It’s a regular ritual – I strap on my walking shoes, set out to “get my exercise”, then begin scanning my route with hawk-like observation to discover that plant that I’ve never seen before or spot the hidden garden of a yet unknown gardening soulmate. Sometimes I return simply sweaty and ruefully satisfied the fresh air and accomplishing my 12,000 Garmin steps are good for my heart. But sometimes I uncover a gem along the way, as I did today, and my heart always benefits from viewing the beauty of nature and the passion of gardeners around me.
While in my hometown of Macon, Georgia for a high school reunion, I took off this morning for a long walk in an area that I’d never walked before. I looked up to see the entryway to a home that hinted at being a botanical delight. Mr. Willingham, the homeowner, just happened to be adding a few new plants when I walked by.
After a few minutes chatting about the unique tropical plants at his entryway, he asked if I would like to see the rest of the garden.
What followed was a beautiful wooded winding walk through 35 years of gardening love around the home of Mr & Mrs Willingham . Even in drought-stressed, mid-autumn condition, this art-accented garden showed pops of bright color like Turks Cap and Butterfly Weed Asclepsias .
Along a sloping bank was a harvest of lantana for a hord of butterflies.
A hidden treasure of a garden, a delightful conversation with a fellow garden geek newly met, and once again confirmation that there are so many beautiful places in the world around me yet to be discovered.
A couple of years ago I was in Asheville, NC, for a garden bloggers meeting. One of the places that we were supposed to visit was the White Gate Inn. I was a quite curious as to why we were going to this bed and breakfast place as part of our tour.
It didn’t take me long to figure out why we needed to see this place.
Thermopsis villosa (Carolina bush pea or Aaron’s root) back by Japanese Maple
This is a lover’s paradise. A plant lover, that is.
Malva sylvestris “Zebrina” hollyhock growing among the Picea pungens blue spruce.
Ghost Japanese painted fern
Eucomis (Sparkling Burgandy Pineapple Lily)
that open up to lush plantings
little treasures along the way
Evergreen dogwood – Cornus kousa
a few more hidden treasures
Hydrangea and hosta flanking the pathway
The mandatory self-portrait in the suspended gazing ball.
Diane LaSauce caught me mid-snooze during our fun-filled Garden2Blog event at P Allen Smith’s Garden Retreat.
It’s been a long week planting a few thousand flats of pansies and violas, and I am feeling the need to get caught up on a little rest. Fortunately I have some garden friends around the world that love to share their gardens. Check out and be inspired by my friend Diane LaSauce’s end of summer garden in central Virginia: Another Reason to Share the Garden
That’s Diane on the left in the cute hat with bright green ribbon.
While speaking at the Lake Austin Spa Resort, one of my biggest treats and greatest surprises was getting to know organic gardening guru, Trisha Shirey – the Director of Flora and Fauna at the Resort.
We were like two organically grown peas in a pod, trudging off to collect plants for our hands-on container planting demonstration. Our first stop – the kitschy/clever little garden store called Sunshine Nursery.
Displays for inspiration.
Our next stop was a container gardener’s mecca – look at those colors!
Look at all these options! And the funky black containers
At the Natural Gardener
I absolutely loved these guys – they followed me all over the nursery.
Beautiful gardens throughout the grounds
Inside the butterfly garden
the maze at the Natural Gardener
I’ve never seen Euphorbia so large.
An exact replica of Willi Nelson’s guitar
My momma always said that country music guitar playing would grow on me.
The pathway to the spa was what I would have envisioned being like Grecian bath house.
Shaded verdandas covered with vines
water features throughout the resort create a quiet ambience
The pathway to my room
Loved this funky flower – no idea what it is
There is a calming symmetry to the resort
with well tended trumpet vines to accent the trellised walkways.
A few of my new friends along the way
Reflections through the library window (you can see my arm taking the picture!)
The place where I am giving the seminars – Lake Austin Spa Resort – is a total escape from reality. Right now I’m sitting on the charming porch of my accommodations after a delectable meal (with veggies grown from their garden) delivered t
o my room, listening to the sounds of late summer with the garden and river before me in the fading sunlight. Citronelle candles keep mosquitos somewhat at bay, a glass of wine and a riveting novel in hand after a day of travel and exploration – the only thing that awaits me is a deep bathtub with bathing salts, a lavender scented bedroom, and the gentle hum of cicadas to lull me to sleep. This is my kind of speaking gig.
Out working on the farm, P Allen Smith road his bike up to the house to greet all of us who came to visit his farm last week-end. I went with a group of friends gathered for a 30 year reunion.
P Allen Smith and lovable Angel welcome folks to their garden home. This was my favorite room – the 2nd floor sleeping porch, sleeping porch comes with a very inviting copper bathtub. And the view from the porch will make you want to visit every season. Coming down the front stairs then I see THE TREE – glimpsed looking out P Allen’s front door. Lunch was served here, in the updated barn.Called there by The lunch bell. A glimpse into P Allen’s art studio.
P Allen’s containers – loved getting ideas from him. The poultry shedsSo whaddaya lookin’ at?!
Can’t wait to come back in May for Garden2Blog2012!