Sunday, March 20, 2011

Still more NCBG Good Stuff (with a little plant envy thrown in)

*Photos from April 2010*

Looks almost like an impressionistic painting, doesn't it? This is
Piedmont azalea or pinxterflower and fernleaf scorpionweed in the mountain
section of the Botanical Garden.The big azaleas in the Garden are amazing.

The very fragrant Sweet Betsy next to the Paul Green Cabin. You can see the size of the Sweet Betsy, not only in comparison to the cabin but to the lady in the lower right of the picture! I love, love, love my young Piedmont azaleas and Sweet Betsy, but it will be years before they look like the ones at the Garden. This way I can enjoy them in their youth and as mature plants at the same time. :)

A combination of ferns, columbine, spiderwort, a young blueberry, and a sweet white flower I don't know the name of. (Update: I was looking through my Audubon Guide and saw that it's Sweet Cicely (Osmorhiza claytonii)! It's a North American native.)

Golden Alexanders and Eastern Columbine

Dwarf Crested Iris

I think this is Southern Wood Fern, which imo may be the most beautiful of our native ferns. Southern Shield fern is a large and gorgeous fern too.

I've wanted Goldenclub after reading this description of it in Gardening with Native Plants of the South by Sally Wasowski:

"Goldenclub has beautiful leaves ~ fresh, smooth and sometimes bluish ~ with a slightly pleated look. The flowers are unusual, not unlike colorful rat's tails. But, don't let that put you off; they're really very entertaining, and amazingly, they hold their own with iris and spiderlily, both of which bloom at the same time. Goldenclub is not for the bog garden. It needs gently flowing, oxygen-rich water. If a pond is too sluggish, this plant will pull itself up on the bank. Keep it happy in a pool with a recirculating pump, in the flow of a seep (where it will seed itself downhill), or in the protected eddy of a back-yard stream that isn't too shady. It looks its best in a little sun."
Who could pass up the plant after reading that description? It lives up to the hype too; just look at those leaves.

I don't think I've seen it for sale at the Garden though, and but if I ever do I might have a good spot for it, in the ditch below the bed where the native azaleas are. There is gently flowing water always except during drought, and sun for half a day.

Royal and cinnamon fern in the Coastal Plain section of the Garden.

Cinnamon and royal ferns grow in the woods near our house because of all of the natural springs there. I love cinnamon fern but haven't used it in the garden, although I should. It's a very beautiful and dramatic fern.

I was in Raleigh on Friday and decided to visit the JC Raulston Arboretum since I was already so close. It was a beautiful day and a lot of people were there visiting the garden. I saw many plants I'd like to get my hands on.

The lilacs were GORGEOUS ~ huge, beautiful, and fragrant. None of these are Syringa vulgaris as those don't tend to be happy west of Greensboro. None had quite the fragrance of S. vulgaris but were pleasing nonetheless. The Cutleaf Lilac looked magnificent; 4' square at least of dainty lavender blooms. It stood out from across the Arboretum. Syringa oblata subsp. dilatata is a good 8 feet high and covered in purple flower clusters that are about twice the size as that of S. vulgaris. The white cultivar 'Frank Meyer' has slighter smaller flowers but the effect was that of a shrub blanketed in snow. There is a white S. oblata hybrid named'Betsy Ross' planted in the White Garden that has flowers has large as the purple S. oblata.

On the farm over the past few weeks I have been doing a lot of spring clean-up, taking down the old Bidens stalks, weeding, and cutting back the beautyberries and Buddleia. I have been doing some "clean-up" all winter, cutting back the bamboo, blackberry wines and greenbriar in places where they were getting out of control. We are having beautiful weather for outside work.


  1. I love those Cinnamon Ferns. It looks like you had a lovely tour and I would have a serious case of plant envy going too after that.

    It sounds like you are busy in your gardens and I look forward to seeing them in all their glory soon.

    Happy Gardening and Happy Spring,


    P.S. Thanks for the bday wishes.

  2. Such lovely pictures (sigh...). I like the woodland setting (which I don't have here in the arid desert), and those beautiful ferns. I enjoyed looking at rat's tails, very entertaining:).

  3. Oh! Lucky you to be able to get out and work in your garden in beautiful weather!!!
    I can't wait for the lilacs to bloom again but as my Dad would say 'don't wish your life away' so I try to be patient!

  4. The Native Plant Society here in SC is having a plant sale in a couple weeks and they have some Pinxter azaleas...hope there are some left when I get there!! Native azaleas are super.
    The Golden Club foliage looks like the foliage of the Cattleya orchid.
    I planted three Cinnamon Ferns, one ias disappeared.

  5. We have had some beautiful weather this week, haven't we? We have been busy doing some clean up in our gardens as well. I seem to be a little behind in my yard work though. Have a great week! Carla

  6. The weather has indeed been great to clean up. Those Piedmont azaleas are incredible. I'd love to find a local source for them. What is it you are calling Sweet Betsy? Is it calycanthus?

  7. Lovely woodland plants! I would love to put in ferns, but have no shade that would suit them, so I admire the ones I see on blogs. Isn't it great to be out cleaning up?

  8. The flowers are looking beautiful. I love the old stone building with all the greenery nearby, and the big old azalea plants are wonderful. Nice to see full blown spring is happening there already.

  9. Tina yes the Sweet Betsy is Calycanthus florida. Sunlight Gardens in Andersonville TN is an excellent mail order nursery. I've been very happy with the azaleas that I've ordered from them. Lazy S in VA has a really good reputation too.

    Laurrie, yes, it is wonderful to be outside cleaning up. Especially on these lovely warm days.

    Janie those pictures are from last year. I just now bolded my note on top, as it wasn't very noticeable. It'll be about another month before everything's in full swing. Gives us more time to savor spring's beauty!

  10. The woodland setting of this part of the garden is beautiful. Visiting places like this always gives me plant envy, too:)

  11. Sweetbay all of your pictures looked like paintings to me. Just beautiful.

  12. Wonderful photos of the Cinnamon Fern and those tiny white flowers with the leaves in the third and fourth photos looks so much like Bishops weed. I hope not! Your first photograph is so lovely! What a beauty that Azalea is. I cannot believe the difference in our landscapes.

  13. Thank you everyone for your comments.

    Carol I wrote to the Garden to ask what the white flower is. I don't think Bishops weed is as much of a problem here as it is further north, but I'm drawing a blank as to the identity of the white flower. I hope it's not Bishops weed as that will be more work for the staff and volunteers! Chapel Hill is rampant with Wisteria, Periwinkle, and Japanese Honeysuckle. The Garden made a huge effort to get rid of exotic invasives a few years ago and no doubt it's a continuing battle. Some of the invasives came from the beautiful neighborhood above the Garden known as "Pill Hill" because many doctors and faculty from the university and hospital live there.

  14. Ah, I know what the plant with the white flowers is ~ Sweet Cicely !(Osmorhiza claytonii)

  15. Beautiful.

    I'm so looking forward to ferns slowly unfurling their croziers. Not long now.

    How 'Pill Hill' came to be named made me smile!


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