Monday, September 28, 2009

Visit from a Japanese landscape architect

Katsuhito Nakasone, right, teaches a workshop at Duke Gardens.
Photo by Paul Jones

By Nancy Hamilton
Sarah P. Duke Gardens was pleased to host Mr. Katsuhito Nakasone, a landscape architect from Toyama, Japan, for a nine-day working visit this month. Sister Cities of Durham arranged the visit in conjunction with Duke Gardens to support the continued development of the garden area surrounding the Japanese Pavilion in the Culberson Asiatic Arboretum.

During the working visit, Mr. Nakasone spent a great deal of time with arboretum curator Paul Jones discussing the design of the Tea Garden surrounding the Japanese Pavilion, which also functions as a teahouse, as well as the greater Japanese garden extending beyond the teahouse area.

The Tea Garden, or roji, which means “revealed ground” in Japanese, performs an important role in visitors’ experiences as they approach the teahouse as guests to the Gardens’ traditional Tea Gatherings for the public (this fall’s gatherings will be Oct. 21 and Nov. 11).

Mr. Nakasone, himself an avid student of Tea, advised Mr. Jones regarding the placement of several features along the roji path designed to refresh and prepare guests as they journey toward the teahouse. He also created a traditional rock and moss garden at the main entrance to the teahouse and proposed creating a stone and pebble garden nearby that would mimic in miniature the mountainous landscape of Toyama.

Duke Gardens invited members of the Durham community to participate in two special events during the course of Mr. Nakasone’s stay. Mr. Nakasone hosted two intimate Tea Gatherings in the garden teahouse celebrating 20 years of friendship between Durham and Toyama. He treated his guests to a special blend of tea and traditional confections crafted in Toyama.

Mr. Nakasone also led a special Japanese Gardening workshop geared toward local landscape professionals. He demonstrated a number of techniques, including bamboo fence construction, ornamental knots, construction of limb supports, Japanese pruning and design of traditional snow protection devices for trees. The full day event included both discussion and hands-on activities and was greeted by an enthusiastic crowd of more than 25 landscapers and garden professionals.

Gardens volunteer Nancy Hamilton organizes the Tea Gatherings at the Gardens, and she served as Mr. Nakasone's translator during his visit.

Mr. Nakasone hosts a traditional Japanese Tea Gathering.
photo by Jon Gardiner/Duke Photography

Mr. Nakasone with his workshop class.
Photo by Chizuko Sueyoshi

Mr. Nakasone with Durham Rotary Club President Sam Miglarese
Photo by Nancy Hamilton

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Duke Gardens Plant+Craft Fest

The sale has begun!
Please head on down. We're here 'til 2 p.m., and there's plenty to see.
Below (and in the previous post) are a few tantalizing photos of some of our guest vendors' items. Please check back through the day for more photos and video.

A full list of vendors is here.

And here are our video previews from previous posts:
Preview No. 1: Rare & Unusual Plants

Preview No. 2: Karen Dillard's bird houses

Preview No. 3: Popular plants

Preview No. 4: Curator Paul Jones with the hurricane lily, Himalayan white pine, spider lily and lilac Daphne.

Preview No. 5: Veronica Mae Designs and a tale of layoffs & creative reinvention.

Preview No. 6: Curator Paul Jones shares a neat tidbit about the Lycoris aurea

Preview No. 7: Claudia Acosta demonstrates how to use her handmade White Pear sugar scrub.

Preview No. 8: A weeping Japanese maple from Specialty Ornamentals

Feature No. 9: Carnivorous plants from S&J Greens.

Feature No. 10: Soda-fired pottery from Powder Mill Pottery.

Hand-painted boxes, pillows and pots from Madlyn Ferraro.

Birdhouses by Karen Dillard

Scuppernong grapes and other goodies from Vicky's Greenhouse & Garden. She's got veggie plants here, too.

Mary Kay Inc. is here.

Glass ornaments and cork plant pots from Bela Imports.

And here are some morning shoppers.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Duke Gardens Plant & Craft Fest preview 4

Just one more day 'til our big Fall Plant & Craft Festival. Today is our preview sale for Friends of Duke Gardens. Our staff and volunteers have been working hard all morning setting up the Duke Gardens sales areas -- from house plants to herbs and deer-resistant plants. And other vendors are also arriving. You can see the full vendor list and other information here. Stay tuned for more festival posts, and please click below for some video previews.
Preview No. 1: Rare & Unusual Plants

Preview No. 2: Karen Dillard's bird houses

Preview No. 3: Popular plants

Preview No. 4: Curator Paul Jones with the hurricane lily, Himalayan white pine, spider lily and lilac Daphne.

Preview No. 5: Veronica Mae Designs and a tale of layoffs & creative reinvention.

Preview No. 6: Curator Paul Jones shares a neat tidbit about the Lycoris aurea

We hope to see you tomorrow, from 9 a.m.-2 p.m.

Here are some photos of the setup so far. We'll keep adding to this collection.

(Below is one of the Christmas trees that used to grace the Doris Duke Center. We've replaced them, so we're selling them, as well as some garlands. We're hoping some of you are ready to get into the holiday spirit this weekend.)

