North Carolina Botanical Garden

All Programs & Events

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All Programs & Events: Calendar View


Upcoming Event
12:00 PM to 1:00 PM
LUNCHBOX Talk: The Mountains-to-Sea Trail in Orange County and Across North Carolina
The Mountains-to-Sea Trail (MST) is an 1,175 mile walking trail that traverses North Carolina from Jockey’s Ridge State Park in the east to Clingmans Dome in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The trail provides the opportunity to observe and learn more about the natural and cultural heritage of North Carolina. Are you familiar with opportunities to hike the MST in Orange and nearby counties, or how the MST is part of a greater interconnected trail system across the state? Pack your lunch and come learn more from the Executive Director of the Friends of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail.
4:00 PM to 7:30 PM
Fall Plant Sale: Members' Night
Fall is for planting! Choose from a wide variety of southeastern native wildflowers, shrubs, trees, vines and ferns at our annual sale, plus used books and native wildflower seeds. All of the more than 100 species of southeastern native plants offered for sale have been propagated in our own nursery. Free for members; no registration necessary. Garden Members enjoy a special plant sale preview party on Friday evening with discount on plant purchases, live music, and refreshments. Free for members, and you can become a member at the door! Reception begins at 5 p.m.
9:00 AM to 3:00 PM
Fall Plant Sale
Fall is for planting! Choose from a wide variety of southeastern native wildflowers, shrubs, trees, vines and ferns at our annual sale, in addition to used books and native wildflower seeds. All of the more than 100 species of southeastern native plants offered for sale have been propagated in our own nursery. Plant sale proceeds support our continuing research in plant propagation and our 'conservation through propagation' philosophy.
9:00 PM to 10:30 PM
Moth Night
Event is Full: Accepting Wait List Registrations
Moths are among our most diverse, colorful, and ecologically important groups of organisms. Approximately 2,700 species occur in North Carolina, but most people only ever see just a few and are startled when they first see a Luna Moth or a Polyphemus Moth, never having suspected that there were such species flying around in the night. $15 ($13 Members) Moth Night shines a light on this amazing group of organisms. We'll use two common techniques to sample moth populations – blacklights and baiting – to take a look at the local fauna. Bring your cameras, with best results obtained using a flash.
1:30 PM to 11/6/2019 3:30 PM
CANCELLED: Bluets: Preschoolers Exploring Nature - Fall Series
Event is Full: Accepting Wait List Registrations
Wednesdays, October 2 - November 6 (6-sessions) 1:30 - 3:30 PM For ages 4-5. Learning comes naturally during this fun-filled series that fosters a sense of wonder for nature and science. Preschoolers will explore the marvels of changing colors, flying seeds, and migrating animals through hands-on activities, outdoor explorations, stories, crafts and group play. Snack provided. Note: This is a drop-off program. Fee: $120 ($108 Members)
9:30 AM to 4:00 PM
Introduction to Mushrooms
Event is Full: Accepting Wait List Registrations
This course is intended for a broad audience as an introduction to mushrooms, including their identification, ecology and cultivation. Session includes classroom discussion on the basic taxonomy of fleshy fungi and a foray to a nearby forest. Price includes supply fee, which covers materials for mushroom cultivation bags that participants will be able to take home. No prerequisites. $70 ($63 Members)
10:00 AM to 11:00 AM
FREE First Saturday Tour: Sculpture in the Garden + Fall Blooms
Event is Full: Accepting Wait List Registrations
The moment one gives close attention to anything, even a blade of grass, it becomes a mysterious, awesome, incredibly magnificent world in itself. ~Henry Miller Join us for a walk to enjoy the mysterious, awesome, and incredibly magnificent original works by North Carolina sculptors as part of our annual Sculpture in the Garden show set amongst our beautiful fall-blooming wildflowers.
