Hellebore Time

StandDbl

Under the oaks and pines

A plant grows mighty fine.

Evergreen, shades of pink, burgundy or lime

Blooming ever so sublime

Hurray—It’s Hellebore time!

My friend Kathy's yellow Hellebore peaking through the snow.

My friend Kathy’s yellow Hellebore peaking through the snow.

Imagine, seeing this hopeful sign of spring—just out your window as winter’s wrath has driven you to wit’s end—peaking through the bareness of the last snow.

Or being able to cut and bring a variety of fascinating blooms inside…

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Having many forms—singles, semi-doubles, doubles, anemone-centered—and colors—it is easy to see why there are passionate breeders and collectors of this winter bloomer.

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Hellebores can be successfully grown in shade, but I have some also in sun;  They are drought tolerant and even the deer won’t nibble!   What is not to like?

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They can be cut for arrangements or floated in bowls indoor, or outside, to bring cheer in late winter and delight with hope of spring to come.

Stop by a good nursery and ask for them…  They grow in Zones 4-9.

Having Cabin Fever?   Saturday March 8,  is the last day of Hellebore Festival at Pine Knot Farms in Clarksville, Virginia… the weather is expected to be sunny and high 50’s… so go if you  are anywhere near by!   I have met folks from DC, South Carolina, Tennessee, North Carolina… all beaming with joy for making the journey, wagons filled with Hellebores, hardy Primrose, Hepatica – just to name a few things!

Entrance to Dick and Judy's Garden... Pine Knot Farms.

Entrance to Dick and Judy’s Garden… Pine Knot Farms.

Judith Knot Tyler and her Husband Dick have customers in 49 of the 50 states and will gladly ship!

Magical gardens to meander around their hand-built home.   Plenty of Hellebores and other woodland garden plants for sale.

More next week with tips from Judy Knot Tyler of Pine Knot Farms on tips for propagation and care.

Judith Knott and Dick Tyler
Pine Knot Farms
www.pineknotfarms.com
434-252-1990
434-252-0768 fax

Enjoy – living the  EntwinedLife

Jayme B

NC Certified Environmental Educator

Garden Conservancy Regional Representative

JC Raulston Arboretum Volunteer

Take a Bite out of the Season…

I am blessed with fun, creative friends – yes, I am grateful for  such an Entwined Life!

So as I sit working on several stories at once – on this  “iced in” day from the east coast,  I saw a fun post from my dear friend of 35 years, come across my screen from the west coast.

Jayme & Martha - throwing 3 coins in Trevi Fountain.

Jayme & Martha – throwing 3 coins in Trevi Fountain.

I’m taking a Bite out of Season 2…  and so enjoyed this delightful virtual tour of the NBC Universal Tour high-jinks from my guest author and friend – Martha De Laurentiis exposing the lighter side of Hannibal:

On home, the new season and killing Mr. Potato Head

This week’s blog is from Martha De Laurentiis,

one of Hannibal’s Executive Producers.

My production shingle, the De Laurentiis Company, is located perfectly in the middle of the NBC Universal lot, in the Alfred Hitchcock Bungalow on James Stewart Drive. From these offices, Hitchcock planned some of film’s greatest thrillers, including Psycho and The Birds, as well as his television series, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, which filmed on the lot 1955 1965.

Executive producer Bryan Fuller and the Hannibal writers room joined us in these hallowed halls as the show started ramping up two years ago, and out of respect, Bryan brought in his art quality collection of framed Hitchcock posters.

Of all the Hollywood studios and television lots, only the NBC Universal lot is open to the public, via a tram-based tour that starts from the theme park. The Universal Tour Tram memorializes the master of suspense by playing the Alfred Hitchcock Presents theme music as it passes, and we often hear tour guides talking about the bungalow and its history as we’re going to or coming from our cars.

Thinking that tourists might also appreciate the fact that a groundbreaking new suspenseful television series was being hatched in the same offices that housed Hitchcock, I set out to discover how we might get Hannibal included on the Universal Studios Tour.

I paid a visit to my good friend, Ron Meyer, who’s now Vice Chairman of NBC Universal. As a boy hoping to get into the entertainment business, Ron worked as a Universal tour guide for then studio head Lew Wasserman. Ron’s eyes lit up with a simple solution – “Easy, invite the tour guides down to the bungalow for a beer!”

