The bountiful sunshine and warm temps have left me craving an early spring. Tomorrow’s predicted snow showers might dampen that wishful thinking, but the buds on the trees and Punxsutawney Phil’s promise lifts my hopes. And, according to the Sarah P. Duke Gardens’ Facebook, colors are already starting to pop at the public garden, and I’m excited to visit soon.
My first real outing in Durham was to Duke Gardens, so it holds a special place in my heart. It more than deserves the title of “crown jewel of Duke University." Not only does it provide 55 acres of beautifully landscaped grounds and a diverse array of horticulture free of charge, but it also provides educational workshops and events, some of which are also free.
A couple of those upcoming events include a vegetable- and herb-growing workshop taught by the Master Gardeners of Durham County from 2-4pm on Sunday. The lesson includes learning about site selection, planning, soil preparation, transplanting, irrigation and weed control. The Durham Beekeepers will also meet at their monthly gathering on Monday from 6:30-9pm and discuss beekeeping techniques.
If you’re like me and can’t wait to see those cherry trees, daffodils and wisteria blooming, sign up now for the Spring Flower Walk in the Arboretum on March 8 from 10am-noon. Either Duke Gardens Culberson Asiatic Arboretum curator Paul D. Jones or horticulturist Michelle Rawlins will lead the guided tour to several little-known garden spaces and unique plants. The fee is only $7, but pre-registration is required and the participant limit is 15, so reserve your spot now by calling 919-668-1707.
And don’t forget to mark your calendars now for the Spring 2013 Plant Sale from 9am-noon Saturday, April 6. I’ve gone for the past two years (I’m a pretty mediocre gardener, but my thumb is getting greener!) and really have enjoyed the selection of unique plants that grow at Duke Gardens. The staff roam among the tables and groupings of sprouting greenery and are happy to give suggestions and answer any questions. Many plants can be found for less than $10, allowing you to select a good number to take home to your own garden. Not a bad way to celebrate spring’s arrival!