The Craig and I

A Gift from my friend for my Birthday… the Craig and I… enjoy!

A Tale

 He was a little sad, the mercury he used to keep his hat up right made him a little mad

He always came for tea and had a story for The Cheshire CatCake 92-001

It was hard to keep Alice in check

Her dreams were too big for a girl

Too big for this world

Where happy lived with sad

And bad was just down the road from mad

 

A fool always played the room

Where thoughts escaped from good intention

And the sun sought the gloom

And goodness lost its cool

 

What more can be said

When a Queen says off with her head

Enough to wake any one up from a dream

But hope swirled under the Mad Hatter’s hat

Mad Hatter and Poet Photo by his daughter

Mad Hatter and Poet
Photo by his daughter

And blue could take over a room

And poke a heart down the wrong road of a tall tale

There’s no shade for the waking

A requiem for a Mad Hatter

 

In a world where mercury

Holds a hat up so high

Sometimes even lilies can’t pretend

That happy can stay around

Craig Champlin - Musician, song writer, poet,  friend

Craig Champlin – Musician, song writer, poet, friend

Till the tea party ends  

        — Craig Champlin

              October 5th, 2011  

Read more of Craig’s work and the Ernie Bedlam Stories

Soon to be on stage!

http://craig-champlin.blogspot.com/

Chicago Reader

Living the EntwinedLife,

Jayme B.

The Mark of Adventure (part 3 of 4)

For the last 2 days we’ve been on a virtual journey to meet The Mark of Adventure  – that is Mark Weathington – Assistant Director and Curator of Collections at J. C. Rauslton Arboretum. 

Mark’s Motto:  “Life is too short for boring plants!”

Along the way we’ve discovered a little history and insight about out how plants are hunted, collected, documented, before they are selected, grown and then produced… all this before they arrive at a local nursery to be planted in the landscape.  PHEW!

Mark W

The Mark of Adventure…

“This photo was taken in 2008 at the lowest waterfall at Nine Dragon Falls, Huangshan mountains, Anhui Provence, China.  I think Dr. Fu from Zhejiang University took the photo,” said Mark Weathington.

Entwined Life: Where have you plant hunted?

Mark Weatherington: Ecuador, Mexico, British Columbia, Taiwan, China (Zhejiang, Guanzhou, Guangdong, Sechuan, Anhui), Japan, New Zealand next week! – throughout the southeastern US, mountains of VA and NC, Texas, California

 EL: What was your most difficult experience?

MW: I was stuck in a car overnight during a typhoon with roads blocked by landslides on either side.

Next worse – getting stuck in Ecuador for 6 extra days because the only flights to the US were through Miami and Houston during hurricane Katrina and those flights were all grounded.  Worst part of that was no one would cash any traveler’s checks, not even banks in the capital and we were out of cash.  NEVER travel with traveler’s checks.

EL:  What do you pack as rain gear?

MW: Rain jacket, occasionally rain pants.

EL:  What was your first trip and who was it with?

MW:  Outside the US was to Ecuador with 2 coworkers both from the Education Department – Norfolk Botanical Gardens – to collect plants and handicrafts along the Rio Cayapas with the Chaachi people.

EL:  Who else have traveled and explored with?

MW: Tony Avent, David Parks, David Creech, Todd Lasseigne, Brian Upchurch, Bill Barnes, Liu Gang, Takayuki Kobayashi, Yamaguchi-san, Suzuki-san,  Dr. Fu, Teobaldo Eguiluz.

EL:  Do they have any quirks or fears they overcome to get a plant specimen?

MW:  Tony (Avent of Plant Delights Nursery) is deathly afraid of heights but will do what it takes to get his plant (maybe that’s why he likes those ground hugging perennials instead of trees).

EL:  Any injuries or illness?

MW:  I was once sick with a stomach bug in China and didn’t eat for about 4 days – kept going morning to dark though.

EL:  What type of shoes/boot and how many pairs do you bring?

MW: Running shoes and/or hiking shoes (no boots), one pair of leather or canvas slip-ons that can be worn for a slightly nicer occasion (meeting w/officials, etc.) 2-3 pairs total.

EL:  Any ‘Aha’ moments you’ve had about culture, travel, horticulture

MW:   In Ecuador as we prepared to travel up river for many, many hours, we picked up 1 of the 3 Chaachi who had a college degree and lived in the city advocating for the tribe.  He was going with us to facilitate our trip and to visit his parents.  He brought with him some kitchen supplies and clothes for them, 3 young chickens for eggs for his parents, and 6 different forms of croton (Codiaeum) for their garden in the rainforest.  It hit home not only how universal gardening is but also how necessary ornamental horticulture is to our well-being.

EL:  Most beautiful place you found yourself in?

MW:  I was in the Japanese Alps (Nagano area) during prime momijigari time or maple viewing when all the city folks head to the mountains to seek out the spectacular fall colors on the various Japanese maple species. 

Or, perhaps the top of a sacred waterfall in a remote spot in the Cotocachi Cayapos Ecological Reserve with tree ferns and slipper orchids everywhere.

Or, the yellow mountains of China (Huangshan), or…

 EL:  Any travel comfort you bring? 

MW:  Sony noise cancelling headphones along with an eye mask for the plane – I sleep all the way there and back. 

On the road, I’m pretty much all go from early am to very late at night, collecting, cleaning, cataloging, documenting, etc.

