Tag Archives: Sarah P. Duke Gardens

A Festival of Fabulous Mums

Chrysanthemum Show At Duke Gardens

Chrysanthemum Show At Duke Gardens

A bright spot from last week was a trip with friends to Duke Gardens in Durham, NC for a flower show entitled A Festival of Fabulous Mums.

This was the first year for the 4-day festival, which was presented jointly by Central Carolina Chrysanthemum Society and Duke Gardens. Open to the public with no admission charge, the event included cultural and historical information, growing tips and supporting activities (arts and crafts, games for children).

Chrysanthemum Show At Duke Gardens

Chrysanthemum Show At Duke Gardens

Chrysanthemums have been featured (or at least mentioned) on several blogs recently and from reading the posts and the comments it is clear, although some folks love them, these flowers seem to leave many people cold.

Easily available in at garden centers, big box stores and florists. perhaps they are viewed as ubiquitous or common, and of course, they are often used in funeral sprays.

That people carry such strong opinions about them made me more interested in seeing the show. As one might expect, however, these are not the potted mums one finds in the grocery store.

Chrysanthemum Show At Duke Gardens

Chrysanthemum Show At Duke Gardens

Enthusiastic members from the Chrysanthemum Society were on hand to offer gardening tips and answer questions.

Chrysanthemum Show At Duke Gardens

Chrysanthemum Show At Duke Gardens

The flowers were expertly presented. We attended on the last day of the festival so blooms were not all at their best, but most showed quite well. The range of sizes, shapes and colors were striking.

Chrysanthemum Show At Duke Gardens

Chrysanthemum Show At Duke Gardens

This mauve flower had it all.

Chrysanthemum Show At Duke Gardens

Chrysanthemum Show At Duke Gardens

Chrysanthemum Show At Duke Gardens

Chrysanthemum Show At Duke Gardens

A poster was on display in the room illustrating the flower show classes (categories).

Chrysanthemum Show At Duke Gardens

Chrysanthemum Show At Duke Gardens

The entries were not judged. Instead visitors were given a ticket at the door and encouraged to vote for their favorite by placing the ticket in the little boxes in front of each display.

Chrysanthemum Show At Duke Gardens

Chrysanthemum Show At Duke Gardens

Should I admit most fascinating were the flamboyant spoon, quill, brush and spidery chrysanthemums? I should have paid more attention to the plant varieties and flower classes— my camera became a distraction from this opportunity to learn more about the flowers themselves.

Chrysanthemum Show At Duke Gardens

Chrysanthemum Show At Duke Gardens

Chrysanthemum Show At Duke Gardens

Chrysanthemum Show At Duke Gardens

Chrysanthemum Show At Duke Gardens

Chrysanthemum Show At Duke Gardens

Chrysanthemum Show At Duke Gardens

Chrysanthemum Show At Duke Gardens

Chrysanthemum Show At Duke Gardens

Chrysanthemum Show At Duke Gardens

Society members also led tours of the William Louis Culberson Asiatic Arboretum, where more mums were on display in a serene garden setting. Passing on the guided tour we made our own way toward the Asiatic garden. We found the chrysanthemum garden display fairly sparse, the autumn blooming camellias were easily more stimulating.

Asiatic Arboretum, Duke Gardens

Asiatic Arboretum, Duke Gardens

Their spicy sweetness drifted through the air, inviting us to pause and enjoy.

Asiatic Arboretum, Duke Gardens

Asiatic Arboretum, Duke Gardens

Asiatic Arboretum, Duke Gardens

Asiatic Arboretum, Duke Gardens

I had not seen this part of the garden since its extensive renovation, but am already devising a return trip to explore it further.

Asiatic Arboretum, Duke Gardens

Asiatic Arboretum, Duke Gardens

Asiatic Arboretum, Duke Gardens

Asiatic Arboretum, Duke Gardens

Finally, making a rare blog appearance…
Susie At Duke Gardens

I wish you a happy weekend.

Wordless Wednesday—Gomphrena globosa

Sun-drenched mass planting of white Gomphrena globosa (globe amaranth) in the White Garden at Duke Gardens  yesterday.

