Friday, December 30, 2016


It's not all brown and bare at the Arboretum.  Hollies (Ilex) brighten the landscape with their berries and/or glossy leaves.  Click here for a descriptive list of the types of hollies you can grow:

Below are ones you can see growing at the Arboretum:

A Holly Retrospective Plus
 TOP ROW (1-5) BOTTOM ROW (6-10)
  1. Ilex vomitoria ‘Pendula' Weeping Yaupon Holly (Mixed Border)
  2. Ilex vomitoria ‘Nana’ Dwarf Yaupon Holly (CPP)
  3. Ilex x 'Nellie R. Stevens' Holly (Mixed Border)
  4. Ilex crenata ‘Green Luster’ Holly (CPP)
  5. Ilex cornuta ‘Carissa’ Chinese Holly (CPP)
  6. Ilex cornuta ‘Needlepoint’ Chinese Holly (Mixed Border)
  7. Ilex ‘Mary Nell' Holly (Mixed Border)
  8. Ilex attenuata ‘Savannah’ Holly (Butterfly Garden)
  9. Ilex serrata x verticulatta ‘Sparkleberry’ Winterberry Holly (Butterfly Garden)
  10. Jasminum nudiflorum Winter jasmine  (Perennial Border)
Photos by T. McDaniel

Friday, December 23, 2016


It's not poisonous, but it could make you or your pets a bit sick if it is ingested. You can read some more interesting history and tips on caring for your poinsettia in this Floridata article. 

Of course, the planting outside would not work for us in Pitt County.

Monday, December 19, 2016

ESPALIER-Our New Experiment

"Espalier is the ancient horticultural art of pruning and training a tree or shrub to grow flat against a support, creating a living sculpture. According to American Garden History, espalier was originally used to create outdoor “walls” in Europe during the Middle Ages and was also planted in interior courtyard walls to prevent late frost bud-kill.  Other records show this technique dates back to ancient Egypt, where hieroglyphs of espaliered fig trees have been found in tombs dating back to 1400 B.C.  The French word “espalier” (ess-PAL-yay) was originally a noun that referred to the trellis or support upon which the tree was grown; today, it refers to the technique itself."

(Excerpt from Stark Bros. Website)

We are trying something new at the Arboretum - A Brown Turkey Fig Tree Espalier.  It is a process that will take several years as we train each year's growth to follow our wire supports.  This link will further explain what we will be doing as the fig grows:  HOW TO ESPALIER A TREE (NOTE:  The article talks about apple trees, but it applies to our fig.)  So, it doesn't look like much yet.  But we will be updating its growth periodically in this blog.  You can see it yourself just outside the auditorium doors at the Ag Center building connected with the Arboretum.

Thanks to Carolina Seasons Nursery for generously donating the fig tree.

Photo by C. Taylor

Thursday, December 8, 2016


Looking for something to give the gardener who seems to have everything?  Here are two ideas for gardeners in the Pitt County area:

1)  A Year Membership to 'Friends of the Pitt County Arboretum'.  The membership will entitle them to discounts at area garden centers and garden supply stores.  They will have access to the hundreds of gardening books we have in our library.  They also receive discounted ticket prices for our events.  And last, but not least, the favorite benefit is early admittance to the Master Gardeners' Annual Plant Sale (May 20, 2017).  For an application CLICK HERE.

2)  A ticket to our Winter Speaker Event on January 28, 2017.  This year we are hosting Tony Avent from Plant Delights Nursery.  He will be speaking about "The Garden, Seasonal  Spring, Summer, Winter or Fall."  Doors open at 9:00 AM so you may visit our sponsoring vendors and have some breakfast snacks and coffee.  The program begins at 10:00 AM.  Follow this link for  MORE INFORMATION.

Call 252-902-1709 for more information.

Sunday, December 4, 2016


Thank you to the enthusiastic, creative people who came out to the Arboretum to make wreaths.  Two classes, 15 people in each class, and 30 different wreaths created.  If you missed out this year, mark your calendar for the first Thursday in December, 2017 for another opportunity.  We plan to do it all again!  Here is a glimpse of the workshops:


Wednesday, November 30, 2016


Our late fall/early winter selection for our What's in Bloom display focuses more on foliage than blooms.  But there is still much beauty in the gardens.  Here are this week's picks:

CPP Area (left to right)
1.   Berberis thunbergia ‘Aurea’  (Golden Barberry)
2.      Berberis thunbergii var. atropurpurea  (Redleaf Barberry)
3.      Camellia sasanqua  (Sansanqua camellia)
4.       Ilex gabra (Inkberry holly)
5.       Ilex vomitoria ‘Pendula’ (Weeping yaupon holly)

