Open Days Program—For the Love of Gardening

For the Love of  Gardening— The Thompson Garden by Kathleen Thompson.

The beauty of this suburban garden begins at street side where a path beckons you to enter and enjoy a preview of the abundant plantings that follow. The front garden is a delight of shrubs and perennials showcasing a spectacular thread-leaf Japanese maple. Upon entering the brick walkway at the arbor, you view a gently sloping garden with curved borders and pathways outlined with recycled concrete.  Beds, with ever-shrinking lawn areas, are richly planted with perennials featuring a mix of native and specialty plants including tropicals, all in perfect harmony in both shade and sun. A number of the plants are rare and unusual, collected and propagated at the J.C. Raulston Arboretum. A small pond can be found along the network of twisting trails that lead through the woods to a community lake. Each area of this garden will elicit a sense of serendipity and discovery of plants, woods, and water.

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Welcoming Vignettes – The Thompson Garden

Walt and I started designing this garden even before we designed and built the house over 25 years ago. Our style is Southern Informal, our goal was to design a garden utilizing the best characteristics of the slope of our land. Continue reading

Open Days Progam – Passion for Plants

Passionate about plants!

Passionate about plants!

This one-acre gem—of a passionate collector’s garden—was begun 22 years ago.

Beth & Juan are the ultimate volunteers… artists and entertainers… I am honored to have them as my friends!

They invite you to visit their Wake Forest Garden.

 

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.

Star Magnolia

Strolling thru the JC Raulston Arboretum last Monday… I was drawn in by the warmth (70 plus degrees) — fragrance permeating the air.

As a gardener I find myself looking down more often than up, but my eyes scanned the Carolina Blue Sky in search of the source of the wafting vapor of scent.

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Magnolia stellata or Star Magnolia. A small tree 10-15 ft tall and 10-12 ft wide – a lovely addition to a small landscape or winter border – hardy zones 4-8.

But today it was all eyes skyward!

DSC01820The swelling buds of Magnolia stellata “Waterfall” — resembling fuzzy pussy toes – so delightful!

The softest blued pinks of the delicate unfurled petals — charming.

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The thick buds of ‘Scented Silver’  were starting to burst forward– it’s sweet scent luring me closer.

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By Wednesday all the buds had opened.

Yet with cold winds blowing in, I knew I was lucky to have captured the show… as they say “Here to day, gone tomorrow.”

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? 

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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