Open Days Progam – Passion for Plants

Passionate about plants!

Passionate about plants!

This one-acre gem—of a passionate collector’s garden—was begun 22 years ago.

Beth & Juan are the ultimate volunteers… artists and entertainers… I am honored to have them as my friends!

They invite you to visit their Wake Forest Garden.




Friday May 16 and Saturday May 17 2014

Juan's selfie!

Juan’s selfie!


Juan translates for Spanish speaking patients and families in the emergency room of a local Hospital, I’m sure his wonderful sense of humor soothes in many situations…

Oozing charm, Juan is also the adored pottery instructor at the Wake Forest Senior Center loved by all his adoring students.

Beth a woman of many talents!

Beth a woman of many talents!


I met Beth at the JC Raulston Arboretum… She’s one of the Border Babes maintaining the Mixed Border.  Beth has also volunteered countless hours working with Landscape Architects on the Master Plan Committee, Programming and Education Committee, PR Committee, and co founded Volunteer Construction Crew and it shows!

Together they garden with Boomer an Airedale terrier, Finnegan-tabby cat and the newest addition Atticus—the black kitty who was left in a box with other kittens in the Garden.  Someone just knew they would be well cared for.

 Entwined Life: What to you consider your gardening Style?

Beth: I don’t think I have a particular style but by mid-summer I’m referring to it as ‘controlled chaos’.

Juan: I’ll try anything in the vegetable garden…including a unique over head watering system…Beth calls it quirky.

What kind of conditions do you garden in?

We have spots of really good soil and some that have been challenging but almost all of it has been amended after 22 plus years of digging and planting. The front slope has always been a challenge—the balancing skills of a mountain goat come in handy when working out there.

Do you have any challenges in your garden?

For the last 10 years we have been working to deter the deer in the front, which is not fenced. I’ve had to relocate the Lilies and Hostas to the back and focus on plants they (the Deer) don’t love. That list is getting shorter and shorter as the deer get hungrier and tamer.


Welcoming path  Jimenez Garden

Welcoming path
Jimenez Garden

What is the first thing you added, removed or changed in this garden?

There was very little here when we bought the house.

An apple tree in the back yard…long gone after a bad storm so nearly all of it has been established since we bought the house in the fall of 1992.

Do you collect plants and if so what?

Definitely Japanese Maples and conifers…love them both and believe in planting little maples under big maples.

Favorite Japanese maples—I’ve never met one I didn’t like but I’m particularly wild about my Acer japonicum Aconitifolium ‘Dancing Peacock’.

Beth has been a member of the American Conifer Society for 8 years and has recently taken on the responsibility of co chair of the ACS S.E. Region Reference Garden Program.

Beth’s favorite conifers—Picea orientalis ‘Skylands’, Pinus strobus ‘Hillside Winter Gold’ and almost any Pinus parvilflora—I love the pines!

     What are favorite garden tools?

I have a Dutch perennial spade I bought at Logan’s at least 20 years ago that I use for pretty         much everything. I couldn’t live without my Hori Hori knife and Felco pruners.




How much time do you spend working in your garden?

Of course it depends on the time of year but I’m out there a lot especially in the spring and fall.

What is your mulch preference?

Leaf mulch.

Anything new added to your garden?

I’ve added some new Hostas and a wonderful new Kousa dogwood called ‘Samaritan’.

I also noted new plants from the

JC Raulston’s Connoisseur Plant Program!

And the  handsome new Garden Gate that Juan designed!

What is your first memory in a garden?

My grandmother’s butterfly bushes—at her summer cabin in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia.

DSC00537What is it that got you started gardening?

This one might surprise you but I lived in New York City for 21 years and missed the gardens I’d grown up with so I built a container garden on the roof of my apartment building in Greenwich Village. My neighbors and I spent summers on ‘tar beach’—It was terrific!

How many Gardens have you had?

Juan: I gardened in Basking Ridge New Jersey before we were married.

Beth: I gardened at our home in Dallas Texas for 4 ½ years before moving to Wake Forest.

Where do you go for inspiration?

To the gardens of my friends— fellow JCRA volunteers.

Do you have a favorite Garden you’ve visited?

I put together annual garden trips for a group of friends and we’ve been to lots of states and seen many gardens but for me…Chanticleer is the most beautiful.

Plantsman Andre Viette speaking to group... Beth just scored a cool Hosta!

Plantsman Andre Viette speaking to group… Beth just scored a cool Hosta!

Note: Just for fun, Beth annually organizes weeklong garden trips in the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic States for a large group of friends— fellow JCRA volunteers.

Through Beth, we have met some of our horticultural heroes and visited amazing private gardens includingMichael Dirr, Coach Vince Dooley, AndreViette, Barbie Covin, Flo Chaffin , Allan Armitage, Marian  St. Clair.

Do you have a favorite Book?

I do spend a lot of time referencing Michael Dirr’s Manual on Woody Plants.

Who is your Horticultural Hero? Or Garden mentor?

Every one of my friends who garden are mentors to me—we all learn from one another but I will say, my good friend and business partner, Amelia Lane has made me want to be a better and more conscientious gardener.

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

On the steps of my little greenhouse.

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

I would hire my friend Mitzi Hole to work with me every time I’m working in the yard. She’s so much fun and a great gardener.

Do you have ‘garden wisdom’ to share?

Plant what you love and take good care of it.

Or anything you’d like to say about your garden?

I feel lucky to be able to garden in an area where the weather is great all year, I have so many good gardening friends to learn from and an abundance of great nurseries and garden centers to frequent.

PC2sides-001Wake Forest and Raleigh Open Days
Friday, May 16 | 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Saturday, May 17 | 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Sunday, May 18 | 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Visit seven private gardens in Cary, Wake Forest, and Raleigh, , NC.

The JC Raulston Arboretum at North Carolina University in Raleigh will also be welcoming visitors.

Admission: $7 per garden
Discounted admission tickets (6 tickets for $35 general / $21 Garden Conservancy members) will be available in advance at the JC Raulston Arboretum (4415 Beryl Road, Raleigh). Admission to the Arboretum is free.

Open Days are self-guided and proceed rain or shine.
No reservations are required.

Jayme B

NC Certified Environmental Educator

Garden Conservancy Regional Representative

JC Raulston Arboretum Volunteer



4 thoughts on “Open Days Progam – Passion for Plants

  1. A beautiful couple and a fabulous garden–this is some tour!

  2. Beth speaks from her soul…..just adore these insightful interviews, Jayme!

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