A Southern Appalachian Summer

 

And so with the sunshine and the great bursts of leaves growing on the trees, just as things grow in fast movies, I had that familiar conviction that life was beginning over again with the summer.
―  F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

 

What unfurls for you this season? Gather inspiration and make connections in nature.

Grow in place with us this summer.

 

Scroll down for a listing of classes open for registration and sign up for our monthly e-newsletter Learn & Grow.

For more information, please contact Adult Education Programs at AdultEducation@ncarboretum.org

August Online, Onsite and Field-Based Classes

  • ONSITE | Tuesday & Thursday, August 2 & 4, 1:30 – 3 p.m.

    Given soil’s vital importance, it is amazing that most gardeners don’t venture beyond the understanding that good soil supports plant life and poor soil doesn’t. You’ve undoubtedly seen worms in good soil and have come across other soil life: centipedes, springtails, ants, slugs, ladybird beetle larvae and more. Healthy soil, however, does not contain just a few animals ― healthy soil is absolutely teeming with life. This class will focus on all the forms of life found in healthy soil, the soil-food web and how we can use this information to improve our gardening techniques. An introduction to basic soil science will be included in the class.

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  • GeologyBLENDED | Six Sessions: Wednesdays & Fridays, August 3 – 19, 10 – 11:30 a.m.

    Explore the geologic history of the Southern Appalachian Mountains in this Zoom-based class that includes lecture presentations, discussions and self-guided explorations in the field. The course begins with a discussion of the earth’s interior and plate tectonics, progresses to a model for the formation of the southern Appalachians and then describes the surficial processes that generate the current mountain topography. Discussion will also include an overview of geologic processes that affect these mountains today: earthquakes, mass movements and floods.

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  • ONSITE | Tuesday, August 9, 6 – 7:30 p.m.

    Established in 2005, the Bonsai Exhibition Garden is a signature feature of the Arboretum and a unique environment displaying up to 50 specimens at a time. Of particular importance are the plants native to the Blue Ridge, including American hornbeam, red maple and eastern white pine, which bring the thousand-year tradition of bonsai home to the mountains of western North Carolina.

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  • ONSITE – Baker Visitor Center | Friday, August 12, 3:30 – 5 p.m.  & Friday, August 26, 3:30 – 5 p.m.

    Join us for a Gallery Talk with artists whose works in a variety of media are featured in our summer art exhibit currently on display in the Baker Visitor Center. Numerous pieces showcase some of the beautiful landscapes and plants that North Carolina has to offer, connecting people with plants through art. Celebrate an enduring creative legacy that honors parents Edwin and Mildred Voorhees, who instilled an artistic spirit in their children.  Additional talks are planned for July, August and prior to the show’s closing in September. Limited to pre-registered participants only in the small-group setting with safety guidelines in place.

    Pre-register for either date below: 

    Friday, August 12, 3:30 – 5 p.m.

    Friday, August 26, 3:30 – 5 p.m.

  • ONSITE | Saturday, August 13 or Saturday, August 27, 9 – 11:30 a.m.

    Join a certified forest therapy guide for a relaxing walk in the Arboretum forest. Be present in the moment and deepen your connection in nature and in community. Your guide will extend a series of invitations, instructing mindful practices that encourage deepening levels of awareness of your inner and surrounding landscapes. Inspired by Shinrin-Yoku, the Japanese art of immersing oneself in a forest environment, a forest bathing walk can invite healing on many levels, starting within and moving outward in the renewed intention to protect where we are in place and on the planet.

    Immerse yourself in the therapeutic benefits of nature through this unique collaboration with Asheville Wellness Tours and Adult Education Programs at the Arboretum. 

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  • ONSITE | Thursday, August 18, 9:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.

    If you’ve ever collected small, perfectly smooth pebbles and rocks from beaches, rivers or lakes and wondered what to do with them, this workshop is the perfect solution! Using diamond encrusted drill bits, students will drill through these materials and then fabricate sterling silver wire to create stunning jewelry which may include pendants, earrings, and rings. Students will also learn about the soldering process, bezel and prong setting and a small amount of forging.

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  • ONLINE | Thursday, August 18, 6 – 7 p.m.

    Why do woodpeckers drum on gutters? Are they really “eating” the house? The seven species of woodpeckers here in Western North Carolina range from the tiny downy to the large and iconic pileated. This package includes an online class and a field experience on the Arboretum grounds. Expert guide Kevin Burke of Ventures Birding Tours leads a highly informative and entertaining in-depth study of this fascinating group of birds!

