Friday, December 21, 2012

Holiday gift idea: dance, dance, dance!

Having trouble finding a fun holiday gift for a special someone?

Why not give him/her an evening of fun at Duke Gardens' forthcoming swing or tango dances?

We'll have swing dances on Jan. 12 and Feb. 9, each preceded by a one-hour beginner lesson that's included with the price of admission. We'll also have four one-hour workshops from 1-5 p.m. on Jan. 12, which you can read about in our previous blog post.

And on Feb. 8, we'll have a tango milonga, also preceded by a one-hour beginner lesson.

You don't need to bring a partner, and you don't need a certain level of physical fitness. You can enjoy these dances at any level. They're part of the new health and wellness series of classes and events offered at Duke Gardens.

For information about other educational programs for children and adults, please see our website. We are only now beginning registration for these events, so feel free to craft your own gift certificate and take care of the registration details with our registrar Dec. 26 or thereafter at (919) 668-1707.

Happy holidays!

Swing dance workshops Jan. 12

Duke Gardens' swing dances have been so popular that we decided to go a step further and offer an afternoon of swing workshops preceding our next dance on Jan. 12. The dances and workshops are part of a new Health & Wellness Series that also includes yoga for beginners.

The workshops will be taught by the fabulous Wesley Boz and Debbie Ramsey, of Mad About Dance Academy.

Each workshop will be an hour long, and they will run from 1-5 p.m. Beginners who would like to attend the 8 p.m. dance that night should also plan to take advantage of Wes' one-hour beginner East Coast swing lesson at 7 p.m., which is included in the cost of dance admission. That beginner lesson will be different from what's taught in the workshops, but it will all work together for you.

Please see our website for full information about the evening dance and lesson.

The workshops will be as follows:

1 p.m.: Slow Blues Basics
Learn the basic elements of this popular dance style, including connection, rhythm and musicality.

2 p.m.: Charleston Kicking Patterns
Add some more spunk to your basic East Coast Swing with a dash of high-energy Charleston. 

3 p.m.: Slow Blues for Experienced Dancers
Move beyond the basics of the popular blues dance style, using your existing dance abilities to dig deeper into connection, rhythm and musicality.   

4 p.m.: Advanced East Coast Swing Patterns
Take your swing dancing to a whole new level.

Cost: $18; $16 members of Duke Gardens, Carolina Dance Club or Triangle Swing Dance Society.
Multi-class discounts: $32/$30 for 2 workshops; $42/$38 for 3 workshops; $48/$44 for all four workshops.

Pre-registration required. Parking included.

Buy tickets: To charge tickets by phone, please call 888-21SWING. Tickets may also be purchased in person at Duke Gardens (cash/check only).

Gardens info: 919-668-1707. Sarah P. Duke Gardens, 420 Anderson St.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Duke Gardens going smoke-free

Sarah P. Duke Gardens is pleased to announce that it will be a smoke-free environment beginning January 1, 2013.

This new policy joins a list of existing regulations designed to ensure the safety of visitors, plants and wildlife alike, and to help make visitors' experiences at Duke Gardens as enjoyable as possible.

The policy applies to the Doris Duke Center and all other indoor and outdoor spaces at Duke Gardens.

The Gardens' rules will be posted prominently at various locations in the Gardens preceding the January no-smoking transition.

To learn more about Duke Gardens and its many features and programs for the public, please visit

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Duke Gardens 2012 note cards are here!

Duke Gardens' note cards are always popular, particularly in the gift-giving season. So Gardens enthusiasts will be happy to know that we have a brand new batch of note cards in the Terrace Shop. They come in sets of 12 (3 per image) for $10, and you can buy them at the Terrace Shop or call 919-684-9037 to order by mail.

The new images are below. And we also have limited quantities of the 2011 cards, as well as the 2011 Asiatic Arboretum snow scene that serves beautifully as a holiday greeting card. See the 2011 cards here.

