Thursday November 4th at 2pm the 2021 NCS Convention and Show kicks off with a guided tour of Sarah P Duke Gardens, highlighting chrysanthemums. Michelle Rawlins, Duke Gardens horticulturist, and NCS member, has developed an amazing collection of chrysanthemums, carefully grown all season and displayed in the William Louis Culberson Asiatic Arboretum. The tour will focus on the arboretum and include brief stops at other iconic garden locations to give you a sense of the entire Gardens. Duke Gardens is open seven days a week from 8 a.m. to dusk.

It is available to all, whether on a guided tour or enjoying at your own pace and time.

Thursday, November 4th the NCS Board of Directors will meet from 3:00 – 5:30pm, others will have an opportunity to prep their blooms and floral designs. At 5:30 pm, please join us for the opening reception with light hors d’oeuvres and a cash bar.

On Friday morning, we will start with a chapter reps meeting where members of the NCS will have the opportunity to meet with the president to discuss any issues of concern and get new ideas for your chapter. After the chapter reps meeting, join us for a panel discussion on Successful Growing Techniques where you can learn new techniques and tips that work for other growers.  Following the panel discussion, you can either join in at the traditional Judges Symposium or attend a presentation on The Importance of Flowers to Society given by Dr. John Dole, Academic Dean, CALS, NCSU, and Executive Director of the Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers. 


After lunch, we will visit the Phytotron and Research Greenhouses in the Biology Department at Duke University. The Phytotron is a research facility with various growth chambers allowing for controlled environment studies on plant growth. The Phytotron can reproduce different types of environments, ranging from the arctic to the desert to the tropics with precise control over experimental conditions like air temperature, light levels, carbon dioxide concentration, and relative humidity. Think how nice it would be to truly control light conditions to assure your chrysanthemums bloom at the right time for a show.  The Research Greenhouses house the Biology Department’s Live Plant Collections which consist of over one thousand species of plants including rare and endangered species from all over the world with an emphasis on tropical, xeric, and temperate habitats. Sign up early, the tour is limited to 40 people.


.The Japanese Tea House at Sarah P. Duke Gardens.

Photo: Michelle Rawlins


Growth chamber at Duke Biology Department’s Phytotron. Photo: Andrew Blum

Duke’s Research Greenhouse and Phytotron. Photo: Andrew Blume

On Saturday morning, while the judges are busy evaluating the show entries, Kate Senner, Director, Development & Major Gifts, Sarah P. Duke Gardens, will present The Garden Gateway Project followed by Carnivorous Plants of North Carolina by Chris Liloia of the North Carolina Botanical Garden. In the afternoon, Brie Arthur (The Plant Lady) will provide tips on How to Use Social Media to Promote Your Chapter followed by the horticultural symposium given this year remotely by Gaby Immerman, Senior Laboratory Instructor, who will tell us all about the chrysanthemum hybridization program and annual flower show at Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts. The NCS Board of Directors will meet again this afternoon, while others can finish their bidding at the Silent Auction and get ready for the Awards Banquet that starts at 6:00 p.m. with a cash bar reception then dinner at 7:00.


Conceptual image of the Sarah P. Duke Garden Gateway created by Michael McCann.


Learn about Carnivorous Pitcher Plants that grow wild in North Carolina

Friday Evening Ice Cream Social

Our popular Ice Cream Social returns again this year, sponsored by NCS. There will be a variety of ice cream, warm toppings and plenty of add-ons to allow you to “Build Your Own Sundae”. Coffee and Tea will be provided. The speaker has not been finalized at this time.


Saturday Night Awards Banquet

            Our Banquet is sure to be tasty and fun. The salad will be mixed baby greens with tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots, Kalamata olives with a choice of two dressings. Attendees will choose their entrée and dessert choices on the registration form. After our meal, we will present the Show Awards and announce the silent auction winners. Meal options are below:


Entrees: (Choice of one)

  • Spinach & Cheese Florentine Ravioli with tomato vodka cream sauce

  • Herb-Grilled Chicken Breast with oven-roasted tomato coulis

  • Grilled Salmon Fillet with lemon dill cream sauce

  • Grilled Rid Eye with balsamic demi sauce


Dessert: (Choice of one)

  • Pecan Pie with warm bourbon caramel sauce

  • Old Fashion Chocolate Cake with fresh whipped cream and strawberries

  • Caramelized pear and cranberry tart



We hope to have most of the volunteer positions covered by CCCS members this year so that convention attendees can attend all of the planned events. If you would like to volunteer, we are happy to accommodate, so please let us know on the registration form. The appropriate committee chair will contact you to plan the details.


Silent Auction

We already have some great items for this year’s Silent Auction. Besides being fun, the Silent Auction raises extra money for NCS. A great way to turn an In-Kind Donation into Cash! If you would like to donate something, please let Penny Amato ( know. She can provide a shipping address (at the donor’s expense) or you can just bring the item to the show. We are looking for chrysanthemum and garden-related items (books, art, jewelry, household items, garden tools, the more useful the item the better).

Millennium Hotel Accommodations

The newly renovated Millennium Hotel Durham has located just blocks from the Duke University campus and close to downtown Durham which offers many dining options. Hotel amenities include complimentary on-site parking, an indoor pool, hot tub, and fitness center. Bel Gusto, the onsite restaurant offers breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The Varsity Lounge & Grille offers cocktails and light snacks and includes a warm fireplace.

Hotel reservations are to be made directly with the Millennium Hotel (919-383-8575). Please let them know you are with the NCS convention when you call. The hotel rate is $139 per night double occupancy ($157.77 with tax) and includes free breakfast for up to two guests each day. The group rate may be slightly higher than what you can find online, but NCS encourages you to use this rate because it was negotiated to include free use of the meeting rooms and banquet halls that we will be occupying for the convention. We need to book a minimum number of rooms in our block to avoid an extra fee.  Reservations must be received by the Hotel by Friday, October 8, 2021. 


The closest airport is the Raleigh Durham International Airport (RDU) which is 18 miles from the Millennium Hotel. Cabs to the hotel are available outside of baggage claim for approximately $40. Uber and Lyft are also options from RDU for approximately $25. Many rental car companies are also available. The hotel offers free parking. The hotel has a shuttle available ($10) for trips within 5 miles of the hotel. That distance covers a number of restaurants and the Duke University Campus.



Local Attractions

Duke University Campus has many renowned attractions including Sarah P. Duke Gardens (free), Nasher Museum (admission fee,, and the Duke Lemur Center (tour fee, reservations are required tours often fill up weeks in advance so please make reservations when you register for the meeting


The North Carolina Botanical Garden at UNC-Chapel Hill (free, ) is another close attraction (10 miles from the hotel). You can see some of the carnivorous plants that will be featured at our Saturday morning symposium. The garden also includes small display landscapes spanning the coastal plain, Piedmont, and mountain regions of NC. Additionally, the annual Sculpture in the Garden exhibit will be on display. For a more complete range of North Carolina attractions please refer to the March 2021 issue of The Chrysanthemum.


Millennium Hotel Durham. Photo used by permission from Millennium Hotel Durham

King Room at Millennium Hotel Durham. Photo used by permission from Millennium Hotel Durham


 Coquerel‘s Sifaka one of the 14 species of lemurs at the Duke Lemur Center. Photo: Cindy Richards

Agüeybaná sculpture from the 2020 Sculpture in the Garden Exhibition at the NC Botanical Garden