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  • ONSITE | Six Sessions: Fridays, August 19 – September 23 , 9 – 10 a.m.

    Individual Friday Sessions Open for Registration Separately

    Experience the deep peace and simple joy of slow walking meditation in the Plants of Promise Garden at the Arboretum. Each walking meditation practice begins with a series of very gentle Qigong movements. Qigong is an easy, mindful movement practice that supports the body’s natural healing processes, promotes healthy circulation, invites a sense of inner calm, and releases tension from the body.

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  • CeramicsONSITE | Friday, August 19, 9:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.

    Find your way in clay in this welcoming workshop with Potter David Voorhees, whose work is currently on exhibit in the Baker Visitor Center as part of Nature & Nurture: The Voorhees Family Artistic Legacy. David teaches participants of all levels to create a series of small bowls or drinking vessels suitable for tea, juice or wine. The workshop focuses on three different aspects of clay forming and decoration.

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  • ONSITE | Two Sessions, Fridays, August 19 & 26, 9:30 a.m. – 4 p.m.

    The Southern Appalachians offer an exceptional diversity of fascinating and ecologically-important mushrooms. Students will learn to identify the 12 most common fungal families and their preferred habitats and ecological connections.  Naturalist Luke Cannon teaches two full-day sessions onsite in the Arboretum forest that allow for practical experience examining specimens in place. Come prepared to learn, hike (a little) and have (a lot of) fun! 

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  • SketchbooksONSITE |  Friday, August 19, 6 – 7:30 p.m.

    Chadalice Hagen and Jane Voorhees lead this Artists Talk prior to their 2-day sketchbook workshop, Inspired by Nature: Make a Sketchbook & Start Sketching!.

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    NOTE: This registration is only for the Artists Talk. If you would like to register for both the Artists Talk and the Workshop sessions, please see the next class listing below.

  • SketchbooksONSITE | Three Sessions: Artists Talk – Friday, August 19, 6 – 7:30 p.m. | Workshop – Saturday & Sunday, August 20 – 21, 9:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

    Chadalice Hagen and Jane Voorhees are forces of nature who will teach students how to make sketchbooks and then guide them in getting started sketching. Learn how to make two different useful sketchbooks – a leather covered “Pocket Sketchbook” and a hardcover “Favorite Sketchbook” with Chadalice. Learn sketching methods with Jane, exploring a variety of tools, techniques and tips for using the newly created sketchbooks.

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  • ONSITE | Sunday, August 21, 10:30 a.m. – 12 p.m.

    Let’s enjoy a quiet, mindful stroll through the woods together. A silent hike takes us to scenic treasures on the arboretum property where we will do a restorative qigong practice. Qigong is a series of simple movements that supports the body’s natural healing processes, promotes healthy circulation, invites inner calm, and releases tension from the body. Hikes will be mindfully-paced and qigong practices easy and accessible.

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  • ONLINE | Wednesday, August 24, 4- 5:30 p.m.

    Join in this discussion about ecological principles in practice in your gardens and landscapes and at the Arboretum. A facilitated discussion with faculty and students in the Blue Ridge Eco Gardener (BREG) Certificate of Merit program, anyone is welcome to attend with questions about the program and upcoming classes.

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  • ONLINE | Thursday, August 25, 1 –  2:30 p.m.

    Discover the constellations, bright stars, planets, and deep sky objects that are most apparent in summertime in Southern Appalachia, including the Summer Triangle and the red supergiants Arcturus and Antares! During this online class, astronomer and physicist Stephan Martin takes us through the basic use of planispheres and star charts to find our way around the night sky and shares some lore around what’s visible to the naked eye or with binoculars and small telescopes in this season. The class registration includes the Summer Sky Watch, a unique virtual stargazing event that you can enjoy from your own back yard later the same night. 

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  • The Power of Scenery: Frederick Law Olmsted and the Origin of National ParksONSITE | Thursday, August 25, 6:30 – 8 p.m.

    As Americans celebrate the 150th anniversary of Yellowstone, the world’s first national park, a question naturally arises: Where did the idea for a national park originate? Join author, Dennis Drabelle in exploring the origins of national parks and the insights which guided Frederick Law Olmsted in organizing his thoughts on how to manage the wilderness park centered on Yosemite Valley, a state-owned predecessor to the national park model of Yellowstone. Haunting those thoughts were the cluttered and carnival-like banks of Niagara Falls, which served as an oft-cited example of what should not happen to a spectacular natural phenomenon.