10:30 AM to 3:30 PM
Field Trip: The Sandhills Gamelands
Ever wanted to see a pitcher plant in the wild? Now’s your chance! Come explore one of the finest examples of a longleaf pine ecosystem in North Carolina, home to rare and fascinating plant communities, with expert botanist Bruce Sorrie. We’ll discuss the role of fire (natural and managed) in maintaining the various plant communities in this 60,000 acre public reserve and how the species on the reserve have adapted to the ecosystem’s nutrient-poor soils and frequent disturbance. Transportation to the Sandhills is not included in the timing or in the trip fee. Field trip begins at 10:30 a.m. and ends between 2:30 and 3:30 p.m. in Hoffman, NC (just outside the Game Land). Participants must get themselves to Hoffman (about 80 miles or 1.5 hours south of Chapel Hill). $25 ($22 Members)
1:15 PM to 10/27/2019 4:45 PM
Flowering Plant Families
This course builds on the information covered in Plant Taxonomy and focuses on the study of plant diversity by targeting twenty major and fairly stable plant families found in North Carolina. Classroom discussions of evolutionary adaptations and relationships are combined with field studies in the Garden and close-up examination of representative examples. Prerequisite: Plant Taxonomy. $130 ($117 Members)
1:30 PM to 4:30 PM
Growing a Backyard Medicine Garden
Let’s explore beautiful native medicinal plants you can grow in your own backyard! Using the NCBG display gardens as our classroom, we will meet both shade-loving and sun-loving plants. We’ll learn about each plant’s growth patterns, nutrient needs and growing tips. Spatial and design considerations will be included. We’ll discuss each plant’s medicinal qualities and simple preparations you can make at home, and we’ll explore differences between cultivating plants at home and wildcrafting. $32 ($29 Members)
12:00 PM to 1:00 PM
LUNCHBOX Talk: Food Forests: Vertically Layered Edible Gardens
Food forests are a permaculture concept now gaining popularity as a new concept for edible public gardens in the United States. One of the first developed in our state is a gorilla gardening effort started on a piece of abandoned land in the late 1990s in Asheville, NC. These designs are intended to mimic a forest ecosystem with layers of plantings from ground covers to canopy trees, with edible fruits and medicinals making up many of the species.
9:30 AM to 4:00 PM
Graduation Preparation
Students will receive guidance on Independent Projects, graduation procedures and requirements, as well as organizing the exhibit, photographing and framing their paintings, and an introduction to marketing their work. Non-credit course. $76 ($68 Members)
1:00 PM to 4:00 PM
Early Autumn at Mason Farm
Event is Full
An in-depth tour of Mason Farm Biological Reserve’s Old Farm Trail that travels through some 260 years of cultural and natural history. Explore the beauty of fall, and learn about the Garden’s intense management of both field and forest on the Reserve. The walk includes a short hike off-trail into the Shagbark Hickory Forest. Wear sturdy footwear and bring water (and a walking stick if you use one). Meeting spot supplied upon registration. $15 ($13 Members)
1:00 PM to 4:30 PM
Native Seed Propagation
Event is Full: Accepting Wait List Registrations
Intended for all levels, students learn seed propagation techniques for native perennials and woody plants. Topics include seed collection methods, post-collection handling, cleaning equipment and techniques, seed storage, seed sowing techniques, sowing media, cultural requirements of seedlings, and dormancy requirements. No prerequisites. $38 ($34 Members)
1:30 PM to 10/20/2019 4:30 PM
Calligraphy means beautiful writing. Calligraphers use a number of different families of letter forms, or “hands.” One of these hands – copperplate – is traditionally used in botanical illustration to identify the subject of the illustration. This two-session course introduces the basics of copperplate. Students learn how to make letterforms using the correct stroke sequence for lower and upper case letters with dip-pen in ink and watercolor paint. Proficiency will require practice beyond the scope of this course. No prerequisite. $72 ($65 Members)
10:00 AM to 4:00 PM
Botanical Contact Printing: Fabrics
Explore fabrics, thread, and natural dyes while learning about eco/botanical contact printing. We’ll cover vocabulary, techniques, flowers and foliage, wild color recipes and we’ll explore the process of extracting plant tannins and natural wild color to create beautiful permanent immersions from nature. This workshop includes hands-on activities and time in the Garden. You’ll take home two silk scarves, vintage printed fabric and a fabric sample book of different leaves, plants and pods. A great opportunity to learn a new surface design skill for creating gifts, quilt fabrics and more. $102 ($92 Members)
11:00 AM to 12:00 PM
Coker Arboretum Tour
Take a tour of this gem on the UNC campus with Coker Arboretum curator Margo MacIntyre. We'll cover the unique history and composition of this wonderful garden as we explore early summer flowers.