We are ever grateful to the generous photographers who share their images with Duke Gardens for use in our publications. If you are interested in being a volunteer photographer, please see our website for more information.
Japanese iris (Iris ensata) in the W.L. Culberson Asiatic Arboretum.
Photo by Rick Fisher

Burpee Learning Center in the Charlotte Brody Discovery Garden
Photo by Orla Swift

Terrace Gardens and wisteria-covered pergola (2003)
Photo by Ed Albrecht

Roney Fountain in the Mary Duke Biddle Rose Garden
Photo by Rick Fisher

Sarah P. Duke Gardens creates and nurtures
an environment in the heart of Duke University
for learning, inspiration and enjoyment
through excellence in horticulture.

Please also consider a Duke Gardens' Friends membership for yourself or for a friend in this gift-giving season. More than half of the Gardens' annual budget comes from people like you, who value all that Duke Gardens has to offer. For information, please email or call 919-684-5579.

Monday, December 3, 2012

A Secret Underground World

Does this banana plant grow well here because of the soil, 
or does it help create soil that enables it to grow here?

Acclaimed gardening author Jeff Lowenfels comes to Duke Gardens for a guest lecture and a workshop Dec. 15. rescheduled to April 27 & 28, 2013. Learn more below.

By Jan Little

Our world is amazing. New information and discoveries continue to surprise and delight us, including research about soil. And now you can add soil to the list of party conversation starters with amazing new information about the world under our feet.

Several hundred years ago, Leonardo da Vinci noted that “we know more about the movement of celestial bodies than about the soil.” That is now changing, and the story that is emerging is incredibly fascinating.

This story involves a web of micro-animals, bacteria, fungi, nematodes, plants and roots and, moving up the food chain, insects, amphibians, small mammals, birds, and finally humans. It is commonly referred to as the soil-food web.

We are just now beginning to understand that plants don’t just grow where conditions are hospitable to their needs—plants actually shape and change the soil to suit their requirements more closely. So the plants in woodland settings will help produce a soil that is significantly different than that of the plants in grasslands.

When this system of plants, soil and animals is in balance, it is entirely sustainable and there is no depletion of the soil. The system is far older than humans—it just took us this long to catch on and begin to understand it. And this understanding helps us create lower maintenance, sustainable gardens.

Each layer of this soil food web has a job to complete. For example, the bacteria, fungi and some insects act as the world’s garbage disposal systems. Not only does this tidy up our world, it also recycles nutrients and makes those tasty tidbits available to plants. Quite simply, we would not have any food if the decomposers did not complete their jobs.

All of this information will lead us to some fairly significant changes in how we work with our garden soil. Managing your soil-food web will encourage you to stop using synthetic fertilizers. These fertilizers give a quick shot of nutrients to the plants, but over time they kill the soil biology and stop the ongoing processes of the soil-food web. Instead, use compost, organic fertilizers and healthier gardening practices.

This also encourages us to discontinue the annual rototilling of garden soil. Rototilling disrupts and destroys the soil biology, and over time it depletes soil of its structure and fertility. Generally it is suggested that breaking up the soil as you establish a garden is fine, but after that you should use sustainable maintenance practices to build the soil and the soil-food web.

You can learn more about the soil-food web with author Jeff Lowenfels when he visits Duke Gardens this month. Jeff is giving both a small group workshop on creating and using compost teas (Dec. 15 rescheduled to April 27, 2013, 9 a.m.-noon) and a lecture on the soil-food web (Dec. 15 April 28, 2013, 2-4 p.m.). This is based upon his research for the book Teaming with Microbes: The Organic Gardener's Guide to the Soil Food Web, originally published by Timber Press in 2006 to great acclaim.

Jeff’s book has been enthusiastically reviewed, and it was touted as the most important gardening book published in the past 25 years. He won the prestigious Garden Writers of America Gold Award for gardening books when Teaming with Microbes was originally published. We now have the opportunity to read a new edition published in 2011.

If you’d like to register for Jeff’s workshop or lecture, or learn more about these or other events at Duke Gardens, please call our registrar at 668-1707 or send an email. Duke University staff and students may attend for the Gardens member discount price.

Sarah P. Duke Gardens creates and nurtures an environment in the heart of Duke University for learning, inspiration and enjoyment through excellence in horticulture. The Gardens is at 420 Anderson St.

Jan Little is director of education and public programs at Duke Gardens. This column first appeared in the Durham Herald-Sun.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Special events: Japanese landscape & culture

Katsuhito Nakasone hosting a Traditional Japanese Tea Gathering in 2009
Photo by Jon Gardiner/Duke Photography

Visitors to Duke Gardens can learn a lot about Japanese culture and horticulture by strolling through the W.L. Culberson Asiatic Arboretum or attending a Japanese Tea Gathering.

