Hunkering down for winter and Elephant trumpets…

The fall is upon us… the excitement of the NC State Fair, leaves blowing and swirling, critters foraging…   colors now yellow instead of the pervasive green.  Hits of pinks, reds and oranges – emerge across the horizon.

Over the last few days with temperatures dipping to 38 degree F.,  we are hunkering down for winter at Entwined Gardens.

The careful lists of selecting which tropicals to dig up, re-pot  and drag into shelter for the winter,  have been checked off the ‘To-Do” list.

The Korean Mums  by the white garden gate – lovely with their peach tinged petals are open for diners – the last of the visible pollinators.  I notice that these two insects  have the same  striped markings – the one on the upper right is quite a bit smaller, wings perpendicular rather than angling, as they feast on nectar.

  DaisiesDendranthema rubellum – Korean Mum

Walking the paths, I reflect on each plant as a quest or gift from a friend.  The Dendranthema –  a division from Gail Ingram – from the back of her pickup truck after a Master Gardener meeting in 2000,  a feeding frenzy of outstretched arms… hoping to feel the plant material fall into their fingers… What Joy!

Hence my Motto:

“It’s always a great day when you bring home a plant!”

Entwined Gardens has been the recipient of many such plant shares  and trades from amazing horticultural giants and mentors – I’ll refrain from much of the name dropping.

I’ve dug, dragged, dumpster dived (from the JC Raulston Arboretum ‘plants only’ dumpster),  put on waders bogged and slogged on a quest.     Shopped till I’ve dropped, then traveled hours with a with a coveted Acer palmatum ‘Okukuji nishiki’ – a lovely variagated Japanese Maple specimen  –  stuck between my knees on a road trip from Athens, Georgia to sweet home North Carolina!  Thanks goodness my friend Jean was driving!

Over the years, friend Mitzi has shown us how to pack in the plants on these expeditions.    And in the horticultural Mecca of the Triangle,  it is not uncommon to see all types of specimens in all shapes and sizes of vehicles being driven on highways and byways!

Nearby I reflect on a  stand of Colocasia gigantea ‘Thailand Giant’  which will stay in the ground.  Although only known to be hardy zones 8-10,  it over wintered well in my Zone 7B garden last year.

To date,  in all my shameless, plant obsessive (OK, addicted) escapades – my 5’2″ frame was no match for the these elephants!

ThaiGiant

I laugh every time I think of this Elephant Ear… a share from friend and divine garden writer Helen Yoest.

I arrived at Helen’s Haven with some thick gauge heavy-duty giant lawn bags.   Gratefully, Helen had already heave-hoed them out of the ground for sharing.  How sweet was that!

Elephant Ears like their large mammal name sakes,  must hold a heck of a lot of water which is the only logic I could give to their weight.  I struggled to lug their root balls into the bags.   I strained to budge them around the side of the house and down the garden path without trampling one of Helen’s borders.  I tried dragging, then pushing them in the heavy gauge plastic.  I think a stubborn Pachyderm would have been easier to coax than this Colocasia gigantea!

Laboriously breathing, I finally made it to the intersection of walkway and driveway…   I wondered if I could roll them down without damaging the magnificent leaves and roots, but decided against this option.  I walked around the house and couldn’t locate any thing with wheels.

Dazed, my short arms straining,  I took a breath pondering, “If only I had a real  elephant… an elephant could easily use its proboscis or trunk to transport these down the drive – easy peasy…  and most likely for a couple of bags of peanuts.  This would really give the neighbors something to talk about!”

Reality check… when did Helen’s driveway get so long and steep? Even going downhill it seemed like an abyss!

My desire for these plants once again snapped me back – pushing me forward like a goat in quicksand…   I was one with them,  I was not letting go –  and then it hit me like a ton of elephants, if I do get to the street, how will I ever hoist them up to the bed of the pick up?   I wanted to weep.

I felt like I was in an Abbott & Costello escapade, but I sure wished Abbott (my Hubby) was there as  I struggled comically down the driveway.  I would take a few steps,  teetering with the weight over head, stop and walk around this stubborn as a mule plant predicament – barely budging a few inches.

I thought for sure Helen would find me in heap at the end of the drive, trampled by an elephant stampede.