1:00 PM to 3:00 PM
UNC Herbarium Tour
Join Herbarium staff for a behind-the-scenes tour of the UNC Herbarium, a research collection of plants and fungi from around the world. The Herbarium curates nearly 1 million specimens of fungi, lichens, algae, mosses, vascular plants and plant fossils. We will tour the various collections and discuss how the specimens are collected and how they are used to document biodiversity, to target conservation efforts, and to understand the evolution of plant life.
1:00 PM to 11/12/2019 4:30 PM
Beginning Watercolor
In this class, students are introduced to watercolor and learn basics techniques such as flat and graded washes. Students learn to paint various simple shapes (spheres and cylinders) and a small botanical subject. Prerequisite: Beginning Drawing. $150 ($135 Members).
12:00 PM to 1:00 PM
LUNCHBOX Talk: Botanical Gardens 2045: Adapting to the Most Diverse Nation in History
The year 2045 marks the date when the United States will no longer be a White majority nation. The majority of American citizens will be Black and Brown. Many institutions are rethinking their missions to assess the impact this shift will have on their leadership, programming, and facilities. These institutions are asking how best to engage with what will be the most diverse population in the nation’s history. How can Botanical Gardens extend their relevance and influence in this new era? This talk will share broad trends impacting institutions across the country highlighting case studies where shifts in leadership, programming, and facilities are helping institutions adapt to a new normal.
5:00 PM to 8:00 PM
BOOtanical Family Festival
For all ages. Celebrate the fall season with a fun-filled evening of hands-on nature activities at the Garden! Meet green monsters, tackle the spider obstacle course, craft a magic wand and leaf critter, hear creepy crawly tales, and much more. Be sure to view the nature-themed carved pumpkin display, and come dressed in your favorite plant or animal costume! Food trucks. Fee: $5 per person (no fee for children ages 2 & under)
10:00 AM to 12:00 PM
Fall Leaves in Watercolor
Celebrate Fall! Learn about native trees with colorful fall foliage and receive detailed instructions and demonstrations to complete a small watercolor painting of fall leaves of a tree species native to North Carolina. No prerequisites. Supply fee included. $41 ($37 Members)
1:00 PM to 4:00 PM
Peak of Autumn at Penny's Bend
A two-mile hike through the fall landscape of this 84-acre natural area in northeast Durham. Surrounded on three sides by the Eno River, Penny’s Bend Nature Preserve encompasses mature forests and prairies with regionally rare plants. Explore the fall scenery as you learn about how the Garden manages this unique property. Much of this hike is on primitive trails over uneven terrain, with one short, steep climb up from the river. Wear sturdy hiking footwear and bring a walking stick, insect repellant and water. Meeting spot supplied upon registration. $15 ($13 Members)
2:00 PM to 4:00 PM
Nature Walk: Saxapahaw Island Park and the Haw River
Event is Full: Accepting Wait List Registrations
Come explore Saxapahaw Island Park, one of the newest Alamance County Parks along the Haw River Trail and Mountains-to-Sea Trail . We will explore the trails in the 30-acre Park, find fall-blooming wildflowers, and identify the trees which grow on this sandy oasis in the Haw River. Wear comfortable walking shoes. Children are welcome, but please leave pets at home. Free; preregistration required.
1:00 PM to 11/20/2019 4:30 PM
Intermediate Expressive Watercolor
This course builds upon the knowledge and skills of Beginning Watercolor and provides instruction based on a fluid watercolor style combined with careful observation of plants. Learn techniques and methods to create form, values, details, textures as well as backgrounds. Prerequisites: Beginning Watercolor, Intermediate Drawing. $150 ($135 Members)
12:00 PM to 1:00 PM
LUNCHBOX Talk: Plants We Eat & Wear
Explore some of our most fundamental relationships with plants—the primary foods we eat and the clothes we wear. Our diet and clothing reflect a fascinating history of the domestication and international sharing of plants across cultures over the past 15,000 years. What are the implications of our increasingly global and industrialized diet, and the “locavore” agitation against it? The lecture will be followed by a sampling of plant foods from around the world.
