Tuesday, July 22, 2008 Garden Conservancy’s Open Days tour, also benefiting the JCRA

This is the time of year I hit high gear planning for the Garden Conservancy’s Open day tour also benefiting the JCRA – for next year.  It’s kind of crazy now because the current years promotion is gearing up, but I need to also focus on next years’ tour.

The 2008 tour is a very nice set of six gardens to visit.

The Stevens’ Garden, 132 Lochwood West Drive, Cary

This magnificent garden is nestled among native trees and backs up to lovely Lake Lochmere. The sloped front lawn draws you into a formal symmetrical brick courtyard perfumed with roses and clematis. Pruned boxwoods, topiaries and teak benches lend an English touch. Follow the wide brick paths past a mighty Beech tree and soothing water feature to an inviting lakeside gazebo then on to the dock where white swan and abundant fish abound. A smooth, green expanse of lawn complements the colorful backyard garden beds full of perennials and flowering shrubs. An expansive lakeside viewing deck provides a welcome opportunity to pause and survey the entire garden vista.  

Judy and Frank Harmon Residence, 114 Brooks Ave, Raleigh

Residence Our compact house and garden were designed to allow as much sunlight in, while offering a view and privacy within a busy university neighborhood.  The total “home” is half house, half garden; the exterior is as much a part of our living experience as the interior.

Determined to preserve four large oaks and two large mulberry trees along the perimeter of the one-third-acre corner lot, the house is built on 14 concrete piers. To give the house a sense of both strength and lightness, steel was used for the structure. 

The garden walls are covered in vines resulting in secluded gardens within the walls – continuous, curvilinear gardens that combine sunny, open spaces with lush areas of dense foliage. The gardens, carefully planted to offer something to see and enjoy year-round, create a rhythm of activity and repose, of light and dark. 

The Harris Garden, 4352 Blossom Hill Ct., Raleigh

Gently curving and shaded walkways lead our visitors to a variety of private and restful retreats throughout the garden.  Designed and developed by Karen and Ted Harris over the last 16 years, this 2.3-acre informal and serene garden features a natural stream and two stocked ponds that are adorned by water lilies, irises, and rush.  The connecting paths are draped by mature trees intermingled with evergreens, Japanese maples, oak leaf hydrangeas, native magnolias and a variety of ferns. The relaxing sound of a waterfall and presence of abundant wildlife beacons one to sit and stay awhile. 

The Shuping Garden, 2441 West Lake Drive, Raleigh

As your journey begins through the front natural are, the classic Georgian manor emerges through redbuds, dogwoods, and stately magnolias.  After a visit to the cistern in the gated courtyard, stroll to the piazza and quatrefoil fountain on the ground’s lower level.  The cloud-pruned Boulevard Cypress flanking the steps entering the upper level is always a crowd pleaser.  You will find an array of unique treasures as you explore the three acres of garden rooms.

Titus Garden, 10101 Roadstead Way East, Raleigh

The walled garden of this shady quarter-acre lot is a sanctuary of calmness and lushness.  Many features anchor this garden connected with stone and gravel paths.  Down the paths you will find stone-faced spill ponds including a large pond with a three-tier waterfall containing around 300 colorful fish. 

One part of the garden is anchored with an octagon shaped gazebo raised on stilts giving the feeling of being in another world.  Another part of the garden features a large vine-covered pergola with a crystal chandelier and dining seating for 12.  Garden plantings include some 300 specimens of mature trees, shrubs, perennials, hostas, fern and more; giving this garden a feeling of being in the Far East.

Dennis & Georginia Werner, 5901 Fordland Drive, Raleigh

An informal collector’s garden featuring a 2,800 sq. ft herbaceous perennial border, colorful annual plantings surrounding an in-ground pool, a gazebo surrounded by a large planting of herbaceous perennials and shrubs, natural areas with mixed shrub and tree plantings, and foundation plantings featuring a diversity of small trees, shrubs, herbaceous perennials, and ferns. 

Tour days and times are:  Saturday, September 20: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday, September 21: 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.  For more information and descriptons of the gardens, please visit www.opendaysprogram.org

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