Tag Archives: garden tour

An April Amble

Virgie’s Rose

After a busy week I enjoyed a leisurely walk around the garden this morning. Asiatic lilies and dahlias from past years are peeking through the soil and recently planted azaleas and hydrangeas are settling in. It seems like a good time to document some of the flowers.

Southern Border

Having staked out territory all around the property, Aquilegia is finishing its spring show.

Aquilegia canadensis (Eastern red columbine)

Salvia greggii ‘Furman’s Red’ (Autumn Sage)

Returning from last spring, bachelor’s buttons began opening this week.

Centaurea cyanus ‘Blue Boy’ (Bachelor’s Button, Cornflower)

Iris germanica ‘Immortality’ (White) With Yellow Pass Along Iris

Following on the success of Coral Charm, the second peony to flower this spring is Festiva Maxima. It made its first appearance this morning.

Paeonia ‘Festiva Maxima’

My passalong roses are in full bloom.

Virgie’s Rose

Virgie’s Rose

Virgie’s Rose

Virgie’s Rose

Virgie’s Rose

Southwest Corner

A redbud stands at the southwest corner of the garden. Its signature heart-shaped leaves are at the tender spring green stage.

Cercis canadensis (Eastern Redbud)

Drifts of Lamb’s ears, Japanese roof iris and columbine play easily beneath a tall bearded pass-along iris I have had since the late seventies.

Iris ‘Helen Collingwood’

Phlox divaricata (Woodland phlox)

Phlox, black and blue salvia foliage, dark heuchera, hellebores.

Phlox divaricata (Woodland phlox)

The woodland phlox is fading and Salvia guaranitica ‘Black and Blue’ leaves are emerging throughout this corner of the garden.

Phlox divaricata (Woodland phlox)

A small island at this corner of the garden is filled with irises, dianthus and a healthy-looking Powis Castle artemisia.

Artemisia ‘Powis Castle’ (Wormwood)


Western Border

Hellebores are less prominent now but still offer pleasing vignettes.

Helleborus x hybridus (Lenten rose)

Helleborus x hybridus (Lenten rose)

After a lackluster showing last year, the oakleaf hydrangea looks promising.

Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Ruby Slippers’ (Lil’ Ruby dwarf Oakleaf Hydrangea)

Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Ruby Slippers’ (Lil’ Ruby dwarf Oakleaf Hydrangea)

This delicate iris is a pass-along sent from Idaho by my sister-in-law Kathleen. First planted in my previous garden, I brought it along when we moved (nearly 22 years ago).
She described it as Japanese iris but I do not know.

Passalong Iris From Kathleen

Twin Sisters are the last of the daffodil show, which began this year in early February.

Twin Sisters / Cemetery Ladies (Narcissus x medioluteus)


Dianthus b. ‘Purple Picotee’ (Sweet William)

Dianthus (Sweet William)

A few secondary buds open on Coral Charm this week. Faded petals from the first flowers are scattered beneath.

Paeonia lactiflora ‘Coral Charm’ (Coral Charm Peony)

Northern Border

All finished with its spring show the flowering dogwood at the corner of the northern border is full of fresh green foliage. A second of Virgie’s passalong rose colors up the border. I didn’t get the roses cut back very much this year and after the rainy winter the there is a lot of black spot on the leaves.

Virgie’s Rose

Virgie’s Rose

In its second year in the northern border this passalong iris came from Pris at Petals and Wings.

Passalong Iris and Virgie’s Rose

Passalong Iris and Virgie’s Rose

Passalong Iris and Virgie’s Rose

A single snapdragon from a few years ago is beginning to open near the iris bed. A large group of Iris ‘Immortality’ is in full bloom; Iris ‘Helen Collingwood’ is just starting to open. Underneath, pansies from my friend Susan last fall provide colorful accents.

Snapdragon and Iris ‘Helen Collingwood’

Snapdragon and Iris ‘Helen Collingwood’


Iris ‘Helen Collingwood’

Meditation Circle

The center of the meditation circle has a couple of English thyme that were planted last year and which finally seem happy. The dark plants in the background are Penstemon digitalis ‘Husker Red’. It self-sows in this area.

Thymus vulgaris (English thyme)

Penstemon digitalis ‘Husker Red’ (Beardtongue)

Thymus vulgaris (English thyme)

I dropped a few seeds of Cerinthe several years ago along one of the paths in the meditation circle, planning to relocate the plants if they survived. (Still there.)

‘Pride of Gibraltar’ Hummingbird Cerinthe

Southern Side Path

I showed the side path on Wednesday but just to complete to walk around my garden, I include it today. More buds have opened on Clematis ‘Jackmanii’ and baptisia is simply wonderful this year.