10:00 AM to 11:00 AM
FREE First Saturday Tour: The Colors of Autumn
How beautiful the leaves grow old. How full of light and color are their last days. ~John Burroughs Early November provides a palette of beautiful colors in autumn leaves and fall wildflowers. Walk with us and enjoy nature’s artwork.
1:00 PM to 11/16/2019 5:00 PM
Plant Taxonomy
This course builds on the fundamentals taught in Botany and prepares students for supplementary material covered in Flowering Plant Families. It is a core course for students enrolled in either of the NCBG certificate programs. Students learn the basic concepts of the taxonomy of vascular plants and how to identify plant families by making observations of selected characteristics. The use of taxonomic keys is introduced. Interesting examples are studied to illustrate current issues in plant taxonomy and nomenclature. This course serves as a prerequisite for Flowering Plant Families. Prerequisite: Botany. $130 ($117 Members).
2:30 PM to 3:30 PM
Annual Jenny Elder Fitch Memorial Lecture: A New Garden Ethic
Event is Full: Accepting Wait List Registrations
In a time of mass extinction and climate change, how and for whom we garden matters more than ever. Our built landscapes reflect social ethics and values that guide our response to reviving wildness in and outside the urban environment. How can we recognize and develop compassion for other species? What role do native plants have in opening us to the perspectives of others? What happens to our society when we advocate for the equality and freedom of a silent majority? Through ecology, psychology, landscape design, horticulture, philosophy, and social science, we’ll explore the rich complexity of rethinking pretty and what a garden means in the anthropocene.
1:00 PM to 12/5/2019 4:30 PM
Pen and Ink
In this class, students learn to draw with pen and ink using standard techniques and conventions. Students work with both “old-fashioned” dip pens and modern technical pens to create accurate botanical drawings. Prerequisite: Intermediate Drawing. $150 ($135 Members)
1:30 PM to 11/14/2019 4:30 PM
Local Trees
This six-hour course is perfect for those just beginning their study of trees or for recent transplants to the NC Piedmont who want to identify the common deciduous trees in their backyard gardens and neighborhoods. Students spend time outdoors, walking in the Garden or on the Piedmont Nature Trails, learning about common trees, how to identify them, and understanding why they grow where they do. No prerequisites. $65 ($58 Members)
9:00 AM to 2:00 PM
Fall Retreat: Yoga & Art Journaling in the Garden
Join us for a relaxing, restorative half-day retreat on Saturday, November 9th focused on yoga & art journaling. Enjoy the beautiful fall landscape of the Garden while being led by experienced instructors on gentle yoga, art journaling, and mindfulness sessions. This is a ticketed event for participants 18 years of age or older, and registration is required. ($60 per person)
1:30 PM to 2:30 PM
Build-a-Birdhouse - FOR FAMILIES!
For ages 6 & up with accompanying adult. Learn all about the tiny but mighty Brown-headed Nuthatch and how to build the perfect birdhouse for this cavity-nesting songbird that needs our help. All supplies included. Fee: $15 ($13.50 Members); no fee for accompanying adult
6:30 PM to 9:00 PM
Full Moon Nature Walk at Mason Farm
Join a Garden educator for a moonlit stroll at Mason Farm Biological Reserve. We’ll walk along a flat 2-mile loop, making several stops along the way to watch the moon rise and learn about the natural world after dark. Dress warmly, wear good walking shoes, and bring water and a flashlight. You may wish to bring binoculars. This event is appropriate for adults and older children. No children under 10, please. No pets. $10 ($9 Members)
12:00 PM to 1:00 PM
LUNCHBOX Talk: A Walk in the Garden - A Naturalist's View of the North Carolina Botanical Garden
Join Mike Dunn, NCBG Natural Science Educator, as he shares, through his beautiful photos, some of the many reasons to explore the North Carolina Botanical Garden in Chapel Hill. He will share some of his favorite times and places to visit and photograph and learn about the fascinating plant and animal communities that make this native plant wonderland so special.
