Friday, January 30, 2009

Calling all volunteers! The Sarah P. Duke Gardens is looking for a few good killers. Okay, okay, I'm only referring to the eradication of invasive plant species, not Carolina fans or anything like that. (I'm actually a closet tarheel, shhhhh...) Anyway, we're looking to start a group of volunteers dedicated to removing invasive plant species from natural habitats across central NC. Interested individuals will receive training in invasive removal from Duke Gardens staff, and will acompany staff members on trips to schools, nature centers, preserves, etc. in the piedmont region where we will lay waste to invasive plant infestations. Sound like fun? Our first trip will be to the Sylvan Heights Waterfowl center ( in Scotland Neck to help with a Chinese privet problem there. Email Stefan Bloodworth at for more info.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Hey Ho! Only two weeks since my last entry! I'm on fire! Hehe. Anyway, just wanted to provide a heads up for those of you interested in attending one of the monthly walks I host in the Blomquist Garden. Here follows a tentative schedule of the upcoming topics we'll be discussing during the tours:

2/5/09- We'll be talking about birds in the garden. Mostly we'll discuss the effects of climate change and urbanization on native bird species, along with the importance of maintaining biodiversity in landscapes and native habitats for the health of our local bird species. Finally, we'll look at some birds in action at the Bird Viewing Shelter, and touch on the implications of unhealthy ecosystems for insect and bird diversity. Bring your binoculars if you have them!

3/5/09- To be determined- check back soon!

Also, I'll be in Pinehurst at the Weymouth Nature center for their Dirt gardener's Workshop on March 17th. I'll be giving a talk on Native Spring Wildflowers. Hope to see you there.

Consider joining us for a Botanical tour of the Nashville, TN area April 15th-18th. We'll visit a number of unique natural habitats in the area, among them the very special Cedar Glades ecosystem. We'll also tour Cheekwood Botanic garden and Growild Nursery, one of the premier growers of native plants in this part of the country. Email Stefan at for more info.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Cold day, and getting colder. We're looking at 10 degrees or so for a low tonight, which for us is pretty #$#$ cold. The birds are on overdrive at the feeders today in the garden, trying to put on a few ounces of fat before hunkering down for the night. I counted eleven species at the Bird Viewing Shelter during a five minute period, plus a plethora of squirrels squabbling over what they could scrounge. For those of you who may not visit the Blomquist garden often, we now have binoculars and field guides you can check-out from the visitor's center here at the Sarah P. Duke Gardens. In a short time, you can become pretty farmiliar with our usual suspects at the Bird Viewing Shelter or anywhere in the Gardens.

Our new year in the garden kicked off this past week with our new series of monthly walks in the Blomquist Garden. On the first Thursday of each month, you can meet me at the Blomquist gatehouse for a one hour tour through the garden. We'll discuss topics pertinent to the gardening season or the current news cycle as it relates to native plants and native plant habitats. Please join us!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Am I a blogger? Maaaybee. Well, lets get this snowball rolling...... I love technology when it works for people like me. By that I mean folks who have no real love of tech for tech's sake. So this is exciting- a site where I can communicate to others about what I do without pulling out my hair over technical issues and my own incompetence. That said, let's begin.

I'm a dirt digger. That's pretty much the story. I dig holes and fill them with a) Plants, b) rocks, or c) water. I do most of my digging in the Blomquist Garden of Native Plants at the Sarah P. Duke Gardens in Durham, NC, and since this blog is about the garden and not the gardener, lets focus on my office from now on. (If you really want to know more about me, first, check your medications- then, if you are still curious, check my profile here on the blog)

The Blomquist Garden is a special place to work. I say that alot, and it starts to sound hackneyed after a bit, but I mean it. If the term "urban oasis" means anything to you, then the Blomquist Garden is your spot. Six acres of piedmont woodland smack dab (I love using that saying) in the middle of a busy college campus can't help but become a refuge for people, plants and animals alike, and that's precisely how I like to look at this garden. The Blomquist is a quiet place for humans to filter out the hubbub of a busy city and get back to the peace of the woods. On another level, the Garden is a living museum. Displayed throughout the year are over one-thousand species of plants native to the southeastern United States, many of which are becoming harder to find in the wild. The final piece of the mosaic is the collection of animals and insects who use the Blomquist Garden as a place to feed, mate and raise their young. To pull all of these elements together, a network of interpretive signage offers insight into the hidden world of the botanic garden, and how the living collections here function to improve the quality of life for a host of species, Homo sapiens included. I hope you'll return to this blog in the coming months as I update happenings here in the Blomquist Garden of Native Plants at the Sarah P. Duke Gardens.