Last minute gift from the garden…

Up until the second week of December, I always feel so organized…. Then, before I know it  – the blues creep in and the Holidays are right here… right now!  Have I forgotten someone?  What if friends stop by unexpectedly?

 Here’s an easy & quick idea to give when visiting family or friends and use up any leftover pumpkin seeds.

Continue reading

Horticultural Test of Time for the Holidays

So the true test…

Could I remember how to successfully use an O’dapter,  a month later to create a botanical whimsy for the holidays?

See the results and “How To”… Continue reading

Get thee to the garden… and bring your pruners!

O.K.  I know it’s cold out there for most of you.   But now is the time to get thee to the garden and bring your pruners.

On your way to the mailbox or walking Fido, take a few snips – your neighbors won’t mind. Continue reading

Step away from the glitter….

Often there comes a time… when you just have to step away…

For the past 3 years every holiday we celebrated was in a nursing home;  many of our family traditions  had to be put aside.

Although wonderful to be spending it together, it was never private; visits seemed far too short or confined.

There is only so much decorating one can do in a shared room with limited space.

A wreath for Jayme's Mom!

But there was nothing like the smile on my Mom’s face when the new Seasonal wreath appeared for her door, or a tiny Christmas tree which I decorated in all of her favorite colors was revealed!

Color co-ordination - pleasing to Mom!

Color co-ordination – pleasing to Mom!

The tiny tree was a gift from my friend Barbara – who’s husband had died.  Barbara understands the kindness of little things to delight, and the space restraints in these times of transition.  Continue reading

Two years ago, my husband Phil was in the Emergency Room.  It was freezing cold inside and out – so when Phil was wheeled off for a C-Scan – I ran across the street to purchase a fuzzy  aqua blanket & grabbed the December 2010 issue of Food & Wine Magazine.

Back in the ER, wrapped in the blanket, I settled in for a long night, passing the anxious time with a little Food & Wine…  Husband fine.

Well this was the year to Spice it up and share the bliss! Continue reading

Spice it up and share the bliss!

Figs bursting with delight.

Bursting point… We all get to this point… when the blood starts to boil – the emotions swell – so full of stress our juices ready to burst like a fig after a fresh rain.  This morning I was so ready to burst that I called my sage friend  Helen Yoest – she reminded me that sometimes it is just better to “let it go”…

I took a deep breath and ventured outside to find solace in Entwined Gardens.

To my delight, I wasn’t the only one having a break & snack.

Sevensons against a
Carolina Blue Sky

The Heptacodium miconioides  (Sevenson Flower, Autumn Lilac) tree was a buzz with pollinators.  As I looked up at creamy white puffs against a Carolina Blue sky my angst began to vanish lost in a swirl of bees, wasps skippers & butterflies.  My thoughts turned to my delightful 2009 quest to find this tree – an Entwined Gardens expansion – to create a new border adding fall interest near our parking area.

Yes, a crazy Dr. Seuss – like plant that gets far too large for the chosen location.  But the fragrant creamy white flowers appearing August – September, turning into small rounded fruit with a cherry red to rose purple calyx  – ShaZaam! There’s no such thing as too Big as the sweet scent welcomes us home each day.  This small deciduous tree growing 10’ –12’ tall x 8’ – 10’ wide also valued for exfoliating bark in warm hues of light brown, does not disappoint, especially if you don’t mind unpredictable plants with fall winter interest! For those of you who cringe at the word ‘Prune’ – one can’t make a mistake on this wildly branching structure.   Within a year of planting this tree was a showstopper in my new themed border of plants for fall interest and ready for the 2010 Garden Conservancy Open Days Tour!

A lovely butterfly perched upon a Cana ‘Phaison’ or Tropicana Lily, caught my attention. I wasn’t quick enough to get a photo – then it was off in a wisp of a wing – up and circling overhead.

Table for Two –
Red Spotted Purples
dining on Celeste Fig

My mind clearly engaged as I watched the Zen motion as the butterfly fluttered up and around higher & higher then caught a glimpse of pink in an unexpected place.    One of the out of reach Celeste figs had burst open and the scent of soft flesh fills the air. Another Butterfly lands and enjoys the fleshy sweetness – talk about table with a view.

The usual suspects at the Fig Café – humans with morning coffee in hand, disrupting the quiet feast of squirrels & birds who quickly disappear, thinking of another way to enjoy these fruits, of course tasting for inspiration.  Wasps & butterflies throughout the midday, lingering like the folks at an Internet cafe; Possum and Raccoons – the nocturnal clientele leaving debris like twenty -somethings in a college town, so although unseen, we know they’ve been & enjoyed.

Who are these diners
at the Hibiscus Cafe?

Drawn further into the garden – some yet to be identified colorful visitors snacking on Hibiscus coccineus – Red Star Hibiscus pod.

