Hope to see you at one of our events!

30th Annual 
Sculpture in the Garden Exhibition

Sunday, September 16 - Sunday, December 9
Free and open to the public, Sculpture in the Garden is an annual outdoor sculpture exhibition uniting the work of North Carolina artists with the curated landscapes of the North Carolina Botanical Garden. Learn more about the show and about this year's new Community Day (Sunday, October 14) at


- Sculpture in the Garden
- Preview Party
- Fall Plant Sale
- Wanted: Plant Sale help
- Welcome, Joanna!
- Plastic Ocean
- Harvest Moon
- RedBall
- Conservation Gardener
- DeBerry Gallery
- Coker Tours
- Garden Shop
- Next Month: BOOtanical
- Piedmont Patch
- Winter in the Garden
- Upcoming Classes
- Let's Do Lunch!
- Youth & Family Classes

Sculpture in the Garden Preview Party

Saturday, September 15, 4:30-6:30 p.m. 
You'll have first viewing and the opportunity to purchase sculptures, meet participating artists, and enjoy beverages and hors d’oeuvres. A jurist will announce selections for Best in Show and Honorable Mentions, and you’ll be able to cast your vote for the People’s Choice Award (announced in October). Tickets are $30 per person. Purchase tickets >


Fall Plant Sale September 28 & 29

Did you know fall is the best time to plant North Carolina’s wonderful native perennials, shrubs, trees, ferns, and grasses in your home landscape? Planting in the fall gives time for plants to establish their root systems prior to the growing season. Join us for our Fall Plant Sale to find new beauties for your landscape! 

Members’ Night
Friday, September 28, 4-7:30 p.m.

Members enjoy a special plant sale preview party with live music and refreshments. Become a member at the door! Members receive a 10% discount. The Garden will close at 2 p.m. to prepare for the party.

Public Sale
Saturday, September 29, 9 a.m.-3 p.m.

Choose from a wide variety of southeastern native wildflowers, shrubs, trees, vines, and ferns at our annual sale, in addition to native wildflower seeds and a new selection of gardening and botany books. 

Wanted: Plant Sale Volunteers

Volunteers are needed for the Fall Plant Sale on Saturday, September 29 from either 8:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. or 12-4 p.m. Possible tasks include tallying plant orders, greeting/directing visitors, and directing parking. You must be able to stand for several hours, work quickly, and have good verbal communication. Please email Elaine at if you are interested in helping out.

Welcome, Joanna!

The Garden is pleased to announce that Joanna Massey Lelekacs has joined our team as the new director of education. Joanna is a registered landscape architect, a LEED accredited professional, and has master’s degrees in both environmental science and landscape architecture.

Joanna comes to us from North Carolina State University where she led the development and implementation of NC State Extension’s first Flagship Program, a statewide program that engages more than 80 faculty and staff in the collaborative development of educational and resource materials focused on local food systems. During her seven years with NC State Extension, she led and collaborated on the design, delivery and evaluation of numerous educational and outreach programs. She also has experience teaching undergraduate and graduate students as well as delivering non-formal educational programs for children in grades K‐6. In 2016, Joanna was named NC Extension Educator of the Year.

Joanna has a long history with the Garden, both professionally as a landscape architect and personally as a volunteer and member. Professionally, she worked with the Natural Learning Initiative and architect Frank Harmon developing the design program for the James and Delight Allen Education Center and helped landscape architect David Swanson develop LEED landscape certification for the facility. Personally, she volunteered her time and talent to design the Carolina Campus Community Garden and served on its advisory board for five years during its early stages of development.

Joanna practices what she preaches and in her spare time. She helps her husband Bill manage Dancing Pines Farm, a small farm in Efland, NC that uses sustainable practices to grow a wide variety of fruits and vegetables. The farm is a vendor at the Chapel Hill Farmer’s Market, so keep a lookout for Joanna on Saturday mornings at 201 S. Estes Dr.
Better still, drop by 100 Old Mason Farm Road to say hello and welcome Joanna to the Garden.