White Garden At Duke Gardens

White Garden At Duke Gardens

My husband took the photograph of the bee.

White Gomphrena globosa (globe amaranth)

White Gomphrena globosa (globe amaranth).

White Garden At Duke Gardens

White Garden At Duke Gardens

White Garden At Duke Gardens

White Garden At Duke Gardens

White Garden At Duke Gardens

White Garden At Duke Gardens

Dahlia and Gomphrena

Dahlia and Gomphrena, White Garden At Duke Gardens

Late Summer At Duke Gardens

Colocasia (elephant ear), Duke Gardens

Colocasia (elephant ear), Duke Gardens

We visited Duke Gardens late Sunday morning. The light was bright for taking pictures, but I did anyway. The terrace gardens were packed with interesting plants, some flowering, some not, and the Colocasia (elephant ear) were especially wonderful.

Colocasia (elephant ear), Duke Gardens

Colocasia (elephant ear), Duke Gardens

Colocasia (elephant ear), Duke Gardens

Colocasia (elephant ear), Duke Gardens

Colocasia (elephant ear), Duke Gardens

Colocasia (elephant ear), Duke Gardens

Colocasia (elephant ear), Duke Gardens

Colocasia (elephant ear), Duke Gardens

Colocasia (elephant ear), Duke Gardens

Colocasia (elephant ear), Duke Gardens

Colocasia (elephant ear), Duke Gardens

Colocasia (elephant ear), Duke Gardens

Colocasia (elephant ear), Duke Gardens

Colocasia (elephant ear), Duke Gardens

Colocasia (elephant ear), Duke Gardens

Colocasia (elephant ear), Duke Gardens

These Caladium were lovely as well.

Caladium

Caladium at Duke Gardens

There were lots of zinnias interplanted with foliage plants for contrast, a fancy Echinacea ‘Southern Belle’ and a beautiful purple Clematis(?) for which I could not find a label.

Zinnia

Zinnia

Echinacea 'Southern Belle'

Echinacea ‘Southern Belle’

Duke Gardens

Duke Gardens

Duke Gardens

Duke Gardens

Off to one side a hedge of Aucuba had lovely patterns in the leaves.

Aucuba - Duke Gardens

Aucuba – Duke Gardens

Aucuba - Duke Gardens

Aucuba – Duke Gardens

(I think I have an answer to this question now. See below) Does anyone know what this plant is on the left? I like the cool pods and can imagine using them in an arrangement.

Terrace Plantings - Duke Gardens

Terrace Plantings – Duke Gardens

Interesting pod at Duke Garden

Interesting pod at Duke Garden

Interesting pod at Duke Garden

Interesting pod at Duke Garden

_______

Update: The pod source is Datura metel ‘ Double Purple’ – Devil’s Trumpet. Christina’s comment made me take a second look at a photo of the planting placard from that border.  This one was in bloom in a different border (so may not be ‘Double Purple’), but matches the plant in question.

Datura metel ' Double Purple' - Devil's Trumpet, Duke Gardens

Datura metel ‘ Double Purple’ – Devil’s Trumpet, Duke Gardens

_______

Passing through the rose garden as we were leaving I was taken with the color and fragrance of this rose. Each flower had subtle color variations, some more subdued than others.

Rosa 'WEKcobeju' Cinco De Mayo TM Floribunda, 2007

Rosa ‘WEKcobeju’ Cinco De Mayo TM Floribunda, 2007

Rosa 'WEKcobeju' Cinco De Mayo TM Floribunda, 2007

Rosa ‘WEKcobeju’ Cinco De Mayo TM Floribunda, 2007

Rosa 'WEKcobeju' Cinco De Mayo TM Floribunda, 2007

Rosa ‘WEKcobeju’ Cinco De Mayo TM Floribunda, 2007

Rosa 'WEKcobeju' Cinco De Mayo TM Floribunda, 2007

Rosa ‘WEKcobeju’ Cinco De Mayo TM Floribunda, 2007

Oh, and we finally found the bird shelter. Before entering the terraced garden we had made a point to search for it and to stop there awhile. Cardinals, nuthatches and chickadees flitted in and out while we sat high in the trees. We also saw a pair of woodpeckers and possibly a brown thrasher.

