Tuesday, August 30, 2011

WALKING TOUR - Fall Vegetable Planting

Join the Extension Master Gardeners for the next free walking tour of the Pitt County Arboretum.  The tour will be this Thursday, September 1st, beginning at 10:00 AM.  Follow the signs and meet under the Green Roof Shelter in front of the Ag Center.  (Click on the MAP link in the right hand column for directions.)  The tour lasts approximately one hour.  This month's tour will highlight fall vegetable planning and planting.  Now is the time to get your greens in the ground.  Come out and learn more about what and how to plant this time of year as well as see all of our wonderful trees, shrubs, perennials, roses, herbs,  and small fruits in the other areas of the Arboretum.
Tours are given rain or shine (but not hurricanes!).

Thursday, August 25, 2011

HURRICANE IRENE - What if......

Maybe we won't need to use these, but just in case, here are two links to some "After the Storm" information:

Tree and Forest Disaster Recovery
Storm Related Pest Problems

Hurricane Irene

Thursday, August 18, 2011

WHAT'S IN BLOOM? Mystery Plant? Do you know?

Abelmoschus esculentus
This flower is on a plant related to the hibiscus.  In some countries it is known as 'Lady's Fingers'.  It produces an edible pod.  It is very drought and heat resistant.  What is it's common name?

So how often do you get a big, beautiful flowering plant that also has edible parts?  Okra pods are fast growing and may require daily pickings.  Our okra in the vegetable plot at the Arboretum is going full steam right now.   The pods are best harvested at 3-4" long after that they tend to become tough. What about the "goo" when cooked?  This is a plus when making gumbo, not so much in other recipes.  Several hints found to minimize this are to leave them whole, sprinkle with lime or lemon juice, and cook quickly.  Here are some recipes from NCSU's Produce Lady if you are ready to try some healthier ways to prepare this vegetable.  You'll have to scroll down a bit once you go to the link for the okra ones.

For more on this good-for-you vegetable click here to read what a former Extension Master Gardener from Mecklenburg County wrote about growing, harvesting, and preparing okra.

Thursday, August 11, 2011


Have you been to the Arboretum lately?  If it has been a while, you're sure to be amazed to see how we have grown.  If you can't come to our monthly (first Thursday of the month) tours led by Master Gardener Volunteers, you are invited to take on a self-guided tour anytime from dawn to dusk.  Where to start?  The best place to begin is under the Green Roof Shelter in front of the Ag Center.  It is the tall, wooden, open air structure right next to the front parking lot.  Under the shelter you will find a display that contains Arboretum brochures with maps to aid you in exploring the gardens.  Also, you will see two shelves lined with flower pots filled with cuttings of shrubs, trees, perennials, herbs, grasses, etc.  that are showing their best/most interesting features at the time.

So what might you see this week in bloom?  Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower), Salvia farinacea (Mealycup Sage), Hibiscus syriacus 'Aphrodite' (Rose of Sharon),  and a variety of roses to name a few.

 Also, if you have a group or club that would be interested in having a tour at another time, please call.  The phone number, address and map links may be found in the right column of this blog.

Hope to see you soon!  

Friday, August 5, 2011

WHAT'S IN BLOOM - Turk's Cap

Here is a nice plant that will attract hummingbirds and butterflies.  It will flower in part shade, but does well in sunny locations, too.  It tolerates drought, once established, or will grow in moist soil.  The bright red turban shaped flowers love the hot weather in late summer to fall.  This perennial is even listed as not a favorite of deer!  Turk's Cap (Malvaviscus arboreus var. drummondii) may be found in our Childrens' ABC Garden where it is about 3 feet tall by 3 feet wide.  You can't miss it.  The hummingbirds have found it, so you will surely see them zipping from bloom to bloom when you visit.  Further growing conditions can be found by clicking here.