Tag Archives: UNC Chapel Hill

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.

Autumn Scenes And Miscellany

I wanted to share a few more details from a recent walk, the day after Thanksgiving, on the nearby UNC Chapel Hill campus.

Native to eastern United States, this Fagus grandifolia var. caroliniana (American Beech) will keep its leaves until spring. The bark of this tree is heavily scarred from numerous inscription carvings.

Fagus grandifolia var. caroliniana (American Beech)-Coker Arboretum

A squirrel sat in front of a large burl on a Catalpa waiting for me to pass. Catalpa speciosa (Northern Catalpa) is native to central United States. Its fruit is a long cigar-shaped pod about 8-15 inches and a common name for this tree is cigar tree.

Squirrel In Catalpa speciosa (Northern Catalpa)

A London Connection

For eighty years London’s Westminster clock tower (Big Ben) was home to three sculptures that are now installed on the south exterior wall of Person Hall on the UNC Chapel Hill campus. In 1933 two gargoyles and a statue of Stephen Langton, 13th century Archbishop of Canterbury, were being removed due to weather corrosion when they were noticed and subsequently acquired for UNC by Katherine Pendleton Arrington.

Big Ben Gargoyle, installed at Person Hall, UNC Chapel Hill

Gargoyle at Person Hall

Statue of Stephen Langton, 13th century Archbishop of Canterbury, Person Hall, UNC Chapel HIll

Person Hall is used now for practice studios for the Music Department, but originally served students as a chapel. When the statues were first added here the building was an art museum. The statues overlook a small garden and bench. Read more about this London connection.

Statue of Stephen Langton, 13th century Archbishop of Canterbury, Person Hall, UNC Chapel HIll

Davie Poplar

The University is 219 years old but one of its famous landmarks is estimated to be 300-375 years old. Davie Poplar is a Liriodendron tulipifera (tulip poplar) and was named after Revolutionary War General, William R. Davie.

The tree was damaged by Hurricane Fran in 1996, but there is a grafting from 1918, known as Davie Poplar Jr., as well as a Davie Poplar III, planted from a seed from the original tree.

UNC’s Davie Poplar, center. Liriodendron tulipifera (Tulip Poplar)

Autumn At Last

A final image from our post-Thanksgiving campus walk shows shelf mushrooms at the base of another large tree—interesting to see but apparently a sign the tree is in serious decay.

Shelf Mushroom, McCorkle Place

The lawn and sidewalks of the McCorkle Place were covered in multicolored leaves on this day. Someone will gather them up soon, no doubt, but our walk was made much more exciting by hearing the heavy rustle of leaves underfoot. It did seem like autumn at last.