Home & Garden

What’s coming: Meet the ‘Tomato Man,’ check out Tour D’ Coop, go to Bee School

Gardener, author and educator Craig LeHoullier, known as the North Carolina Tomato Man, will speak at the N.C. Museum of History on May 20.
Gardener, author and educator Craig LeHoullier, known as the North Carolina Tomato Man, will speak at the N.C. Museum of History on May 20. Jleonard@newsobserver.com

Meet the Tomato Man

Gardener, author and educator Craig LeHoullier is perhaps best known as the North Carolina Tomato Man. He’s the author of “Epic Tomatoes” and “Growing Vegetables in Straw Bales,” and is the organizer of Tomatopalooza, an heirloom-tomato tasting event. He’s also the co-founder of an international breeding project for heirloom tomatoes.

On Saturday, May 20, LeHoullier will speak at the N.C. Museum of History in Raleigh about his love of heirloom tomatoes, tell great stories of special varieties and dispense tips on successful tomato gardening in our challenging climate. He’ll also have samples of his tomatoes and signed copies of his books for purchase.

The event takes place 2:30-4 p.m. For more information, call 919-807-7979.

Tour D’Coop

A reminder about Tour D’Coop, the annual self-guided tour of chicken coops throughout Raleigh, Apex and Cary, that takes place 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday, May 20.

This “Parade of Combs,” as they’ve dubbed it (never too many chicken puns, as far as we’re concerned), features hens and coops in the gardens and backyards of your friends and neighbors.

Highlights of this year’s tour include an eco-friendly bike route through downtown Raleigh coop sites, homes that also include bee hives (part of Tour D’Coop’s “Hive Hike”), a coop raffle and T-shirt sales.

The purpose of the tour is to educate people about keeping hens by showcasing various hen houses and breeds. Coop owners are on hand at each location to discuss chicken-keeping, and there are opportunities for photographing and getting to know the chickens. Expect a wide variety of coop styles and gardens – which makes the tour interesting for the whole family.

Dogs and companion animals are not allowed on the tour. If you don’t have a GPS system, a city map will come in handy.

All tour proceeds benefit Urban Ministries of Wake County. Get more details and purchase tickets at tourdcoop.com.

Bird show

For fans of companion birds, there will be a regional bird show in Raleigh May 27, hosted by the Mid-Atlantic Cooperative Breeders and Exhibitors (MACBE), the African Love Bird Society (ALBS), the North American Parrot Society (NAPS) and the National Cockatiel Society (NCS).

Bird enthusiasts can see a wide variety of the species from across the U.S. and Puerto Rico, and there will be awards, raffles and educational opportunities. A competition called the “Carolina Triple Threat” features top judges and exhibitors from across the country.

The exhibition takes place at the McCullers Ruritan Club at 8116 Ten-Ten Road in Raleigh.

Judging begins at 9 a.m. and ends at 5 p.m., with exhibitor check-in at 7:30 a.m.

For more information visit africanlovebirdsociety.org or email carolinaflight@aol.com.

Heron Rookery Nature Walk

The Ellerbe Creek Watershed Association's annual Memorial Day Hike to the heron rookery takes place Monday, May 29, at the Glennstone Nature Preserve in Durham.

There are two hikes – 7:30 a.m. and 10 a.m.

On this free excursion, you can see one of the largest heron rookeries in the area – upwards of 100 nesting pairs. The 2-mile round-trip hike is led by a birding expert. Bring binoculars if you have them, but if you don’t, they will be provided. It’s also a good idea to wear long-sleeves, long pants and closed-toed shoes to avoid ticks and poison ivy. Also, bring water, sunscreen and a hat.

RSVP at ellerbecreek.org/support/event-signup.html and call 919-698-9729 with any questions.

Glennstone Nature Preserve is located at Glennstone Drive and Little Valley Court in Durham.

Bee school

Marty Hanks of Just Bee Apiary will lead a beekeeping workshop 10 a.m.-noon June 4 at The Plant (220 Lorax Lane) in Pittsboro.

This will be a self-directed event, so bring questions, and wear clothing suitable for being outdoors in the sun. Bring along water and a notepad for taking notes.

Just Bee Apiary is a chemical-free operation with a focus on raising, managing and teaching how to keep honeybees in the most natural way possible.

There’s also a candle-making class from noon to 2 p.m. the same day, where you can learn to make rolled taper and dipped candles. The wax and wicking will be provided.

Class prices range from $15 to $30. Visit abundancenc.org/event/spring-skill-share-bee-day for more info.

Brooke Cain: 919-829-4579, @brookecain