9:30 AM to 4:00 PM
Event is Full: Accepting Wait List Registrations
This class is intended for a broad audience. Lichens (lichenized fungi) are symbiotic organisms that consist of fungal, algal and/or bacterial partners. Among the first life-forms to live on land, lichens have occupied nearly every habitat on Earth and grow on many of the surfaces of our environment. This class introduces students to the fascinating world of lichen biology, the dazzling diversity of the local lichen flora, and their importance as indicators of environmental health. Includes lecture, demonstrations, and a foray out into the Garden. $65 ($58 Members)
11:00 AM to 1:00 PM
Coker Arboretum Tour
Take a tour of this gem on the UNC campus with Coker Arboretum curator Margo MacIntyre. We'll cover the unique history and composition of this wonderful garden as we explore early summer flowers.
2:00 PM to 4:00 PM
FREE Battle Park Tour
Learn about the history and preservation of the property now known as Battle Park on the UNC campus. We'll walk through the park in the peak of its autumn glory, covering hotspots visited and named by Kemp Plummer Battle himself as well as the philosophies behind the preservation and conservation of our natural areas. Free; preregistration required.
1:30 PM to 4:30 PM
Nature Walk: Fall Colors at Horton Grove Nature Preserve
Join us for a late-autumn walk at Horton Grove Nature Preserve in central Durham County! We will explore the autumn flora of the meadow, then walk on woodland trails to enjoy the colors of red maple, hickory and beech. Free; preregistration required.
1:00 PM to 4:30 PM
Edibles on Paper: Holiday Citrus
A favorite around the holidays, the gift of an orange was a cherished symbol of joy, good luck and prosperity in many cultures received in the cold of winter. Discover painting colorful citrus in transparent watercolor. Techniques covered include color matching, wet on wet washes and detailing with drybrush. Watercolor experience helpful. $56 ($50 Members)
1:30 PM to 4:30 PM
Winter Vegetative Propagation
Learn the fundamentals of vegetative propagation and how to propagate woody plants through stem cuttings during the dormant season (November through February). We’ll focus on low-tech methods you can apply at home, emphasizing plants native to the southeastern United States. The workshop will take place in the classroom and the NCBG nursery. This class can accompany our Native Plant Propagation workshop for those who have taken it, but you don’t need to have taken Native Plant Propagation to participate. $32 ($29 Members)
12:00 PM to 1:00 PM
LUNCHBOX Talk: The North Carolina Wildflower of the Year - A Retrospective
The North Carolina Wildflower of the Year Program is a collaborative effort between the North Carolina Botanical Garden and the Garden Club of North Carolina. For the past 37 years, this program has encouraged the use and propagation of native plants in the home landscape by promoting a different North Carolina native species each year and distributing seeds to interested gardeners in the southeastern United States. The NC Wildflower of the Year Program is a part of the 'conservation through propagation' theme of the Garden that strives to ensure that wild populations of native species are not damaged by unethical harvesting or over-collecting. Come hear a retrospective on this long-held and much loved Garden program.
1:30 PM to 3/7/2020 4:30 PM
Winter Flora
Event is Full: Accepting Wait List Registrations
This course is designed for a broad audience as well as for students who are enrolled in either of the Garden’s certificate programs. Field trips and exercises provide experience in the use of identification keys and recognition of plants in their winter condition in natural settings. Enjoy discovering that many trees and shrubs are easily recognized when not covered with leaves! Fee: $130 ($117 NCBG members).
1:30 PM to 2/29/2020 4:30 PM
Geology for Botanists and Ecologists
This primarily lecture course is a survey of the principles of geology most important to the distribution of native plants and natural communities. Classes cover the different types of rocks, their chemical and physical effects on the soils that form from them, the geological processes that shape the earth’s surface and the landforms that result from them, and the way natural communities align with these patterns. An optional field trip on the 5th Saturday will visit a couple of places where these principles can be seen in action. This course is intended for a broad audience, but some familiarity with natural communities, native plants, and some exposure to basic chemistry will be beneficial. Fee: $130 ($117 NCBG members).