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Duke Gardens Plant & Craft Fest preview 3

As we count down to Saturday's Fall Plant & Craft Fest, here's a youtube video of horticulturist Jason Holmes talking about some of the most popular plants offered at the festival.

Here's a link to our full list of vendors, and festival info.

And here's a mum, waiting for you to take it home.

Duke Gardens Plant & Craft Fest preview 2

Just two days 'til the Fall Plant & Craft Festival. Please check out this video of artist Karen Dillard talking about her whimsical upcycled bird houses.

And here's volunteer Rick Fisher preparing sale plants in the greenhouse.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Duke Gardens Plant Festival preview no. 1

People always line up early for the best choice of plants at our festivals. Now, they've got all the more reason. Horticulturist Jason Holmes offers a sneak peek of the rare plants the Gardens will offer this year. Be the first on your block to display some of these alluring species.

Blogger is cropping the right side off of this video, so instead of embedding it, we're sending you straight to the full-format post at youtube.

And here's volunteer Lois Oliver trying to weed a plant sale cactus without getting pricked. (She did get pricked, alas.)

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

September activities at Duke Gardens

We hope you’ll join us in the Gardens this month for some of our many classes and special events. Here’s our schedule:

Fall Plant & Craft Festival

Sept. 26, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Join Sarah P. Duke Gardens as it celebrates 75 years of showcasing the beauty of nature. The Gardens and guest vendors will sell an array of plants appropriate for this region, including plants featured in Duke Gardens. Local artisans will sell garden-related gift items. And you can also get free horticultural advice from the staff and Durham County Master Gardeners. Join Friends of the Gardens for an invitation to the preview sale Sept. 25.
More event information here.

Free Movies in the Gardens by Twilight

(Due to rain 8/5 & 8/12, films were bumped a week; new schedule reflected below)
Sept. 2: "The Music Man" (1962).
Sept. 9: "Mary Poppins" (1964).

Films will be shown on the South Lawn and start when darkness falls (8-8:30 p.m.) Picnics are welcome. Refreshments will be sold. Rain dates are one week later. Check our Twitter if the weather is iffy.

Wine Tasting: A Toast to the Harvest
Sept. 20, 3-5 p.m. Celebrate the harvest season and sample some exciting new wines. Visit with friends in a lovely garden setting as you enjoy a glass of Merlot, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and others. We will offer an array of hors d'oeuvres along with the wine and information about grape varieties, vintage and availability. $10; $15 for couples. Pre-register at 668-1707.

Free tours

Water Lily Walks with aquatic plants specialist Tamara Kilbane, 9 a.m. Sept. 3 & 17. Rain or shine. Meet at the Doris Duke Center. More info here.

Walk on the Wild Side tour with Stefan Bloodworth, curator of the Blomquist Garden of Native Plants, Sept. 3, 11 a.m.-noon. Rain or shine. Meet at the Blomquist gatehouse. This tour will recur throughout the year on the first Thursday of every month. More info here.

Bird Walk with Cynthia Fox, of Chapel Hill's Wild Bird Center, Sept. 12, 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. Please bring binoculars. Children are welcome if they are 8 years old or older. Meet at the Doris Duke Center. If the weather is iffy, please call Alice Le Duc at 730-2503 to check the status of the walk.
Please pre-register for the free walks at 668-1707.

Nature Ranger Cart
Look for the colorful cart at the foot of the Terrace Gardens on Fridays in September and October. It's full of simple and fun activities for children. Play flower bingo or make pressed flower bookmarks, paper butterflies, pond life pictures and bark, insect or leaf rubbings. Or get some nutritious food for the Gardens' ducks. Free.

Free Sunday drop-in program for children

Sept 27, 11 a.m.-2 p.m.: Leaf and flower pounding. Create a botanical kitchen towel.

Sunday drop-ins will continue through the end of October and then begin again in May. Programs run from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Dawn Redwood near the foot of the Terrace Garden.

Classes & children’s activities

Boxwoods: Care and Maintenance (Sept. 10; eligible for CEU credits); Story Time for children (Sept. 12); Photographing Butterflies & Birds (Sept. 12-13); Successful Gardener Seminar: Gardening 101 (Sept. 13; free); Triangle Orchid Society meeting (Sept. 14; free); Introduction to Flowering Plant Families (Sept. 14-15); Perennial Garden Design & Plant Selection (Sept. 17 & 23; eligible for CEU credits); Winter Container Gardens (Sept. 22).
See our brochure here for details. Also, ask about children’s activity backpack rentals and Tuesday-Thursday morning school programs.
*Pre-registration is required, even for free courses. Please call 668-1707.

Looking ahead:
Coming in October: free tours of the Culberson Asiatic Arboretum.

And please mark your calendars for our two Arts in the Garden fall shows, fun family performances at the Doris Duke Center. Shows are at 11 a.m. Tickets are $8, available at or by calling (919) 684-4444.

Oct. 24: Opera Express, Opera Carolina's educational touring company, presents its brand new production, "Jack and the Beanstalk." Read more about Opera Express here.
Here's an Opera Express rehearsal shot from "Beanstalk."

Nov. 7: Storyteller Louise Omoto Kessel with percussionist Beverly Botsford. Read about Louise here.