Outdoor Film Screening at Forest Theatre: A Plastic Ocean

Thursday, September 20, 7-9 p.m.
Join us for an outdoor film screening of the documentary A Plastic Ocean at the historic Forest Theatre in Chapel Hill! A Plastic Ocean is a new feature-length adventure documentary that brings to light the consequences of our global disposable lifestyle. During its four-year production period, A Plastic Ocean was filmed in 20 locations around the world to document the global effects of plastic pollution and introduce workable technology and policy solutions that can, if implemented in time, change things for the better. In addition to the film, this zero-waste event will feature refreshments and a raffle of sustainable products. $5/person. Register now >

Harvest Moon Celebration

Monday, September 24, 6-7:30 p.m.
Forest Theatre, UNC Chapel Hill

(Rain Location: Paul Green Theatre - PlayMakers Repertory Company)
Edible Campus UNC, along with its co-sponsors in the Center for Study of the American South, Carolina Performing Arts, and American Indian Center, will host its Harvest Moon Celebration–-an evening to celebrate the fall season of harvest in the Edible Campus gardens across campus and the vibrant multicultural food movement of our region. We will hear the stories, songs, and spoken word of local food heroes and social justice activists and celebrate the next generation of food leaders on campus. This year's event will feature Vimala Rajendran of Vimala's Curryblossom Cafe, Spring Council of Mama Dip's, Cecilia Polanco of So Good Pupusas, among others. This event is free and open to the public. Please register in advance. Register now >

RedBall Project @ Chapel Hill

September 20-26
The RedBall Project is coming to Chapel Hill (...and possibly to a North Carolina Botanical Garden location...wink, wink) during a week-long performance beginning September 20. A traveling public art work by Asheville-based artist Kurt Perschke, the RedBall Project is considered “the world’s longest-running street art work,” featuring a 250-pound, 15-foot-diameter inflatable red ball installed in both unlikely and familiar sites within a city. A blend of architectural intervention and community engagement, the piece has been to over 25 cities around the world, including Abu Dhabi, Taipei, Perth, London, Barcelona, St. Louis, Portland, Sydney, Scottsdale, Chicago, and Toronto.

As its gift to town and campus in celebration of its 60th anniversary, our friends at the Ackland Art Museum are bringing this internationally renowned sculptural installation to Chapel Hill. Over seven consecutive days, the giant ball will move through Chapel Hill, changing its location daily and playfully inviting all audiences to reconsider their everyday surroundings with a fresh perspective. The Ackland Art Museum’s presentation of RedBall Chapel Hill has been made possible by generous support from the Hyde Family Foundation and Arts Everywhere. Photo by Tom Martin

Did you get your magazine?

Our latest magazine, Conservation Gardener, is filled with advice for gardening with native plants. This magazine is sent to our members twice each year. If you aren't a member, join now to get your copy. And this is the perfect time to join the Garden! Our Fall Plant Sale Preview Party is just for members, so you'll have first dibs on the plants for sale. 

In the DeBerry Gallery

Through October 29...


Claire Alderks Miller, Rebecca Dotterer, and Dale Morgan.

Exhibit Reception:
Sunday, September 9; 2-4 p.m.

Plants and animals rely upon each other for survival. This exhibit highlights the interconnectedness of native species by examining what they eat. Food chains (prey-predator interactions) from diverse North Carolina habitats – Piedmont, Mountains, Coastal Plain, Sandhills – are identified and depicted in a variety of media. Brilliant watercolors, detailed pen and ink, and luminous colored pencil bring local food chains in the garden to life.

Tours of Coker Arboretum!

Did you know we offer a free tour of Coker Arboretum on the third Saturday of every month from March to November? Tours begin at 11 a.m. and last for 1-2 hours. (Meet in the gathering circle on the south side of the Arboretum, next to the arbor along Cameron Avenue.)

The next tour will be Saturday, September 15. Come learn about the unique history and composition of this wonderful garden in the heart of the UNC campus.

