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Friends of Bonnie B. Davis Demonstration Gardens

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We welcome your support to the Bonnie B. Davis Demonstation Gardens.

Two years ago, Orange County offices moved into a new building at 1020 Highway 70W, Hillsborough, NC, 27278. This building houses the county’s N.C. Cooperative Extension; the Department of Environment, Agriculture, Parks and Recreation; Farm Services Agency; Soil and Water Conservation District; and the County Forest Service. 

This new building (The Bonnie B. Davis Environment and Agricultural Center) was dedicated to Bonnie Briley Davis, a Family and Consumer Science Agent who devoted her entire career to Orange County residents. It is the first county building named after a Black woman, and the only agricultural center named after a Family and Consumer Science or Home Demonstration Agent. 

In North Carolina, many of the buildings that house N.C. Cooperative Extension offices utilize their outdoor spaces as demonstration gardens which provide educational opportunities for county residents. Demonstration gardens are plantings designed and maintained under the supervision of a horticulture extension agent for the purpose of teaching horticultural principles and practices. Since this is a new building and the existing landscaping is minimal, Mart Bumgarner, Orange County Horticulture Agent and the NC State Extension Master Gardener sm volunteers of Orange County plan to demonstrate how to solve ongoing challenges for area gardeners. These gardens will collectively be known as the Bonnie B. Davis Demonstration Gardens.The purpose, layout, plant list and hardscape with cost estimates for each garden are linked below for more detail. 

We invite your support. We are seeking donations of funds, plants, materials, or sponsorship of a garden. In the absence of dedicated county or state funding, there are a variety of ways you can help us. 

To donate money, or sponsor a garden please give online. (If the item you earmarked is completely funded, we will use your contribution for high priority items needed by all of the gardens.) 

Materials needed for establishing and maintaining the garden areas are lumber and posts, wire, edging, row covers, sprays and nutrients, benches for physically challenged visitors, and surface materials for walks. (Estimated cost, $4843). If you have plants listed in the links above, we would welcome a contribution to the  demonstration gardens. 

To donate either plants or materials, please call us to provide more information about your donation at: 984-358-7092. Please leave your name and phone number so we can return your call. 

To sponsor or contribute to an irrigation system (Estimated cost, $4242), you can donate materials or money to purchase plumbing materials, labor, or a pump to plumb the two existing 1000-gallon cisterns on the north and south sides of the building to make water readily available to the gardens. Or help  purchase a drip irrigation system, the recommended water saving sustainable practice for gardens. Find out more

Donors will receive a letter acknowledging their contribution, and the donation will be recognized on the  Master Gardener website, through signage and social media. Bonnie B. Davis frequently said, “Always, whatever you do, leave a legacy.” That is what we plan to do with the help of the greater Orange County Community. We thank you in advance for any support you might offer for this exciting legacy project. 

Mart Bumgarner, Orange County Crops and Horticulture Extension Agent