Further down the path another snack has been consumed and another life form swells, 

slowing down progress, almost paralyzed to move forward.  I snap a few photos – in this the moment of truth.  By the time I can summon my husband and run back he has slithered into the safety of foliage.

I am reminded of the lesson to let it go.  Had I not taken a break, made room to breath, I’d have missed these whimsical delights, sweet smells and delicious figs.

Joy!

Jayme B

NC Certified Environmental Educator

Garden Conservancy Regional Representative

Garden Tours – A private peek into Personal Paradise

Entwined Garden South view

It’s too darn HOT.

Two years ago, at this time, we were toiling through the southern summer to ready Entwined Gardens  for the September Raleigh Area Garden Conservancy ‘Open Days’ Tour  2010.

I think of the garden as a work in progress, so that year when folks asked, ”Are you ready for the ‘Open Days Tour’”,  my comment was, “Is anyone ever ready?”

Entwined Garden South view

Looking South @ Entwined Garden

There is no amount of primping, editing or fluffing to get ready.   There are the endless lists of projects one is motivated to have “ready for The Tour” – which is a wonderful motivator to bring the garden to a new level.  Inviting unknown visitors from a national tour  to a private peek into your personal paradise can be quite unnerving.

I had always planned in my mind that the last few weeks would be the time to make clever additions so that anywhere the eye travels would be perfection… “A fluffy, spiky & roundy” for pleasing balance, a nice piece of artwork for the eye to land, and great for photography.

Alas, a month before the tour, the domino effect of the economic crisis crashed down on the computer industry .  All around divisions of many – up to now successful companies jockeying for IPO’s – were suddenly wiped out, including one my husband worked for.  The dream of garden perfection… disappeared into a new reality as we tightened our belts for the long haul of uncertain economic times.

Enshalla – breathe, let it go, offer it up to a higher power… breathe again.

Ours was a fortunate reality…  I was lucky – to have so many wonderful friends lend a hand to help in a summer of intense heat & drought.

Mitzi's Banana

Mitzi’s Banana adds color and punctuation!heat  & drought.   !

Then it seemed like Miracles began happening…  My friend Mitzi who is an incredible plants woman would call & say, “ I just stopped by Campbell Road Nursery and they are giving plants away. The have huge tropicals – Bananas and Elephant ears are marked down to a Dollar each!”   The next morning the Garden of Eden arrived in the back of a Prius! We walked around and added appropriate interest & it worked!  I was grateful and wrote notes to the nurseries whose end of year sales had helped – the norm for them end of the year, but to me it was a lifesaver.    This was after all a fundraiser for the national Garden Conservancy and the JC Raulston Arboretum – and if folks were going to drive 45 minutes or more to visit, I did not want to disappoint!

Throughout the week leading up to the weekend tour, friends – The Border Babes – arrived to lend a hand, and deliver all kinds of enhancements and moral support and hugs… it was unbelievable.

Two days before the tour, another friend who was new to gardening, asked if she could come & learn.    I said “Sure!”   Diana saw some of the “art” I had collected from Home Goods as placeholders for the Dream Art.  Aware of my now fading dream, Diana said, “I have some things that might work.  I’ll be back in about an Hour…” She came back, another Prius – loaded with the most beautiful statues, from Artist Frances Alverino .

DSC06946

I was hoping to acquire an Alverino  as a gift for my Husband’s Sept. Birthday and to celebrate the Tour.   Diana had 6 of these sculptures for me to borrow.     Talk about letting go and the higher power provides!!!     Our garden was beyond what I dreamed for the Days of the Tour!

It is a delight that this year I can stay perched inside enjoying the gardens with the miracle of central air.   From the House, one cannot see any weeding to be done… not that there isn’t any mind you… just pure enjoyment of colors and textures.

Bear Hugs sweater

Sweet sweeter for a baby using Bear Hugs.

So will take advantage of the joys of cental air  and KNIT!

Yes, all a part of  our Entwined Life!

Found a delightful soft baby sweater, elegant soft and couldn’t resist it at one of the local yarn shops.  It comes with enough for an infant kimono sweater, includes instructions and 2 cute bear buttons.  How easy! I had enough yarn left to make a little hat too!

The Yarn is by Plymouth – Bear Hugs.

Buttons

Cute as a Button!

So I will relax with my yarn and my thoughts of my wonderful friends and their bear hugs of generosity and how being grateful does make a difference.

My thoughts are also with the generous hosts who are this year prepping their landscape art for this years’ tour… what a gift to be inspired by these great gardens large or small… each grateful for the friends that lend a hand, give a hug, each Gardener’s own vision of Paradise created.

Maynard Garden Pagoda

Maynard Garden Pagoda
This richly layered garden paradise’s pagoda beckons visitors to sit and contemplate the view at the Maynard Garden Open Days Tour 2012

Come join us in Raleigh September 15 & 16!

Garden Conservancy ‘Open Days’ Tour

Joy!

Jayme B

NC Certified Environmental Educator

Garden Conservancy Regional Representative