Archive for August 24, 2009

In Print – Metro Magazine Raleigh area Garden Conservancy’s Open Days tour

The August/September 2009 issue of Metro magazine featured The Garden Conservancy Open Days Tour.  Bernie Reeves, editor and publisher of Metro, has been very generous to the gardening community communicating this great gardening event.  Thanks Bernie!

The Garden Conservancy’s Open Days Tour 2009

Back Porch Labor Day 2008 054B

Cascading water, tapestry hedges, wildlife habitats.  Butterflies, birds and bumble bees.  Summer transitions into the fall.

The Garden Conservancy Open Days tour will be held once again in the Raleigh area.  For two days, six gardens will open to share with you a peak behind their garden gates; it is sure to pique your interest just in time for fall planning and planting.


The Thompson Garden

Garden of Kathleen and Walt Thompson

119 Ravenna Way


As close as the curb, delight begins.  Paths beckon you to enter; but do enter slowly, you will not want to miss a thing – not a plant, a vignette, an accent.  The thread-leaf Japanese maple will stop you in you espadrilles.  But do go on, there’s more to see.

Stop at the arbor to take in the view.  Revealed is a garden gently sloping with curvilinear borders and paths outlined with recycled concrete. This garden displays an excellent example of using recycled materials to create garden walls, paths, and edging.

Garden beds are planted with perennials, tropicals, and native plants. The sound of the pond provides a soothing respite and also attracts wildlife.  From the pond, continue on down the paths into the woods where your will be welcomed by the community lake.


The Paisley Garden

Garden of Julia Kornegay and Alfredo Escobar

5237 Leiden Lane


A groovy garden to be sure!  Paisley patterns presents well to the visitor allowing one to meander through the paths never far from the sound of water.  The stone-bordered pond, with a stream and waterfall, is at the heart of this garden.  The sound of water attracts wildlife and soothing all those who visit.

Paths carry the visitor around the paisley beds and into and out of the woodland gardens.

On a corner, one acre lot, Julia and Alfredo’s passion for plants and designed are well utilized.  Fashion forward design (or is it nostalgia?) has this couple presenting a front yard vegetable garden including tomatoes, potatoes, onions and a sweet English knot herb garden.

The borrowed landscape makes this property seem larger than it is.  With plenty of seating dotted throughout the gardens, take the time to sit a spell and enjoy the views.

Rose Cottage

Garden of Sharon and Jim Bright

115 N. Bloodworth Street


The journey through the gardens of Rose Cottage begins at the carriage step.  One step and you stop.  The home and garden’s quaintness is mesmerizing.  Antique roses, perennials, annuals, flowering trees and shrubs, plus pretty parterres define the space.  The hectic pace of life is slowed as one enters these gardens.

This new home, built to historic specifications, sits comfortable in Raleigh’s downtown historic district.  The gardens arose out of an old graveled parking lot, left barren by a house fire long ago.  The Bright’s transformed the grounds into a lush and tranquil oasis of color and fragrance.

Inspired my Monet, but realized with Sharon’s keen eye for color and Jims handiness, these gardens were created.

Be sure to venture to the very back to see the bountiful vegetable beds, a secret garden, a compost operation, and a little garden cottage that functions as a convenient shed.

Helen’s Haven

Garden of Helen Yoest and David Philbrook

3412 Yelverton Circle


Helen’s Haven is the garden I share with my family. The design took into account the needs of three young and active children. Even so, the stone path through the center on the main back border, built by Phil Hathcock of Natural Stone Sculptures, is often overlooked as a transition point when the kids are chasing an errant ball.  But that’s OK; this is their garden too.

Low Boxwood hedges were used to create a formal atmosphere to complement the formal architecture of this Georgian Colonial style home. These hedges also map out the space for the kids to play. Within these hedges are informal plantings of perennials and annuals to attract butterflies, birds and bees.

Helen’s Haven is a certified wildlife habitat and a certified Monarch Watch Station. Using waterwise design principles and watered with harvested rain, this organic garden demonstrates good environmental practices resulting in a colorful, lush garden.

Enjoy a leisurely stroll through the gardens watching the butterflies alight and seeing enough birds to delight.



Garden of Jayme Bednarczyk and Phil Abbott

1025 Traders Trail

Wake Forest

The home and garden’s name is Entwined; aptly named by Jayme and Phil as their place of, “Hopeful dreams entwined with patience and time.”

These gardens were built at their pace of one passion at a time.  Amidst the trees, roses, and perennials, with drama directing one to the lake, turning back, a villa is revealed.  Strong European influences are present in the design decisions.  Terraced beds on this sloping land add to the drama of this home in the heart of the garden.

Falls Revival

Garden of Jeff Bottoms and John Martin

12160 Falls of Neuse Rd

Wake Forest

Seen from the road, is a tapestry hedge buffering the busy street.  On the other side of the hedge, in this historic valley of Wake Forest, sits a garden – a collector’s garden – with a foot in the past and an eye towards the future.  Nostalgia, tradition and modern design meld to make this garden shine.

A casual cottage-style garden with some very unusual plantings will pique your interest to want to know more and want to know where to find some of them.  You’re in luck; towards the back of the property is a nursery, with a wide range of exotic and unusual plants, many of which are found in the gardens as well.

During the tour, the on-site nursery will be selling plants and sharing proceeds with the JC Raulston Arboretum.

Post script

For the past 5 years, it has been a pleasure volunteering for the Garden Conservancy Open Days tour.  This year marks my last year leading this great tour and fund raising event.   I’m happy to announce the Garden Conservancy tour will continue on in 2010 under the direction of the JC Raulston Arboretum.  Please contact Anne Porter at the arboretum if you are interested in helping with next year’s tour at 919-513-3463.


The Garden Conservancy is a national organization with a mission to preserve exceptional American gardens for public education and enjoyment.  The Open Days Program serves as the primary educational outreach for the Conservancy.

Founded in 1989 by American gardener, Frank Cabot, the Garden Conservancy works in partnership with individual garden owners and public and private organizations, and uses legal, financial, and horticultural resources to help secure the future of hundreds of gardens across the country.  North Carolina is fortunate to have two Garden Conservancy’s preservation projects:  Montrose in Hillsborough and The Elizabeth Lawrence garden in Charlotte.

The Open Days tour allows proceeds to be shared with another non-profit.  Helen Yoest, regional representative of the Raleigh area tour, named the JC Raulston Arboretum as the shared benefactor.

Tickets can be purchased in advanced at The JC Raulston Arboretum by calling 919-513-3463 or directly through the The Garden Conservancy.  Tickets can also be purchased during the days of the tour at the individual gardens or at the Bobby Wilder Visitor’s Center at the JC Raulston Arboretum 4511 Beryl Road, Raleigh. Tickets are $5.00 per garden or a book of six tickets for $25.00.  Garden Conservancy members get a further discount of just $15.00 per book of six tickets.

Saturday, September 19, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and

Sunday, September 20, from noon to 5 p.m.

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