10 am

Tea Time

Home-grown and hand-made tea with Christine Parks

Christine has spent the last 12 years growing, processing, and making teas from her Tea Flower Gardens in Chapel Hill, and is a founding member of the US League of Tea Growers.  In addition to her Monday-through-Friday job, she is literally “writing the book” on all things Tea, and hosts a variety of weekend workshops – from garden planning and planting, to harvest and processing, and finally to brewing and tasting.

11 am

Creating Camellias

The breeding and selection process with David Parks

David Parks owns and operates Camellia Forest Nursery, and grew up surrounded by 5 acres of Camellias that were planted by his father – the very forest where the Nursery got it’s name.  When less busy with the day-to-day of Camellia Forest operations,  David spends his time breeding Camellias for cold-hardiness, disease resistance, and ease of use in the landscape.  He has traveled to China in search of wild Camellias for possible breeding stock, and visiting nurseries to see what’s new at the heart of the Camellia world.

1 pm

Carnivorous Flora of NC

The fascinating lives of plants that bite with Mike Lowe

Mike had only been a Surgical Tech at the NCSU School of Veterinary Medicine for two years when he was bitten by a hungry carnivorous -plant.  Twenty-five years later, Mike can still be found in the surgical suite by day – but much of his free time is now spent maintaining an exceptional collection of carnivorous plants in Raleigh.  He is particularly fond of tropicals, and his plants and garden displays have won numerous Blue Ribbons at the NC State Fair.  An avid outdoorsman, he regularly competes in kayak fishing tournaments.

2 pm

Breathtaking Shade Gardens

Textures, forms, foliage, and bloom seasons with Cheryl Kearns

Cheryl is a life-long gardener, having begun as a child on her parent’s Vermont farm.  Some years later, the warmer climate surrounding her home in England vastly expanded her planting options, thus enriching her love of diversity in plants’ forms, leaf shapes and flowers. Since moving to North Carolina in 1992, she has transformed her 3-acre lot of pines and sweet-gums into a series of gardens.  Many of these are shaded, allowing her to achieve her ultimate goal of having flowers in bloom 365 days a year. Her work in nurseries and extensive international travel have helped inform her plant choices and designs, which she enjoys sharing with classes at Wake Tech, the JC Raulston Arboretum, and various garden clubs.

3 pm

Magnolia x 'Stellar Ruby' at Garden Treasures

Original Plants

Selecting new cultivars and their introduction to the trade with Pat McCracken

Pat’s passion for plants started at a very young age – he still remembers all of the plants in the garden he moved from when he was five years old – with a special fondness for variegated and gold-leafed specimens.  That love led him to pursue a professional life in plants, receiving both his BS and MS in Ornamental Horticulture and Landscape Design from the University of Tennessee before going on to work in the nursery industry for over thirty years, specializing in research, propagation, and production. Pat has an insatiable desire for collecting plants and has been doing so for most of his life, traveling to nineteen countries in search of the perfect additions. The collections have changed over the years, but have included African Violets, bromeliads and other tropicals, Japanese maples, magnolias, and Camellias.  Thousands of unique, rare, and experimental specimens are planted at his 5-acre farm in Zebulon, NC, where the merits of seedlings and mutations from his active breeding programs – Hibiscus, Magnolias, and Camellias – are evaluated for introduction to the landscape and Nursery trade.  In his spare time, he loves to cook and does pottery.