Make Your Tools Last, Making Choices, Ancient Art of Bonsai

Our host, Harold Johnson, brings us up to date.  The Enthusiastic Gardener, Charles Murphy,  wants to make his tools last, and Harold Johnson introduces us to the ancient art of Bonsai and puts his skills to use at the Master Gardener office.

What’s Happening

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In the Know…

Harold Johnson tends to ficus tree at the Master Gardener office in Durham

Our show’s host, Harold Johnson, is a dedicated Bonsai artist who has been working with Bonsai trees for decades.  This week, Lise Jenkins interviews Harold about the basics of Bonsai and challenges Harold to save a neglected ficus tree at the Master Gardener office.  

In the Garden…

Charles Murphy, Durham County Extension Master Gardener Volunteer

The Enthusiastic Gardener, Charles Murphy, has been talking to us about selecting tools.  This week Charles gives us tips on how to care for our tools and help make them last a lifetime. 


Dick Annand of Longnecker Tools

Lise Jenkins is still reporting from her time at the Guildford County Garden Gala.  There she talked to Dick Annand, professional gardener and creator of Longnecker tools.  Dick explains the principles behind good gardening tools and making tool selections.  



  • Following in the Bartrams’ Footsteps - Through November 2nd - Botanical illustrations from American explorers John Bartram and his son William’s discoveries, enriched with literary, artistic and hands-on events. Fee. North Carolina Botanical Garden, Chapel Hill. 919-962-0522.
  • Sculpture in the Garden - Through December 7th - Up to 45 large-scale sculptures created by North Carolina-based artists integrated into the garden’s outdoor environment. Free. North Carolina Botanical Garden, Chapel Hill. 919-962-0522.
  • Medicinal Plants in Your Garden - October 22, 9am-3:00pm - Plants sustain this planet, providing food, shelter, energy and medicine. Human history is entirely built upon the success of plants; even today many people still depend upon plants as their primary source for medicine. Jeanine Davis’ research and extension programs are dedicated to sustainable and organic production of medicinal and culinary herbs, vegetables and specialty crops. An associate professor of horticulture science and extension specialist at N.C. State University, Jeanine will work with us to introduce a roster of medicinal plants that can be grown in your garden and discuss the research and use of each. The participants will have the opportunity to propagate a woodland botanical plant to take home and make a botanical product. Fee, pre-register. All program materials and lunch included. Sarah P. Duke Gardens, Durham. 919-668-1707. [email protected]
  • Seeing the Forest with the Trees along the Bartram Trail - October 22, 12noon-1:00pm - Bring your lunch and join us for a free lecture! The 100+ mile Bartram Trail takes hikers through the mountains of Georgia and North Carolina, about which William Bartram wrote enthusiastically in his Travels. Steph and Tom will transport you west to explore a section of the Bartram Trail. You’ll hear Bartram’s description of Martin Creek Falls, learn about the forests you can see there today, and discover how these forests have changed. Their book, Exploring Southern Appalachian Forests: An Ecological Guide to 30 Great Hikes in the Carolinas, Georgia, Tennessee, and Virginia will be available for purchase and the authors will sign copies after the talk. Free, pre-register. North Carolina Botanical Garden, Chapel Hill. 919-962-0522.
  • Nature Notes Workshop - October 23-26th - This intensive four-day workshop with distinguished North Carolina artist and teacher Robert Johnson provides simple methods for making visual notes while exploring nature. Students take field excursions to sketch and make notes, then return to the Botanical Garden studio to enhance their “nature notes” with watercolors. All levels welcome; fee includes watercolors, color chart, brushes, sketch pad, pencil, and high quality watercolor paper. Assistant instructor Ken Moore provides fresh plant specimens for detail studies and assistance in plant identification. Thursday, October 23, 7pm–9pm; Friday, October 24, 9am–4:30pm; Saturday, October 25, 9am–4:30pm; Sunday, October 26, 9am–4:30pm. Bring your lunch! Course credit: Counts as one elective credit toward NCBG Botanical Art & Illustration certificate. Fee, pre-register. North Carolina Botanical Garden, Chapel Hill. 919-962-0522.