6.       Osmanthus fragrans  (Fragrant tea olive)
Children’s Garden
7.       Ampelaster carolinianus (Climbing aster)
8.       Lonicera sempervirens (Trumpet honeysuckle)
 Mixed Border
9.       Solidago rugosa ‘Fireworks’  (Rough goldenrod)
 Small Fruits
10.   Vaccinium corymbosum ‘O’Neal’ (Southern highbush blueberry)
Photos by T. McDaniel

Sunday, November 13, 2016


Last year's class
Wreath Making Workshop

Pitt County Master Gardener Volunteers will help you create a wreath made from a variety of greenery they have clipped from our Arboretum’s shrubs & trees.

10:00 AM – Noon
1:00 – 3:00 PM

Pitt County Agricultural Center
403 Government Circle, Suite 2
Greenville, NC  27834

$10 fee (must be paid in advance to hold spot)
Cash or Check Payable to Pitt County Mutual Exchange

Call 252-902-1709 to sign up and arrange payment.
Each class is limited to first 15 people paid in full.

Bring a pair of clippers and gloves to trim greenery on your wreath.  Master Gardeners will collect the cuttings from the trees and shrubs before the workshop begins.

Friday, November 11, 2016


Our Small Fruits Garden has a new addition.  The curators decided to build a special raised bed for our strawberries.  A big thank you to them and their family members that helped.  We are fortunate to have our 'honorary' MGV's who pitch in when asked. 
The advantages of growing plants in a raised bed are found in this Extension article:  RAISED BED GARDENING.
To start your own strawberry patch, check this out:  STRAWBERRIES IN THE HOME GARDEN.

Photos by K. Previll

Wednesday, November 2, 2016


There were many busy Master Gardener Volunteer hands at the Arboretum yesterday.  Here are pictures of a few of the workers.   From picking the last of the radishes, raking leaves, collecting fallen branches and sticks, weeding, trimming errant hollies, watering in new plantings, and lots of discussions the morning hours passed quickly.

If you are looking for some garden inspiration, you will find links to all of North Carolina's Public Gardens HERE.

Thursday, October 27, 2016


Our average first frost is the end of October. However, the 10 day forecast shows our night time temperatures staying above freezing.  We'll be able to enjoy our Fall flowers a bit longer.  If you are looking to add color to your late Fall gardens, check out this article so you'll be ready for next year:  FALL FLOWERS FOR LONG COLOR

Here are a few things you will see in bloom at the Arboretum this week.

Photos by J. Christianson
1)  Symphyotrichum novi-belgii 'Winston Churchill' Aster
2)  Muhlenbergia capillaris Pink Muhly Grass
3)  Salvia farinacea Mealy Cup Sage
4)  Gallardia aristata Blanket Flower
5)  Chelone oblique Rose Turtlehead
6)  Lonicera sempervirens Trumpet Honeysuckle
7)  Malvaviscus arboreus var. drummondii Turkscap
8)  Callistemon rigidus 'Woodlanders Hardy' Bottlebrush
9)  Callicarpa americana American Beautyberry
10) Tinantia pringlei Speckled Wandering Jew

Thursday, October 20, 2016


Radishes are an easy vegetable to grow from seed.  The seeds germinate fast and they are ready to eat in a short time. They are a cool season crop, best grown in the Spring or Fall in our area.  Click here for some RADISH GROWING FACTS

French Breakfast Radishes were planted in the Arboretum's  Fall Vegetable Garden.  Here's an article that may inspire you to plant some: A HANDY SNACK

Friday, October 14, 2016


Photo by R. Davis
A few weeks ago, our Master Gardeners spied an egg sack for a praying mantis  in the Rose Garden.  Last week this creature was spotted in the Rose Garden.  Do you think they are connected?  While often thought of as a beneficial insect in the garden, in reality, they are not as helpful as other types.  They are equal opportunity insect eaters and will dine on both the good bugs, bad bugs, and each other in your garden.  Click here for more:   PRAYING MANTIDS and read why it is mantid and not mantis.

Photo by H. Wilson's hubby 

Monday, October 10, 2016


What to do?  Read here for some tips:  STORM DAMAGE

Image result for pruning damaged trees ncsu

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Native Fall Bloomer

Bidens aristosa

Blooming profusely in our Wildflower Garden you will find this native flower, Bidens aristosa or Tickseed Sunflower.   It is a self-seeding annual that can sport 100s of 2" yellow flowers that are very attractive to bees and butterflies.

