Saturday, July 31, 2010


Join Master Gardeners for a FREE Walking Tour of the Arboretum on Thursday, August 5th beginning at 9:00 AM.   Click on 'MAP' in the right column for directions.  We will meet under the Green Roof Shelter in front of the Ag Center.  Tours last about an hour and are given rain or shine.  Come out and see for yourself what is holding up and doing well during our hot, humid summer.  And see what is NOT doing well during our hot, humid summer.  Come out and learn what might work for you in your own gardens.  Bring your questions, bring your neighbor, bring your hat, and bring your walking shoes. 

Next Saturday, August 7th Master Gardeners will have a table set up at the Farmers Market on County Home Road from 9:00 AM - 11:00 AM.  They will be available to answer questions about lawn and garden care.

Friday, July 23, 2010


LANTANA - At the Arboretum we have two types of lantana growing that are perennial plants:  Miss Huff (pictured) and Granny's Backyard.  Both have been a fixture out at the Arboretum for a number of years and over the growing season from Spring to Fall, they gradually become small shrubs.  Lantana are butterfly/bee/hummingbird magnets.  They are also drought tolerant once established and have very few pest/disease problems.  Follow this link for an article written by Danny Lauderdale which details some of the care needed.

Friday, July 16, 2010


In the Arboretum's Butterfly Garden you will find a row of Hibiscus syriacus 'Aphrodite'  or commonly known as Rose of Sharon full of blooms to entice all pollinators.  This shrub can also be found at the U.S. National Arboretum in Washington, D.C. where it and two other types are described as "The elegant floral display of these bewitching flowering shrubs belies their rugged constitution. In the fiery forge of summer sun and heat, 'Aphrodite', 'Helene', and 'Minerva' prove their mettle with excellent dark green foliage and continuous flowering until felled by autumn’s frost."

Click on this link for the National Arboretum website  to view pictures and additional growing information.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Hardy Banana Plant

While a lot of plants are looking withered due to lack of rain (check out the NC Drought Monitor Link located in the right hand column under 'Helpful Links'), there is one plant out at the Arboretum that brings a bit of the tropics to Pitt County.  It is the Japanese fiber banana - Musa basjoo.  It can be found in our Landscape for Wet Sites.  This area receives its water from roof runoff.  Even though there has been no rain lately, the hardy banana is doing well.  The current issue of  Extension Gardener  for the Coastal Plains region highlights this plant.  You can also check out some reviews of this plant at Dave's Garden website and see more pictures at the JC Raulston Arboretum site.  While any fruit produced by this plant is not edible, it can make quite a statement.  It does die back in the winter, but grows back faithfully each year reaching heights 10 feet or more.

Thursday, July 1, 2010


Feed the landscape, not the landfill is the mantra of this publication on compostingThis time of year you may have lots of green waste in the form of vegetable or fruit peelings, deadheaded perennials, weeds, lawn clippings, coffee grounds, tea bags, and egg shells.  Rather than toss them in your regular garbage, why not start a compost pile?  At the Arboretum we have a 3 bin system as described in the above highlighted link.  During the year the Master Gardener Volunteers add  green waste and brown leaves to the first bin. Additionally, a container is in the Ag Center Kitchen for coffee grounds and other food prep waste to also be deposited into the compost bin.  After it has decomposed a bit it is moved to the second bin, then later into the final bin where it awaits being put back into the gardens to enrich the soil.  Our gardens look great thanks to this free resource.