The Garden of artist Frances Alvarino Norwood and John Norwood in Raleigh, North Carolina is a romantic sanctuary of artful agriculture and passionate sustainability.
Jayme B: How long have you been gardening at this location?
Frances has been gardening here for 28 years
What is your first memory in a garden?
Frances: a vegetable garden in Illinois when she was 4 years old
John: irises planted in one of the beds along the drive at my parent’s house – originally planted by my great grandmother.
What is it that got you started gardening?
Frances: it was an offshoot of her first job –working in a greenhouse growing holiday plants – she was a biology major
John: my parents had large vegetable and flower gardens. It was just something you did. I grew my first row of tomatoes when I was 10 and sold them to a neighborhood store
Do you have a favorite Garden Book?
Frances: Crockett’s Victory Garden
Where do you go for inspiration?
Frances: favorite garden magazine now is The English Garden – she reads many garden magazines and books
Do you collect plants and if so what?
We try lots of new plants, but its not really collecting
Anything new added to your garden?
We recently bought the lot next to us (1.5 acres) and are expanding the flower beds and adding a second vegetable garden. Blueberries, figs, and raspberries are planned.
Describe where you most often sit in your garden or looking out at your garden.
We don’t sit in the garden very often. We mostly enjoy it as we work in it. We do often stroll around the garden in the evening to look. John’s office overlooks the front garden and pond – a nice view during the day.
Any favorite Garden tools?
Frances – a hand hoe (hack a hoe)
John – long handled hoe
What is your mulch preference?
Old leaf mold
How much time do you spend working in your garden?
We each spend 18 to 20 hours a week working in the garden
How much time do you spend just enjoying your garden? And what type of things…
We really enjoy it as we work in it. It is also fun to show it off each year at the Larkspur party (June 1 & 2 2013).
If money were no object what would you add or do differently?
Frances would add a rill. (small stream)
John would buy a bobcat loader and a tiller
Do you have garden wisdom’ to share?
Frances: Money cannot buy good soil – you have to build it. A sharp edge to the beds and lots of mulch will do wonders.
John: Plantings don’t always work out the way you expect. Things are always in flux. Plants will do what they want to do. The best groupings are often serendipitous. Just keep trying and don’t be afraid to move things around and try something new.
Hemlocks stand sentry over our sanctuary. Drifts of self-seeding heirloom annuals, poppies, larkspur, salvia, and nigella highlight the winding, herbaceous borders of peonies, foxgloves, and roses with sweet pea intertwined. Peaceful, soft pastels, and swaths of varying foliage textures unify the main garden. Hidden around one corner is an intensive vegetable garden. Plantings of ferns, asarums, hellebores, and pulmonarias are tucked under dappled shade… Frances Alvarino Norwood and John Norwood.
When Entwined Gardens were featured on the 2010 Garden Conservancy Tour, Frances’ sculptures saved the day!
Enjoy – living the EntwinedLife
Garden Conservancy Regional Representative
JC Raulston Arboretum Volunteer