  • Landscape Plants for North Carolina Gardens: Fall - October 23 – November 13, 4-6:00pm - Expand your palette of plants with information from this class with Jan Little, director of education and public programs for Duke Gardens. Each season this class covers another group of approximately 60 plants suitable for North Carolina gardens. You will learn identification skills and design use, and understand the culture of each plant. The fall program focuses on plants that shine in autumn and late-blooming perennial flowers. Winter introduces plant silhouettes and evergreens. Each student receives a digital portfolio of plant photos. Fee, pre-register. Sarah P. Duke Gardens, Durham. 919-668-1707. [email protected]
  • Plant Taxonomy - October 24-November 21, Fridays 1pm-4pm - This course builds on the fundamentals of the Botany course and prepares students for supplementary material covered in Flowering Plant Families. It is a core course for students enrolled in either of the NCBG certificate programs. Students learn the basic concepts of taxonomy of vascular plants and how to identify plant families by making observations of selected characteristics. The use of taxonomic keys is introduced. Interesting examples are studied to illustrate current issues in plant taxonomy and nomenclature. Prerequisite: Botany. Fee, pre-register. North Carolina Botanical Garden, Chapel Hill. 919-962-0522.
  • Green Monsters: Meet the Carnivorous Plants - October 25, 1-3:00pm - Learn about the secret lives of carnivorous plants and how to keep some green monsters in your own backyard; includes a plant to take home. North Carolina Botanical Garden, Chapel Hill. 919-962-0522.
  • Traditional Japanese Tea Gathering: Autumn Star Gazing Tea - October 25, 6:45-8:15pm - Join us for a moment of respite in the Duke Gardens teahouse, where, as a guest to Tea, you will experience the warmth of a traditional Japanese tea gathering. Guests will meet at the Doris Duke Center to be escorted to the teahouse for these intimate gatherings. Fee, pre-register. Sarah P. Duke Gardens, Durham. 919-668-1707. [email protected]
  • The Literary Bartram - October 26, 2:30-4:00pm - William Bartram’s Travels published in 1791 has served as a fount of imagination for many drawn to his lush descriptions of the American South and pioneering observations of its native people. Two noted southern poets will show us how Bartram’s ideas about the natural world influenced poets and writers. Georgia poet Philip Lee Williams will read from his book The Flower Seeker: An Epic Poem of William Bartram. Jeffery Beam will read poems inspired by Bartram’s work, including those from Romantic writers including Cooper, Thoreau, Moore, Carlos Williams, and Taggart. Beam is currently the poetry editor for the journal Oyster Boy Review. Fee, pre-register. North Carolina Botanical Garden, Chapel Hill. 919-962-0522.
  • An Introduction to English-style Gardens - October 28, 6:30-9:00pm - An authentic English garden does not translate well into North Carolina conditions. But the strategies and design elements can be adapted to our landscapes. Duke Gardens horticulturist Annabel Renwick will introduce you to the use of definition, and open ground and mixed borders in this lecture. Interested gardeners may also want to sign up for her follow-up workshop to sketch out an English-style garden for their landscape. Fee, pre-register. Sarah P. Duke Gardens, Durham. 919-668-1707. [email protected]
  • Stalwarts of the Southern Garden: William Bartram and the Oakleaf Hydrangea - October 30, 12noon-1:00pm - Bring your lunch and join us for a free lecture! Bartram’s Travels transcended scientific boundaries and deeply influenced Coleridge, Wordsworth and other Romantic poets. William Bartram became the first person to collect, describe or illustrate forty-two species of plants, among them the oakleaf hydrangea, Hydrangea quercifolia. Dallmeyer will trace how Bartram’s path intersected with this beloved native plant now known around the world. Dallmeyer directs the Environmental Ethics Certificate Program of the College of Environment and Design at the University of Georgia and is President of the Bartram Trail Conference. She also manages the Southern Nature Project, an e-community promoting writing about the Southern environment. Free, pre-register. North Carolina Botanical Garden, Chapel Hill. 919-962-0522.

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