Tag Archives: public gardens

Phlox And Other Delights

Monday at the North Carolina Botanical Garden (NCBG) my husband and I enjoyed one of our favorite plantings, a wildflower display of Packera aurea (Golden Ragwort) and Phlox divaricata (Eastern Blue Phlox). Both are eastern North American natives. He is partial to the Golden Ragwort while I prefer the phlox. Together they make a great display, much more vivid in person.

Packera aurea (Golden Ragwort) and Phlox divaricata (Eastern Blue Phlox)

Packera aurea (Golden Ragwort) and Phlox divaricata (Eastern Blue Phlox)

A couple of Eastern Blue Phlox are blooming in my own garden. They have been difficult to establish but this year they finally seem settled.

Growing at pbmGarden: Phlox divaricata (Eastern Blue Phlox)

Growing at pbmGarden: Phlox divaricata (Eastern Blue Phlox)

There were still plenty of Trillium and May-Apple, Spreading Jacob’s Ladder was fresh, sweet shrub looked and smelled delicious. At every turn was something new to admire. If you have time to linger, click an image below to start the slideshow.

Native Spring Ephemeral

Erythronium umbilicatum (Dimpled Trout-lily)

Erythronium umbilicatum (Dimpled Trout-lily)

A quick scouting expedition for early spring ephemerals on Saturday, February 27 proved rewarding for my husband and me.

Nodding bud of Erythronium umbilicatum (Dimpled Trout-lily)

Nodding bud of Erythronium umbilicatum (Dimpled Trout-lily)

Native to southeastern United States, Erythronium umbilicatum (Dimpled Trout-lily) is coming into flower at the North Carolina Botanical Garden in Chapel Hill.

 

Erythronium umbilicatum (Dimpled Trout-lily). Native to southeastern United States

Erythronium umbilicatum (Dimpled Trout-lily). Native to southeastern United States

Erythronium umbilicatum (Dimpled Trout-lily)

Erythronium umbilicatum (Dimpled Trout-lily)

Erythronium umbilicatum (Dimpled Trout-lily)

Erythronium umbilicatum (Dimpled Trout-lily)

Mid-February, Briefly Feeling Lucky

NC Botanical Garden

NC Botanical Garden

On Friday, to celebrate Darwin Day, my husband and I attended a lunchtime lecture entitled “The Evolution Of Biodiversity: History or Science” at the North Carolina Botanical Garden.

Charles Darwin, circa 1871, by Oscar Gustave Rejlander (1813-1875)

Charles Darwin, circa 1871, by Oscar Gustave Rejlander (1813-1875)

There were snow flurries during the talk but by the time we walked to the car only the cold remained.

We did not take time to explore the garden that day, but as we hurried back to the parking lot, we admired the light on the grasses fronting the parking spaces.

NC Botanical Garden

NC Botanical Garden

NC Botanical Garden

NC Botanical Garden

Upon returning home I noticed a camellia on the side of the house was blooming. It has been too cold. How is that possible? Well, the days are lengthening and, before it turned cold this week, it actually had been very warm.  Three flowers were open. Because of cold weather this camellia failed to bloom at all last winter. Tonight’s low is predicted to be 15°F.  Who is feeling lucky?

Camellia x 'Coral Delight'

Camellia x ‘Coral Delight’   Synonym: Camellia japonica x Camellia saluenensis

I have been taking this winter one day at a time. Even so, winter is passing by quickly. In a couple of weeks a friend and I will travel to Virginia for the hellebore festival at Pine Knot Farms.  Making plans around here in February is usually a sure-fire way to invite an ice storm into town, but definitely this year we are feeling lucky that we will make it.

Looking ahead, April is promising to be a great month. I already have tickets for some  Art In Bloom events at the North Carolina Museum of Art early in the month. The Chapel Hill Garden Club’s biennial spring garden tour takes place the last weekend in April, featuring seven private gardens. I am already signed up to be a garden guide at one of the gardens for the spring tour.

And, not everything special is a garden event. Also in April our daughter is coming to visit from the west coast.  March will be busy but I am feeling lucky.

Wordless Wednesday— White Clouds and Sunflowers

Scenes from North Carolina Botanical Garden in Chapel Hill yesterday.

White Clouds

I have always like pink muhly grass but how about this white form? Muhlenbergia capillaris ‘White Cloud’ (Hairgrass).

