View

The plane circled, making its ascent—my face fused to the glass. The patchwork of colors changed from bright greens and yellows and browns to muted versions of this spectrum—then a tapestry an ombré of browns.

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Approaching Marrakesh the landscape turned into a rich oasis of greens.  In my head swirled the lyrics of Crosby Stills and Nash’s song Marrakesh Express watching the view unfold.

Then just as quickly the beautiful peaks of the High Atlas Mountains were under us;  if the window opened I’m sure I could reach them with outstretched finger tip—snow capped and crusted from extreme winds.

The mountains morphed into crusty plateaus as we approached the barren craters.

Beginning our descent I thought, “Are we landing on the moon?”

Circling again we dropped toward the lunarlike surface.  Squinting now I could make out small ribbons of roads as they revealed themselves—puffs of dust following a vehicle as it bounced and fell over the unpaved  rocky stretches— connecting villages’ rising organically out of the earth. The craters revealed themselves as spaces between the buildings made from local mud and straw.

As the wheels bounced heavily on the tarmac, my face un-suctioned from my window with a faint sucking sound I hoped no one else had heard—leaving a red patch, another bounce and my nose hit the plastic bit on the pull down shade, I was home for the next few months—a world of beige intrigue—Ouarzazate (pronounced: Waa-zaa-zate)—at the edge of the Sahara.  I was ready for an adventure. That bump would not me my last.

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Leading an EntwindeLife on the edge of the Sahara.

 

 

Sense of place, essence of time.

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Booking accommodations for an upcoming trip to Los Angeles, I asked friends for recommendations.

Unlike so many, I prefer the unexpected or sense of place.   Sure there is that confidence one gets at staying at the Hilton or Best Western—you know exactly what you’re getting—it’s easy, especially if one participates into the “points scheme” or one likes to know they have waffles on the breakfast menu.   But I prefer the place, which actually gives me a sense of place. Continue reading

Open Days Program—Creating Rooms with a View

As gardens evolve through the seasons— it is lovely to experience the transition.

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Peony in the herbaceous border .

Jean & Lawrence Shuping invite you to relax in their three-acre refuge of peace and serenity.

Come and enjoy the pleasures of their garden in Spring! Continue reading

Open Days Program – My Fairy Garden in the Woods

Beautiful mature specimens and paths that wind into secret views—a passion for collecting plantscreating layered textures with antiques. 

DSC02488A garden that will make you feel like a kid again—exploring a secret magical place.

Welcome to the charming collector’s garden of Garden of Jean and Wayne Mitchell. 

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YOU ARE CORDIALLY INVITED to: Open Days

Saturday May 17 and Sunday May 18, 2014

Wayne is an avid golfer and enjoys relaxing with his wife and their family in the garden.

Meet my friend Jean Mitchell, the most gracious hostess.  When not in her garden, Jean is a friendly welcoming facevolunteering at the J.C. Raulston Arboretum Bobby G. Wilder Visitor Center.

Gracious hostess Jean Mitchell

Gracious hostess Jean Mitchell.

Entwined Life:  What do you call your garden?

Jean Mitchell: Long ago, neighborhood children named my acre and a half woodland garden, “My Fairy Garden in the Woods.” 

 How long have you been gardening at this location?

 Since 1963.

 What to you consider your gardening Style?

 Informal Whimsical Woodland.

 What kind of conditions do you garden in?

 Rich woodland soil, but lots of roots and rocks. Very shady conditions. Hilly terrain.

 Do you have any challenges in your garden?

Shade and large trees which make it difficult to dig holes because of numerous roots and rocks. Rabbits, voles and deer like to eat foliage.

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

Azalea beds were the original theme to the garden. Many of the original azaleas still remain and are now over 50 years old. The biggest change that occurred in the garden was the removal of many trees that were felled during Hurricane Fran in September 1996. This allowed an abundance of sunlight in many of the garden areas for the first time in the garden’s history, and reinvigorated our interest in gardening.

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 Do you collect plants and if so what?

Yes! I’m so lucky to be able to get many of my plants at JC Raulston Arboretum where I have volunteered since 1996. Native plants that like shade are my favorites.

 What are favorite garden tools?

 I love the mattock and shovel for my planting and gardening, and the rake for the leaves.

 How much time do you spend working in your garden?

 A couple of hours almost every day.

 What is your mulch preference?

