Bzzzz March 10th, 2010

Does anyone do hospitality better than Southerners?¬†Perhaps. But I can’t think of who right now because last week I was in Davidson, NC, speaking at the Davidson Horticultural Symposium where the members of the Davidson Garden Club rolled out the red carpet. It’s very fresh in my mind. And, oh my!

I was there as one of the guest speakers talking about the “Artful Vegetable Garden”—once again riding my hobby horse about how edible gardens don’t have to be utilitarian looking. I rubbed elbows with fellow speakers Allan Armitage, W. Gary Smith , ¬†William Welch and Pamela Baggett. The Davidson Garden Club members arranged for our transportation and accommodations, flowers in our rooms and for our lapels, escorts to make sure we didn’t get lost, fabulous dinners and lunches and one very special garden tour.

The garden surrounds the Italian Renaissance-style home of a private couple who have created a very approachable and walkable garden on acres of protected land in Davidson. A pathway circles the perimeter of the house and is planted with fabulous specimens that are evident even in the still-chilly weather of early March.

Careful attention to plant selection, artful creation of pathways to give long views of garden sculptures, creative use of elements for a rustic touch and even mossy paths, contributed unasked, courtesy of Mother Nature, made this a fabulous and memorable garden walk.

You can see more of the garden here.

I appreciate my new friends in Davidson and their fabulous Southern hospitality. Thank you!

Posted In: Garden Design, Gardening, Travel

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Bzzzz January 25th, 2009

A couple of years ago I managed to get organized enough to photograph my potager through several months. The changes from month to month documented in the photos were a bit like watching some low-tech, time-lapse photography. I enjoy looking at the changes as long as I try not to think about the fact that I’ve gotten older between each shot.

Here’s another low-tech time lapse. It seems that time is passing even faster than month to month. We’re skipping from season to season now.

This was part of our backyard in May. I know it’s May even without looking at the photo file information because the Lady Banks rose is in full bloom.

This monster rose only blooms in May, when it is covered with tiny yellow roses. The rest of the year it spends plotting world domination. The only reason it hasn’t grown over into your back yard is that I hack at it regularly with great big pruners.

The two trees are Zelkovas, a close relative of the American elm. Zelkovas are fast growers and have proven to be resistant to Dutch elm disease. They were the first things that I planted when we built the house eight years ago.

Although they were as spindly as any newly-planted tree when they first were plunked into the ground, they grew quickly. Now, they provide shade in the heat of the day, so that even in the summer months it is tolerable to sit outside in the Adirondack chairs.

The Zelkovas also provide beautiful color in the fall. They put on quite a brilliant show and are among the last of the trees to lose their leaves.

Oops, there go another few months.

Now here it is winter and this is the backyard in January. It was about four degrees outside the other morning when I went to let the chickens out and snapped this photo.

This weekend I’m huddled inside, looking at seed catalogs and thinking about another year in the garden. I’ll have another year of gardening experience under my belt, more entries into my garden journal and a few good stories to tell from 2008.

I’ll try not to fret about the birthday coming up that ends in the number nine or the fact that my son, Ben, won’t see the end of the summer garden because he’ll be off to college by then.

The passing of time is inevitable. But I will try to remember it can be beautiful and rewarding too.

Posted In: Gardening, Gardening Life

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