The Director of the Studio Tour department, Mike Sington, put the kibosh on the beer – too many ironclad rules and regulations around studio liability – but he was completely on board with the idea of hosting the guides in the bungalow. On the tours, the guides describe the projects currently shooting on the lot, but apparently no one had thought to bring them into their offices or sets before. The Universal tour guides tend to be major classic film buffs, and once inside, their enthusiasm was contagious. None of Hitchcock’s original furniture or effects remain, but I invited them into his office, opened Dino’s award case and passed around some Oscars for selfies.

Mike agreed to host a short video clip on the trams as they passed by the bungalow as well as a blurb about the show. We chose the “Ring Ring” clip, which teases the show’s tone. To the accompaniment of the Goldberg Variations (synonymous to all things HANNIBAL), the camera pans over FBI trainee Miriam Lass’s severed arm holding a ringing Blackberry (rewatch episode 106 Entree if you don’t remember!), as Jack Crawford and Will Graham enter frame with a WTF expression. Cut. It’s the perfect length for the approach to the bungalow, giving the guides enough time for a short shout-out for the show.

Mike mentioned that props often help the guides keep things interesting. When I asked for a sense of the parameters, he said, “The gorier the better.”

My neighbors next door are the production arm of the game company Hasbro, behind films like Transformers and Battleship. In front of their bungalow, a giant Mr. Potato Head stands with his arms splayed, holding up the Hasbro sign. Tourists snap snap snap their cameras all day long grabbing pics of Mr. Potato Head. I had an outré idea… and I was excited when my friends at Hasbro liked it.

With the help of my friend Mike Filonczuk, we made a duplicate of Mr. Potato Head’s arm to scale and mounted it on a prop box. Then, we took a can of epoxy red paint and went to town, making it look like it had been brutally severed and was still dripping fresh blood. Echoing the iconic Miriam Lass image, we placed a Blackberry in the hand, as if in his last moments, Mr. Potato Head had been desperately calling out for help (#HelpMrPotatoHead). Then, suggesting a killer had been making mayhem on the lot, we displayed it in front of our bungalow, under the new Hannibal banner.

Since then, hundreds of thousands of tourists have gone by. It was an especially big hit during the entire month of October when Universal Studios Hollywood celebrates Halloween Nights, staying open late into the wee hours. Also for October, we decorated the bungalow with a backlit life-size transparency of the Hannibal Wendigo out of the corner office. To simulate mysterious doings going on inside, we projected a short clip of the Wendigo emerging from the river, from upcoming episode 202. The guides loved this because we were the only interactive bungalow on the tour – at least besides what they stage on the backlot!

A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to meet again with the guides and give them insight into Season 2 and the progress of the writers’ room. We screened the first two episodes we’d just finished for them so they have the inside scoop on the series and can drop hints about it on their tours.

After almost a year, we’ve updated the teaser and supplied a new shout-out script. It’s a bit of a relief inside the bungalow to no longer hear the “ring ring” every five minutes, but we do miss the audio cue that the trams are approaching. I am incredibly grateful for my friendship with Mike Sington and his wonderful and supportive guides’ role in sharing the excitement we all have for Hannibal. Now that the guides know me, they’ll often say hello when I’m out. On the loudspeaker, in front of the entire tram of tourists. It makes the lot seem friendlier and serves as a humbling reminder of all the love we’ve had from the fans.

The new season began last Friday at 10/9c. Thirteen new spellbinding episodes are coming your way! We hope the master would think we’re making good use of his bungalow.

Enjoy the season as we’ve all enjoyed bringing them to you!

MDL

@neoprod

@DeLaurentiisCo

www.delaurentiisco.com

P.S. I saw a certain famous woodpecker outside the NBCUniversal offices. You’re next, Woody!

Thanks Martha!

Watch Out Woody, and don’t forget to take a bite out of the new season of Hannibal on NBC!

Enjoy – living the  EntwinedLife

 Jayme B

Under the Oaks – Vistiting Guests and Author too…

While sweeping the back deck  of the endless Oak leaves, I spotted these visiting guests – two caterpillars out for a stroll on the deck railing:

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I know that often fuzzy caterpillars are a warning not to touch – so counter intuitive!

So yet another reason to take a  well needed break – head inside and look them up – to see who these visitors are.

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Both  are caterpillars of Halysidota tessellaris – commonly know as either the Pale Tiger Moth or Banded Tussock Moth – the Oak  tree over head is their host plant.

In researching, I found Canadian entomology graduate student and nature photographer Morgan D. Jackson’s blog Biodiversity in Focus.  

Morgan writes about  their ability to hear incoming sonar pings of bat predators.  Some have even evolved sonic countermeasures. (Dunning & Roeder, 1965)

How Cool is that!

Morgan has graciously allowed me to share his blog on the Sonic Moth… who knew?