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  • ONLINE | Thursday, August 25, 9:30 to 10:30 p.m.

    Stargazing and social distancing come together to form a unique virtual stargazing community as we gather to explore the constellations, bright stars, planets and deep sky objects of the summer night sky with local astronomer Stephan Martin as our guide. For this audio-only class, all you need is a smartphone or mobile device, a free downloadable astronomy app, or an internet connection to join in via Zoom to enjoy the wonders of the night sky from the safety of your own stargazing location. Steve will point out some of the celestial wonders of the night sky most apparent in summertime in Southern Appalachia, including the Summer Triangle and the red supergiants Arcturus and Antares! For a deeper dive into the spring night sky, combine this class with Treasures of the Summer Night Sky set for online earlier in the day on Thursday, August 25, from 1 to 2:30 p.m.

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  • ONLINE | Five Sessions plus one asynchronous intro, Tuesdays, August 30 – September 27, 10 – 11 a.m.

    Learn to identify native mountain flora using a non-technical keying system, while studying the characteristics of plant families, the basics of plant community and the natural and the cultural history of the flora of the Blue Ridge.

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  • FIELD | Five Sessions plus one asynchronous online intro, Wednesdays, August 31 – September 28, 9 a.m. – 12 p.m.+

    In this entirely field-based class led by Naturalist Scott Dean, you will learn to identify native mountain flora on the trail, training your eyes and using a non-technical dichotomous keying system. Study the characteristics of plant families and the basics of plant communities all in place. While the focus is on summer wildflowers and trees, you will also pick up a wealth of information from the always-engaging Dean on the natural and cultural history of the flora of the Blue Ridge.

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September Online, Onsite and Field-Based Classes

  • FIELD | Friday, September 2, 7:30 a.m. – 2 p.m.

    Ridge Junction Overlook is one of the best spots in the Blue Ridge to enjoy the fall migration of warblers and other passerines. Over the past few years there have been over 25 species of warblers seen at this spot, including Blackburnian, Magnolia, Mourning, Cerulean, Chestnut-sided, Hooded, Black-and-white, Black-throated Blue, Black-throated Green…the list is endless. This is also one of the most reliable spots in the mountains for Red Crossbills. We will enjoy the passage of birds through the gap and also work on identifying those “confusing fall warblers!” Join us for a relaxing morning enjoying fall migration in the Blue Ridge.

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  • ONSITE | Tuesday, September 6, 8:30 – 10:30 a.m.

    The quiet of the Arboretum’s Monthly Meditative Morning makes for a wonderful way to listen for bird song. This walk takes you to some of the best spots to enjoy birding in our gardens and forest. Bring your binoculars and walk along with one of our expert Adult Education Instructors from Ventures Birding Tours. Open to beginning and experienced birders alike.

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  • ONSITE | Eight Sessions: Wednesdays, September 7 – October 26, 9 – 10 a.m.Tai Chi

    This elegant short form introduces the signature movements of Tai Chi Chuan in a simplified and compact sequence. A wonderful practice for beginners, participants will learn the basic principles of each movement as well as modifications to accommodate individual needs. Tai chi is a safe and effective form of meditative exercise consisting of relaxed and focused movements that clear the mind and relax the nervous system while improving balance, strength, flexibility, stability, coordination, joint health, memory and attentional skills.

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  • ONLINE | Eight Sessions, Wednesdays & Fridays, September 7 – 30, 1:30 – 3 p.m.

    Ecological gardening is a way of thinking about the designed landscape in which gardens are no longer seen as a collection of plants, but as a community of complex interdependencies among plants, soils, environment and animals. Ecology-based methods used in design, site assessment, planning, planting and management are all covered. Gardeners of all levels of interest and ability will find this informative and interactive online class valuable for learning ecologically sustainable practices that you can adapt and apply in gardening on your site. With optional onsite meeting and garden walk to be scheduled. 

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  • ONSITE | Six Sessions: Thursdays, September 8 – October 13, 11 a.m. – 12 p.m.Yoga

    Gentle, relaxing yoga stretches outside in the fresh air. Connect with the beauty of nature while releasing tension and building flexibility, balance, and inner calm. This in-person class takes place at the Arboretum in partial shade and is beginner-friendly. Participants wear loose, comfortable clothing and bring their own mat and a mask.

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    Individual Thursday Sessions Open for Registration Separately through the link above.

  • ONSITE | Thursday, September 8,  1 – 4 p.m.

