Spring in the Triangle – Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day

Just two weeks ago it was overcast with icy snow hitting the windshield when I went to photograph JoAnn’s Garden ….  The red buds were open and a lovely swath of white crocus highlighted the walk;  tulip leaves up but no color to speak of…  so no photos only a chill!

After  a cool spring we plunged into 80 degree weather last week, then rain  and the gardens woke up to WOW…  literally overnight!

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Seasonal Heritage, a Native Refuge – Roots that Fashion a Sanctuary for the Soul…

When I stopped by to see Nancy & John Brothers at their inner belt line Raleigh home, the third week in March, the garden was already coming alive.  I had never seen so many Trout Lilies cascading down a hillside, at one time. 

 Erythronium americanum - eastern North American dogtooth having solitary yellow flowers marked with brown or purple and spotted interiors  amberbell, trout lily, yellow adder's tongue dog's-tooth violet, dogtooth, dogtooth violet - perennial woodland spring-flowering plant; so many names so little time before it disappears. Only to await next years appearance.

Erythronium americanum – eastern North American dogtooth having solitary yellow flowers marked with brown or purple and spotted interiors amberbell, trout lily, yellow adder’s tongue dog’s-tooth violet, dogtooth, dogtooth violet – perennial woodland spring-flowering plant; so many names so little time before it disappears. Only to await next years appearance.Most likely won’t be in bloom this weekend, but as I reassured Nancy – time and spring marches on. 

Most likely  the trout lilies won’t be in bloom this weekend, but as I reassured Nancy – time and spring marches on.I could see the tapestry beginning to emerge – spring ephemeral pleasure – yes – it is fleeting… feeling sap of my spirit begin to run – I  thought,  “This indeed is a sanctuary for the soul!”

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A Plantswoman – Gardening Under the Loblolly Pines

As a trainee, newly accepted into the Master Garden Volunteer program – 2000, I perused the membership book reading about each of the 100 plus experienced Master Garden Volunteers’ gardening interests.   When I got to the ‘L’s’ there was someone who listed “Hypertufa” as one of her interests.   So it was to my delight, on my first day of  ‘Phone Duty’ – I met Amelia Lane… Continue reading

Thyme in Rita’s Garden…

Garden Conservancy Gardener Rita Mercer invites us to enjoy the Thyme in Rita’s Garden…

Jayme B:  What is your first memory in a garden?

RM:  My first memory was in the forest behind our house in northern S.C.  We played at the creek, Continue reading

Garden Epiphany – Guest Blogger – Panayoti Kelaidis

General view of Denver Botanic Gardens, 1007 Y...

General view of Denver Botanic Gardens, 1007 York Street, Denver, Colorado, USA. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Guest Blogger – Panayoti Kelaidis

Over the years, I have inquired of many friends and found that there is a sort of Edenic garden experience that haunts almost every keen gardener.  There have been many such moments in my life – throughout my childhood I would walk past a magical and mysterious garden on the way to school.   I yearned to enter. I am not sure how, but I got to know the man who owned that garden, Paul Maslin and his wife Mary, and they eventually became my closest friends and mentors.  Or there was that golden April afternoon when I was half the age I am now as I write this, when I had Savill Gardens in Windsor Great Park practically all to myself – filled with literally millions of daffodils in peak bloom, glowing in late afternoon light.  I shall never forget watching the occasional giant pink petal waft down from towering Campbell’s magnolias by the brook – lined with hundreds of white Japanese Skunk cabbage amid marsh marigolds.

This sort of garden epiphany lies at the heart of the Garden Conservancy’s Open Days program.   Gardens are selected because they possess that special magic of design and execution.  The owners are hoping the weather gods allow visitors to come away refreshed and inspired.  Of course, there are a few gnarly paradoxes that lie athwart the very heart of gardening, which challenge and also perhaps propel this program – gardens are by nature intensely personal, intensely private affairs.  The notion of “garden tour” is practically a contradiction of that notion.  And pile on top of that the expectation that these tours can be arranged far in advance, structured and organized!  Horrors!  Can you imagine anything more contrary to the spontaneous, private and intimate quality of gardening than to impose this sort of steely structure upon it?   Nevertheless, the experience of these garden tours invariably seems to rise to the occasion.

 After all, the Gardens are primped and fluffed, and there are always lots of helpful people around.   Meeting like-minded gardeners has been a hallmark of my experience with them over the years.  I have made permanent friends and I have seen inspiring gardens and plants that I would never have had an opportunity to experience otherwise.

There is something incredibly festive about Open Days, something memorable.  Most gardeners have a bit of the introvert in them, but when you bring us out of our shell, please do so among other gardeners!   I participate in many communities, but none do I find more wise, more kind or thoughtful that the brotherhood and sisterhood of the trowel!

Panayoti Kelaidis

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Panayoti Kelaidis is the Senior Curator and Director of Outreach at Denver Botanic Gardens, and an Open Days Regional Representative for the Denver, Colorado area. He is also an avid and experienced garden visitor. 

Reprinted with permission of the author and the Garden Conservancy – from the Open Days’ Directory 2012.

 

Note:  I had the pleasure of meeting Panayoti Kelaidis when he spoke on “Extreme Gardening” at the JC Raulston Arboretum Horticultural Madness Symposium September 2011.  The Denver Botanic Gardens is now on my Hort Bucket List!   Thanks Panayoti!