Banded Tussock Moth – Halysidota tessellaris #NMW2012 » Biodiversity in Focus Blog.

Explore some of his other cool posts and he’ll have you hooked on Natural Science!

Thanks Morgan for leading and sharing an Entwined Life!

Jayme B

NC Certified Environmental Educator

Garden Conservancy Regional Representative

A Visit under the Oaks

At this time of year chores at Entwined Gardens include raking the leaves and acorns from under the Oaks.  It somehow seems like a never-ending task, but one that always elicits a mixed bag of frustration and wonder, as I visit under the Oaks.

The grove of Oak trees was on the property when my husband purchased this woodland paradise.   He hates the thought (and expense) of  thinning them.   So many hardwoods were cut adjacent to our property when the woods became a golf course community – habitat lost.

But their  limbs have begun to hang over our rooftop,  making the back deck and terrace a constant battleground… and a potential threat of roof damage in some crazy storm.

I know – first world thinking!

Overhang

The acorns under foot can be dangerous, the leaves slick…  and with a back that easily twists out of shape… I do get annoyed from the raking and sweeping.

It is not an easy task to establish new plants under the Oaks, as they provide a dense shady canopy for most of the year, so I often grouse (to myself) that I’d really like a more refined view from my dining room and kitchen…  more light would be nice.

Most recommended woodland plants I’ve tried have languished, as the roots of the Oaks are far-reaching – sucking  up any available moisture from the hard packed,  root bound clay soils.

Then  comes the fall when the thick drop of leaves builds up an anaerobic layer, smothering anything below.

To have any success,  I have learned to plant specimens in pots. Should they survive the deer, then  I create a modified raised bed – planting on top of the of the woodland floor adding good soil amendments  around the root ball and  spreading out the  hauled in soil around the plant – yet not too high to smother  the roots of the Oaks.  It’s a learning experience and indeed a delicate balance.

I grumble more as most of the acorns sprout with ease just laying on top of – well anything –  in the pots in the raised planting and across the woodland floor…  while nothing else grows with vigor under the thick woodland floor of  tannic acid…  each spring I have a sea of Oak seedlings.

Oh a good remainder  when raking – to limit the amount of Oak leaves added to the compost pile –  no more than twenty percent  because they take forever to break down and will create an acid, anaerobic mess.

While on the topic of tannic acid, (Plant Geek Alert!)  it  is also found in acorns… this is the true reason that squirrels and Jays hide the nuts… waiting for rain and melting snows to wash away the tannic acid  over time to make them palatable.  It is also nature’s way of distributing the nut seed with squirrels acting as dutiful gardeners planting them in new locations where often they forget to retrieve.

Or, is it Mr. Squirrelly shrewdly planting a tree for ensuring a future harvest?

The deer eat acorns and don’t seem to have a digestive problem.  Then again the deer seem to eat just about anything, except poison ivy or just plain ivy!   Dang!

The sprouted acorns cannot get raked,  so this becomes a zen like meditation of tugging them out one by one.  There  are hundreds each year! It always amazes me how quickly they can put out a tap-root of several inches long once they get growing as temperatures become mild in early spring.

Last year I had an indoor mini forest of Oaks growing in a large pot of Aspidistra – cast iron plant – which we bring in for the winter.  It was amazing that 15 or so acorns sprouted and developed leaves!  Note to self: to look for photo.

So in the midst of raking, hauling and grumbling,  I am reminded to pause, look up and ponder…

OakWonder… good for the back, good for the soul – the majestic Oak.

Today with milder temperatures  under a Carolina Blue sky,  I laid down in the leaves to take the photo, resting and hoping to capture some frolicking squirrels, as they perform aerial feats of delight, soaring from tree to tree, but no suck luck.

I am reminded that these giants are also woodland habitat to Woodpeckers, Jays and lodging for migrating flocks.

Squirrel NestMajestic crooks are protected nurseriesfor the baby squirrels called kittens.

Shelter also for butterflies and host plants for moths.

All in all – grateful for their beauty,  the  shade for our home.  The Oak flooring we walk on, and Oak furniture we use.  The delicious wine that is aged in Oak barrels…

Grateful for the Oak table our family gathers around.