10:00 AM to 12:00 PM
Veni, Vidi, Vici! - Secrets to Understanding Botanical Names of Wildflowers
Get to know the origins and meanings of the Latin names of plants. Explore scientific names that are mischievous, historic, honorific, wrong, descriptive and just plain fun! No verbs will be conjugated. Fee: $24 (NCBG Members $22).
12:00 PM to 1:00 PM
LUNCHBOX Talk: Let's Talk About Sex (in Plants)
Heterostyly, dioecy, monoecy, polygamy…oh my! The Different Forms of Flowers on Plants of the Same Species have long intrigued evolutionary biologists including Charles Darwin who penned a book by the same name in 1877. Separating sexual function between different individuals carries risks, especially for sedentary organisms. Picture yourself on a deserted island…alone. Nevertheless, many plants take that chance to ensure cross-fertilization between individuals. Join Garden Director Dr. Damon Waitt, on an exploration of the ecological and evolutionary consequences of sex…in plants.
1:00 PM to 5:00 PM
Morgan Creek Valley Tour
The Morgan Creek Valley in Orange County holds a wealth of natural and cultural heritage, from ice-age rhododendron bluffs and rare wildflowers to American Indians and moonshiners. Come prepared for several short hikes as we explore the length of the Morgan Creek valley, journeying by van from its headwaters near Maple View Farm to the Triassic Basin bottomlands of the Mason Farm Biological Reserve, a magnificent birding area where 118 bird species have been documented. $25 ($22 Members)
12:00 PM to 1:00 PM
LUNCHBOX Talk: Native Plant Combinations
Take home some ideas for your yard at this lunchbox talk on native plant gardening. The focus will be on native plants that work well together. From sun to shade, spring to fall, and wildflowers to shrubs there’s sure to be something for everyone. Even if you don’t garden, come on out for some pretty plant pictures to remind you that it won’t always be February.
12:00 PM to 1:00 PM
LUNCHBOX Talk: Trillium: A Natural History and Life Cycle Through Botanical Art
It is an extra special thrill hiking through North Carolina’s piedmont or mountain woodlands in the spring and suddenly encountering a Trillium or better yet, a colony of them. This exquisite ephemeral wildflower emerges in March or April and is all but camouflaged among the leaf mulch of our deciduous trees until its striking single flower announces its presence. It’s seen briefly before it disappears underground again by the end of June. The local circle of the American Society of Botanical Artists have teamed up with an instructor from the Garden’s Native Plants Studies Certificate Program to tell the complex and beautiful story of Trilliums using original artwork in a presentation portraying the species of the Piedmont and their natural history. The over twenty original drawings, paintings and illustrations will also be on display during the presentation.
2:00 PM to 4:00 PM
Hike: Spring Ephemerals on the Piedmont Nature Trails
Take a walk through the Piedmont Nature Trails with NCBG’s Battle Park Manager, Nick Adams, in search of trout lilies, sweet Betsy’s, windflowers, and many more of the spring ephemerals that brighten the forest floor this time of year. Please note that the hike is moderate to strenuous, depending on your abilities. The Piedmont Nature Trails traverse uneven and/or steep terrain at times. You are encouraged to bring a hiking stick! For the safety of our guests, dogs are not allowed on tours. Meeting spot: The breezeway at the front of the James & Delight Allen Education Center.
10:00 AM to 12:00 PM
Spring Ephemeral Wildflowers in Watercolor
Celebrate a sure sign of spring - ephemeral wildflowers! Come learn about Southeastern native spring ephemerals and how to paint them with watercolor. Bev will give instructions, demonstrations and individual guidance. No prerequisites. $30 ($27 Members) Fee includes all supplies.
12:00 PM to 1:00 PM
LUNCHBOX Talk: Do Venus Flytraps Eat their Pollinators for Lunch?
Did you know that Venus Flytraps do not “eat” the insects that pollinate them? What are these special insect pollinators, and why do they not succumb to this carnivorous plants’ predation? Bring your lunch and come learn more about this fascinating North Carolina longleaf pine savannas research from Dr. Clyde Sorenson, entomologist from NC State University.