned.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Megafaun at Duke Gardens

Here are some photo highlights from last night's Megafaun concert.

Meghan Griffith, who teaches hooping in the Triangle, brought a carload of hoops and let anyone use them -- which proved to be a popular diversion. You can see one toddler hoop-share negotiation below. And interpretive dancer Randy McCutcheon danced by the stage for the whole show.

Read a concert review here. And for the rest of Duke Performances' Music in the Gardens roster, go here.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Duke Gardens award winners

Please join us in congratulating Chuck Hemric for his 2009 Marsha Riddle Lifetime Achievement Award from the N.C. Association of Volunteer Administration (read about it here).

Also, Stefan Bloodworth, curator of the H.L. Blomquist Garden of Native Plants, has won two awards for his work at the Gardens and as an independent landscaper.

The first is The North Carolina Native Plant Society Award for Landscape Design with Native Plant Materials, which recognizes "the exemplary use of native plant material in a public garden in a manner that also promotes such use in home and business landscapes."

The second is the Golden Leaf Award for Community Appearance, for his work at 1106 Anderson St.

"The attractive use of seasonal and location-appropriate plants make a charming statement about how landscape can be attractive and well groomed while conserving water and the environment. The landscaping adds a breath of fresh air to the location's stale past," the award announcement says. "As one judge put it, 'The lovely landscaping is a gift to all who drive down Anderson.' "

Duke Gardens 2010 wall calendars are here

This is the cover photo. You can get one at the Terrace Shop or by supporting Duke Gardens as a Friend (info here).

Duke Gardens Facebook photo contest

Hardly a moment goes by at Sarah P. Duke Gardens in which you don’t see someone training a camera on one of the myriad sights here – be it a breathtaking panorama, the wisteria-covered pergola, a group of ducklings or a dew-misted leaf.

Duke Gardens Facebook fans can now share their favorite Gardens photos in a series of online exhibits and earn votes to win prizes.

To enter, join Facebook (it’s free and easy), then go to the Facebook fan page here, sign up to be a fan and click on “events.” You’ll see six exhibit listings, each in a different category (panoramas, close-ups, etc.). Click RSVP on the exhibit topic you want and then enter the event page. You can post photos (one per member per category) or simply click “like” on others’ photos to vote for them and comment on them. Press the “share” button on the event page to tell all your Facebook friends to join and vote.

The contest ends June 29 at 1 p.m. The top vote-getter in each category will win a 2010 wall calendar. Second prize is a DVD about the Gardens’ history. Third prize is a Duke Gardens plant (for pickup only). Top prize winners may pick a lower prize if they prefer. Winners will be announced and contacted by June 30. Please check back for more contests each month thereafter.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Duke Gardens Fairy House Village

Sarah and Catherine strategize on their Duke Gardens fairy house.

Update: Here's the fairy house article that appeared in the Herald-Sun June 20.

Sarah Kunz isn’t certain how many fairies live in the woods outside her house. But the Durham 8-year-old is sure there must be some.

So this month, she and her sisters gathered construction materials to build a village for the wood sprites to live in. The building supplies: rocks, sticks, big leaves, pine straw and other items easily scrounged from any yard.

She and her 5-year-old sister Catherine got some practice for the project last month, when they and other children built a fairy village at Sarah P. Duke Gardens.

The popular project was part of the Gardens’ inaugural Family Fun Day, the kickoff for its free Sunday drop-in program. The children – from toddlers on up – built about 25 tiny homes, each distinct from the others.

Sarah’s mother, Diane Kunz, was so enchanted with the village and the ease of construction that she immediately made plans to work on one at home. It isn’t hard, and it costs nothing. Almost anything, from cardboard to gourds, feathers and shells, can make for a suitable shelter for fairies – or for any garden creatures that live nearby

"To me, this was a revelation," says Kunz, who calls her daughters "the fabulous flower fairies." "I know you can buy a fairy village in stores. But it had never occurred to me that you can make one from what you have."

The Kunzes’ Gardens house had an airy, island hut feel to it, with a bamboo frame and a sandy floor.

"My friend Gigi has a porch where they can just sit there and relax and read a magazine or a book and listen to the birds," she said of her architecture plan. "And so I added a porch. I felt like I was creating a new world for the fairies."

She wasn’t sure what her backyard fairy house would entail. But the trial and error of the Duke Gardens project – including a bamboo frame that initially kept falling down – prepared her for roadblocks.

She has some advice for newbie house-builders, especially those with limited materials.

"If you want to make a fairy house and you don’t really have a choice of what to use, you can just let your imagination go and use stuff from nature and make it comfortable as if you wanted to live in it. So you can be happy for those fairies and they can be happy for you."

Her biggest tip: be flexible.

"You need to be very patient and just go with what happens, and if some stuff messes up then you make new stuff with it," she says.

"Like with my sisters, I don’t get angry when they mess up," she says. "I go, like, 'Wow, that's a good idea.' When something messes up, it sometimes creates something new for your house. Sometimes it's hard to be patient and steady, but the longer you try, and if you can just try so hard, the better your house will be and the steadier it will be."

For fairy house instruction and inspiration, go to fairyhouses.com. If you've made your own fairy house, we'd love to see it. You can post photos at our Facebook fan page here.

Original post:

Here are some photos of the Fairy House Village that children built on Family Fun Day. Some of them were shot a day later, after the night breezes tested their structural integrity. So they aren't as pristine as they originally were. But as you'll see from the variety of styles, these youngsters had plenty of imagination. And many of them talked about going home to build more.

Please join us next year to make another village for fairies and garden creatures. And until then, consider making one in your own neighborhood.