News from Dr. Jeff Gillman
Director's Report November 2019
Recent Graduates of Certificate of Native Plant Studies Program
Congratulations to the recent graduates of our Certificate in Native Plant Studies program! Whenever we graduate a new class we feel a strong sense of satisfaction from having helped to guide others as they learn about our amazing world of nature. In turn, we hope that they will go on to educate still more people. Getting your certification from this program is no small thing as it requires over twice as many hours of instruction as required to become a North Carolina Master Gardener. Topics in the program range from courses on basic botany and ferns to pest control and tree identification.
The 2019 graduates are:
Kristyna Culp  
Julie Higgie    
Karen Kottkamp  
Linda McDermitt 
Laurel Millaci  
Alice Sudduth  
Jean Wilson  

If you are interested in finding out more about the CNPS program, please check out our brochure here , visit the webpage here , or contact Wendy Wilson at .
Volunteering and Auxiliary 
Are you interested in getting involved with the Gardens and don’t know what’s available or how to start? Then you’re in luck, because, as we expand and strengthen our connections with the people of Charlotte, we are looking for people who want to work with us to share the world of plants with people. Amy Tipton, our Assistant Director, has been working with Melanie Salzman and Pratima Kochlar to develop a new Garden auxiliary that will help us run educational programs and events and manage our 10 acre landscape. If you have ever been interested in volunteering at the Gardens there has never been a better time to let us know! Please contact us at: .
Urban Roots Symposium: Transforming the Urban Landscape
I have very few heroes: L.H. Bailey, the father of modern horticulture, Rachel Carson, the author of Silent Spring, and one more. Dr. Peter Del Tredici is a Senior Research Scientist Emeritus at Harvard University whose writings on native and exotic plants were perspective changing for me while I was a young professor at the University of Minnesota. Since I came South I have continued to read and be fascinated by Dr. Del Tredici’s work. I am extremely proud and excited that this researcher who was such an important part of my young career has accepted our invitation to come and speak at our Urban Roots Symposium this year.

Come, listen, and be prepared to see the exotic and native discussion in a way that you may never have considered before. To find out more about Dr. Del Tredici as well as the other wonderful speakers who will be participating in this year’s symposium please check out our symposium page at:

Early Bird Registration for the Symposium ends December 22!
Plant Spotlight: Prickly Pear
The first time I heard that you could eat the fruit of a prickly pear cactus I took hold of one with my bare hands expecting the spines to bend. They didn’t. My hand hurt and itched for weeks. But spines aside, the prickly pear and its relatives constitute a diverse group of edible cacti that are truly a wonderful and terribly underutilized addition to a garden. Both the fruits and the structural parts of the plant are edible, as long as you take the time to remove the spines! For more information about the prickly pear, tune into The Plants We Eat podcast , where Cindy and I will be discussing this in a couple of weeks!
That's all for this month! Click below for a full list of our upcoming events. I look forward to seeing you in the Gardens!
Jeff Gillman Ph.D.     
Director, UNC Charlotte Botanical Gardens