Friday, July 15, 2011

Duke Gardens events: July 15-Dec. 31, 2011

Sarah P. Duke Gardens’ new education guide is now online. The PDF includes class descriptions, instructor information, meeting times/locations and fees for all classes between now and Dec. 31.

Below is a quick rundown of the season’s offerings, including page numbers where you can find more information in our full guide.

Gardening and Horticulture
Durham Garden Forum: Dealing with Drought (July 19) – pg. 8
Ikebana International: (4th Wednesday monthly) – pg. 8
Triangle Orchid Society: (2nd Monday monthly) – pg. 8
Cool-Season Vegetables: Extending Your Garden Season (Aug. 21; part of the Master Gardeners’ Extension Gardener Series) – pg. 5
Waterlily Walks (Aug. 25 or Sept. 15) – pg. 4
Plants of Distinction: Fall (Sept. 7, Nov. 9 and/or Jan. 18) – pg. 4
Gardening 101 (2 Saturdays, Sept. 10 & 17) – pg. 6
Landscape Plants: Fall and Winter (Fall: 4 Wednesdays, Sept. 14, 21, 28, Oct. 5. Winter: 3 Tuesdays, Nov. 29, Dec. 6 & 13) – pg. 6
Durham Garden Forum: Bryce Lane on gardening trends (registration required) – pg. 8
Historic Gardens Color Walk (Oct. 6) – pg. 6
Gardens of the Doris Duke Center (Oct. 7 or Oct. 28) – pg. 7
Durham Garden Forum: Norm Christensen presents "Treating Your Garden Like an Ecosystem (Oct. 18) – pg. 8
Design Your Home Landscape 1 (Oct. 20-Nov. 17) – pg. 7
Autumn in the Arboretum (Oct. 21 or Nov. 4) – pg. 7
Durham Gardening for Yankees (Oct. 30; part of the Master Gardeners’ Extension Gardener Series) – pg. 5
From the Erotic to the Exotic: Tips to Transform Your Garden from Mundane to Magnificent (Nov. 6; part of the Master Gardeners’ Extension Gardener Series) – pg. 5
Durham Garden Forum: Jesse Turner discusses "Sculpture in the Garden" (Nov. 15) – pg. 8
Durham Garden Forum: Durham City Arborist Alex Johnson presents "How Do Trees Work?" (Dec. 6) – pg. 8

Botanical Art and Craft
Floral Studio (Fridays, July 22, Aug. 19, Sept. 16 and/or Oct. 21) – pg. 9
Garden Elements: Cast Stone Leaves (Sept. 17) – pg. 9
Artificial Stone Sculptures and Pots: Hypertufa (Sept. 17) – pg. 10
Garden Guild Craft Sale (Nov. 12, 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m.). See blog preview.
Holiday Decorations (Dec. 3) – pg. 10

Natural History
Walk on the Wild Side (First Thursdays monthly: Aug. 4, Sept. 1, Oct. 6, Nov. 3, Dec. 1) – pg. 11
Local Fauna: Butterflies of North Carolina (2 Saturdays, Aug. 6 & 13) – pg. 11
Penny’s Bend: Prairie Disjunct Display (Sept. 10) – pg. 11
Local Flora: Autumn (4 Saturdays: Sept. 24, Oct. 1 & 22, Nov. 5) – pg. 12
Bird Walks (Sept. 24, Oct. 1, Nov. 5) – pg. 12
Wild Areas and Waterfalls (Sept. 30-Oct. 2) – pg. 13
Local Fauna: Birds of North Carolina (2 Saturdays, Oct. 8 & 15) – pg. 14
Human Impact on the Environment: The Ecology of Change (4 Wednesdays, Nov. 16 & 30, Dec. 7 & 14) – pg. 14
Nature Photography
Durham Photography Club at Duke Gardens (2nd Monday monthly) – pg. 8
Autumn Light (2 Thursdays, Sept. 15 & 22) – pg. 15
Wild Areas and Waterfalls (Sept. 30-Oct. 2) – pg. 15
Introduction to Nature Photography (2 Tuesdays, Oct. 4 & 11, and Saturday, Oct. 8) – pg. 16
Basic Photography for Gardeners (4 Saturdays, Oct. 15-Nov. 5) – pg. 16
Learning to See in Nature (2 Wednesdays, Nov. 9 & 30, and 2 Saturdays, Nov. 12 & 19) – pg. 17
Digital Photography: Understanding Your Camera, Camera to Computer and Photo Editing (3 Tuesdays, Nov. 29, Dec. 6 & 13) – pg. 17

