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 June 17th, 2009

When I was in my 20s, I imagined a glamorous career that took me to big cities and beautiful places. I wanted to experience the world via planes, trains and automobiles, rub elbows with famous people and dine at chic restaurants, clinking glasses with witty and interesting people.

That’s not exactly how it worked out. Oh, there is plenty of travel. But as you know, travel isn’t all that glamorous anymore.

Airports are among the most unhealthy places in the country, over-crowded by hurried and often distraught travelers, abysmal, heart-attack-inspiring food, mind-numbing delays and nowhere to sit. Big-city cabs are atrocities on wheels. They smell terrible and there is always a spring in the seat sticking up into my bum. More than once I have questioned my good judgment for getting into a car with one of these dangerous and dangerous-looking men.

A good hotel can be a small oasis of sanity, but it’s still a hotel. And you don’t get to pick your neighbors. How many amorous couples, giggling girls and drunken good-old-boys have I had to share a wall with? Yes, I am the kill-joy who knocks on the door at 2 a.m. and explains that she has to get up at 5:30 a.m. for work.

To travel, I must also leave the serenity and quiet of my country home. I have put the care of my little dogs and pet chickens and the watering of my fragile container plants in the hands of my husband and son. God only knows what devastation occurs while I’m gone and gets tidied up before I find out about it.

And while I’m enduring airline delays and munching on stale sandwiches with the other weary travelers, I always think about what I’m missing at home—tons of vegetables that should be picked, weeds plotting world domination, flowers blooming  and fading. There are also the peaceful surroundings and views, such as this serendipitous view through the garden gate. (Don’t these two mourning doves look like they were sent from central casting and told to look like lovebirds?)

Mourning doves prettily perch on the garden bench. They kindly waited while I snapped their photo.

Mourning doves prettily perch on the garden bench. They kindly waited while I snapped their photo.

Although the travel isn’t easy, I will admit though that the people are worth the effort. For example, among other recent travels, I headed to Chicago for the Garden Bloggers Spring Fling, where I had a fabulously good time rubbing elbows with some of the most interesting people I know–other garden bloggers.

“So where are all your fabulous photos from Spring Fling?” you ask.

Well, it seems that since I live in a rural area and don’t get to socialize all that much with other gardeners, I completely lost my head and forgot to take photos. Oh yes, I have a few photos from the Chicago Botanic Garden and a few other places, but not so many of my old and new gardening friends. So if you weren’t there yourself, head on over to the official Spring Fling website and see who was there.

Next year our Spring Fling will be in Buffalo, New York. Will someone please remind me to stop talking and take some photos?

 

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