The neighbors would complain… about some horticultural circus act gone very wrong, peering out behind a jungle of designer draperies, but afraid to come outside of their climate controlled environs.

What seemed like hours later, I climbed into the truck bed, positioned myself on bended knees and prayed for strength… I wish I had thought to bring some rigging and a winch for the aerial act  that ensued!

Focus.  Rest.  Sip  some water.  Bend the knees. Pray to the Almighty Horticulture God and by some  miracle… it was in the truck for the transport home.  I have no earthly idea how these were hoisted or levitated from above or below or what kind of other worldly pact might have been made.

That night and the next morning, I ached everywhere… but the prize was mine!

There is nothing like a shared plant from a friend’s garden.    This gargantuan punctuation in the garden unlike any other.    In my mind I hear the sounds of  loud (click listen and hit back button to return)  Elephant trumpets which then elicits a break into an enormous ‘laugh out loud’ every time it comes into view.  OK sometimes I preform the elephant walk… a joy of living in the woods!

So once again I will leave it in the ground, keeping my fingers crossed that  it will be a star attraction, after the spring migration of warmth summons it forth.

A last peek behind its big top ears  finds a surprise – tree frog hunkering down against the incoming frigid air.

ThaiFrogDid you know: that the American green tree frog, Hyla cinerea

converts glycogen into glucose – acting like anti freeze – during cold months?

Listen to the (click listen and hit back button to return)  song of the tree frog.

A second, smaller clump of ‘Thai Giant’,  also dragged from Helen’s Haven,   spent the winter inside the barn last winter.   It emerged at a reasonable time last spring.  I  planted it out, but  it stopped growing at a mere 7 1/2 inches!   Although planted just feet from its giant friend, perhaps planted in an area where the light is being shaded, but definitely a freakish curiosity.

Tiny EarsI laugh at these tiny leaves…    “That’s IT???  That’s all I got for pulling my back muscles out?”

I am delighted none the less.

Thanks,  Helen for your amazing gift a giant plant, a story to tell, Elephant Trumpets in my ear and being a friend with Horticultural Benefits.

Helen’s new tome is available for preorder:   Plants With Benefits: An Uninhibited Guide to the Aphrodisiac Herbs, Fruits, Flowers & Veggies in Your Garden

Perfect for Valentine’s Day!

Enjoy – living the EntwinedLife

Jayme B

NC Certified Environmental Educator

Garden Conservancy Regional Representative

Grady Garden – A beautifully woven horticultural textile retreat…

Under the high shade of these tall pines, is the relaxing garden of Pat & Perry Grady.

I love to visit a garden and  sit  in the chairs or benches along the way… to pause and take in the views.   There is usually a reason a bench or chair has been placed in a particular spot… if for no other reason than to just contemplate what goes into a garden, or an EntwinedLife.

The Grady Garden has many charming places to sit, if only for just a minute or two… to notice the rather steep grade, listen to birds, then quiet; enjoy the majesty of the tall trees – the rustle of wind, juxtaposed to the interesting textures on the ground.  Then the eye catches a glimpse of color off in the distance  which beckons on to explore the next visual delight to explore.  A beautifully woven horticultural textile retreat  high above the stress of the hectic world.

Grady lng view yellBut don’t be fooled… from my observations this is a tough challenging location… the shade, the heavy mesh of tree roots unseen which will greedily suck up the water needed to establish any new plant additions… let alone the fortitude and strength it takes be able to dig a hole though the tangle, worthy for any new plant addition! (especially at today’s dear prices) and hope for its survival.  Another challenge is defining paths  – there is quite an elevation change both front and back,  and the constant maintenance to tidy the leaves and pine needles before  the signs are put up and visitors welcomed  – is a task of patience only Zen Master gardener will rise above. Yet, this all looks so easy woven together.

We honor you dear gardeners for sharing your private spaces with us!

Pat, how long have you been gardening at this location?

29 years

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

Added shrubs and took out a few trees

Do you collect plants and if so what?

Anything for shade

Any favorite garden tools?

Rake

How much time do you spend working in your garden?

About 6 hours a day

What is your mulch preference?

Pine bark and pine straw

Anything new added to your garden?

Arbor in back yard

What is your first memory in a garden?

Living on the farm and having a row of zinnias and gladioli planted in my mom’s vegetable garden

What is it that got you started gardening?

