Around The Garden World – Day 68 (West Nashville, Tennessee) Magdalene House

Today I painted. Usually I am painting a landscape with color and texture of annual or perennial plants.  But today some friends and I went to put a little color on the walls of Magdalene House
 Magdalene is a program of Thistle Farms and is a residential program for women who have survived lives of prostitution, trafficking, addiction and life on the streets.

photo by Marcie Brolund
And I came because they needed extra hands to get the painting done. 

“Magdalene stands as a witness to the truth that in the end, love is more powerful than all the forces that drive women to the streets.” The women I met inspired me with their stories of lives healed by love.

While there, I, of course, had to check out the pretty courtyard in home

 with moss covered stones,

 and saw a few opportunities for me to add some input for improvements.

The added touch of these glazed mosaics pressed into the mortar was a fun idea. 

healthy moss!

A Rhododendron bud just waiting for spring. 

 The last of dogwood’s fall color

Arum italicum

 One of the things I was thrilled to see was the vegetable garden that they had started this summer.

 This is a project that I can sink my fingers into!

Pretty Swiss Chard!

 Another new branch of Thistle Farms is their Thistle Stop Cafe. Here’s their cozy outdoor seating

Teacup chandeliers

And their deep patina floors came from Vice President Al Gore’s tobacco farm buildings

Great food and one of the best Chai Tea’s I’ve ever had.

I adore the products that the women make – lotions and soaps. Tuscan Earth is my favorite scent.

Cozy seating!

Learn more about Thistle Farms here:

Around The Garden World – Day 67 (Athens, Georgia)

I stopped at this little nursery outside Athens, Georgia a few years back because they had a sign that said “hot boiled peanuts” and I knew I couldn’t resist. What I found were some incredible container plantings and a fabulous greenhouse. I CANT BELIEVE I DIDN’T TAKE A PICTURE OF THEIR NAME!! If you know this nursery, let me know!

 Aren’t these dish gardens great!

Around The Garden World – Day 66 (Laurel, Mississippi)

A year after Katrina hit Mississippi, I visited my friend Joanna Cranford’s childhood home in Laurel, Mississippi. Her mom was eager to show us a horticultural oddity that resulted from the hurricane that blasted through this town from Katrina. 

 There is a rose growing inside the guest bedroom.

 This window hasn’t been opened in years.

 But somehow this rose stem blew through the closed window and spent the next year growing and blooming in this room

 I also has able to enjoy this colorful garden up the street with camellias and redbuds

 The winter vegetable garden ready for spring

 pretty late winter garden rooms

 Blooming Rosemary

 And this eclectic garden:

 Classic on one street, and quirky on the next!

Around The Garden World – Day 65 (Auburn, Alabama)

Today I went to see my son’s college housing – an older home in downtown Auburn, Alabama – and he was eager to show me the interesting plantings around the house. We rounded the corner and I saw this mixture of windmill palm,  camellia bush, and some old vine that had grown up around the everything… and a new take on landscape lighting.

 But a quick drive through the Auburn University campus redeemed my hope in horticulture in a college town – I thought this was a pretty combination of Red Bor Kale, Bright Lights Swiss Chard, Dusty Miller, an ornamental cabbage and pansies.

Around The Garden World – Day 64

This week-end my sister and I moved momma into an assisted living home. It was emotionally and physically exhausting, especially as we had to constantly try to help Momma understand where she was, deal with her constant fears, and try to make her new place feel as much like “home” as we could. After all the pictures had been hung and furniture placed, Momma and I walked out into one of the lovely courtyard gardens that surround this senior living facility. As we took in the scents and sights of soft pink camellias and the last hurrah of summer roses, Momma went from anxious and agitated to peacefully remembering the gardens of her youth. I was once again reminded of the importance of plants in creating a atmosphere of welcome and permanence. 

Around the world there are gardens that will wow those that visit them. I was so thankful for that this place created gardens that provide plants that are familiar, that pull back the curtains of age so that faded memories could come to light.

(My 12 year old niece was with us this weekend and was showing me how to make short movie trailers from my phone. This video is my first assignment from her tutorial. )

Around The Garden World – Day 61 (Gibbs Gardens)

What better way to spend a beautiful fall day that to plant colorful containers, pansies or violas, and thousands of spring blooming bulbs.
I was able to enjoy the spring-time results of those fall plantings last March at Gibbs Garden in North Georgia.
From the history page of Gibbs Garden’s website:

Jim Gibbs traveled for 15 years covering the nation and the world viewing gardens of every style and decided that he wanted to design and build a world class garden. He spent six years looking for a suitable site with a strong source of water and beautiful mature trees covering a rolling topography. It was truly “a dream come true” when he found the most beautiful site in the nation to construct the garden. The property is 292 acres and the house and gardens include 220 acres, making it one of the nation’s largest residential estate gardens.
There is a beautiful stream flowing through the middle of the valley, with hundreds of springs intersecting the stream. The springs are surrounded by millions of naturalized ferns making it one of the largest ferneries in the nation. Native azaleas, dogwoods, and mountain laurels provide additional seasonal interest.
He has designed 24 ponds, 32 bridge crossings and 19 waterfalls. The numerous garden rooms are planted with hundreds of varieties of plants and are carved into pockets surrounded by acres of deciduous trees that provide spectacular Fall color.

 Do you enjoy daffodils? Spend a weekend planting them this month. Check out Brent and Becky’s Bulbs. 

lovebirds Tom and Susan Jones enjoying the daffodils

and #4 son patiently allows me to take a few hundred pictures while we visited this extraordinary garden

#4 son/Columbia college student/aspiring actor Buck Wise.  when he becomes famous, you can say you saw him here first. 

The hellebore rivaled the daffodils

love this euphorbia ‘Rainbow Ascot’

Around The Garden World – Day 60 (Nashville, TN)

These were my favorite containers of the season so far:

Red twig dogwood, Red Bor kale, Golden lysimachia (creeping jenny) and True Blue pansies. 

 The really sad part of this picture is that the client thought they looked too modern, and I think the few remaining leaves on the branches kind of threw her off to how striking this will look when these leaves drop off – I had to replace the whole thing with very boring sky pencil hollies and dusty miller. I loved the red twig against the white wall.

Left planter – Nandina filamentosa, heuchera, pansy, lysimachia. Middle planter – Camellia, Acorus grass, pansy. Right planter – Color Guard yucca, red pansy, lysimachia.
These planters were able to stay as they were planted . 

Around The Garden World – Day 59 (Seaside, Florida)

Seaside, Florida knew how to put on a pretty show with with nice container plantings during the summer. 

 Blue scaevola, Yellow bidens, red penta, and burgundy iresine.

 Using containers to create a separate outdoor room was perfect for this walk-about community.

Mandevilla vines seemed to be what made up most of these container plantings. 

Hibiscus and verbena

Biden, scaevola, and Gold Edge Duranta

Biden and Verbena windowbox