Japanese Tea Gatherings
Chrysanthemum Tea (Sept. 17, 2 seatings) – pg. 18
Harvest Tea (Oct. 14) – pg. 18
Moonviewing Tea (Oct. 14, evening) – pg. 18
Dancing Leaves Tea (Nov. 4, 2 seatings) – pg. 18

Children and Family Programs
Nature Storytime (free drop-in book club; Saturdays, Aug. 20 & 27, Sept. 10 & 24, Oct. 1 & 22, Nov. 5 & 19) – pg. 28
Flying Flowers (Sept. 1 or Sept. 17) – pg. 27
Nature Ranger Cart (free drop-in activities, Friday mornings in Sept. & Oct.) – pg. 28
Drip Drop: Be a raindrop for the day (Sept. 13 or Sept. 24) – pg. 26
Fall Family Fun (free drop-in activities, Sundays, Sept. 18-Oct. 9) – pg. 29
Nature for Sprouts (4 Fridays, Oct. 7-28) – pg. 26
Shadow World (Oct. 8) – pg. 27
Knock, Knock. Who’s There? (Oct. 15 or Oct. 16) – pg. 26
Food Fight (2 Saturdays, Nov. 12 & 19) – pg. 27
Shelter (Dec. 10) – pg. 27
Family Backpacks (self-guided activities; adult chaperone required) – pg. 29

Movies in the Gardens at Twilight (more info)
Sept. 15: "Play Again"

Music in the Gardens
Duke Performances series (more info)

Swing for Scrap
Fundraising swing dance for Durham creative reuse center The Scrap Exchange. See details on Scrap's ticket page. Tickets also available at The Scrap Exchange.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Duke Gardens Fish Pool: post-storm cleanup

Curator Mike Owens retrieves water plants
from the muddy Fish Pool.

Photos by Gardens intern Crystal Cotton
Report by Crystal Cotton and Gardens staff

Last week's downpours in Durham left the Fish Pool at the bottom of the Terrace Gardens full of clay soil and debris from higher ground – a mix that’s not just unsightly but also bad for the koi fish and water plants that live there. So Historic Gardens curator Mike Owens has had to drain the pool and the pond in the South Lawn in order to clean them.

“We’ve had some really abnormal, heavy downpours of 2 or 3 inches" on July 4 and Friday, Owens said Monday, as he made his way through the muddy water to rescue the plants and fish.
“It just all rushed down at once and didn't have time to drain off properly. In a normal rain, we wouldn't have that problem."

This challenge isn't new. Duke Gardens is located in a ravine. The original Duke Gardens, an iris garden planted in the mid-1930s in what is now the South Lawn, washed away in a storm soon afterward. That led to a new approach for the next incarnation, the tiered Terrace Gardens, dedicated in 1939.

Compounding the long-standing problem of water flowing downward from higher ground is current construction in the allee at Duke Gardens’ main entrance, which exposed mounds of clay soil that the double-whammy of intense storms carried downstream to the Fish Pool, carving ditches in the paths along the way.

These storms necessitated an immediate draining and cleanout – something the Gardens does periodically but had to expedite this time around.

"This heavy clay in here cannot be filtered out,” Owens said of the Fish Pool mud. “It's such a fine clay that the only way I can get it out is to wash it out with a hose.”