Being outside

Grady Chair

Where do you go for inspiration?

Just take a walk in garden and visit other gardens

 Do you have a favorite Garden you’ve visited?

J C Raulston Arboretum

 Do you have a favorite Garden Magazine?

Carolina Gardner

 Who is your Horticultural Hero? Or Garden mentor?

Ann Clapp

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

Front porch

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

More gardens and paths

Do you have garden wisdom’ to share? 

Just work and enjoy

Grady Birdhouse benchPat & Perry Grady look forward to seeing you during ‘Open Days Tour’…  You’re more than welcome to try out all the chairs and benches and relax.

DSC00767Enjoy – living the  EntwinedLife

Jayme B

NC Certified Environmental Educator

Garden Conservancy Regional Representative

JC Raulston Arboretum Volunteer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

 


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!

DSC08265

Continue reading

A Sanctuary of Artful Agriculture

The Garden of artist Frances Alvarino Norwood and John Norwood in Raleigh, North Carolina is a romantic sanctuary of artful agriculture and passionate sustainability.

Jayme B:  How long have you been gardening at this location?

Frances has been gardening here for 28 years

What is your first memory in a garden?

Frances: a vegetable garden in Illinois when she was 4 years old

John: irises planted in one of the beds along the drive at my parent’s house – originally planted by my great grandmother.Norwood Hyd

What is it that got you started gardening?

Frances: it was an offshoot of her first job –working in a greenhouse growing holiday plants – she was a biology major

John: my parents had large vegetable and flower gardens.  It was just something you did.  I grew my first row of tomatoes when I was 10 and sold them to a neighborhood store

Do you have a favorite Garden Book?

Frances: Crockett’s Victory Garden

Where do you go for inspiration?

Frances: favorite garden magazine now is The English Garden – she reads many garden magazines and books

Do you collect plants and if so what?

We try lots of new plants, but its not really collecting

Anything new added to your garden?

We recently bought the lot next to us (1.5 acres) and are expanding the flower beds and adding a second vegetable garden.  Blueberries, figs, and raspberries are planned.

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

We don’t sit in the garden very often.  We mostly enjoy it as we work in it.  We do often stroll around the garden in the evening to look.  John’s office overlooks the front garden and pond – a nice view during the day.Norwood1

 Any favorite Garden tools?

Frances – a hand hoe (hack a hoe)

John – long handled hoe

 What is your mulch preference?

Old leaf mold

 How much time do you spend working in your garden?

We each spend 18 to 20 hours a week working in the garden

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

We really enjoy it as we work in it.  It is also fun to show it off each year at the Larkspur party (June 1 & 2 2013).

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

Frances would add a rill.  (small stream)

John would buy a bobcat loader and a tiller

Do you have garden wisdom’ to share? 

Frances: Money cannot buy good soil – you have to build it.  A sharp edge to the beds and lots of mulch will do wonders.

John: Plantings don’t always work out the way you expect.  Things are always in flux.  Plants will do what they want to do.  The best groupings are often serendipitous.  Just keep trying and don’t be afraid to move things around and try something new. Norwood2

 

Hemlocks stand sentry over our sanctuary. Drifts of self-seeding heirloom annuals, poppies, larkspur, salvia, and nigella highlight the winding, herbaceous borders of peonies, foxgloves, and roses with sweet pea intertwined. Peaceful, soft pastels, and swaths of varying foliage textures unify the main garden. Hidden around one corner is an intensive vegetable garden. Plantings of ferns, asarums, hellebores, and pulmonarias are tucked under dappled shade…  Frances Alvarino Norwood and John Norwood.

When Entwined Gardens were featured on the 2010 Garden Conservancy Tour,  Frances’ sculptures saved the day!

Enjoy – living the  EntwinedLife GCPosterSr

Jayme B

Garden Conservancy Regional Representative

JC Raulston Arboretum Volunteer

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

Peak Behind the Garden Gates –

Garden Conservancy Gardener Cecil J. Dykes is offering us a peak behind his garden gates…

Jayme B: What do you call your Garden?
CJ: English Garden-Woodland Paradise.

My gardens are 20 years old.  When I first moved to Raleigh in 1985 I lived in an Apt and had a small garden around my patio and many pots. Continue reading