Tag Archives: favorite gardens

A Favorite Garden—Ladew Topiary Gardens, Part 2

At 2:00 a.m. this morning I found myself absorbed in recording a May 2008 visit with my sister to Ladew Topiary Gardens. So I could get a few hours sleep, I paused overnight in the Yellow Garden (see A Favorite Garden—Ladew Topiary Gardens, Part  1). Now I am anxious to show you the rest of what we saw that lovely spring day.

In this section of the garden, the Yellow Garden, there is an iron arched tunnel covered with Laburnum and our late May visit was perfectly timed so we could admire the golden panicles as we passed underneath.

Yellow Garden. In late May an arched  tunnel is dripping with yellow Laburnum

Yellow Garden. In late May an arched tunnel is dripping with yellow Laburnum

Soon we encountered the Tivoli Tea House and Garden. The Tea House was fabricated using material that once was the Tivoli Theatre’s box office facade in London. Sadly I did not get pictures of the building except as it happened to be near these flowers.

Edge of Tivoli Tea House

Edge of Tivoli Tea House

What really stood out to me in this area was the hillside below of peonies just beginning to flower. I wanted to camp out and wait to see the entire slope in full bloom.

Peonies near Tea House

Peonies near Tea House

We moved on toward the Sculpture Garden, but actually it was about here we were both tiring. My sister found a shady spot to rest while I peeked into just a few more places.

Style is such a personal thing. While I am not a big fan of whimsy in the garden, I recognize it has its place. This is a topiary garden after all and Mr. Ladew was apparently a witty person. He bought the property for fox hunting originally and near the house stands a huge topiary hunting scene (sorry, I did not get a photo of that).

In the Sculpture Garden there were lots of animal forms. On the left is a victory sign and in center is a heart and arrow. Walking around in this area one can also find Churchill’s top hat.

Sculpture Garden Topiaries

Sculpture Garden Topiaries

Sculpture Garden Topiaries

Sculpture Garden Topiaries

My favorite topiary at Ladew was a collection of swans. The yew hedge was shaped to form waves for these creatures and the hedge itself surrounds an oval pool (originally a swimming pool). This 2-acre area is known as The Great Bowl and now in summer it serves as a venue for outdoor concerts.

Topiary Swan

Topiary Swan

Topiary Swans and Waves

The Great Bowl With Swan Topiary in Background

The Great Bowl With Swan Topiary in Background

I will also mention another interesting use of topiary is found nearer the house in the Terrace Garden. My sister and I had passed by this scene at some point earlier. I admired the Canadian hemlock hedges in the Terrace Garden with windows cut into them and garlands draping above.

Original Canadian Hemlock of Terrace Garden

Original Canadian Hemlock of Terrace Garden

I knew my sister was waiting for me, but before I could leave Ladew I had to see the Iris Garden with over 60 iris varieties. She was very patient with me as I tried to take it all in.

The Iris Garden

The Iris Garden

 

The Iris Garden

The Iris Garden

The Iris Garden

The Iris Garden

The Iris Garden

The Iris Garden

The Iris Garden-5 The Iris Garden-6

It probably was here at Ladew I first saw such a rich darkly colored Iris. I cannot recall if most of the plants were labelled. I think so but made a point to learn this one’s name: Iris ‘Hello Darkness’.

Iris 'Hello Darkness' (Bearded Iris) in The Iris Garden

Iris ‘Hello Darkness’ (Bearded Iris) in The Iris Garden

Apparently designed as a lean, Tibetan Buddha I read on the Ladew website this taxus buddha in the Iris Garden is on a diet. Timidity in pruning had allowed his girth to increase. In 2011 the gardeners began a more aggressive program to streamline his shape.

Buddha in The Iris Garden

Buddha in The Iris Garden

Buddha in The Iris Garden

Buddha in The Iris Garden

After seeing the Iris Garden I reconnected with my sister. By then we were exhausted and hungry. Plans for a cafe at Ladew were not yet realized in 2008, but someone at the house gave us directions to a nearby, local establishment for fine dining. We lingered over our food, relaxing and chatting before making the drive back home.