Garden in style with NCBG fashion!

Stop by the Garden Shop to update your wardrobe with the latest Garden fashion! We have caps, t-shirts, hoodies, fleece vests, and more featuring our logo. Get some gear and show off your love for NCBG! 

Next month...BOOtanical: Pumpkins in the Garden

Friday, October 26, 5:30-8 p.m.
A nature pumpkin carving contest along with pumpkin viewing, live critters, crafts, and treats. Funds raised benefit Wonder Connection, the Garden’s program to bring the wonders of science to hospitalized children through meaningful learning experiences. This event sold out last year, so register early! Register now >

Piedmont Patch Events

Saturday, September 8, 8 a.m.-noon
Volunteers Needed for Planting Grasses
Episcopal Church of the Advocate, Chapel Hill

Piedmont Patch will be planting an unexpected and generous donation of 1,000 surplus native grass plugs from Hoffman Nursery on its demonstration site. Volunteers are welcome any time that morning. If you have an hour or two to help, please email

Saturday, September 22, 10 a.m.-noon
Creating Bird-friendly Habitat in your Landscape
Episcopal Church of the Advocate, Chapel Hill

Piedmont Patch will be hosting a free talk by Barbara and Tom Driscoll of the New Hope Audubon Society. "Creating Bird-friendly Habitat in your Landscape" will describe native plants and other features that help to feed and shelter native birds in home landscapes. Weather permitting, the Driscolls will also demonstrate how to site and care for nesting boxes using the boxes they installed on the Piedmont Patch demonstration site last spring. The talk is free and open to the public, but if possible, please email to let us know you plan to attend.

Piedmont Patch aims to restore native flora and fauna displaced by rapid urbanization,  grounded in a belief that the environment and our natural resources will be better sustained, and even thrive, as organizations and individuals work to cultivate one patch at a time. The Project is a collaborative effort of the Episcopal Church of the Advocate, the Town of Chapel Hill, the North Carolina Botanical Garden, and individuals with knowledge and skills to share. Find out more at

Mark your calendar: Winter in the Garden

Holiday Festival
Saturday, December 8, 5-9 p.m.

(inclement weather date: Sunday, December 9)
Get away from the hustle and bustle of the season and enjoy the peaceful holiday splendor of the Garden as we celebrate the end of the year with luminarias, native plant greenery, holiday music, food trucks, and good cheer.

Member Holiday Party
Friday, December 7, 5-8 p.m.

Members! Join us as we celebrate the season at our annual holiday party. Enjoy light hors d'oeuvres, a cookie exchange, and festive entertainment.

Upcoming Classes and Events


Saturdays, September 8, 15, and 22; 9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. •  $97 ($87 Members)
Learn how to create amazing close-up insect images! Topics include field and lighting techniques, equipment, and a primer on insects within an ecological context. Instruction will emphasize the use of DSLRs and point-and-shoot cameras, but students with camera phones are also welcome. This class combines classroom instruction and hands-on photography practice, so expect to shoot 50-100 images per class. Register now >


Saturday, September 15; 9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. •  $36 ($32 Members)
Develop your nature journaling skills, whether you are just getting started, want to add visual notes to a written journal, or simply enjoy drawing what you see. Through guided exercises, we’ll practice perceptual and drawing skills to quickly establish a framework for a diagram, drawing, or description in your journal, then experiment with portable drawing and painting media. We’ll also look at strategies for organizing your journal for outdoor excursions. All skill levels are welcome! Register now >


Saturday, September 15; 1:30-4:30 p.m. •  $18 ($16 Members)
Join us for this hands-on introduction to recording plant and wildlife observations with the iNaturalist mobile app and website ( We'll give a brief overview of the application and discuss techniques for photographing flora and fauna for identification. Then, we'll take a field trip to nearby Mason Farm to make observations. We'll also provide suggestions for recording observations on your own and connecting with the online community of iNaturalists. To participate, you will need to bring a digital camera, smartphone, or tablet. Register now >