Beginning later this month month, you can learn even more, in a variety of workshops featuring Katsuhito Nakasone, a visiting landscape architect from Toyama, Japan, Durham’s sister city.
In “The Japanese Tradition of Tea,” a lecture on Nov. 28 from 6:30-8 p.m., Nakasone will draw from his own experience designing and building his family’s teahouse and the surrounding garden. He and Nancy Hamilton, coordinator of Japanese cultural events at Duke Gardens, will draw parallels to the Duke Gardens teahouse and tea garden in the Japanese Pavilion and discuss the transformative
nature of the tea experience.

The following morning at 10:45 a.m., Nakasone will host a traditional Japanese Tea Gathering. Guests to this intimate event will experience the rich tradition and warm atmosphere of the tearoom as Nakasone presents tea and shares his unique perspective. He will also bring his favorite blend of tea, as well as sweets from Toyama for all to enjoy a taste of tea from afar.

A sodegaki workshop will follow on Friday, Nov. 30, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. The Japanese style of garden design has many strategies that help a visitor focus on detail, shift their perspective and begin to feel connected to nature. A beautiful bamboo screen is one such strategy. Called sodegaki, or sleeve screen, the screens are often intricate and patterned with a variety of joining, fitting and tying techniques.

Examples of sodegaki. Photos by Paul Jones.

Nakasone will work with Masashi (Mike) Oshita, of Japanese Garden Service in Asheville, will create a sodegaki during the workshop, so attendees can learn the techniques to build their own.  The workshop will conclude on site in the Japanese Garden with the placement of the new screen.

Designing new moss and maple grove garden is the focus of the final workshop, on Tuesday, Dec. 4, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Participants will observe a team of designers as they discuss, evaluate and finalize selections of specific trees, moss selection and placement, and tree-pruning strategies for a new garden. The team will comprise Nakasone, Oshita, Asiatic Arboretum curator Paul Jones, Portland Japanese Garden curator Sadafumi Uchiyama and stone mason Brooks Burleson.

The design choices for boulder placement and pathway development will be defined before the workshop but discussed with participants. Over the course of the five hours, participants will see the new garden design emerge in the arboretum, hear about garden preparation techniques and sourcing information, and be encouraged to discuss alternative solutions. Burleson will also demonstrate his technique for building the stone path. 

The workshop will conclude with a complete layout and finalizing of plans for installation. The workshop location will be indoors and out, adjusting with weather conditions.

Preregistration is required for all of these workshops and the tea. If you would like to register or have questions, please call our registrar at 919-668-1707 or email For more information about Gardens workshops, please go to We look forward Nakasone’s visit, and to seeing how the expertise and artistry he so generously shares will enhance the Asiatic Arboretum for all.

Sarah P. Duke Gardens creates and nurtures an environment in the heart of Duke University for learning, inspiration and enjoyment through excellence in horticulture. The Gardens is at 420 Anderson St.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Craft Sale: A few goodies remain

Thanks to all the people who helped make the Garden Guild Craft Sale a success on Saturday, and to the Garden Guild itself. The Guild volunteers work all year on crafts to sell in the Terrace Shop and at the annual sale, to help raise money for Duke Gardens.

Did you know that Duke Gardens receives roughly half of its operating budget from Duke University? The rest comes from individual donors who value what this public garden brings to the community, and from special fundraising events like the craft sale and our semi-annual plant sale.

If you missed the craft sale but would still like to buy a Garden Guild craft, just stop by the Terrace Shop and you'll find a variety of items.

Here is a sampling (please see sale preview post for more):

hand-knit scarves


holiday trees made from upcycled sweaters

gourd pencil holders & "toad abodes"

note cards

quilted items

baby toys

Duke blue decorations and jewelry

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Garden Guild Craft Sale Nov. 10

Duke Gardens' volunteer Garden Guild meets weekly for much of the year to share and learn craft techniques and make crafts for the annual holiday craft sale.

