Thoughts on Gardens & those who garden.

Since becoming a gardener, I have been lucky to have experienced many gardens and met so many inspirational gardeners…   I have been inspired by petite pocket gardens in urban areas; potted vertical gardens – flowers and herbs  spewing from pots precariously attached to the walls of houses in ancient cities,  gardens which dangle off cliffs in the High Atlas region of  Morocco;   Tomatoes growing  atop the Acropolis;  as well as DSC01860luxuriously endowed and staffed gardens.

I think of the times when I have been away for 3 months and return to thigh high vegetation growing in our gravel drive – as nature pushes back and weed seeds have blown in…  it has taught me that gardens are precious, without a gardener to maintain the vision and nurture it, they can so easily revert to wild.  And, that  I need to purchase a machete the next time I’m away for an extended period!

What matters…  is that these exterior visions are fragile and important to our culture as art and architecture of the times. They need to be respected and saved.

Plan to vist a garden – one can always learn something, or at least breathe some fresh air, but more importantly experience the gardener’s work in progress… their vision…  their need to plant, sustain and enjoy nature.  The fragility of these visions… which creates a memorable sense of place and balance.

Enjoy – Living the EntwinedLife!

Jayme B

NC Certified Environmental Educator

 

 

 

 

The Web We Weave

Walking through my Zone 8 Garden, pondering the web we weave…

Spider

My wise friend Hilda always cautions with a kind voice, “Be careful what you wish for…”
Like most things in life, an action causes a ripple not to be reversed.

Native Americans honored the spider long before Charlotte’s Web was penned or became a delightful film with the memorable, sound of Julia Robert’s soothing voice. I’m certain a whole generation of children left their screens in search of a Charlotte of their own, heading outside to explore!

“So it was that Spider wove the first primordial alphabet, as she had woven the dream of the world that had become manifest. Spider’s dream of the physical world had comer to fruition millions of years before.”

“Spider’s body is made like the number eight, cons of two lobe-like parts connected at the waist, and eight legs.  Spider is the symbol for the infinite possibilities of creation.  Her eight legs represent the four winds of change and the four directions on the medicine wheel.”

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“If Spider has dropped from her web into your cards today,”  (I prefer getting into nature and then looking up the animals/insects I encounter), “she may be telling you to create, create, create!” … from Medicine Cards by Jamie Sams & David Carson

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And so I shall!

Reminder: September 24 – 30, 2015 is Take A Child Outside Week

Enjoy – living the EntwinedLive!

Jayme B

NC Certified Environmental Educator

Philanthropic primum mobile

 

Native Places

There are places I remember…

One of them was a gem of a garden… the gentle breezes, the blowing table cloths,

Secret nooks captured  views… the knowledge that someone envisioned a plot of land and worked it for their delight and fascination…

Meet Frank Harmon…

His fascination with design, building, art, everything green is astounding!   It is comforting that he pulls along the roadside to do a quick watercolor of  Native Places weaving a sense of time, sense of place and the importance of honoring these Native Places… then shares them.

With all that is happening in the world, I wish more people spent time seeking time to reflect and think in a garden.

Time yields perspective – thank you Frank for this lovely piece…

 

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NATIVE PLACES
A COLLECTION OF THOUGHTS AND IMAGES BY FRANK HARMON

Gardening with Others

There’s been quite a ruckus in our town this summer about building a modern house in a historic garden district. Someone who lives across the street from the modern house sued the architect. The neighborhood is divided, pro and con, and nerves are getting pretty jangled, causing one opponent to say, “If this house is built, it will be the end of the Christmas Candlelight Tour!”

It’s time to sit in a garden.

A garden such as this one in Charlotte, North Carolina, planted by Elizabeth Lawrence over half a century ago. Lawrence grew several hundred plant species in a space about the size of a tennis court. She loved plants but her floral diversity was criticized. “I cannot bear for people to say (as they often do) that I am better at plant material than design. I cannot help it if I have to use my own well-designed garden as a laboratory, thereby ruining it as a garden,” she wrote. Yet visitors come from around the world to admire her garden.

Elizabeth Lawrence could have arranged her garden with plants that looked like her neighbors’. Instead, she spread a mosaic of flowers.

Read more about Elizabeth Lawrence .

Visit Frank at Native Places and Frank Harmon Architect, AIA.

 

Enjoy – living the EntwinedLife with Gratitude to know Frank!

Jayme B

NC Certified Environmental Educator

Garden Conservancy Regional Representative

JC Raulston Arboretum Volunteer

 

A piece of cake and a slice of pie.

Entwined Garden it is a Cake—a sheet cake—large and cut into sections.   The house designed by my engineer husband Phil is on an east west axis back to front and north to south. On the Solstices we have light streaming in across the floors… it is always a celebration!

Entwined home & garden

Facing West

The gardens evolved as therapy for my soul in the long years of construction—I needed color against the red clay and sense of purpose—fluid swaths to soften the edges—frosting on the cake.