I would love to return to this garden someday to see the rest. It was a fine mixture of long views of the estate balanced with private niches and careful details. Not bad at all for a self-trained gardener Mr. Ladew!

Ladew Topiary Gardens

Ladew Topiary Gardens

Ladew Topiary Gardens

Ladew Topiary Gardens

A Favorite Garden—Ladew Topiary Gardens, Part 1

Thanks for the many good wishes as I marked my fourth blogging anniversary this week with thoughts on garden regeneration.  I promise not to relive my entire blog history, but coincidentally tonight I was reminded of my second pbmGarden blog post, in which I listed some favorite public gardens.

Ladew Topiary Gardens - May 2008

Ladew Topiary Gardens – May 2008

I came across that article because I decided to share some photographs from a long-ago day spent in one of those special gardens. During a weekend stay with my youngest sister back in late May 2008, she arranged for us to drive from her then home south of Baltimore, through the scenic roads in beautiful horse country, to visit Ladew Topiary Gardens in Monkton, Maryland.

Ladew is the legacy of Harvey S. Ladew (1887-1976), who envisioned and created a magnificent garden on part of his 250-acre property. Later through his efforts to preserve his masterpiece and provide for its longterm maintenance, Ladew Topiary Gardens opened to the public in 1971.

Upon our arrival first we toured the Manor House. (This view is actually approaching the back of the house as we neared the end of our day at Ladew.)

Back of Manor House

Back of Manor House With Wildflower Meadow

The home was quite interesting, but Ladew really became a favorite place of mine once we began exploring its 22 acres of gardens, comprised of 15 themed garden rooms.

We began our self-guided tour by heading up the stone path through the Woodland Garden, just as others visitors were returning.

Woodland Garden

Woodland Garden

We soon entered the Victorian Garden with it colorful walls of rhododendron. Inside were elaborately carved concrete table and chairs.

Rhododendron Wall In Victorian Garden

Rhododendron Wall In Victorian Garden

Carved Concrete Table and Chairs in Victorian Garden

Carved Concrete Table and Chairs in Victorian Garden

Moving on to the Croquet Court, the first views of the Siberian irises took my breath away.

Croquet Court at Ladew Topiary Gardens

Croquet Court at Ladew Topiary Gardens

Croquet Court at Ladew Topiary Gardens

Croquet Court at Ladew Topiary Gardens

There was also a Pink Garden, a Rose Garden and then a Garden of Eden with apple trees. This room featured a statue of Adam and Eve, with Adam already holding an apple behind his back as Eve offers one to him. I laughed at the quotation on the entrance steps that read

If you would be happy for a week take a wife;
if you would be happy for a month kill your pig
but if you would be happy all your life, plant a garden.
Ancient Chinese proverb

Proverb at Entrance to Garden of Eden

Proverb at Entrance to Garden of Eden

Proverb at Entrance to Garden of Eden

Proverb at Entrance to Garden of Eden

Across from Adam and Eve, the circular Keyhole Garden is entered through a keyhole shape carved into the yew hedge.

Keyhole Garden

Keyhole Garden

Ladew has beautiful vistas in every direction visible from within the garden rooms.

Looking Out From Inside Keyhole Garden

Looking Out From Inside Keyhole Garden

Next is a Water Lily Garden, followed by perhaps my favorite of all, the Yellow Garden. It has gotten late so I will let you look around the Yellow Garden now and save a few other highlights (including topiaries) for another time. Hope you have enjoyed this garden so far.

Entering the Yellow Garden

Entering the Yellow Garden

 

Yellow Garden

Yellow Garden

Yellow Garden

Yellow Garden

Yellow Garden

Yellow Garden–Isn’t this lovely? (The hedge is golden privet.)

Yellow Garden

Yellow Garden

Yellow Garden

Yellow Garden

Yellow Garden. In late May an arched tunnel is dripping with yellow Laburnum

Paeonia suffruticosa (Tree Peony) in The Yellow Garden

Paeonia suffruticosa (Tree Peony) in The Yellow Garden

Celebrating Spring

Duke Gardens

Duke Gardens

To celebrate the first day of Spring yesterday, we went headed to nearby Durham. First we viewed a photography exhibit at the Nasher Museum of Art on the Duke campus and enjoyed lunch at the museum cafe. Next we went to see early spring flowers in the Italianate-styled terraces of the Sarah P. Duke Gardens.

