Wordless Wednesday–December 17, 2014

Hippeastrum 'Blushing Bride' (In the trade as a Hadeco Amaryllis, especially developed for pot culture--with stout stems and reliable blooms).

Hippeastrum ‘Blushing Bride’ (In the trade as a Hadeco Amaryllis, especially developed for pot culture–with stout stems and reliable blooms).

Monday, Monday

After eight days away, followed by four days struggle with a virus that couldn’t quite decide if it was coming or going (thankfully it went), I set to work this morning and promptly erased (accidently, of course,) the camera memory card, which contained the images needed for today’s newspaper deadline. As The Mama’s and the Papa’s wailed, “Monday, Monday.” You know the rest.

But hey, let’s look on the bright side. All manner of good things happened here at home while I was in Washington, D.C. First, a holiday card arrived…you might recognize the return address.

Holiday greetings from the White House.

Holiday greetings from the White House.

And here’s the message inside…

Greetings for the 2014 holiday season.

Greetings for the 2014 holiday season.

It’s a thrill to receive a holiday greeting from White House each year due to my involvement with the General Federation of Women’s Clubs, an organization dedicated to community improvement through volunteer service. (My recent trip was for a meeting to further this work.) Although this year’s card is not as dramatic as the one sent in 2013, I particularly like its wish for “strength and happiness.”

As if that wasn’t enough, FedEx was busy delivering packages. Here’s a peek at some the books ordered for winter study regarding upcoming travel. The bargain of the bunch was Influential Gardeners–just $1 plus shipping–a treasure trove on 20th century gardeners I hold in high esteem, such as William Robinson, Harold Peto, Beatrix Farrand, and Russell Page, and some I don’t yet know, like Isamu Noguchi and Mien Ruys.

Work and fun for leisure times.

Work and fun for leisure times.

And best of all, a new work camera, another end-of-the-year steal. Admittedly, its technology far exceeds my understanding. Fingers crossed I can learn to use it with a modicum of talent.

Help!

Help!

And if I do, that I can avoid erasing its memory card.

How is your Monday going?

Wordless Wednesday–December 4, 2014

Pam Huffman, Wildwood Garden Club

Pam Huffman, Wildwood Garden Club

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Southern magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora)

Southern magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora)

Frasier fir (Abies fraseri) and Leyland cypress (Cupressus × leylandii) with one of the gold-tipped junipers (Juniperus).

Frasier fir (Abies fraseri) and Leyland cypress (Cupressus × leylandii) with one of the gold-tipped junipers (Juniperus).

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Viola!

Viola!

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Holiday House Drop-In, Sunday, December 7, from 2 to 5 p.m.

Holiday House Drop-In, Sunday, December 7, from 2 to 5 p.m.

In a Vase on Monday

I have to admit from the get-go that this post breaks all the rules…the foliage and berries aren’t from my garden, the vase doesn’t belong to me, and I didn’t put the two together. Even still, I thought you might enjoy seeing this arrangement made today by Clarice Wilson Garden Club member Nancy Boyd at the Kilgore-Lewis House (c. 1838).

Kilgore-Lewis, home of the Greenville Garden Council of Garden Clubs, serves as a meeting place for the Council and its twenty gardening clubs, as well as a favorite location for events such as weddings and other family celebrations. Earlier today, local garden clubs began to decorate the house for the Christmas holiday and I was on hand to gather tidbits and take photographs for an upcoming gardening column in the Greenville News.

Holiday arrangement takes pride of place in the parlor of the Kilgore-Lewis House.

Holiday arrangement takes pride of place in the parlor of the Kilgore-Lewis House.

Nancy’s handsome floral display is made with American holly (Ilex opaca), ‘Little Gem’ magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora), heavenly bamboo (Nandina domestica), deodar cedar (Cedrus deodara), English ivy (Hedera helix), and tall stems of Russian olive (Elaeagnus angustifolia) for height.

As in past years, each room of the house is decorated by a different club around a central idea. The theme for 2014 is “A Naturally Festive Christmas.” The Kilgore-Lewis House will be open to the public this Sunday afternoon, December 6, from 2 to 5 p.m., and on the following Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., until it closes for the holidays on December 19.

Nancy’s vase was one of the few arrangements completed before I had to depart this morning, but I have more to share and I look forward to returning to K-L tomorrow to see the finished effect.

Be sure to visit Cathy at Rambling in the Garden to see what others found for their vases today.

Almost Wordless Wednesday–November 26, 2014

Waterfall and Roman bridge at Nesso as seen from Lake Como (Lago di Lario)

Waterfall and Roman bridge at Nesso as seen from Lake Como (Lago di Lario)

Though taken in September, this photo with its Japanese creeper (Parthenocissus tricuspidata), also called Boston ivy, seems to fit the season. The image is excerpted from a collection of garden tour photos which I only recently finished editing. To view the album highlighting gardens and other sights of the Lakes, Florence, and Rome, click here.

For a unique rotating view of the waterfall and lake taken from the bridge, click here.
Look carefully and see if you can spy the bathing beauty!

New Vigor to the Mind

It’s no secret that I keep a bag packed and am always looking ahead to the next trip, but just now I’m especially excited because I’ve planned a garden tour for June 2015 that includes a visit to some of my favorite gardens in the UK, plus a handful of those still at the top of my “must see” list. Repeats include Bodnant, one of the finest and best-loved gardens in Britain, and Levens Hall, home of 300-year old towering topiary and current head gardener Chris Crowder, an innovator who keeps the ancient landscape fresh and fun.

Chris points out a tree planted at Levens Hall by H.R.H. The Prince of Wales.

Chris points out a tree planted at Levens Hall by H.R.H. The Prince of Wales.

And I’m over the moon about finally visiting Gresgarth Hall, the garden of designer Arabella Lennox-Boyd; Chatsworth, the “Palace of the Peaks;” and Scampston Walled Garden, designed by the master Dutch plantsman, Piet Oudolf; to name but a few.

Seneca said, “Travel and change of place impart new vigor to the mind,” and St. Augustine noted, “The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.” How true. My favorite travel quote, however, is from Susan Heller, who advised, “When preparing to travel, lay out all your clothes and all your money. Then take half the clothes and twice the money.”

To see the full itinerary of this garden adventure, click here.