Duke Garden- View From Bird Shelter

Duke Garden- View From Bird Shelter

The garden covers many acres and we saw just a small fraction this day. It is always a delightful place to spend some time.

 

Gardens, Birds and Friends

Great Blue Heron, Sarah P. Duke Gardens

Great Blue Heron, Sarah P. Duke Gardens

My husband and I had the good fortune to host a quick visit from Christina and her husband this week and it was such a great experience.

The weather was more than a bit challenging, as we are in the middle of a serious heat wave. Maximum temperature records are flying out the window, including here in the Piedmont area where we live. The average temperature at this time of year is 85°F (29.4°C); however, yesterday was a sunny, hot, humid 100°F (37.7°C) day.

Our guests were real troopers as we tried to catch some of the garden highlights in this area. We started humbly with a look around pbmGarden. The meditation circle, Christina said, is what first drew her to my blog, so it was a treat to see her and her husband navigating the labyrinth.

Meditation Circle

Meditation Circle

Next up we toured Duke Gardens in Durham and though we did not cover all 55 acres, we managed to see quite a lot of the specialized gardens. Christina’s husband was quite interested in seeing North American birds and were able to spot American robin, red-bellied woodpecker, Eastern bluebird, brown thrasher, crow and blue jay, among others. An Eastern towhee was audible but never stepped out where we could spot it.

While cooling off at water’s edge we encountered a variety of ducks, watched a family of Canada geese and admired a stately Great Blue Heron. All the birds seemed eager to pose.

Great Blue Heron

Great Blue Heron

Muscovy Duck

Muscovy Duck and Canada Geese

Across the water in the distance we could see a focal point of the Asiatic Arboretum, a red Japanese-style arched bridge, which we later crossed.

The Red Bridge, Sarah P. Duke Gardens

The Red Bridge, Sarah P. Duke Gardens

The White Garden showcased beautiful hydrangeas.

White Garden, Sarah P. Duke Gardens

White Garden, Sarah P. Duke Gardens

As time ran short we had to scrap plans for Niche Gardens, a retail nursery for native and unusual plants. But before it closed for the day we managed a brief stop at nearby North Carolina Botanical Garden, where we saw a sampling of milkweeds, ferns (including southern maidenhair), carnivorous plants and trumpet vines. We admired the enormous leaves of  Magnolia macrophylla (Big-leaf Magnolia), a staff member explained to us about vining spinach that grows all summer and Christina was able to get a close-up look at a bee-covered Vitex angus-castus tree. Our bird list for the day grew to include American goldfinch and mourning dove.

There were a thousand more places I wanted to share and a thousand more things to say, but all too soon it was time to say good-bye. Thanks Christina for stopping in.

 

 

A Winter Walk

An early afternoon walk today at Duke Gardens was invigorating. The air was chilly in the shade but in the open sun the day felt fine.

A long row of Edgeworthia Chrysantha (Chinese Paper Bush) made a striking winter accent at the base of the terraced gardens.

Edgeworthia Chrysantha (Chinese Paper Bush)

Edgeworthia Chrysantha (Chinese Paper Bush)

 

Edgeworthia Chrysantha (Chinese Paper Bush)

Edgeworthia Chrysantha (Chinese Paper Bush)

Specimens in pots near the visitor’s center held more Edgeworthia, one of which sported a couple of flowers just beginning to open.

Edgeworthia Chrysantha (Chinese Paper Bush)

Edgeworthia Chrysantha (Chinese Paper Bush)

The state’s warm spell from earlier in the week teased a few buds into bloom on a Prunus subhirtella ‘Autumnalis’ (Autumn Higan Cherry), offering a spirit-lifting glimpse at the promise of spring.

Prunus subhirtella 'Autumnalis' Autumn Higan Cherry

Prunus subhirtella ‘Autumnalis’ Autumn Higan Cherry