The beds here are planted with annuals and bulbs. Last year when we visited these gardens the tulips were just past their prime and this year we were early. Still there were many pleasures to behold whether looking close-up at the plants or taking in the long views.

Duke Gardens

Duke Gardens

Duke Gardens

Duke Gardens

Duke Gardens

Duke Gardens

The day was partly cloudy and I felt a bit cool, that is until we met a woman from Indiana who told us she had left home the previous day in 9°F. weather. She and her daughter were wondering the name of these eye-catching blooms. I had admired this plant earlier and was able to identify it as Anemone (Anemone coronaria ‘Lord Lieutenant’).

Anemone coronaria 'Lord Lieutenant'

Anemone coronaria ‘Lord Lieutenant’

Anemone coronaria 'Lord Lieutenant'

Anemone coronaria ‘Lord Lieutenant’

Anemone ‘Rosea’ (Windflower) was also striking.

Anemone 'Rosea' (Windflower)-Duke Gardens

Anemone ‘Rosea’ (Windflower)-Duke Gardens

Anemone 'Rosea' (Windflower)-Duke Gardens

Anemone ‘Rosea’ (Windflower)-Duke Gardens

At the bottom of the terraces is the fish pond, a favorite spot of small children and and grown-ups alike. To the right of the pond was a wonderful Witch-hazel.

Working our way back up the terraces, one planting I particularly admired was this mix of daffodils and orange tulips.

Tulips and Daffoidls-Duke Gardens

Tulips and Daffoidls-Duke Gardens

Daffodil-Duke Gardens

Daffodil-Duke Gardens

Tulip-Duke Gardens

Tulip-Duke Gardens

There were many Erysimum (Wallflowers) interspersed with tulips in the beds. Since most tulips were not open we will have to return to see the full effect. One combination of Erysimum with a salmon-pink Hyacinth was lovely.

Erysimum 'Jenny Brook' (Wallflower)-Duke Gardens

Erysimum ‘Jenny Brook’ (Wallflower)-Duke Gardens

Wallflower and Hyacinth-Duke Gardens

Wallflower and Hyacinth-Duke Gardens

Hyacinth-Duke Gardens

Hyacinth-Duke Gardens

Sweet William is an old-fashioned flower that I just love.

Sweet William and Tulip-Duke Gardens

Sweet William and Tulip-Duke Gardens

These were pretty flowers but I must have been distracted before locating the plant label. Anyone know what they are? [Update: Thanks to both Cathy and Malc for the quick ID of these. This is Bellis perennis, a perennial lawn daisy.]

Duke Gardens

Duke Gardens

Duke Gardens

Duke Gardens

I imagine it might be April before the Wisteria Pergoda at the top of the terraces blooms. Another reason to visit this garden again.

Wisteria-covered Pergola-Duke Gardens

Wisteria-covered Pergola-Duke Gardens

Our spring celebration continued last night at North Carolina Botanical Garden Director Peter White’s presentation of the natural history of Robert Frost’s poetry. Robert Frost visited Chapel Hill for many years to give readings in celebration of spring and walked the woods here. His knowledge of plants is evident in his poetry as White illustrated during his talk.

An Arboretum In Winter

On the last day of 2012 my husband and I visited one of our favorite gardens and a local treasure, the ten-acre JC Raulston Arboretum in nearby Raleigh.

After many gray and rainy days we were ready to be outside. Though blue sky is visible in this picture, the day was mostly overcast and the temperature around 47F made for a chilly walk. Initially the garden seemed more stark than I had expected, yet there were many interesting discoveries as we strolled along.

Winter View At JC Raulston Arboretum

Winter View At JC Raulston Arboretum With Columnar English Oak And Variegated London Planetree

Founded in 1976 by the late J. C. Raulston, Ph.D., the garden is part of the Department of Horticultural Science at NC State University. As described on its website “the Arboretum is primarily a working research and teaching garden that focuses on the evaluation, selection and display of plant material gathered from around the world. Plants especially adapted to Piedmont North Carolina conditions are identified in an effort to find better plants for southern landscapes.”