Wednesdays, September 19, 26, October 3, 10; 1:30-4:30 p.m. •  $130 ($117 Members)
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 four-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 prerequisites. Register now >


Saturday, September 22; 7:15-9:30 p.m. •  $10 ($9 Members)
Fall is when the night choruses of crickets and katydids reach their peak in diversity. Join us for a night walk at Mason Farm, where there could be over 40 species present, each singing its own species-specific song. Please bring a flashlight, and you are welcome to bring an audio recorder. Since at least a few species may be visible, a camera with a flash may also come in handy. No pets. Register now >


Sunday, September 23; 10:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. •  $25 ($22 Members)
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 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. Note: Transportation to the Sandhills is not included in the timing or in the trip fee. Participants must get themselves to and from Hoffman, NC, about 80 miles south of the Triangle. Register now >


Saturday, October 6; 10 a.m.-1 p.m. •  $15 ($13 Members)
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. Register now >

See all upcoming classes here >

Let's Have Lunch Together!

Pack a PB&J and join us for a free LUNCHBOX Talk!


Thursday, September 13; 12-1 p.m •  Free; preregistration required
Piedmont Patch is a collaborative demonstration of how to restore native habitat for wildlife to public and private landscapes in the North Carolina Piedmont. Lisa Fischbeck, vicar of The Episcopal Church of the Advocate in Chapel Hill, and Catherine Bollinger, volunteer botanical advisor, will describe the origin of the project and ongoing partnerships helping to create native habitat for wildlife displaced by the rapid urbanization of our region on part of The Advocate's 15-acre property. Register now >


Thursday, September 20; 12-1 p.m •  Free; preregistration required
Learn the secrets of the lives of local caterpillars: their journey from egg to pupa, what they eat, and how they try to survive the many things in their environment that are out to get them. Find out how you can find and raise caterpillars, and what plants will attract some of our more interesting local species. There will also be some live specimens to observe. Register now >


Thursday, October 11; 12-1 p.m •  Free; preregistration required
Come hear NCBG Habitat Gardens curator Chris Liloia wax poetic about lots of great perennials native to the North Carolina Piedmont. Chris will also share some of the lessons learned in creating the Piedmont Habitat at NCBG. Register now >

See all upcoming LUNCHBOX Talks here >

Upcoming Youth & Family Programs

Celebrate Take a Child Outside Week with us September 24-30 and help your child develop a better understanding and appreciation of the environment in which they live! Join us for family programs, explore the Children’s Wonder Garden, and stop by the Education Center to pick up a Sculpture in the Garden scavenger hunt and see if you can find them all!


Saturday, September 8; 1-2:15 p.m. •  $10 ($9 Members) per child; no fee for accompanying adult
Ages 5-10 with accompanying adult. Come see what’s growing in the vegetable patch, learn the difference between a fruit and a vegetable, and help us get ready for fall planting! Children will help prepare beds, plant seeds, and pot up their own plant to take home. Register now >


Thursday, September 27; 10-10:45 a.m. •  Free; preregistration required
For ages 3-5 with accompanying adult. Join us Thursday mornings to listen to nature-themed books followed by a hands-on activity or garden exploration. Free, but space is limited! Pre-registration is recommended. Register now >


Sunday, September 30; 1:30-4 p.m. •  $10 ($9 Members) per child; no fee for accompanying adult
For ages 7 & up with accompanying adult. Discover the amazing world of aquatic insects and other water critters the best way getting wet! Enjoy an early fall hike along the Nature Trails to Morgan Creek, where we will explore stream habitats and collect/release crayfish, dragonfly nymphs, and more. Learn how these creatures survive in their aquatic home and the importance of indicator species to determine the health of the creek. Register now >


Thursday, October 11; 10-10:45 a.m. •  Free; preregistration required
For ages 3-5 with accompanying adult. Join us Thursday mornings to listen to nature-themed books followed by a hands-on activity or garden exploration. Free, but space is limited! Pre-registration is recommended. Register now >

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