The Chronicle’s guide to spending your fall at the Duke Gardens

This fall, the Sarah P. Duke Gardens is hosting a plethora of events, including a harvest festival, tea gatherings and other artistic and educational experiences. 

The Duke Gardens fall schedule “has a range of different types of classes,” said Kavanah Anderson, director of learning and engagement at Duke Gardens. Themes for the events include “art and creativity that’s inspired by the gardens” as well as practicing mindfulness in nature.

Flower Portraits 

Flower Portraits classes provide participants of all skill levels the opportunity to create botanical themed sketches in the garden. Julia Einstein, the 2023 artist in residence at Raleigh City Farm, will help attendees to immerse themselves in the gardens and teach attendees how to play with scale in order to create both tiny drawings and larger gestural pieces inspired by nature.

The goal is for participants to “notice and slow down and develop a sense of place and appreciation” for things that one may otherwise not notice, Anderson said. 

The class will take place on Sept. 17 from 2 to 3:30 p.m. Guests can participate for $32 and Duke Gardens members can receive a 20% discount. Registration can be completed on the Duke Gardens website

Harvest Festival

The Harvest Festival, which will take place on Oct. 8 from 1 to 4 p.m., is an opportunity to learn more about the agricultural side of the gardens while also participating in a variety of activities including story readings and beekeeping demonstrations.

“We want everyone to come, from the Durham community and beyond, and students are a part of that,” Anderson said. “So if you're interested in learning about edible plants, or bees, or reading a book and our story circle, or visiting the chickens or just taking a walk in the garden, we hope that there'll be something that's exciting to people of all ages.”

This event is free and no registration is required. 

Beginning Birding for Adults

The Beginning Birding for Adults class, led by an experienced birder, welcomes birders of all levels and abilities to a bird watching experience. 

“The plants of the gardens create a habitat that supports many different animals and all kinds of wildlife, and that includes birds,” Anderson said. “It's an exciting time in bird migrations, so you might see birds at this time of year that you wouldn't see at other times in North Carolina in this area.”

Classes will take place on Oct. 2 and Oct.16 from 8 to 9 a.m. 

Advanced registration is required and costs $10, with a 20% discount for Duke Gardens members. 

Japanese tea gathering: Kanna-zuki

Participants looking for a moment of calm can register to visit the tea house in the Culberson Asiatic Arboretum to experience a traditional Japanese tea gathering. In small groups, attendees witness the preparation and service of Japanese tea, while seated on the floor of the tea house unless a chair is requested.

“It is a very mindful sensory-based experience,” Anderson said, where visitors seeking to know more about Japanese culture can “practice this centuries-old tradition.” 

Japanese tea gatherings will take place on Oct. 20 from 10:45 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. and on Oct. 21 from 10:45 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. and from 1 to 2:30 p.m.

Advanced registration is required and costs $68, with a 20% discount for Duke Gardens members.

Climate Circle small group series

In the Climate Circle: Cultivating Community, Capacity, and Culture Shift in a Changing Climate small group series, participants can develop “resilient strategies for managing emotions around climate change,” Anderson said. Led by a community healing artist, “participants will be really building community, working in small groups, and learning practices that are about personal and community resilience.”

“[This] is a class that I really want to highlight for students,” Anderson said. “Those are really transferable skills to also managing academic stress.” 

This five-session series will take place on Oct. 4, Oct. 11, Oct. 18, Oct. 25 and Nov. 1 from 12 to 1:30 p.m.

This series is limited to 10 participants. Advanced registration is required and costs $135 for the whole session, with a 20% discount for Duke Gardens members.

Further event information and listings can be found on the Duke Gardens website.

Yasmine Kaplan | Staff Reporter

Yasmine Kaplan is a Trinity sophomore and a staff reporter for the news department.


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