Ground up Autumn leaves.

 Anything new added to your garden?

 A Butterfly metal sculpture by Grace Cathey in Waynesville, NC.

What is your first memory in a garden?

 Helping my mother plant flowers.

What is it that got you started gardening?

Each of my sons were given an azalea bed that they tended.  Back then my passion was collecting antiques.

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 How many Gardens have you had?

 Two—one on Ann Street in Cary and our present garden which we have now had for over 50 years!

 Where do you go for inspiration?

The J.C. Raulston Arboretum

 Do you have a favorite Garden you’ve visited?

Chanticleer Gardens in Wayne, Pa  and

Butchart Gardens near Victoria, British Columbia

Do you have a favorite Garden Book?

I enjoy all garden books!

Who is your Horticultural Hero? Or Garden mentor?

I have many, including my dear friends Mitzi Hole & Suzanne Edney.

DSC02499Describe where you most often sit in your garden….

The blue bench on the backside of the house.

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

 Nothing! I’m happy and at peace with my garden the way it is.

 Do you have ‘garden wisdom’ to share? Or anything you’d like to say about your garden?

 My favorite expression is Dr. J.C. Raulston’s motto, “Plan and Plant for a better world.”

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

My garden is my peace and passion; a place where I don’t think of anything but my immediate surroundings.

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Long ago, neighborhood children named my acre and a half woodland garden, “My Fairy Garden in the Woods.”  An antique wrought Iron gate welcomes as you enter into native Sassafras, Bower and Hydrangea lined paths leading to a 3-tiered water fountain. Further on a white Victorian style gazebo beckons to sit a spell and listen. A magnificent Climbing Hydrangea scrambles to the top of a huge Tulip Poplar.  Many collector shade plants line meandering paths that lead to a crooked Straight Creek.   A glade of native fringe trees winds to the side.   Many rare and unusual specimen trees, shrubs and perennials acquired from the J. C. Raulston Arboretum share beds with antiques cleverly placed along paths in this charming collector’s garden. 

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Come Celebrate with Jean and Wayne Mitchell!

Their Garden: My Fairy Garden In the Woods

 is featured in this year’s Open Days!

Save the Dates!
17 & 18 Cary, Raleigh Open Days

Cary, Wake 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.

The Happy Wanderer—Entwined Life

I was ready for a change… a new relationship, a fulfilling work environment, a total change of perspective…  

Finishing up a stressful weekend job in Phoenix, I flipped through a “Do Not Remove” hardbound book, tucked in the bedside table of the upscale resort.

Realizing  Sedona was just a short 2 ¼ hour car ride away, I changed flights and took 2 days off from my week day gig, and headed north through the most amazing Saguaro cactus (Carnegiea gigantea) lined desert highway.

 Talk about instant change of scenery! I am The Happy Wanderer!

 

 Immediately the stress of dealing with unreasonable, rude clients dissolved as the unexpected startling positions of the delightful Saguaros waved me onward—smearing a nonstop smile crossed my face.

Saguaro mixed media collage by Patrick Coffaro

Saguaro mixed media collage by Patrick Coffaro

Ahhh… Sedona. The soothing southwest—Oak Creek Canyon, Red Rock State Park, Slide Rock Falls, vortexes, Indian Jewelry—fresh dry air!

What a difference a mere 24 hours makes…

I felt free—light as an eagle’s feather—headed through town—out to the mystical afternoon light playing off the canyons and falls. 

Shopped for Indian designer jewelry a bear fetish for my sister’s birthday… a talisman of sunrays for self.

Shopped for Indian designer jewelry a bear fetish for my sister’s birthday… a talisman of sunrays for self.

Found a café for a leisurely nosh for the soul—alfresco—in the dry air breezes—setting sun set spewing pure visual bliss—crisp white wine to toast the winds of change and me!

The next morning, hunted for a free spirited coffee kiosk for a cup ‘o joe, cream & sugar to go and a whiff of Patchouli.   The perfect place to inquire about the closest vortex.  This was the mid 90’s – no smart phones, or internet and vortex hunting might get a raised eyebrow. 

“Just up the road, around the canyon, off to the right,” the tie-dyed head banded waiter said, as he handed me my hot courage, winking as I left an ample tip.  I was offheaded to the Airport Vortex for a short hike.

