Thursday, February 27, 2014

Wildflower Wednesday

Oy, I just remembered! Wildflower Wednesday! Since this post is a look back at the NC Botanical Garden in the spring of last year, I figured why not join in, even if this post is (very) late.

The layout of the NC Botanical Garden has changed quite a bit with the addition of the big new education center, but one still enters the garden through the metal sculpture cattail gate. On the left is the Coastal region garden and the Totten Center, and to the right the herb and medicinal garden.

Fringe tree and Southern Wood Fern in front of the herbal garden. I love this fern and don't know why it's not in my garden. It's a magnificent fern. * All pictures are from April 2013 unless otherwise noted. *

White and blue baptisia in front of the herb garden.

Fothergilla in one of the central beds between the Totten Center and the herb Garden, not quite in bloom. I think one of the reasons I haven't bought a fothergilla yet (or, to be totally honest, bought another one after killing the first) is they look a little odd in bloom to me, even more odd when they aren't all the way open. I should just forget about that and concentrate on how they look in summer and fall, and also better appreciate how they look in the spring.

As a reminder to self, fothergilla fall color on the UNC campus:

Next to the Totten Center there is a swath of Woodland Phlox and
Yellowroot with a mix of other perennials and native grasses.

Most of the phlox is a cool pale blue while some are almost purple. I want to know how their wild grasses look so charming and graceful while mine just look like weeds. I need to order some of their woodland grass seeds next month when their list comes out. The seedheads below look a little like Eragrostis and they have offered E. spectabilis seeds in the past, but their lists says that blooms in the summer and likes a hot dry sunny habitat.

Woodland Phlox with Green Coneflower

Sweet Betsy in the medicinal garden. Its fragrance is delicious.

Geranium maculatum with Lilly-of-the-valley

On the other side of Totten Center is the bog garden, full of Pitcher Plant blooms.

The groundcover is cranberry.

Picture from August 2011.
This is Large Cranberry (Oxycoccus macrocarpon), the species
grown commercially for holiday cranberries and cranberry juice.

A pale version of the usual red and yellow Eastern Columbine growing near the water plants.

The adjacent Piedmont garden is a little quiet in spring,
but there is a beautiful spread of Woodland Phlox

some Baptisias, and American Wisteria. American Wisteria has beautiful color
and is quite unique-looking, but it's probably a good idea to check the fragrance
before buying one. My experience has been anywhere from no fragrance to male cat.

The mountain section of the garden is alive with color in the spring.

Fringed Phacelia is a biennial that so far I have tried and failed to grow in my garden.

Here it forms soft blue-violet pools beneath the trees.

Either Piedmont azaleas or Pinxterflower azaleas, and I must look for a name tag for the fern or ask about it next time I'm there. It's so frothy and lacy -- and gorgeous.

Some of these azaleas are enormous ~ literally the size of small trees, over ten feet high.

Florida azalea

We got there too soon for the flame azalea. Its buds were still closed tight.

Cinnamon fern

There are lots of Cinnamon Fern on the farm, but not in the garden, so
I find them in out of the way places in the woods when I am looking
for other things. They look beautiful in Chapel Hill with the azaleas.

Sweet Betsy next to Paul Green Cabin

One day, I am going to get one of these white wild
geraniums, and even if they don't live long it will be worth it.

Check out this beautiful Mountain Laurel. One of these grew successfully
in my parents' yard and they killed lots of things, so I should try it too.

The coastal section of the display gardens has many interesting things in the spring too, including another laurel.

Southern Sheepkill, a relative of Mountain Laurel

I love the deep purple color of Vernal Iris.

Sandhills Bluestar

I need to add this species to my garden. The softness of the
flower color and foliage is unique and I think very lovely.

I am always happy to see the Birdsfoot Violet in bloom.
Probably the loveliest violet of them all, it needs practically
sterile sand and open space to thrive. Periodic burning helps.

I don't think I will ever tire of coming to this garden to see (far more) mature specimens of species I grow, to see species that I can't or someday want to grow in my garden, and to get fresh ideas about using native plants.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

A Early Celebration of the Eventual Return of Spring

After last week's snow, sleet and freezing rain we had balmy and humid temps in the 60's on Friday, with the threat of tornadoes. Welcome to winter in central NC. Even when we do experience doses of real winter weather, there are almost always days like spring mixed in too. Very, very thankfully we did not receive the apocalyptic 2" of ice that was forecast last week. We just got snow and then a trace of freezing rain and our power stayed on.

Once the snow melted and the weather warmed up, the frogs turned their music up full blast and the flowers of the winter honeysuckle, which I had thought finished by the cold, are coming out again and buzzing with honeybees. The early speedwells, both the volunteer Creeping Speedwell and Georgia Speedwell, are covered with blue flowers. The Bluebirds and Song Sparrows are singing and some of the crocus are in bloom! To celebrate the eventual return of spring here are pictures of the garden next to the house from May of 2013.

Coast azalea

Iris dalmatica

The pink flowers are Phlox pilosa var. ozarkana


Purple geranium


Delia's Purple

'Sir Robert Lipton' and Phlox pilosa


Oakleaf hydrangea

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