Read more here:

Photo by C. Taylor

Sunday, October 2, 2016


Master Gardeners will be leading a FREE
tour of the Arboretum
Thursday, October 6th
starting at 10:00 AM. 
They will show you how to collect seeds
and give tips on when and how
to plant them.
Tours last about 1 1/2 hours.
Meet under the Shelter in front of the Ag Center
403 Government Circle
Greenville, NC

Thursday, September 29, 2016


Tucked in an out of the way spot next to our tool shed we have a small bed of sedums.  In the fall, the showstopper is Sedum telephium 'Autumn Joy' (syn. Hylotelephium 'Herbstfreude').  Given a good start in well-drained soil and full sun, this plant has thrived with neglect.  If you grow it in your own garden, you may pinch the new growth back by half in the late spring for a more compact plant.  This is a plant that is on any list for creating a pollinator garden.  The masses of tiny, star-shaped flowers start out a pale pink, turning to a rose color, then finally for winter a russet brown.  If left standing, it creates a nice winter interest focal point.   In the early spring, cut back the dead foliage to make way for the new growth starting from the base.

Click here for more information:  AUTUMN JOY
Photo by C. Taylor

Wednesday, September 21, 2016


2016-Fall-Coastal-CoverThe Fall Edition of the Extension Gardener is ready for you.  Click here:
 to read current gardening articles related to our growing conditions in Pitt County.  Some of the topics covered are:
  • Raised-bed gardening
  • Leafy greens for fall
  • Nematodes
  • Preparing lawns for cooler weather
  • Spooktacular Plants
  • Chalkbark maple
  • Butterhead and leaf lettuces
  • Soil testing for sustainable nutrient management

Friday, September 16, 2016


9 1/2 pounds of muscadine grapes (and a few figs) were delivered to the Eastern Carolina Food Bank this week.  All were from our Small Fruit Garden at the Arboretum.
Varieties:  Carlos, Nesbit, and Hunt
Photos by J. Keville

Tuesday, September 13, 2016


A group of Master Gardeners and Extension Agent Eric recently drove to Goldsboro to see the Small Farm Unit at the Cherry Research Farm.  They picked up tips on composting, season extenders, cover crops, and berries.  Of great interest to many was some of the equipment used.  The Master Gardeners are always looking for was to improve the Arboretum and their own gardens!  Thanks Ann H. for organizing this.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016


 The pomegranate tree (Punica granatum) growing in our Small Fruit Garden has begun to bear fruit.  In addition to having edible fruit, we can also enjoy it's beautiful orange red flowers.  Click here for more info about the history and some growing tips: POMEGRANATES

Monday, August 29, 2016


Join a Master Gardener for this month's FREE WALKING TOUR of the Arboretum.  This month's theme is :DEER RESISTANT PLANTS.  While no plant is DEER PROOF (if hungry enough, deer will sample anything), you will learn about plants that are their least favorite to munch on. 

THURSDAY, September 1, 2016
10:00 - 11:30 AM

Meet under the shelter in front of the
403 Government Circle, Greenville, NC


Thursday, August 25, 2016

AMARANTH - Not Your Usual Southern Garden Crop

Our Vegetable Garden Curators chose to plant something a little different this year: Amaranthus.  This plant is grown for the edible leaves and the pseudo-grains.  As you can see, it's growth has met their expectations. 
The Amaranth Institure states the nutritional value as follows:
"Amaranth proves to be one of the best suited crops to address certain health problems globally. Seeds are 13 to 15 percent protein, among the highest for any grain. Amaranth seeds are also high in fiber, calcium, iron, potassium, phosphorus, zinc, and vitamins A and C.
In addition, combining amaranth seeds with corn, a major component of the local diet, forms a complete protein. Leaves are edible, containing more calcium, phosphorus, and vitamin C than spinach, in addition to the high levels of folate and other nutrients present in the seeds."

Visit their website by CLICKING HERE.

For an in depth discussion of this plant, CLICK HERE.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

What's eating my azaleas?

It's the azalea caterpillar.  There may be masses of them.  They may have already eaten through a lot of leaves.   Only one generation hatches a year. What is the best way to control them?  Put away your chemicals.  Put on your gloves.  Handpicking them off and destroying them is easy and efficient. Read this: AZALEA CATERPILLARS.
Photo by R. Davis

Wednesday, August 17, 2016


Our Vegetable Garden Curators battled squash bugs and flea beetles this year.  They use organic not chemical controls, but in the end the pests won.  The plants were pulled and pumpkins have been planted in their place.  The hot banana peppers and 'Maria di Chioggia' squash(pictured) are still doing fine.