    Delicious and aromatic herbs are commonly grown in gardens and containers for a variety of uses. This class will provide general information about growing herbs in the home garden with a focus on those used for culinary purposes. Ideas about how to process and use culinary herbs year round will be discussed, and recipes for making various types of herb pesto, vinegars, butters, rubs and oils will be shared.

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  • ONSITE | Two Sessions: Thursdays, September 8 & 15, 2:30 – 3:30 p.m.

    As we explore North Carolina’s natural habitats, most often we turn to the things we see around us to inspire us and to help explain the world before us: a babbling brook, a beautifully peaceful forest, or a bird’s nest with new hatchlings. It is all too easy to forget that the things we can’t see have real impact. Environmental microbiology is the study of microbes in the environment and their actions are responsible for numerous aspects of life on Earth. In this two-part class we will talk about different types of natural habitats in North Carolina where microbes play important roles in cycling carbon and nutrients throughout ecosystems in order to maintain balance and keep those systems healthy. We will focus on the base of food webs, aerobic vs anaerobic habitats, and even touch on the differences in microbial activities in saltwater vs freshwater habitats.

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  • ONSITE | Saturday, September 10 or Saturday, September 24, 10 – 11:30 a.m.

    Join Naturalist Scott Dean for an immersive nature walk along the trails of the Arboretum forest to explore the natural world as it thrives in summer. Flowers and trees are blooming and critters are out and about and providing participants the opportunity to observe and discuss nature in its prime. Scott brings over 25 years of guiding wildflower hikes in Western North Carolina. His wisdom, stories and folklore about our native flora are wildly entertaining as well as educational. You may register for either or both dates! 

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  • ONSITE | Two sessions, Fridays, September 9 & 16,  9:30 a.m. – 4 p.m.

    The Southern Appalachians offer an exceptional diversity of fascinating and ecologically-important mushrooms. Students will learn to identify the 12 most common fungal families and their preferred habitats and ecological connections.  Naturalist Luke Cannon teaches two full-day sessions onsite in the Arboretum forest that allow for practical experience examining specimens in place. Come prepared to learn, hike (a little) and have (a lot of) fun! 

    LEARN MORE

  • WarblersONLINE | Thursday, September 15, 6 – 7 p.m.

    The notorious ‘confusing fall warblers’ pose one of the classic identification challenges for North American birdwatchers. After being born in the summer, these warblers, sporting a drabber and often quite different plumage than that of the adults, undertake their first fall migration and appear in mixed species flocks in our local woods and parks. For all their diversity (there are over 30 species of wood warbler in the Eastern US) many of these ‘hatch year’ birds do share a good many physical characteristics and can be hard to even see well, much less distinguish! Join Ventures Birding’s Aaron Steed as he highlights some helpful ID tips and pointers, deciphering those confusing fall warblers and making it all a little less confusing.

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  • ONSITE | Thursday, September 15, 6:30 – 8 p.m.

    We value scenic vistas and parks for many reasons. From where do these values come? How much worth or value is embedded in a scenic view or visually-appealing park? An economist, Dr. Leah Mathews will share data and perspectives that support our reflection on the many impacts that the work of Frederick Law Olmsted continues to have on our built and natural spaces and in our lives. Her remarks will draw our awareness to the roles that culture, experiences, narratives, and economic activity play in the value of, and values reflected in, scenic environments. This talk is one of a series commemorating Olmsted’s 200th birthday, we consider new perspectives on the power of scenery.

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  • ONSITE | Saturday, September 17, 10 -11 a.m.

    How and why do trees break down in the woods? What bacteria live in the soil and what happens below the sediment surface? What about in streams, rivers, and lakes? You can’t see any of this impressive activity with your eyes, but environmental microbiology is, indeed, the driving force behind the flow of carbon and nutrients through food webs in every habitat on the planet. Take a walk through the Arboretum woods and along the creek with April Smith, an environmental researcher who spent many years studying microbes in salt marshes and sea grass beds. You’ll learn more about how microbiological activity affects the soil, the water, and the plants around you and how you can find clues to when and where this activity is occurring.

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  • ONSITE | Six Sessions: Wednesdays & Fridays, September 21 – October 7, 1 – 2:30 p.m.

    Discover why the Southern Appalachians are home to more tree species than all of Europe. Learn how ants and whitetail deer determine where trilliums grow. Take a virtual tour of the amazing natural ecosystems of Western North Carolina, from riverside amphibian breeding ponds to mountaintop Spruce-Fir forests. This Zoom-based class will include lecture presentations, discussions, self-guided explorations, and virtual field trips during which students will uncover the complex interactions between familiar organisms and their natural environment.

