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Tea, honey bees and more at Sarah P. Duke Gardens' Harvest Festival

Harvest Festival
Sarah P. Duke Gardens' will host its Harvest Festival on Sunday. Photo courtesy of Kavanah Anderson.

The Sarah P. Duke Gardens will host a Harvest Festival on Sunday to highlight all the fall season and gardens have to offer. The festival will feature activities put on by local businesses and organizations that cater to children and adults.

“We would love to get people outside in the garden, just enjoying the season,” Duke Garden Education Program Coordinator Kavanah Anderson said. “We’re thinking of the festival as a way for people to enjoy spending time outside, enjoy spending time in Duke Gardens — perhaps introducing them to an area of the garden where they may not spend a lot of time or engaging them in a new way in an area where they might already spend a lot of time.”

The festival will be held in the Charlotte Brody Discovery Garden. This area was chosen because it is a sustainable, edible plant garden and the one part of Duke Gardens where produce is grown. 

“Learning about plants through edible plants is a really engaging way to learn, and it’s a more hands-on area,” Anderson said. “People can make a lot of sensory observations in that area, and we also hope that they spend additional time exploring throughout Duke Gardens.”

The activities will include everything from music to dance to food, all with a focus on the importance of gardening. Anderson said some of the particular highlights include activities put on by Ungraded Produce, SEEDS, Master Gardener, Durham County Beekeepers Association, Durham Stormwater & GIS Services and The Music Lab.

“[SEEDS] is going to be offering people the opportunity to smell specific herbs and combine them into their preferred tea so they can take it home and make a tea they’ve created themselves,” Jan Little, director of education and public programs at Duke Gardens, said. 

The program will also explore honey bees and gardening. 

“If you’re interested in honey bees, the Durham beekeepers will be talking about bee behavior and life cycle and how they manage beehives and the various tasks that are associated with keeping bees healthy,” Anderson said.

The organizers hope that, on top of being entertaining, the events will also be educational to those who want to learn more about gardening.

“Many novice gardeners, as well as amateur gardeners, love to grow their own fruits, vegetables and produce, and this gives them a good chance to get into the garden and talk to all the collaborative entities that will be there, as well as come out and see how we do things at the Discovery Garden,” Jason Holmes, curator of the Doris Duke Center Gardens, said.

Anderson said the event will also highlight why this harvest season is one of the most exciting times of the year.  

“It should be a beautiful day to spend the afternoon outside — early fall is a beautiful time to be in the garden,” Anderson said. “The seeds are ripening on plants, the air is crisp and cool, things smell delicious and there’s kind of a frenzy of energy of living organisms and preparing for the winter.”

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