The 2012 sale is this Saturday, Nov. 10, from 10 a.m.-2:30 p.m. (Please note the new time.) Admission is free, parking is free until 1 p.m., and all proceeds go toward the upkeep of these beautiful public gardens. If they sell out early, as is often the case with this popular sale, they will close early. We have many people lining up as much as an hour early, eager to get first dibs on all the goodies. If you're planning to come on the later end, you can call the Terrace Shop at 684-9037 to check whether the sale is still going on.

The sale features holiday ornaments and decorations, soaps, jewelry, knitted goods, note cards, pet toys, gourd crafts and lots more.

Here's a small preview of what you'll see. Hope to see you here!

Gourd ornament

Bird houses

Traditional ornaments

Felted handbags & decorative pine cones

Pet chase-me toys (no matter which team your pet roots for)

Finger puppets and other toys for babies

"Cheer gloves"

Funky scarves

Wine bottle gift bags & decorative pillows

Bug totes

Cute hats for toddlers

Dragonfly pins & other jewelry

More gourd ornaments

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Doris Duke: A Lasting Legacy

Celebrating the 100th Anniversary of Doris Duke’s Birth
Saturday, Nov. 17, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Update: We regret to announce that this symposium has been canceled. We hope you will watch our events announcements for future symposia and workshops at Duke Gardens.

Doris Duke had many passions, leaving a legacy that continues to impact cultural and social lives today. Learn more about the world in which Doris lived, her conservation ethic, the extended Duke family’s impact, and current efforts at Duke Gardens and Duke Farms. Join us in celebration of the legacy of Doris Duke, presented  in partnership with Duke University's David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library.

9:30 a.m. 
Charles A. Birnbaum, FASLA, FAAR, founder and president of The Cultural Landscape Foundation (TCLF)
American history is replete with visionary, inspired and willful patrons who supported and shaped beloved and nationally significant estates, parks, plazas and other civic amenities across the country. Charles will focus his talk on these visionary patrons and/or organizations and the sites they helped create, perhaps inspiring  a new generation of patrons and philanthropists.

Break: refreshments served

10:45 a.m.
WASHINGTON DUKE: A Tradition of Education
Valerie Gillispie, Duke University archivist, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library
The Duke family has a long history of philanthropy, starting with Washington Duke’s support of Trinity College, a small Methodist school in North Carolina. Thanks to Washington’s sons, James B. and Benjamin N. Duke, Trinity became Duke University. Learn about the roots of the Duke family, and how their charitable giving made a broad impact both inside and outside North Carolina.

11:30 a.m.
Mary Samouelian, Doris Duke Collection archivist, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library
Even 100 years after her birth, the name Doris Duke still resonates with the public. But who was she really? Having worked exclusively with Doris Duke’s personal papers for the past two years, Mary will provide insight into the “real” Doris Duke and how family and friends shaped her desire to leave a lasting philanthropic legacy.

Lunch served at 12:30 p.m.
Tours of the Gardens offered 1 p.m.

2 p.m.
SARAH P. DUKE GARDENS: The Women of Duke Gardens
Chuck Hemric, Duke Gardens' director of volunteer services, and volunteer docent Ann Stock
Sarah P. Duke Gardens stands as a testament to the influence of women. Chuck and Ann will outline the vision and stewardship of generations of women, beginning with Sarah P. Duke and including Ellen Biddle Shipman, Mary Duke Biddle, and Biddle’s daughter Mary Trent Semans.

Break: refreshments served

3 p.m.
DUKE FARMS: Current progress and conservation efforts
Timothy Taylor, executive director, Duke Farms, New Jersey
Duke Farms was created by James B. Duke (father of Doris) and then expanded by Doris. Its future was outlined in Doris’ will to focus on protection of flora and fauna, agriculture and horticulture, and research. How has her board of directors translated her desires into action? This past May, Duke Farms re-opened after a $50 million adaptive building renovation and the regeneration of 1,000 of its 2,740 acres. Tim will discuss the ecological stewardship and educational programming “at the Farm,” meant to inspire visitors to become informed stewards of the land.

Date: Saturday, Nov. 17, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Location: The Doris Duke Center, Sarah P. Duke Gardens, 420 Anderson St., Duke University, Durham
Fee: $95; $75 Gardens members. Includes all handouts, break refreshments, lunch and tour.
Pre-registration required (parking pass included).
To register, please call 919-668-1707 or email

Photo credits: Full color photo courtesy of Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art. Photo below from the Duke University Archives.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Why is fall best for planting?

