Thursday, September 24, 2009

Blogging To You From...

the Garden Writers conference in Raleigh, North Carolina!

What a fun week we've had so far! There are only a couple of times a year when I get to become completely immersed in my plant nerdiness for a few days at a time and with people who absolutely, completely and totally "get it"--because they're plant nerds, too. Garden Writers is one of those weeks. Each year for about 5 days, we all descend on a city and we tear it apart, end to end, looking for the greatest gardens and the hottest plants the city has to offer. This year it's Raleigh--and North Carolina may never be the same.
On our trek over from Tennessee yesterday we took a small detour down through Charlotte, NC to visit the Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden. What a beautiful place to visit if you're in that part of the country for any reason. Don't miss it! Here's a photo from our visit.

Sallying forth to Raleigh we arrived in time to hit the Garden Writers conference trade show at the convention center and were soon weighted down with armloads of free goodies! Lots of plants and other cool stuff, too! There's always a great "haul" from this show because everyone is trying to promote their newest, latest and greatest plants and products to those of us who work in various media outlets so that we might write or talk about them in our articles and on our programs. I have several gorgeous new plants--hydrangeas, abelias, nandinas, loropetalums, crape myrtles and m0re--that I'll tell you about in the very near future.

Today I got to hang out with my good friends Dan Heims, Kelly Norris and Leann Barron. Since Leann had a car, she was kind enough to drive us out to a fun nursery called "Big Bloomers", about 35 minutes from Raleigh, and a good time was had by all! Each of us came back with two more big boxes full to overflowing with plants. Their prices were great and their plants were ultra-cool! What a fantastic operation. You must visit if you're in the Raleigh area.

Here is just one small section of one greenhouse. There were about 16 of these!!! Plant nerd heaven!

Tomorrow morning we're on the bus by 7 a.m. and off for breakfast at the mecca of all things rare and unusual, Plant Delights Nursery ( We'll have breakfast there (though I'm fairly certain those going to be a lot more looking and shopping going on than there is eating) and then back to Raleigh for another afternoon excursion. I'll keep you posted!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Into Autumn

I must admit, autumn is not my favorite season. You see, I don't really care for winter much, so for me autumn is just sort of the precursor to what can be several months of cold, damp, drizzly weather that sometimes seems as though it may never end. But even though autumn means that winter is just around the corner, I love the beauty that it brings to the garden at the end of the season and I love the warm, breezy days that let summer linger, whispering away across the hills.

Those are the days that bring scenes like these, of Joe-Pye-weed (Eupatorium) and miscanthus beckoning from across the way--radiant, feathery plumes backed by the rich, warm shades of the Joe Pye passing its prime but still looking stunning dressed in autumnal shades.

With miscanthus being on the invasive exotic list (something I'm going to be blogging about soon) in some states, other scenes just as beautiful could easily be created with native grasses such as Indiangrass (Sorghastrum nutans) or one of the many switchgrasses (Panicum).
Other fall favorites include Aster oblongifolius 'Raydon's Favorite' and 'October Skies', Callicarpa americana (American Beautyberry) and the many Anemone x hybridus cultivars whose poppy-like flowers dance in the breeze on long, wiry stems.

More on other great autumn additions to the garden coming soon!