Now back to work…

Enjoy – living the EntwinedLife

Jayme B

NC Certified Environmental Educator

Thanks for taking the time to visit under the oaks…

Leave a comment on your what your favorite Oak …

Plant Collector’s Garden – Designed To Inspire…

This manicured ray of sunshine reflects the personality of inspirational lecturer and UNC – TV Host Bryce Lane and his ‘behind the scenes leading lady’… Sue Lane!
A virtual horticultural classroom & plant collector’s garden – designed to inspire…

I had the pleasure of hearing a talk by Bryce Lane over a decade ago, at a Master Gardener meeting… 

The topic was “Soils”…

As a city /suburban gal  from Chicago, I was new to getting my hands dirty.  I had no earthly idea that there was a field of study called Horticulture or Plant Science… but on that day, after Bryce’s lecture, I came away inspired…

In an hour, Bryce made soil sound so fascinating.  We were all so “fired” up about dirt!  I had only wished I had heard that talk before heading off to college, I might have chosen Horticulture Science as my major.  But instead that lecture changed the way I thought about well… everything!  It is the source, the root of the plants we grow, the food we eat!  What happens in the soil stays in the soil…I had no idea it could be so down right provocative! 

Bryce Lane has received so many awards for teaching and inspiring at NC State University, I can just see him blushing as he reads this.  

 He is also a sought after speaker/lecturer with talks such as: 

  • “The Birth of a Greenhouse: A history of manipulation!”
  • “Gardening on the Edge: Latest Trends in Gardening”
  •  “Is it Warm in Here?” New Approaches to Gardening in our Changing Climate
  • “You’re not From Around These Parts”: Gardening With Native & Exotic Plants
  •  “Eliminating Murder: How Not to Kill Plants!”

Bryce shares two Emmy awards with his Garden – the co-star of his virtual classroom on his weekly television program – “In the Garden With Bryce Lane” on UNC TV and his high school sweetheart Sue Lane. 

They welcome you to the Lane Family Garden

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How long have you been gardening at this location 

30 years!

What is the first thing you did on the property?

Removing over 100 Liriope that were planted everywhere! I gave them to the the person who sold me his house for his new home!

How much time do you spend working in your garden?

Varies significantly, 5 to 20 hours per week. Less now that it is established.

Do you collect plants and if so what?

Depends on the month… I have been through many plant stages… Japanese Maples, Datura and Brugmansia, Colocasia, Heuchera, Dwarf Conifers, etc.

 Any favorite Garden tools? 

 AM Leonard soil knife and Felco pruners are the bombs!

 What is your mulch preference?

Cheapest, most available and what suits my mood at the time of year.   I have used pine straw, hardwood bark, yard waste, compost, and soil conditioner.

 Anything new added to your garden?

Driftwood piece from family vacation this past June at Emerald Isle.  Fished it out of the ocean with my 4 year old Grandson Ellis.

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

Water element maybe, I might find 5- 50 acres!!  Actually my garden is the perfect size.

 What is your first memory in a garden?

Mmm, let me see…  Mom’s rock garden growing up in Massachusetts.

What is it that got you started gardening?

A part time job in High School at a Garden center…fell in love with plants… the rest is history.

 Where do you go for inspiration? 

Bible, nature, other gardens all over the world, other gardeners

Do you have a favorite Garden you’ve visited?

No, not really I love visiting them all, however, if I had to name one I would name one not created by humans…Bristlecone  Pine forest at the Inyo National Forest in California.

Do you have a favorite Garden Book?

Not really. Cut my Horticultural teeth on Donald Wyman’s Gardening Encyclopedia

Who is your Horticultural Hero? Or Garden mentor?

Can’t really name one…so many have influenced my horticultural development…  JC Raulston was my colleague, mentor, and friend.

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

A few places, Our sun room looks out into the garden so sun room time on Saturday mornings is special… feel like we are sitting out in the garden.  The patio is also a great place to sit.  Kitchen window is also a great vantage point.

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

See sun room time answer.  Anytime I am in my garden working or otherwise, I enjoy it!

Do you have garden wisdom’ to share? 

In gardening “disaster spells opportunity”. And as gardeners we need to honest with ourselves about how much direct sun we actually have!

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Perhaps we’ll get an advance peak at the latest featured Plant of the week!

Hope  to see you in the Garden of Bryce & Sue Lane!

Proceeds benefit the Garden Conservancy and locally the JC Raulson Arboretum!

DSC00767Enjoy – living the  EntwinedLife

Jayme B
NC Certified Environmental Educator
Garden Conservancy Regional Representative
JC Raulston Arboretum Volunteer

 

Lasting Impressions

This is a Cool Plant!   Scilla peruviana.

After Visiting Amelia Lane’s Garden – Under the Loblolly Pines – one always leaves with a Lasting Impression! … And a list of Cool Plants!
This Saturday, in Raleigh – you can take home a Lasting Impression and Cool Plants!

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