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  • ONSITE | Friday, September 23, 1:30 – 4:30 p.m.

    Plant family patterns can greatly aid in demystifying the “green wall” of species around us. Approximately 350,000 species of flowering plants are known to global science. These species have been grouped into around 15,000 genera and over 400 flowering plant families. About 200 flowering plant families grow in the temperate world where it annually frosts and or freezes. You will know something significant about the majority. It is often possible to guess whether a plant is edible, medicinal, or poisonous simply by the family it occupies. However, some exceptions are important to know as well. We will engage in a walk and talk around the Arboretum where we will delve into the major plant families of the Southern USA. Students will reinforce plant identification skills by observing family patterns such as leaf, flower and fruit types. Participants will gain a more holistic understanding of the major plants comprising the Southern US flora and their potential ecological and ethnobotanical applications.

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  • InvasiveONSITE | Saturday, September 24, 1:30 – 4:30 p.m.

    This class will focus on plant family patterns and what they indicate regarding identification and ethnobotanical application of exotic invasive plants for food, medicine and beauty. A review of the ethnobotanical literature helps underpin the opportunities to employ these plants and effectively make use of a problem by turning it into a resource. We will take an in depth look at some of the prime species of exotic invasive plants occurring in the southeastern United States as well as a more general exotic invasive plant list of over 150 useful species from the region.

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  • ONSITE | Two Sessions: Artist Talk – Friday, September 30, 6 – 7:30 p.m.; Workshop – Saturday, October 1, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

    Deepen your intimacy with the natural world through photography. Teachings in traditional ecological wisdom combine in this workshop with guided contemplative practice, time photographing in the Arboretum forest and sharing of supportive critiques. Led by documentary photographer Susan Patrice, the retreat includes a Friday evening artist talk and meeting of participants. A full day at the Arboretum follows on Saturday with plenty of opportunities for seeing beauty in the enveloping landscape.  All levels of experience and equipment are welcome. Film and film cameras are available on loan for those who are interested.

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Asynchronous | On Demand Classes

  • ONLINE Year Round Asynchronous Course Open for Ongoing Registration! 

    The Curator’s Journal by Bonsai Curator Arthur Joura is a year-long course offering the ultimate insider’s view of bonsai at The North Carolina Arboretum. Regular entries chronicle growing an art and growing an enterprise. Subscribers will have exclusive access to all-new original content generated by Joura and will be notified each week when a new entry is posted. Opportunities for interaction — online and in person — will be available through a regular “Ask the Curator” feature, specially-planned programs and after hours Exhibition Garden Curator’s Talks & Tours, for which subscribers enjoy priority registration.

    Preview free entries on the Curator’s Journal site and join us for this learning journey. With Joura as a knowledgeable guide, Journal subscribers forgo the map and travel in time to meet remarkable trees, each with stories and life lessons worth sharing.

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  • ON DEMAND  

    Landscape Architect and Visual Artist Preston Montague teaches this fundamentals class that introduces participants to design principles, site assessment and planning, among other topics. Gain a better understanding of what comes into play in creating and managing sustainable and aesthetically appealing landscapes. You will come away empowered to be more creative, instinctive, decisive and purposeful in understanding good design and more adept at recognizing what’s not.

    Email adulteducation@ncarboretum.org to inquire about availability.

  • ON DEMAND

    Arboretum Production Greenhouse Manager June Smathers-Jolley leads this engaging and packed-full-of-useful-information class on how to be a good plant parent to your houseplants. June shares on-trend resources from the horticulture industry, popular magazines, and social media that will make you want to adopt a few new family members of the botanical variety. Topics to be covered include selecting the best plants for different locations and conditions in your home, proper watering techniques, repotting, fertilizing, and pest identification/management.

    Email adulteducation@ncarboretum.org to inquire about availability.

  • ON DEMAND

    Want to rejuvenate an older houseplant or share your plant with a friend? Arboretum Production Greenhouse Manager June Smathers-Jolley covers the basics of propagating houseplants through seeds, cuttings, division and air layering in this informative video, produced in-house by the Education Department’s creative team and available to watch “on demand” at your own convenience. Whether you have a colorful coleus, an aging aglaonema, a peppy peperomia, or a savvy succulent, you will pick up some proven techniques for expanding your houseplant collection.

    Email adulteducation@ncarboretum.org to inquire about availability.

     

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