One benefit of walking through this arboretum is that plants are usually well-labelled. On our way toward the Winter Garden we encountered an interesting specimen. A plaque indicated this Quercus robur f. fastigiata (Columnar English Oak) was the first tree Dr. Raulston planted at the arboretum and it is now over 50 feet tall. The layout of the arboretum has been redesigned over the years, but the tree stands at what was the original entrance to the garden.

Quercus robur f. fastigiata (Columnar English Oak)

Quercus robur f. fastigiata (Columnar English Oak)

The oak is still holding its brown autumn leaves. “Unlike many fastigiate (upright) tree selections, this form of English oak was found growing wild in a forest in Germany and was propagated by grafting in 1783. Most acorns from the tree will form columnar trees.

Just to the right of the English oak is a Platanus x hispanica ‘Suttneri’ (variegated London planetree) with its showy white bark.

Platanus x hispanica 'Suttneri' (variegated London planetree)

Platanus x hispanica ‘Suttneri’ (variegated London planetree)

A closeup look at a lower branch of the London planetree reveals the patchy greenish-gray variations and interesting bark texture.

Branch - variegated London planetree

Branch – variegated London planetree

Among the many blooming plants we encountered were Edgeworthia, many different kinds of Camellia and Japanese Flowering Apricot, Quince, Snow drops and Hellebores. A special delight was the Iris unguicularis (winter flowering iris) tucked underneath a shrub. (The Edgeworthia nor any of the plants looked as unfocused in real life as some of these images suggest! Click on an image for larger images in a gallery view.)

The Winter Garden was brightened by the use of yellow in the form of Mahonia flowers, berries (yellow-berry Chinese holly) and the variegated leaves of Golden Spangles camellia.

Winter Garden Entrance

Winter Garden Entrance

Click on an image for larger images in a gallery view.

We saw just a fraction of the Arboretum on this trip, but having visited there many times we knew the Winter Garden was an appropriate section to explore that day. Heading toward the exit we passed again the weeping forms that greeted us upon our arrival near the new entrance. The trees here are marvelous in other seasons but winter highlights their framework.

Taxodium distichum ‘Cascade Falls’ (weeping bald cypress)

Taxodium distichum ‘Cascade Falls’ (weeping bald cypress)

Albizia julibrissin 'Ishii Weeping' (weeping mimosa)

Albizia julibrissin ‘Ishii Weeping’ (weeping mimosa)

Cercis canadensis var. texensis 'Traveller' (weeping Texas redbud)

Cercis canadensis var. texensis ‘Traveller’ (weeping Texas redbud)

Autumn Scenes And Miscellany

I wanted to share a few more details from a recent walk, the day after Thanksgiving, on the nearby UNC Chapel Hill campus.

Native to eastern United States, this Fagus grandifolia var. caroliniana (American Beech) will keep its leaves until spring. The bark of this tree is heavily scarred from numerous inscription carvings.

Fagus grandifolia var. caroliniana (American Beech)-Coker Arboretum

A squirrel sat in front of a large burl on a Catalpa waiting for me to pass. Catalpa speciosa (Northern Catalpa) is native to central United States. Its fruit is a long cigar-shaped pod about 8-15 inches and a common name for this tree is cigar tree.

Squirrel In Catalpa speciosa (Northern Catalpa)

A London Connection

For eighty years London’s Westminster clock tower (Big Ben) was home to three sculptures that are now installed on the south exterior wall of Person Hall on the UNC Chapel Hill campus. In 1933 two gargoyles and a statue of Stephen Langton, 13th century Archbishop of Canterbury, were being removed due to weather corrosion when they were noticed and subsequently acquired for UNC by Katherine Pendleton Arrington.

Big Ben Gargoyle, installed at Person Hall, UNC Chapel Hill

Gargoyle at Person Hall

Statue of Stephen Langton, 13th century Archbishop of Canterbury, Person Hall, UNC Chapel HIll

Person Hall is used now for practice studios for the Music Department, but originally served students as a chapel. When the statues were first added here the building was an art museum. The statues overlook a small garden and bench. Read more about this London connection.