Entwined Villa View

Entwined Garden South

It is there I always know where I am and what direction I am facing. 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

Hellebore Time

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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

Lust and Envy in the Garden – Edgworthia

There are certain plants that one encounters which stop you in your tracks… so begins Lust and Envy in the garden.  Edgeworthia – a woody Native of Japan, China & Nepal – has been my plant fetish, for over 13 years.

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Edgeworthia near the Asian Garden at Sarah B. Duke Gardens

I am not sure where I first saw  Edgeworthia chrysantha  Rice Paper Plant.   There are several forms in multiple gardens at JC Raulston Arboretum.

But one must be out in the winter garden to experience.    That “heart be still” moment… was at least thirteen years ago on my first late February visit to Pine Knot Farms in Virginia in search of Hellebores… I fell hard!

Cleverly growing out of a terracotta drain pipe near a walkway – the hypnotic scent an inexplicable delight.  Creamy yellow pompons dangling in the air so unexpected, charming and exotic – you had me at your scent!

Pine Knot Farms... Love at first sight... now a little large for the terra cotta drain, but I'd be affraid to move... it is a Daphne relative!

Pine Knot Farms… Love at first sight… now a little large for the terracotta drain, but I’d be afraid to move… it is a Daphne relative!

I’ve noticed that every great garden – zones 7b to 10b since – has at least one,  so should Entwined Gardens !

Rice paper plant begins to entice in the late fall, after the striptease of leaf drop. Tiny cream buds turn into an ornamental sphere shaped sputnik fleurettes which dangle and dazzle visitors… hanging tight like Sandra Bullock in Gravity through anything winter throws at it… always a curiosity in the winter garden.

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Then, by mid-winter, it bursts forth with the most seductive scent.  Which is why you reach in to your pocket and hope you haven’t spent the gas money needed to get home after traveling far and wide to find it!

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When the seduction that lasts weeks then fades like any romance, the plant sends up it’s beautiful leathery slender ovate shaped blue green leaves and becomes a most wonderful filler plant in the woodland garden.

Edgeworthia gives good reason and show – to long for the winter and then enjoy all year long.

My friend Jeanne's well placed Edgeworthia flanking walk.

My friend Jeanne’s well placed Edgeworthia flanking walk.

Then heartbreak when it ups and croaks – well it is related to Daphne… so the process begins again –  Love turns into Lust and Envy in the garden.

Many plant enthusiasts say you must try a plant at least 3 times before giving up….   Yikes, that can be expensive!  Most of those folks are in the plant propagation and selling business!

My first Edgeworthia conquest grew in a pot for about a year.   No blooms the first year… OK it happens… the plant likes to settle in and expand roots, which can be expected.   I even found a terracotta drain/planter to raise it up while it got some growth on it,  emulating the one at Pine Knot Farms.  Imitation is flattery, so they say.  By raising it up, I could see naked twigs  a distance out my bedroom and living room windows… its wafting come hither scent would lure me into the winter garden with abandon I daydreamed.  I would be wearing yellow chiffon…  although planted in fancy bagged soil, I fear it did not get the appropriate moisture being in terracotta.

A year later it croaked.   I was sad but undeterred… The diaphanous chiffon dress is back in storage.

 I bought another one from the JC Raulston Arboretum… this one – Edgeworthia papyrifera, I planted outside my kitchen window in a raised bed to lift my spirits during the winter months.  It didn’t bloom the first year, two tiny shoots sprung up and I was delighted… then deer munched them all down one night, and the plant never recovered.

Again I sprung for an Edgeworthia chrysantha ‘Winter Gold’ from another plant sale.  Planted it again in the raised bed outside my window.   In four years it has remained a single stick.  No buds.   Just the delight of two leaves every year… talk of an unusual plant!  I will say  I defiantly wanted to see it out our  kitchen window to cheer me up in winter, but the packed clay no matter how much I add amendments becomes strangled by the Oak Trees.

“What’s thaaaatt?”  a snooty uniformed visitor drawled? 

I phone June 1544

Not the response I would have had – after just enjoying  crab cakes with the good silver for luncheon…. beat   snotty raised eyebrows,  not the lustful look of an informed gardener,

“That looks DEAaaD. Y’all got any Azaleas or Camellias?”

Hasn’t she drunk the Mark Weathington punch “Life is Too Short for Boring Plants!”

Note to self: Next time serve her  pimento cheese sandwiches and only use stainless.  Or better yet – just invite Mark over for luncheon!

I am not giving up… I do have another miniscule side shoot this year.  I spray it with “I Must Garden” to deter any deer munching.  They even munched a spiny Ruscus recently!

 Then I saw it at Homewood Nursery, an end of the year closeout sale… even with “Plant Bucks” – it was more than I would normally spend… the coveted Edgeworthia akebono “Red Dragon” –  Orange/Red Blooms, perhaps not as much scent, but that tartish color enough to make one blush atop those naked stems. I really couldn’t believe there were three to choose from!