Jason Holmes, center, 
advises customers about plant selection
at last year's Fall Plant Sale

By Jason Holmes

Ahh, the season of fall is almost upon us, and we gardeners are coming out of summer semi-hibernation, during which we emerged only to water the plants we planted in early spring, hoping they made it through those hot, dry summer months.

Many of us know that fall is the best time to plant shrubs and trees. We hear it all the time. But let’s face it, we see plants we love, with those nice big flowers or that beautiful combination we just have to have, and that sage advice sometimes gets forgotten. For me, buying plants in spring is often an impulse, and I spend much of my time watering those plants on 90- to 100-degree afternoons.

People often ask, “Why is fall the best time to plant?” The answer is simple: As the plants go dormant above ground, roots will continue to grow underground until the ground temperatures fall below 40 degrees Fahrenheit.  So for most of the country, this statement is true from mid-September through mid-December.

Here is an example: if you plant a tree in the spring, it must acclimate to the new site, producing new growth like leaves, flowers and sometimes fruits. It must also produce roots as well! This means you will need to water more often while your tree acclimates to its new situation before the summer heat and often dry weather arrives. Now, plant the same tree during the fall, and soon after the plant will begin to go dormant above ground, but the roots will still have several months to continue growing underground. This is giving the plant a “head start” for the next spring as it produces strong new growth.

Annuals and perennials are great to plant during the spring and fall. As long as they are watered until they are established, they fare very well. I love to plant perennials in the spring, as they are waking up from winter dormancy, because they grow to fill in a space quickly. Perennials are often faster to grow into a space as opposed to trees and shrubs, and this gives us a chance to plant these in both seasons. So it is simple: anyone can plant anytime they want. I just hope I’ve explained well enough why fall is so ideal.

To help prepare you for your fall planting blitz, Sarah P. Duke Gardens will have its Fall Plant Sale on Saturday, Sept. 29, from 9 a.m. to noon. We will have a great variety of bulbs that bloom in late winter to early summer, fantastic perennials, useful herbs for cooking, and many unusual shrubs and trees, too. Many of these plants are propagated from Duke Gardens by dedicated staff and volunteers, who will be there to answer any questions you may have about gardening or plants in general.

If you want first dibs on all the plants, consider joining Friends of Duke Gardens, so you can attend the member pre-sale at 8 a.m. Non-members can join on site. Or call 919-668-1711 to join in advance. We hope to see you there.

Sarah P. Duke Gardens creates and nurtures an environment in the heart of Duke University for learning, inspiration and enjoyment through excellence in horticulture. The Gardens is at 420 Anderson St.

Columnist Jason Holmes is curator of the Doris Duke Center Gardens at Sarah P. Duke Gardens. This column first appeared in the Durham Herald-Sun.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Duke Students+Alumni: Win An iPad!

Do you spend a lot of time in Duke Gardens? Is it your favorite place to study, stroll, volunteer, meditate, learn about plants, take photos or hang out with friends?

We'd love to hear about your interactions with Duke Gardens, either as a current or past Duke student. Specifically, how has Duke Gardens enriched your student experience?

We're having a contest to make it fun, and giving away an iPad to make it exciting. It's easy, and it's only for Duke students and alumni. Just share your thoughts about what has made Duke Gardens special or important to you as a student.

We're not looking for perfectly crafted essays, just heartfelt sentiments, compiled in whatever form feels right for you. So please don't hesitate. We love hearing about people's emotional connections with the Gardens.

What have you got to lose? And if you need some inspiration, or a quiet place to write, head to the Gardens. It's here for you.

PRIZES: The first prize winner will receive an iPad. But we'll also draw some names randomly to receive Duke Gardens greeting cards and other fun prizes.

DEADLINE: Please email your responses to by Oct. 1. deadline extended to Oct. 31. Please include your full name and graduation year.

WINNERS: Congratulations to iPad winner  Lindsay Higgins, and to runners-up Ryan Bird and Tiffany Chen. We were so touched by the many wonderful accounts that people shared of how Duke Gardens enhanced their student experiences. Thanks again to all who responded.