Muhlenbergia capillaris 'White Cloud' (Hairgrass)

Muhlenbergia capillaris 'White Cloud' (Hairgrass)

Muhlenbergia capillaris 'White Cloud' (Hairgrass)

Muhlenbergia capillaris 'White Cloud' (Hairgrass)

Muhlenbergia capillaris 'White Cloud' (Hairgrass)

 

Sunflowers

I think the darker yellow in the next photo is Swamp sunflower (Helianthus angustifolius). Not sure about the pale yellow flower.

Sunflowers at NCBG

 

Sunflowers at NCBG

Colonial Gardens

Lycoris radiata (spider lily)

Lycoris radiata (spider lily)

We spent a few days in colonial Williamsburg (restored 18th-century capital of colonial Virginia) this week and of course, I wanted to see the many gardens that sit nestled behind and beside the homes and shops in the historic district.

At one such spot a gardener was tidying and cutting back some of the spent flowers. She remarked a bit apologetically the gardens were not at their best, but rather were transitioning, caught at an in-between stage. Nonetheless, I felt the plantings offered plenty to enjoy. In that very garden was this red spectacle of a flower, which I think is Celosia cristata (Cockscomb), underplanted with white Gomphrena.

Colonial Garden In Late September

Colonial Garden In Late September

I was particularly delighted when we happened upon this next little garden at mid-morning.

Lycoris radiata (spider lily)

Lycoris radiata (spider lily)

Last year I planted 5 or 6 Lycoris radiata (spider lily) bulbs, but in early fall the foliage emerged without the plants having flowered. This year not even the foliage returned. My grandmother grew spider lilies and I always associate them fondly with her.

So to be able to lift the latch on the gate from the street and step into this sea of calm green and lively red was sheer indulgence.

Lycoris radiata (spider lily)

Lycoris radiata (spider lily)

My husband and I were alone in the small, quiet garden. Summer finally letting go, the air was cool and crisp, the sunlight soft and warm. Being here was a lovely, private morning meditation.

Lycoris radiata (spider lily)

Lycoris radiata (spider lily)

Lycoris radiata (spider lily)

Lycoris radiata (spider lily)

Further down the street at the Colonial Nursery’s eighteen century display garden and sales shop, these flowers were tucked into a back corner behind a small hedge. Colchicum, I believe.

Colchicum at the Colonial Nursery

Colchicum at the Colonial Nursery

Planted in an out-of-the-way place, they were an unexpected and charming discovery for wandering visitors.

Colchicum at the Colonial Nursery

Colchicum at the Colonial Nursery

Colchicum at the Colonial Nursery

Colchicum at the Colonial Nursery

Note: To learn more this Gardens Brochure is a good starting place. Colonial Williamsburg has information about the history and design of the gardens (use the menu on the left for viewing more garden topics).  In the Related Info section on the right-hand side there are more articles and slideshows.

A Wander Through A Riparian Urban Garden

 

Wyatt Visitors Pavilion Entrance - Cape Fear Botanical Garden

Wyatt Visitors Pavilion Entrance – Cape Fear Botanical Garden

On Easter weekend my husband and  travelled 70 miles south to Fayetteville, North Carolina, to visit two of my sisters. One sister volunteers at Cape Fear Botanical Garden and after a delicious lunch, she and I managed to escape for a couple of hours to tour the garden. It was my first time seeing it, though I had wanted to for a long time.

The tulips were beautiful the day we were there. A cheerful planting greeted us at the entrance to the visitors center. Once we had our tickets we emerged out the back of the center we immediately encountered more tulips. My sister is at the garden weekly and for some time had been admiring this lovely group.

Tulips

Tulips

Tulips

Tulips

Also just outside the visitor center door I had to stop to enjoy two copper-toned planters, on either side of the path, each holding a Japanese maple.

Planter behind Wyatt Visitors Pavilion

Planter behind Wyatt Visitors Pavilion

 

Planter behind Wyatt Visitors Pavilion - Looking toward Cypress pond

Planter behind Wyatt Visitors Pavilion – Looking toward Cypress pond

The brick path between the two planters (in the lower right above) led through an arbor where I was soon captivated by this little unfamiliar daffodil known as Narcissus ‘Hawera’ (Hawera Daffodil).

Narcissus 'Hawera' (Hawera Daffodil)

Narcissus ‘Hawera’ (Hawera Daffodil)

Fayetteville has an annual dogwood festival that was coming up and the dogwoods we saw this day were further along in bloom than mine back home. Dogwoods are understory plants that love the forest’s edge. They thrive under these loblolly pines.

