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.

 

 

28 thoughts on “Gardens, Birds and Friends

  1. johnvic8

    Susie, Thanks for the trip down memory lane. I made many visits to Duke Gardens when we lived in Chapel Hill, and I was a tour guide at NCBG for many years. So glad you had such a nice visit with Christina and her husband.

    Reply
    1. pbmgarden Post author

      Glad you enjoyed it John. When I learned Christina might come I envisioned organizing as many local garden bloggers as possible to greet her, but I couldn’t pull it off this time. It was wonderful to meet her.

      Reply
    1. pbmgarden Post author

      Me too Marian. It was such a treat to meet Christina. I kept hoping it wouldn’t rain when she came and then I started hoping it would!

      Reply
  2. Julie

    Lovely post Susie, meeting other bloggers one exchanges thoughts and feelings with and sharing the trials and tribulations of our gardens is quite personal, that must be like meeting an old friend today. Despite the heat sounds as if you all had a lovely time. Hope it cools down soon.

    Reply
    1. pbmgarden Post author

      It was a special time Julie. Christina was one of the early commenters on my nascent blog. I mentioned elsewhere this was like finally meeting that pen pal from early grade school.

      Reply
    1. pbmgarden Post author

      I enjoyed it immensely Jessica. It would be hard to get used to this heat and the humidity was very high as well, but you’ll have to wait and hear Christina’s side of it.

      Reply
  3. mattb325

    What a lovely visit! It must be wonderful to share the garden with a fellow blogger. The heat sounds exhausting, I do hope it cools down for you soon

    Reply
  4. rickii

    Getting to spend a day with Christina would be a treat indeed. 100 degrees? Whew! Still, heat can’t dampen the spirits of blogging friends meeting.

    Reply
    1. pbmgarden Post author

      You’re right. We had such fun, despite the unfortunate weather. It’s usually hot here in the summer but these are abnormal temperatures paired with no rain for a long while.

      Reply
  5. Cathy

    I’m glad you could meet up with Christina and share a few local sights! The white garden looks nice and cool. Hope the heatwave is over soon Susie.

    Reply
    1. pbmgarden Post author

      It was lovely to meet Christina and I discovered things about Duke Gardens I didn’t know, The White Garden being one of them. The white color scheme did seem to have a cooling effect. It was 97F earlier today. The garden is crispy, despite an overnight thunderstorm. I’m very worried about the shrubs and trees. Hope you’re doing well.

      Reply
  6. Chloris

    It sounds as if you had a great time with lovely Christina, she is such good company. What a treat you had lined up for her, Duke Gardens look amazing.

    Reply
    1. pbmgarden Post author

      She is lovely and it was a great time. She passed on your warming greeting which I very much appreciated. We a fortunate to have at least three public gardens close by, easy to stop in at no charge, and always filled with ideas.

      Reply
    1. pbmgarden Post author

      Thanks so much Jason. We certainly enjoyed meeting them. Duke Gardens is very nice at any time of the year. If you’re ever coming this way please let me know. Would enjoy meeting you and Judy and showing you around. There’s also JC Raulston Arboretum in Raleigh at NC State and the local NC Botanical Gardens at UNC Chapel Hill is nice too. The new director is just starting this summer and comes from the Lady Bird Wildlife Center, so will be interesting to see where he takes this garden.

      Reply

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