As the pool drained,
Owens also rescued the fish for safe-keeping.

While Owens brings the ponds up to par, the water plants and the koi will be given extra care for the next few days. Some will go in water pots

“The Victoria water lilies we just started, so we’re going to take them to the pond behind the Doris Duke Center,” Owens said. Other plants are fine in water pots or sitting out of water for a while.

Owens transferred the fish to water tanks in the greenhouse until the cleanup is done. This way, they can keep their gills clean and be free to swim about freely once again.

Fortunately, storms of this intensity – coupled with construction – don’t happen often. And Owens expects the Fish Pool to be full and photogenic again by the end of the week. The South Lawn pond may take a few days longer to clean and will fill up naturally after the next rainfall.

The drained South Lawn pond
awaits removal of accumulated dirt.

See our previous post for photos of the flooding, and an update on the Asiatic pond and Virtue Peace Pond.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Damage from the mighty storm

Today's intense rainfall wreaked havoc on Duke Gardens. The water rushed from the higher parts of the Gardens (including construction areas, with their mud and debris), as well as higher ground at Duke University Medical Center. It made its way into the pond in the Asiatic Arboretum and to the foot of the Terrace Gardens, including the newly renovated Fish Pool.

Not only that, this was the second time this week that we've had so intense a storm. So there is much cleaning up to be done here. The water should recede overnight, unless it rains again. But we'll be looking to find a long-term solution that will prevent such havoc in the future.

Here are a few photos from this evening.

The grassy banks at pondside are submerged,
as are the ends of our iconic Iris Bridge.
The paths were covered, too.

A submerged bench that's normally up on a bank.

(Above is a "before" shot of the same bench.
Note the grassy bank in the background,
leading up to the path that you saw
submerged in the previous photo.)
Photo by Wendell Hull

Above is where the Zig-zag Bridge would be.
It's under there somewhere.

Above is what the Zig-zag Bridge normally looks like.
(Photo by Wendell Hull)

The grassy area and path leading to the
duck-feeding rock beach is now more pond,
which makes the ducks happy.

Duck feeders will recognize this path out to
the beach and our informational sign.

The path from a different vantage point.

To the right in the background is where the
multi-level duck beach normally can be seen.

Above is what the duck-feeding beach usually looks like.

The stream on the other side of the dam.

The rushing water created ditches in our paths.

Our renovated Fish Pool,
home of giant koi, as well as water lilies and lotuses,
is a muddy mess.

The haggard water lilies in the Fish Pool.

A beautiful lotus framed by muck.

More plants with migrated dirt.

The view up the waterfall,
on the other side of the Fish Pool.

Bobby Mottern, director of horticulture,
tries to unclog the drain and filtration areas.

A "before" shot of the beautifully clear Fish Pool
on a gorgeous spring day.
Photo by Rick Fisher

Monday update: Culberson Asiatic Arboretum curator Paul Jones says the water levels have gone down, and that it's not uncommon for summer storms to raise the arboretum pond levels substantially. The water and debris flowing down to the Terraces are a greater worry, he says. Some of the paths really took a beating, as did the Fish Pool.

All the debris that builds up in the Asiatic pond from such storms will eventually have to be removed, though. Much of it settles around the Zig-zag Bridge, which has to be dug out routinely so that the bridge crosses over water, not land.

Water plants specialist Tamara Kilbane says the competition waterlilies in the Virtue Peace Pond are fine, too. The pond ended up with mulch in it from the surrounding area. But she and other staff members cleaned it and the plants were unharmed.

For those concerned about our waterfowl, Paul says the ducks, swans and other creatures love these events, which briefly expand their water world and their menu. They are all content and unharmed. But we're checking on the koi fish now. The Terrace Gardens Fish Pool will need to be drained and cleaned.

Read our update of the Fish Pool and South Lawn pond cleanup.