Cornus florida (Flowering Dogwood)

Cornus florida (Flowering Dogwood)

The varied terrain of this 80-acre garden allows visitors to enjoy an open pine forest (quite typical of this region) that soon gives way to sandy paths and nature trails leading through hardwood forests and eventually sloping down to meet the Cape Fear River.

Preserved natural areas are home to indigenous plants and wildlife while the cultivated areas feature 2,000 varieties of ornamental plants.

The garden has extensive and well-known collections of daylilies, hostas and camellias. Actually it was the camellias I had especially wanted to see.

Due to a combination of illness and wintry weather I had missed attending the 69th Fayetteville Camellia Festival hosted in this garden a few weeks earlier. Luckily a good number of camellias were still in bloom at Easter, including this pale pink Camellia japonica ‘Magnoliaeflora.’

Camellia japonica ‘Magnoliaeflora’  1886

Camellia japonica ‘Magnoliaeflora’ 1886

In close proximity to the Camellia Garden sits the Children’s Garden featuring this oversized chair with a seat cushion of Clematis armandii (Evergreen Clematis).

Oversized chair in Lilliput Labyrinth Garden

Oversized chair in Lilliput Labyrinth Garden

Working our way back from the Camellia Garden we paused to admire a redbud along side the Cypress Pond and check out the frog fishing off the pier.

Redbud in bloom at Cypress pond

Redbud in bloom at Cypress pond

Eventually we came to a picturesque gazebo with red maples in the background.

Butler Gazebo - Cape Fear Botanical Garden

Butler Gazebo – Cape Fear Botanical Garden

Further along the path there were azaleas, rhododendron, viburnum and this attractive plant brightening the fence. Unfortunately I could not find a label for this one.

Bluff Garden and Cross Creek Overlook

Bluff Garden and Cross Creek Overlook

Bluff Garden and Cross Creek Overlook-2 Bluff Garden and Cross Creek Overlook

We did not have time to see the entirety of this botanical garden on that afternoon so we did not actually make it all the way down to the Cape Fear River. But this section is referred to as Bluff Garden and Cross Creek Overlook. It was quite restful and peaceful as we sat watching this view of Cross Creek and listening to the birds.

Bluff Garden and Cross Creek Overlook

Bluff Garden and Cross Creek Overlook

With time running out we retreated back toward the visitors center. First though we had one more stop to make.

Historic Eastern Carolina Farmhouse

Historic Eastern Carolina Farmhouse

The McCauley Heritage Garden features a furnished historic eastern Carolina farmhouse that was built in Eastover, Cumberland County in 1886 by Alexander Carter.  The house was relocated to CFBG on February 3, 1996. It really is a quintessential style house common to this area.

It is here that my sister hangs out when volunteering each week, guiding visitors through the farmhouse. Unfortunately no one was working the day we visited so I had to peek inside the window to catch a glimpse of the interior.

Historic Eastern Carolina Farmhouse

Historic Eastern Carolina Farmhouse

Historic Eastern Carolina Farmhouse

Historic Eastern Carolina Farmhouse

Interior - Historic Eastern Carolina Farmhouse

Interior – Historic Eastern Carolina Farmhouse

Also on display along with the farmhouse is a typical tobacco barn and a general store that was once operated by the Carter family.

Tobacco Barn

Tobacco Barn

General Store

General Store

General Store

General Store

In front of the farmhouse was an extensive kitchen garden with roses, nepeta and herbs. Raised beds in another portion of the heritage garden are used for growing flowers and vegetables, part of a gardening therapy program for war veterans returning to nearby Ft. Bragg.

McCauley Heritage Garden

McCauley Heritage Garden

The sandy path leading us back to the visitors center was lined with a beautiful forsythia hedge, much of which had already finished blooming for this year.

Sandy Path Along Forsythia Hedge

Sandy Path Along Forsythia Hedge

As we returned to the visitors center there were yet more tulips to admire. This was my favorite.

Tulips

Tulips

I really enjoyed finally getting to see the Cape Fear Botanical Garden first-hand. My sister made a wonderful guide and it was great to spend time with her. When we returned my other sister had managed to clean up the dinner dishes, package up several days worth of leftovers for us to take home, and she also had coffee and dessert waiting for us, a decadent chocolate pound cake. Good food, lovely garden, and loving sisters. It was a nice day.

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