Clematis ‘Jackmanii’

Baptisia ‘Purple Smoke’

Irises are spilling over onto the slate path.

Tall Bearded Iris (from Henrietta circa 1977)

Since taking this walk the garden had a nice drenching rain with dark gray clouds all afternoon. Tomorrow should be a beautiful spring day 72F.

Upcoming 2018 Chapel Hill Garden Tour

UNC President’s Garden, Franklin Street, Chapel Hill, NC

When you have worked and worked in your own garden until every inch is perfect, or if it is not yet perfect, but you just need a break from planting and weeding, or you are in need of some inspiration, or if you just love and appreciate exploring well-turned gardens, or if you are looking for something fun to do the weekend of April 28 and April 29, 2018, get tickets now for the Chapel Hill Garden Tour.

Every two years the Chapel Hill Garden Club sponsors this charitable and educational event. Tour proceeds support the interactive Children’s Wonder Garden and programs at the North Carolina Botanical Garden, as well as community outreach programs of the Chapel Hill Garden Club.

This year’s theme is Town & Gown Gardens ~ Synergy in Bloom. Highlighting the cooperative relationship between the University of North Carolina and the local Chapel Hill community, the Tour will feature the UNC President’s Garden, current and former UNC officials’ private gardens, four distinctive local gardens, UNC’s Coker Arboretum, and the NC Botanical Garden.

Plein air artists, musicians, select educators and vendors will add additional charm to several gardens. A Tour photography contest with prizes and an exhibition is open to all who attend the tour.

On Saturday of the tour in what has become a tradition, I will be touring the gardens with three former work colleagues and longtime friends. We enjoy walking and talking, taking our time and drinking in the flavor and character of each property.

Currier – Unique collection of Maples and Conifers accompanied by fascinating perennials and shrubs.

Then Sunday morning I will be stationed as a guide in the Currier Garden. It was once home to The Unique Plant, a recently closed retail garden store. Over 26 years, the owner Joann Currier created a sprawling, 3.5-acre private botanical garden legendary for its unique vegetation, pristine maintenance, and spectacular use of texture, layer, form, and rhythm in garden design.

Currier told the tour committee, “Some people collect shoes. I collect Japanese maples.”

Currier Garden

Visitors to this garden can see 130 species of maples and a host of rare conifers, mixed borders and a recently added rock garden that sports unusual, colorful cacti hardy enough to brave North Carolina’s winters. Did I mention the parterre pocket garden or the greenhouse area, filled with rare plants?

Currier Garden

I am looking forward to exploring all the gardens on the tour. If you are local (or even if you’re not), come take advantage of the opportunity to see these special gardens. Descriptions and photos of the other tour gardens and ticket information are at Chapel Hill Garden Tour. Hope to see you there.

Photographs courtesy Daphne McLeod and Kathy Swendiman.

A Spring Garden Tour

My local garden club organizes a well-run and significant garden tour every two years known as the Chapel Hill Spring Garden Tour. The dates this year are May 3-4, 2014.

Long before I joined the club I had enjoyed discovering hidden garden gems in the Chapel Hill area by participating in this tour. It is instructive to see different garden styles, to see what plants others gardeners nearby are growing, to get ideas for interesting combinations of plants. Of course, it is also pleasant to walk around Chapel Hill in springtime.

Chapel Hill Spring Garden Tour, May 3-4, 2014

Chapel Hill Spring Garden Tour, May 3-4, 2014

In addition to featuring seven private gardens, this year’s tour also includes the North Carolina Botanical Garden (NCBG) and the local university’s community garden.  Funds raised from the tour this year will help support the new Children’s Wonder Garden at NCBG. Artists will be painting en plain air in three of the gardens and the North Carolina Opera will give two performances, so the tour weekend will be quite busy and exciting.

If you are interested in seeing a preview of the gardens that will be on the tour, visit the tour website. In the sidebar there is a list titled “Garden Preview” with links to each garden’s photographs and description.

And if you will be in the Chapel Hill area May 3-4, I encourage you to make plans to tour these special gardens.

Welcoming Garden Visitors

My husband and I had a fun morning meeting and greeting neighbors and a few special friends who stopped by today.  Our garden was among seven gardens in our community on the first annual neighborhood garden tour.

The weather this spring has been unseasonably cool and today was no exception. It was overcast and cold, though the sun did peek through a few times. Many plants that normally would have been in bloom by now could not be coaxed to flower in time for today’s visitors, but there were enough blossoms to make an ample display.

It is satisfying to share the garden with others so it was well worth the effort and preparations of the past few months. Now with this tour milestone met I can relax my pace for a day or two and enjoy some quiet time in the garden.