Over the summer growing season tomatoes, beans, squash, lemon cucumbers, peppers, and zucchini were harvested.  This year 65 pounds of our produce was donated to:
*Joy Soup Kitchen Food Bank
*Share the Bounty Food Kitchen (Simpson)
*First Born Community Development Center (Grimesland)
*Farmville Soup Kitchen

The Curators are busy planning a fall/winter garden with greens, lettuce, and carrots grown from seed.

Here is an article to get you started on a FALL VEGETABLE GARDEN.
Photos by D. Strathy

Wednesday, August 10, 2016


If you missed last weeks Arboretum Tour, you missed hearing about these plants that thrive in our summer heat and humidity:


Photos by J. Kollar
Top l. to r.
From CPP area
1.  Cotinus coggygria (Smoketree)
2.  Jasminum nudiflorum (Winter Jasmine)
From Butterfly Garden
3.  Lantana camara 'Miss Huff'
4.  Coreposis verticillata 'Zagreb' (Threadleaf coreopsis)
5.  Ilex vomitoria 'Nana' (Dwarf Yaupon Holly)
Bottom l. to r.
From Perennial Garden
6.  Perovskia atriplicifolia (Russian Sage)
7.  Amsonia hubrichtii (Hubricht's Bluestar)
8.  Panicum virgatum (Native Switch Grass)
From Wildflower Garden
9.  Salvia farinacea (Mealycup Sage)
10. Gaura lindheimeri

Click here for a short article on HEAT HAPPY PLANTS

Tuesday, August 2, 2016


There are two events this week where you can go to meet some Master Gardeners, get your gardening questions answered and pick up some gardening knowledge.

THURSDAY, August 4th, Starting at 10:00 AM
403 Government Circle, Greenville


Tours last about 1 1/2 hours and are held rain or shine.  Meet under the Shelter in front of the Agricultural Center.

SATURDAY,  August 6th, 7:30 AM-11:30 AM
4560 County Home Road, Greenville

Look for their table under the tent.  This is the last Saturday that they will be there this year.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016



The Summer Edition on the Extension Gardener Newsletter is ready for viewing.  Some of the topics for our area include:
  • Sustainable Gardening
  • Rainfall Measurement
  • Mole or Vole?
  • Organic Lawn Management
Click here to download:  COASTAL PLAINS EDITION

Wednesday, July 20, 2016


When it's too hot to be out gardening, you need to find indoor projects that still benefit your garden.  One such idea is to build a house for our native solitary bees.  Our Honorary MGV, Brian T., (Spouse of MGV Carol T.) has generously constructed several things around the Arboretum.  His latest creation is a solitary bee house shown below.  You will find it tucked into a corner by the Wildflower Garden.
To read more about these beneficial pollinators and how to build your own house, CLICK HERE.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016


1)  Remove diseased foliage.
2)  Encourage more fruit production.
3)  Increase air circulation in the interior of the plant which may help slow foliage diseases.
4)  Remove yellowing foliage.

Read this article for more on the whys and how to of PRUNING TOMATO PLANTS.

Stop by to see the Arboretum's Vegetable Garden.  You will be surprised to see how much can be grown in a small space.

Friday, July 8, 2016


Growing in our Butterfly Garden
Zinnias and Pentas are two annual bedding plants that attract butterflies. They are easy to grow, low maintenance, and bloom until frost.  In general butterflies are attracted to flowers that have flat surfaces they can perch on (Zinnias) or have short flower tubes (Pentas).  Wide swaths of red, yellow, orange, pink, and purple blooms will draw them in.
For a long term plan to create your own Butterfly Garden using native plants, check out this resource:  BUTTERFLIES IN YOUR BACKYARD.

Monday, July 4, 2016


Join the Pitt County Master Gardeners
for a tour of the Arboretum.
The focus this month will be
Meet under the shelter in front of
The Ag Center
403 Government Circle

Click here for information on GROWING CULINARY HERBS

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Have Gardening Questions?

Pitt County Master Gardeners will be at the Farmer's Market* this Saturday, July 2nd, from 7:30 AM to 11:30 AM.  You can find them outside under the canopy.  Stop by to have them help you solve any gardening problems you have.  They are giving away free cosmos seeds!
Cosmos sulphureus

 Here is a short article about: COSMOS

*Pitt County Farmer's Market
4560 County Home Road, Greenville