Overlooking beautiful Sedonasagebrush permeating the breezethe sounds of heavy equipment of major construction in the distance, a huge dust cloud as the earth gripped in steel teeth, and moved into a heap.  Then BEEEP, BEEEP,BEEEP, as the mammoth equipment backed it’s load and began the gnawing into the earth againBEEEP, BEEEP,BEEEP—for the future tourists seeking the environment and solstice for the soul—broke the peace of mind I had imagined. 

Well, I was here, in the NOW and the clock was ticking to get back to Phoenix to catch my afternoon flight. 

I offered up myselfopened to change in the airnever dreaming what the winds of change would blow into my life over the next three days…  turning desert into oasis… and fortune for the Happy Wanderer…   stay tuned.

Enjoy – living the  EntwinedLife

Jayme B

NC Certified Environmental Educator

 

 

The Mark of Adventure (4 of 4)

So here we are at day 4 of our virtual explorations of plants and adventurers.

Being a like minded adventurous spirit,  I am always eager to learn a little behind the scenes – just what goes into planning an expedition… so I was delighted when ‘The Mark of Adventure‘, Mark Weathington, stepped in  at a recent event -Volunteer Appreciation Day –  for  J .C.  Raulston, Sarah B. Duke Gardens, North Carolina Botanical Garden, and Juniper Level Botanic Garden –  to share what was in his suitcase.

Even though Mark was leaving in 2 days to give a talk at a prestigious event: 5th Global Botanic Gardens Congress    and hunt plants in New Zealand, he took the time out to delight his audience with his always packed and ready to go roller bag for plant collecting.

MW Suitcase1This bag gets checked, let’s see what’s inside:

  • MW tech2Notebooks for documenting & sketching, multiple pencils for writing &  marking.
  • Business cards printed in English and the language of the visiting country… plenty of them!

All collected plants must be meticulously cleaned, packed and labeled.  No traces of  soil can be left on a cutting or on seeds… so each night plant hunters can be found in their lodging with sinks or trash cans filled with water for cleaning…  a soft brush is  handy.

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  • Hefty Zipper Bags  – Mark prefers those with the actual plastic zippers.
  • Scissors  and knife.
  • A spray bottle for a little moisture.  Plastic Plant markers.
  • MWtech3Mark showed the size of the specimens collected (held in right hand), which after cleaning get wrapped in foil.  Paper towels, some moss which also acts as packing material.MW sifter
  • Little sieves from the Dollar Store help when cleaning and sifting seed.
  • Small muslin bags for storing seed in a variety of sizes.
  • A loop or magnifying glass to insure correct ID and check for tiny insects or minute traces of soil.  It is not uncommon for Customs agents to dump the whole lot!

MWtech4Then there’s the tech equipment…

  •  GPS,  to mark location of collected specimens.
  • Chargers for  phones,  that is if there is any reception!
  • Laptops, etc.  which  must also be compatible with the country’s power.
  • Charging for same in vehicles,  Mark brings a charger that accommodates multiple gadgets simultaneously.MW machete
  • Duct Tape – Of Course!!!
  • A re-engineered fishing rod,  when coupled with a cutting implement, PVC pipe  and wire…

MWMachete2An invention of Mark’s to give him extra reach up in a tree or down a ravine to get that plant of desire just out of reach.  Can’t you tell he loves his work!

  • MW booksBooks to research and ID in the country visiting….
  • Passports, Visas,
  • Collecting permits…
  • Folders,
  • Padded envelopes,
  • Flattened fed Ex boxes
  • Labels.
  • MW permits2 Research lists of  plants – those that can not be collected  in particular country and
  • A wish list for the expedition!

MW listAll collected material gets dropped at inspection center usually near an airport and the plant hunter holds their breathe hoping the documented specimens make it out of customs of the visited country.

Then more waiting as the specimens are sent on through to the US Department of Agriculture for another round of inspections… the waiting begins…

MW labelsWhile Mark was still out in the hinterlands of New Zealand… this was posted by Lizzi Lathers of JCRA…

imageLuck!!!   Some of the plants already arrived at the JCRA!

Stay Tuned!  I’ll be following up with a behind the scenes look at what happens next…. as we follow the journey of the collected plants!

Thanks again Mark for the interesting and creative presentation… It was a huge hit!

Enjoy – living the  EntwinedLife

Jayme B

NC Certified Environmental Educator

Garden Conservancy Regional Representative

JC Raulston Arboretum Volunteer