Helen’s Haven – a wildlife habitat in the heart of Raleigh

Playground to garden guru – Helen Yoest, husband David Philbrook and their charming brood, The Yoest /Philbrook Family are surrounded by Helen’s Haven – a wildlife habitat in the heart of Raleigh, North Carolina.

You are invited to  visit and meet the newest additions to the family – Pepper and the Chicks. Saturday September 21!

Pepper

Pepper on patrol!

Helen inspires an adoring public with wit, wisdom & whimsy…

Just an uncanny sense of solid Horticulture mixed with thoughtful solutions and non stop delight.  Frankly if she doesn’t empower you to Garden with Confidence… Perhaps you should try Mahjong!

Let’s meet Helen:

Helen

David is my husband of 25 years, but he doesn’t do anything in the garden. But I thought I should mention him since he does let me get away with gardening.

 How long have you been gardening at this location?

 16 years.

What was the first thing you planted in or changed at Helen’s Haven?

Hmmm, I had to think about that! 

I put in a privacy hedge of Leyland Cypress. Yup, sure did. They are doing SO well, but not a day goes by that I wonder why I wasn’t more creative at the time and put in multi-species hedge instead. The privacy is wonderful, though.

Do you collect plants and if so what?

Dear oh dear, I have to admit to an addiction? No wait, I see you are only asking about a collection. Elephant ears, any native wildlife plant, weeping trees, rock garden plants, and any BIG, BOLD, LUSTFUL plant.

How much time do you spend working in your garden?

Every Sunday. It may be for an hour or 6 hours, but that is the only day I have. It is my most anticipated day of the week. If something should get in the way of that, I will pick up another day to cover my lost time. I couldn’t go a week with out getting my hands dirty. But I visit daily.

Any favorite Garden tools?

My knees.

What is your mulch preference?

Composted leaf mulch from the City of Raleigh

Anything new added to your garden art collection?

I have a couple of new pieces of garden art. You will have to come see them for yourself.

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 What is your first memory in a garden?

 Planting tomatoes with my dad.

 What is it that got you started gardening?

 I wanted to be with my dad and be like my dad.

 Who is your Horticultural Hero? Or Garden mentor?

My horticultural hero are the staffers at the JC Raulston Arboretum. I’ve even dedicated ” Plants with Benefits” – to them, specifically naming Mark Weathington, Tim Alderton, and Chris Glenn. Then there is John Buettner. Thew, I’m one lucky gardener!

Where do you go for inspiration?

Everywhere. I’ve never visited a garden I didn’t like. I get to see lots of them as a Field Editor for BHG and my other garden writing travels. I get ideas from every garden I see. I was just in Anthropologie and took away a gardening idea.  Once your eyes are open to something new, ideas just jump out at you.

 Do you have a favorite Garden you’ve visited?

Oooo, this is a tough one. Public garden I’d say Chanticleer. Private garden I’d say the one I just scouted.

 Do you have a favorite Garden Book?  Website – Blog – Magazine?

 My favorite garden book is Gardening with Confidence ® of course lol.

 And my second favorite book  is naturally my next book due out the first of the year,

But seriously, Fallscaping  – Extending your Garden Season into Autumn- is an all out fave. I guess it’s because I’m such a big fall garden love.

My fave magazines are Country Gardens and Gardens Illustrated.

How much time do you spend just enjoying your garden? And what type of things…

About an hour a day. Usually take a walk through to feed the chickens, throw the ball to my dog, Pepper, and hang with the kids.

If money were no object what would you add or do differently?

I would feel less guilt. lol  Dang if my kids don’t eat a lot of beans and rice….

Do you have garden wisdom’ to share? 

Nope. Just get out and experiment. If I have to convince you to garden, then your heart isn’t in it. You’ll know when the time is right.

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Describe where you most often sit in your garden or looking out at your garden.

The back porch. I invite everyone to just come and sit. It’s very relaxing. The mixed border is before you, giving you an opportunity to watch the wildlife.

See you at Helen’s Haven!

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Enjoy – living the  EntwinedLife

Jayme B

NC Certified Environmental Educator

Garden Conservancy Regional Representative

JC Raulston Arboretum Volunteer

5 thoughts on “Helen’s Haven – a wildlife habitat in the heart of Raleigh

  1. pbmgarden says:

    My knees! (I love that answer!) This looks like a lovely garden.

  2. Good job! You capture the exuberance of both Helen and the garden!

  3. pbmgarden says:

    I was able to see this garden on Sat. So glad you posted this Jayme or I would have missed out.

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