Friday, June 27, 2014


Join the Master Gardener Volunteers for the next free walking tour of the Arboretum.

Thursday, JULY 3rd, 2014
Starting at 9:00 AM

Meet under the Shelter in front of the
403 Government Circle, Greenville

They will be highlighting those plants that grow and thrive in our hot, humid summers!

Thursday, June 26, 2014


Cynara cardunclulus - Cardoon

Photo by M. Endres

Cardoon is another interesting plant growing in our Herb Garden .  It is ornamental as well as edible.  Here is an excerpt from 'Fine Gardening':
Cardoon is an architectural splendor with bold texture, thanks to its large, prickly, almost dagger-shaped gray-green arching leaves and a statuesque, vase-shaped frame. It is topped with round, purple, thistlelike flowers in midsummer. Cardoon can reach up to 5 feet tall and 4 feet wide.

Noteworthy Characteristics: A close cousin of the artichoke, this native to the well-drained, sunny slopes of the southwest Mediterranean can overwinter in Zone 7. Produces magnificent flowerheads that can be cut and dried for arrangements. Edible leaf stalks and midribs are tasty when blanched. Unopened flowerheads can be eaten like artichokes.

Care: Plant in a sheltered location in full sun with fertile, well-drained soil.

Propagation: From seed, if planted early enough, it will flower the first year. Divide in spring or insert root cuttings in winter.
Problems: Gray mold, root rot, slugs, and aphids can cause damage.

Thursday, June 19, 2014


Last week Master Gardeners harvested 11 1/2 pounds of blackberries and 2 pounds of blueberries at the Arboretum.  All of our fruit is donated to the local food bank.  You can see that there are still many to ripen. We can see some great pies, muffins, pancakes, or just healthy snacking going on.  With a little work, you too could have these growing in your garden.  Click below for growing information for these berries.

Photos by P. Godley

Friday, June 13, 2014


Pitt County Arboretum Compost Bins

If you don't already compost, it is a good time to start.  At the Arboretum we have a 3-bin system.  Raw materials such as weeds, leaves, deadheaded flowers make up a good portion of our pile.  At home you can add your vegetable and fruit peelings, grass clippings, newspaper, some cardboard, coffee grounds, eggshells, and teabags.  Just think of all the things that won't go to the landfill and in turn can be put back into your soil.  You don't need a fancy set-up.  A simple pile on the ground will suffice.  To quote a recent article in the 'Extension Gardener':
"Compost is a beneficial material used in gardens and landscapes to
 improve soil structure and drainage in clay soils, and to retain
moisture and nutrients in sandy soil.  Compost can also be used as a mulching
or topdressing material around plants or in gardens."

To read more about composting and other garden news, go to the current edition of the Extension Gardener Newsletter

Also for more composting instructions, click HERE.

Sunday, June 8, 2014


Our Herb Garden at the Arboretum is full of culinary herbs commonly used in cooking, baking, and making teas.  You will find oregano, thyme, rosemary, parsley, lemon balm, and chives to name a few.  However, you will also find some more unusual ones like tansy, Tanacetum vulgare.  It is more ornamental than edible.  
Tansy (on left) in Herb Garden
Photo by M. Endres
 This excerpt is from NCSU fact sheet Tanacetum vulgare
 "Edible Parts: young leaves and flowers. HARVEST TIME: Only collect leaves and flowers from areas you know have NOT been treated with pesticides. Collect the young leaves in the spring, flowers in the summer. SAFE HANDLING PROCEDURES: Soak young leaves and flowers in warm water to remove dirt and debris. Do not use dish detergent or any type of sanitizer. These products can leave a residue. Use fresh as a substitute for sage. SOURCE: Crowhurst, A. 1972. The Weed Cookbook. Lancer Books, Inc. New York, 190 pp."

For more information about growing herbs, click here:

Sunday, June 1, 2014


There are two upcoming events this week where you will be able to get your gardening questions answered in person.

Thursday, June 5th starting at 9:00 AM
Master Gardeners will lead a tour of the Arboretum.  They will be highlighting plants that attract hummingbirds.  Meet under the Greenroof Shelter in front of the Ag Center at 403 Government Circle.   Click here for MAP

Saturday, June 7th from 7:30-11:30 AM
Master Gardeners will have a table set up at the Market on County Home Road.  Bring your gardening questions and find out about the Master Gardening Classes about to begin.  Click here for  MAP

Female Ruby-throated hummingbird (picture from Wikimedia Commons)