Visit 6 Private Gardens in Raleigh, Apex & Cary this weekend!GCPosterSr

 

Enjoy – living the  EntwinedLife

Jayme B

Garden Conservancy Regional Representative

JC Raulston Arboretum Volunteer

 

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 .

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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

Hot Coral – Echinacea by any other name won’t be as Expensive!

It’s Hot, It’s August and it’s Buggy in the NC Piedmont, a good excuse not to be working in Entwined Gardens, therefore a good time to travel…

One of my Volunteer Jobs being a regional representative for the Garden Conservancy ‘Open Days’ Tour is not only to find great gardeners to participate, but also promote the tour.   One way is making sure posters are delivered & postcards put out and about.  Garden Centers are very kind to help promote the event, so off I went in a 50-mile radius.

Today’s first stop was at Fairview Greenhouses and Garden Center  in Cary, NC…

I love exploring garden centers, like a quest for the Jewel of the Nile or an unexpected plant combination…

Cute succulent roof top Garden for a lucky Pooch – Fairview Nursery & Garden center

Not only did I find this charming roof top succulent garden for a lucky pooch, I gathered up some reduced herbs for a herb planter to take as a hostess gift.

I headed out of the greenhouse to an outdoor covered area, and there it was… Heart be still… just in  –  was it love at first sight?  I circled the tall-shelved wheeled cart, and tried to walk away, but the colors tugged at my heartstrings again… I was hypnotized – lost in the array of hot fluorescent colors – an array of pinks, & corals.

Echinacea Sombrero ‘Hot Coral’

I tried to move away and be amazed at the size of the giant array of Hibiscus lining the next table.   Before I knew it I was back staring at the cart of recently delivered offerings.   A nice clerk who had been giving all the plants water on this 90 plus degree morning… walked over and said “Aren’t these amazing?  They just arrived this morning.”

Echinacea Sombrero ‘Hot Coral’ – Echinacea by any other name won’t be as expensive!

I had tried to be good all summer, limiting spending of any kind in these economic times, but this one I could not walk away from. I could feel the butterfly within circling around and around – flying off but then drawn back in… Oranges are HOT… It didn’t matter the price tag for this perennial – of a whopping $21.00.  My obsessive brain took over… It will keep these kind folks in business…   I couldn’t purchase a cut flower bouquet for this amount…   Well, I’m here and they will certainly be gone, and then there’s the gas if I drive back…  Oh the ecstasy of the color – I am color centric but that’s something to muse on another day – home it came with me.

As my luck would have it, Fairview also had Roses on sale. Again my eye spied orange and I was drawn in.

The great gals I volunteer with, at the JC Raulston Arboretum Mixed Border affectionately known as the ‘Border Babes’, are a diverse, opinionated, yet congenial group.  We are all gardeners, our styles are as distinct, as we are, but this is a plant we all agree on  Rosa ‘Paprika’ – delicate in size, but intense orange buds, that evolve to a soft coral when open with a sunny center – a real show stopper.  Disease & spot resistant.   When we first planted it in the Mixed Border several years ago, the official plant marker said ‘OSO EASY Paprika (R. ChewMayTime ppaf)’.  We were delighted when this plant hit the market! Talk about Smokin’!   We all like to cook and many of us are fond of Smokey Spanish Paprika – so this Rose like its spicy culinary counterpart is sure to Spice up your garden life.

R. ‘Paprika’ will be perfect further back in the bed and will color echo the ‘Hot Coral’. The eye will samba from E. ‘Hot Coral’ over to R. Papricka.   Supporting players will be Barberry ‘Crimson Pygmy’a dwarf Japanese Barberry.

I can visualize it from my deck butterflies swirling around.  No guilt, no shame, we’ll have Mac n cheese tonight – I’ll add some cherry tomatoes, a little cilantro and finish with Smokey Paprika!

Colocasia Royal Hawaiian®
‘Black Coral’.

Next it was off to Campbell Road Nursery  – a no frills nursery, but always cool, cutting edge plants!   I spied a  Colocasia ‘Black Coral’  – hardy black taro… I hadn’t had lunch and it looked the color of a dark chocolate bar – It would be great behind & to the left of the ‘Hot Coral’ … the bed anchored by a pink & yellow nesting box with ‘Hot Coral’ & ‘Black Coral. ‘  An analogous color scheme of oranges & pinks… Ahh…. I asked Plantsman Layne Snelling about ‘Black Coral’ and he mentioned it was part of the breeding program by John Cho (not to be confused with the actor of the same name) at the University of Hawaii Plant Breeding Program.  One of the benefits of Cho’s breeding work is short  or no stolons – which means no chance of invasive runaways… plus hardy to zone 7B… this went into the floor of my back seat!  I can’t wait to get home to plant this fiesta!

I love seeing folks with plants in their vehicles… always brings a smile to my face!   Sometimes I have thoughts of following them home to see their gardens, but alas as I merge into I-440 at rush hour, I am satisfied to see the chocolate elephant ears swaying in the rear view mirror headed home to an Entwined Life!

Joy!

Jayme B

NC Certified Environmental Educator

Garden Conservancy Regional Representative