87th Birthday Note from Jim Duke


Excuse my corny canned birthday note!  On April 2, I instrumentally backed Jared and John as we played some bluegrass in the sunshine on the patio for a garden tour, son John on guitar, gardener Jared on mandolin, me on the bass fiddle. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pry53UbSm5M

(As many of you know, I play standup  bass fiddle but neuropathologically I can no longer stand up). Unsolicited they also did Happy Birthday to me. I’m 87 today, April 4, 2016, two days later. Generates a bit of nostalgia about puppy love and bass fiddles. I fell in puppy love with lovely 14-year country bassist Carolyn Jean Saylor when I was 15 in Hugh Morson High School. She and her attractive older sister, Wanda, and mother (also Jean) constituted the Saylor Sisters lovely to look at AND hear, Jeannie played bass, Wanda accordion, and their mother, Jean, guitar, I conned my generous dad into paying half the cost of a used bass fiddle (50 bucks each) and that started my affair with the  bass fiddle. Within less than 2 years, I was recording (on the bass fiddle) Briarhopper Boogie (key of e) with Homer A, Briarhopper and the Dixies Dudes, in the Ernest Tubb’s Studio near the Grand Old Opry in Nashville. The 16 year old kid Jimmy Duke was pretty proud.. In college at UNC, and married to Jeannie, at 19.  I started UNC as a music major, with bass and bow. Not my cup of tea. I quickly switched to botany as a major, playing combo and big band bass, with Jeannie singing jazz in both big band and small combo j.. So I’ve been playing bass mediocrely 72 years. Jeannie left us all too soon. But she triggered my long time association with the bass fiddle.

Jim, John and Jared jam Paradise Lost to the students of Allegheny College

Jim, John and Jared jam “Paradise Lost” to the students of Allegany College of Maryland








Director’s Note: As Jim plays bass well into his golden years, the garden’s Goldenseal Hydrastis canadensis emerged a bit early glistening with staminate flowers:

Goldenseal, Hydrastis canadensis, emerging in early spring

Goldenseal, Hydrastis canadensis, emerging in early spring

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18 Responses to 87th Birthday Note from Jim Duke

  1. Allen S. Hoaglund says:

    Jim – What a blessing you have been to mankind with your studies of Botany and the data basses (pun intended) accrued along with your years of music. I still play the Herbalbum and other tracts you’ve recorded. May your days be Merry and Joyous until we all meet our Creator on that coming.

  2. Tabatha says:

    Happy birthday, Jim! Love this shot of you playing bluegrass in the sunshine 🙂

  3. Kathy Gaita says:

    Happy 87th Birthday, Dr. Duke! Thank you for inspiring & enchanting us, with the glorious symphony of phytomedicine. You have influenced and enriched our lives with your heartfelt passion. Wishing you beautiful, precious blessings!

    With Love and Gratitude,
    Royal Oak, Michigan

  4. charles says:

    heartfelt thanks from Scotland for all your wonderful knowledge and music too.
    .thought from,here- Duke=jook -a man with few peers.
    to take a dook…. in scots means to take a swim,,dookers means swimwear or enthusiasst of the green farmacy
    happy bithday

  5. sageywoman says:

    I will never forget meeting Jim at a biodynamic conference weed walk at Claymont court so many years ago. His birthday is a day before my husbands, who passed away too young, 6 years ago.I have always been inspired by him and his energy . Happy birthday Jim from an admirer. I am glad I got to have met you, see you play and dance with your family and teach me so much about herbs … a sweet memory in my life. You have been an inspiration. . :)Sharon Carson from Sharon’s Natural Gardens

  6. Cindy & Jack Klee says:

    Remembering you joining the combo in Havana.
    Cindy”s birthday is 4/7

    Happy birthday from Cindy & Jack

  7. GreenComfortHerbs . says:

    Happy Birthday Jim! So glad to know you are still playing. Blessings on your new year of life. I would love to see you in the Garden this year. with love, Teresa

    On Mon, Apr 4, 2016 at 6:23 PM, The Green Farmacy Garden wrote:

    > greenfarmacy posted: “4.4.2016 Excuse my corny canned birthday note! On > April 2, I instrumentally backed Jared and John as we played some bluegrass > in the sunshine on the patio for a garden tour, son John on guitar, > gardener Jared on mandolin, me on the bass fiddle. (As ” >

  8. greenfarmacy says:

    Teresa, Thanks for your comments I will certainly pass them on to Jim. We look forward to having you back to the garden sometime soon, and I hope to see you in May. Until then, be well ~ Helen

  9. Celia Larsen says:

    Happy Birthday Dad!!! Wish I could have been there. Very cold up here in Michigan this week….
    Love, Cis

  10. Rebecca says:

    Beautiful story 🙂 Happy Birthday!

  11. Rande Nezezon ND says:

    Happy Birthday Dr. Duke! Thank you for making such a difference for our world with your extensive herbal knowledge and support of the plants that surround us from the Amazon to our backyards. I salute you on your birthday and the wonder you show us everyday!

  12. Bill Schoenbart says:

    Happy belated birthday, Jim!

    – Bill Schoenbart

  13. Karen Jaynes says:

    wonderful!!! I am sure with all the rain the garden is quite green. Hoping to see you all soon! big Love

    Karen Jaynes karen.jaynes@verizon.net karenjaynes@allwaysyoga.com http://www.allwaysyoga.com


  14. Bill guilfoil says:

    jim a duke cll me at 913 940 1120 met you at muelbachy hotel in Kansas city at a a=wonderful meeting was Olympian in world Olympians this years tryouts in greensboro north carolina and 70 years my name is bill Guilfoil and im 93 and 7 months recovering from shingles after 25 days its tough Jim will you send me your phone or address or both bill Guilfoil fairway Kansas love your work and books am really starting to be a student of yours ha ha love your work Bill Guilfoil 913 9401120 cell bg10s@att,net hae a daughter in chapel hill her husband a famous writer hope someone can gwt me jims phone number

  15. Olga Leigh olshan says:

    Happy birthday James
    A bit late
    Had the pleasure of visiting
    Your wonderful garden a few
    Years ago and ofcourse I have
    Your books!
    Best to you
    Olga Leigh Olshan

  16. Thomas Dorfman says:

    Happy birthday Jim! I met you once, and I’m glad I did…!

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