Photo: Terrace Gardens in fall. By Robert Ayers. 

Disclaimer: We will be sharing this contest on Facebook, but this is a Duke Gardens contest and not affiliated with Facebook in any way.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Temporary Detour in Asiatic Arboretum

Visitors to the Culberson Asiatic Arboretum will be detoured from one of the main roadways for several weeks while the road is repaved.

The paving project begins today. Neither vehicles nor pedestrians may use the road, which leads from the Flowers Drive entrance near Duke Clinic to the Doris Duke Center, winding around the arboretum pond on the southeast side. The portion of road leading into the arboretum from the Doris Duke Center's lower parking lot will not be affected.

The road is being re-paved to maintain the existing surface and to introduce a different paving material that will be used in the future on larger-circulation paths throughout the Gardens.

During the project, visitors will be detoured through the Mary Duke Biddle Rose Circle and the Terrace Gardens. Directional signs will assist those unfamiliar with the detour route.

Please stay tuned to this blog post for updates on the expected completion date. Update: The expected completion date is Wednesday, July 25, weather permitting.

Below is the detour route, showing the arched entrance from the arboretum into the Mary Duke Biddle Rose Garden. To the right, after the banana trees (Musa basjoo), is the road to be re-paved. To the left is the path leading to the Doris Duke Center.  
Below is the roadway that will be re-paved.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Nature journaling day camp for tweens

By Jan Little
Photo by Lauren Sims

Artists, gardeners, writers, scientists and others have kept journals in which they can jot notes, observations, ideas they want to explore and details to be drawn. Leonardo da Vinci’s journals are maintained in a number of museums around the world. In his journals he kept everything from grocery lists to sketches of helicopters!

Journaling is a way to focus your thoughts and explore a concept without losing track of ideas. For an artist, a journal provides a quick way to record a view or a detail for later use. Some artists work on small versions of a larger project in their journals first, searching for just the right composition to help them move forward on the full-size version.

Children ages 11 to 13 will have the opportunity to try out nature journaling in “Drawing on Nature,” two one-week Nature Adventures Camp programs in August. As a group, they will explore nature in the Gardens. Individually, they can record notes, sketches, ideas, poems and observations. The journal requires careful observation and helps develop a vivid understanding of nature, perhaps even a delight in your findings.

The children will be following a popular tradition. Thomas Jefferson maintained decades of garden journals in which he recorded a calendar of when seeds were sown and seedlings planted, the timing and amount of harvest, and plant evaluation. Those journals are still being studied and used by gardeners and researchers to understand gardening and landscaping in Jefferson’s time.

Chuck Hemric, Duke Gardens’ volunteer director and an avid gardener, maintains a garden journal that began when he moved to his home and garden eight years ago.  It helps him track types of plants, planting locations, the plant source, weather trends, and seasonal notes such as first bloom or first fruit.
“It helps me learn and remember what conditions work for a plant and determine just what is meant by part shade, full shade, so I can learn the conditions unique to my garden in which a plant will thrive,” he says.

Self-discovery is inevitable as you maintain a journal, and it will be fun to see what the youngsters who participate in “Drawing on Nature” will learn about themselves. The program will be guided by local artists and experienced journal-keepers, who will help the children pursue their own interests and hone their skills. The children need not have exceptional artistic or writing abilities to participate.

Camp dates & information: Drawing on Nature camp runs from 8:30 a.m.-1 p.m. Aug. 6-10 or Aug. 13-17 (children may attend both). Extended care is available from 1-4 p.m. The cost is $150 per child per week; $75 more per week for extended care. For complete information, please visit or call 919-668-1707.

UPDATE: We regret to announce that we are canceling the journaling camp due to low enrollment. We thank the many families who filled our other summer camps to capacity, and we look forward to shaping another exciting camp season next summer. If there's a themed camp you would love to see offered, please feel free to suggest it to education coordinator Kavanah Anderson.

Sarah P. Duke Gardens creates and nurtures an environment in the heart of Duke University for learning, inspiration and enjoyment through excellence in horticulture. The Gardens is at 420 Anderson St.

Columnist Jan Little is director of education and public programs at Duke Gardens. This column first appeared in the Durham Herald-Sun