Statue of Stephen Langton, 13th century Archbishop of Canterbury, Person Hall, UNC Chapel HIll

Davie Poplar

The University is 219 years old but one of its famous landmarks is estimated to be 300-375 years old. Davie Poplar is a Liriodendron tulipifera (tulip poplar) and was named after Revolutionary War General, William R. Davie.

The tree was damaged by Hurricane Fran in 1996, but there is a grafting from 1918, known as Davie Poplar Jr., as well as a Davie Poplar III, planted from a seed from the original tree.

UNC’s Davie Poplar, center. Liriodendron tulipifera (Tulip Poplar)

Autumn At Last

A final image from our post-Thanksgiving campus walk shows shelf mushrooms at the base of another large tree—interesting to see but apparently a sign the tree is in serious decay.

Shelf Mushroom, McCorkle Place

The lawn and sidewalks of the McCorkle Place were covered in multicolored leaves on this day. Someone will gather them up soon, no doubt, but our walk was made much more exciting by hearing the heavy rustle of leaves underfoot. It did seem like autumn at last.

November Walk On Campus

Yesterday was Garden Bloggers Foliage Day (GBFD) over at Christina’s which always highlights some interesting leaf, texture and color combinations that can carry the garden year-round. Busy with Thanksgiving and finding my own foliage pretty unremarkable this month, I did not prepare a GBFD entry this time, but today during a morning walk that included a visit to Coker Arboretum, I had a second chance to concentrate on autumn foliage.

Coker Arboretum

Just five and a half miles away, Coker Arboretum is a five-acre treasure on the campus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (my alma mater). It dates back to 1903 when UNC’s first Botany professor, Dr. William Coker, began creating an outdoor lab to study native trees and shrubs. During the 1920s through the 1940s Dr. Coker extended the scope of the garden to include East Asian species, which correspond closely to many plants in North Carolina.

In spring there are beautiful displays of daffodils, in early fall, red spider lilies. Today the majestic trees dominated the landscape, including numerous conifers and magnolias, American beech, Northern catalpa, American Elm, Japanese Maple, pond-cypress and bald-cypress.

Taxodium distichum (Bald Cypress)

This morning a pair of Ginkgos were especially colorful.

Ginkgos At Coker Arboretum

Fallen leaves from the Ginkgos covered the lawn, pathway and the bench too. When school is in session someone is nearly always sitting and reading on the teak benches that are scattered throughout the arboretum.

Carpet of Ginkgo Leaves

The slender tree in front in the picture above is a western Florida native, Magnolia ashei (Ashe’s Magnolia).The USDA plants profile lists this deciduous magnolia as endangered.

Magnolia ashei (Ashe’s Magnolia)-western Florida

Firmiana simplex (Chinese Parasol-tree) is fascinating in any season, but today the white bark seemed very stark.

Firmiana simplex (Chinese Parasol-tree)

Chinese Parasol leaves form dense shade in the summer. This tree is listed as invasive in some states, but not here as far as I could determine. Coker Arboretum now is now under the management of the North Carolina Botanical Garden (NCBG), whose staff is well qualified to evaluate this and all the plantings here.

Huge leaves of Firmiana simplex (Chinese Parasol-tree)

Coker Arboretum’s collection is extensive and there are many more interesting trees and shrubs to share. This final scene for today shows the bright red blossoms of Camellia sasanqua.

Camellia sasanqua

Foliage Studies

A couple of weeks ago I enjoyed a leisurely morning walk at Duke Gardens.

That day there were many beautiful flowers in bloom, both annuals and perennials, but flowers are only part of what makes that garden so interesting and memorable. There I found stunning foliage combinations that seemed worth remembering in detail. As a follow-up to yesterday’s Garden Bloggers Foliage Day, I selected a group of images from my visit to Duke Gardens that day that highlights some attractive foliage in that garden.

Others scenes from that Duke Garden walk were posted in Morning Walk At Duke Gardens and Color And Texture — Inspirations.