EL:  What is the creature comfort you most appreciate back home…

MW:  Family, reliable plumbing, water out of a tap that is drinkable.

Check back tomorrow to see what is in Mark’s Advernture packed – tools of the trade – Suitcase!

Mark writes and speaks on a variety of topics in horticulture.

He has recently revised and updated the Propagation Guide for Woody Plants at the JC Raulston Arboretum.

Mark has been published in Horticulture, Carolina Gardener, American Nurseryman and VA Gardener magazines as well as The Mid-Atlantic Gardener’s Book of Lists. In addition, he writes a weekly column for The Virginian-Pilot newspaper. (source: http://cals.ncsu.edu/hort_sci/people/faculty/pages/weathingtonvitae.php)

 You can follow Mark’s Blog– for cool plant profiles and follow his adventures too! 

Tomorrow:  What’s in Mark’s Suitcase?

Enjoy – living the  EntwinedLife

Jayme B

NC Certified Environmental Educator

Garden Conservancy Regional Representative

JC Raulston Arboretum Volunteer

 

 

 

 

 

 

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 …

Saturday Plants and Gardens… Hope to see you in Raleigh

What are you doing this weekend? It’s a great weekend for Plants and Gardens… Hope to see you in Raleigh…

I’m starting my day at JC Raulston Arboretum !

8:00 AM – Pi Alpha Xi Plant Sale

8:45 AM – head to Helen’s Haven

10:00 AM – back to JCRA for Rock Garden Society Lecture

12:00 PM – arrive at Lane Family Garden

1: PM – head up to Titus Garden

Drop PAX Sale plants at Home have a lunch and assemble a picnic.

3:00 PM – Drive to relax in The Grady Garden

5:00 PM – I will then head back with a picnic to hear the free concert – Musicians in the Garden.

Yes, covering a lot of ground, but what a great day in some great gardens… and plants OH MY!

See you there!

Artful Entertaining… A peak into Peggy’s Retreat.

Strolling up the driveway, in what once had been a shade garden, under a high canopy of trees… let there be light!  Sometimes Mother nature offers new opportunities for planting. This indeed this is the case, where new beds & plants establish a colorful welcome to the Titus Garden – designed for artful entertaining.

Titus1

Winding around to the side are  two pairs of stunning gates commissioned by Peggy. The moment you step through, lush foliage & soothing sounds of water lull you in; paths beckon… time to relax, suddenly you are a world away… the hidden rooms will be revealed it’s all like a nurturing hug as you peak into Peggy’s Retreat.

Titus3

Peggy, do you recall your first memory in a garden? 

Picking pink roses off of my grandmother’s Dorothy Perkins climber that covered the entire end of her front porch when I was about 8 or 9.

 What is it that got you started gardening?

My mother was a gardener, and this was one of the few things we both enjoyed doing together.

 How long have you been gardening at this location? 

17 years

What was the first thing you changed when establishing Peggy’s Retreat?

I pulled out or cut down as much Ivy and Wisteria as possible.

 Where do you go for inspiration?

Garden magazines,  “Curb Appeal”, and the Australian landscape designer on HGTV – “The Outdoor Room” with Jamie Durie ;  nurseries & my imagination.

 Do you have a favorite Garden you’ve visited?

The  Singapore Botanical Garden.

Do you collect plants and if so what?

Shade plants of all types.

 Anything new added to your garden?

Redecorated the gazebo to make it more intimate and inviting.

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

In my gazebo.  Often I take a book and a glass of wine out and read for an hour or so in the evening.

 Any favorite Garden tools?

Good gloves and my two in one trowel and garden claw.

 What is your mulch preference? 

Triple shredded hardwood.  I actually hate pine straw.

How much time do you spend working in your garden? 

Between March and October I average 20 to 30 hours per week.

How much time do you spend just enjoying your garden?

I like to entertain in my garden, anything from a casual dinner party to a large cocktail party for 50+ people, similar to the political fund raiser that I did on Sept. 8.

 A generous & creative host to many causes, Peggy makes it all look easy and effortless.

Won’t you visit ?   Proceeds go to Garden Conservancy and locally JC Raulston Arboretum!

DSC00767

 Enjoy – living the  EntwinedLife

Jayme B

NC Certified Environmental Educator

Garden Conservancy Regional Representative

JC Raulston Arboretum Volunteer

 

 


Writing a garden’s mission statement and creating a garden name

Over the weekend, speaking with many gardeners visiting the Open Days Tour – the conversation came up about naming your garden… some thought it pretentious,which was my first thought, but when put into perspective as Helen Yoest did in a 2008 challenge, clearly it gives your garden a meaning!

Gardening With Confidence ™

If you write or plan to write your garden mission statement, please let me know; I plan to post the collection. Please include your Zone.  My garden mission statement is at the end.


image007

Most gardens start out innocently enough, and I’ll venture to say, never with the intent to having a garden worthy of naming. But then, till by till, hole by hole, plant by plant, raindrop by raindrop, we have created a mix, a garden, that is as unique as a snowflake.  We look at our gardens with admiration, even when its an adolescence, not quite ready for the world, but with so much hope and promise.  Only the caregiver can see it fully grown and ready to face the world.

After putting in so much time, effort, money, and love into a project, it becomes apart of you, it’s only natural to think of your garden in  affectionate…

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