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Edgeworthia akebono “Red Dragon” – Orange/Red Blooms before it croaked!

Two years later it croaked, planted near a wall and a walkway with great drainage in morning sun… heartbroken.  My friend Beth bought one of the three and her’s went tennis shoes up too.  Misery loves company.

But friend Amelia’s specimen is as stunning as I had imagined.

Amelia's E. akebono Red Dragon!

Amelia’s E. akebono Red Dragon!

Lust and Envy curled through my veins once again this past early spring when I spied it in her garden.  Summoning a “come hither” look to find me stepping gingerly off Amelia’s well manicured paths to be enveloped in light scent and geisha like intrigue… more about plant obsession to come….

 Two years ago, I visited my friend Jere garden.  Jere’s Edgeworthia grows bawdily on a slope near a lake happily as swans & ducks drift bye above and giant carp below in the cool water.  Here and there a turtle pops up its head…  a lovely garden for relaxing.

After hearing of my pitiful ability to grow Edgeworthia,   OK – I was lamenting even whining… Jere  simply bent over, and with a flick of a wrist, twisted out a few stems with long roots and handed them to me…  I had no idea it was that easy!  Jere – I am forever grateful.

Grateful to Jere – for taking pity on me.    I even gave one of the treasured rooted stems away to a neighbor to appease the plant gods…  I am happy to report I now have sticks with buds in the ground in two locations!

 I yearn for the morning when I open the front door and am hypnotically drawn across the driveway to basque in the scent and delight… I will honestly feel that I do have a patient nature, no matter what my husband thinks, and Entwined Gardens indeed has joined the ranks of a great garden!

DSC01475I think this will be the year!!!!

Size Matters

Since my quest began Edgeworthia has become slightly easier to find for zone 7-9 gardens centers –

Edgeworthia chrysantha ‘Snow Cream’ 12’ x 12’

Edgeworthia chrysantha ‘Gold Rush’ 6’ x 6’

Edgeworthia chrysantha ‘Hawksridge Selection’  4’ x  4’

Check out Camellia Forest

They Ship!

Enjoy – living the  EntwinedLife

Jayme B

NC Certified Environmental Educator

Garden Conservancy Regional Representative

JC Raulston Arboretum Volunteer

Celebrating Friends and Plants with Benefits

This is my friend Helen Yoest  with her new HOT off the press book
Plants With Benefits :
An Uninhibited Guide to the Aphrodisiac Herbs, Fruits, Flowers, & Veggies in Your Garden
Time to Celebrate!!!
Helen’s latest was reviewed in The New York Times.
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In the Raleigh area? Helen’s book launch is at the JC Raulston Arboretum Friend’s lecture on February 6th at 7:30PM. 
I hope you can come… and celebrate!
 
Helen dedicated her book to the JC Raulston!
 
The book will be in book stores and is also available from Amazon.
Make friends with your plants…
and Congrats dear Helen!
Jayme B

Make a Lasting Impression

Many of us are under the Arctic Vortex…
It’s a great time to plan to add interest to the garden…  The dead of winter allows our mind to envision a clean slate… to see the bones of our landscape.    Plan enhancements to the garden to create a pleasing view from inside…
Snap a photo out the window, print and using tracing paper – draw what you envision… Plants, small wall or man made enhancements…

Or why not sign up for a class?

Many County Extension Master Gardeners offer classes.  Check out they the nearest Arboretum, Botanical Garden or Garden Centers.  If lucky to be near a University, check their websites, as many run symposiums this time of year…

I remember being accepted into the Wake County Master Gardener Program in 2000. We were given a directory of all the certified Master Gardeners. Reading them all, I perused all the various interests each experienced MG listed. One experienced Master Gardener listed “Hypertufa.” I was clueless!

So imagine my delight when I was paired for my “Phone Hotline Duty” with Amelia Lane. I could barely contain my self and immediately blurted out… “What in the world is Hypertufa?”

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Amelia was surprised that these words tumbled through the air, yet in her lovely manner, and soft voice began to explain about how the English gardeners used to re-purpose  large troughs from the days of yon and use them to plant alpine gardens.  Troughs in more pastoral settings gave way to modern galvanized versions…

The stone honed troughs began to be sought after prizes when the iron horse took over and troughs were not needed in towns, being auctioned off for extraordinary prices to the highest bidder.

In the mean time, there were folks that devised ways to create their own troughs… using porous tufa rock, then later cement, Perlite, and peat moss…

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Beth Jimenez and Amelia Lane

Amelia invited me to work with her in the Mixed Border of the J C Raulston Arboretum, where I met Beth Jimenez and the rest of the Border Babes and so began 14 year friendships. Amelia’s Garden was featured on last year’s Garden Conservancy Tour and Beth’s will be featured this year.

Enjoy – living the EntwinedLife
Jayme B
NC Certified Environmental Educator
Garden Conservancy Regional Representative
JC Raulston Arboretum Volunteer

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