Posts Tagged Metro Magazine

Metro Magazine – Winter Interest Under Way for Umstead Hotel and Spa

Winter Interest Under Way For Umstead Hotel and Spa

In the winter, the garden is often thought of as the pause season until spring returns; an interruption in the time when a garden can be beautiful.  Often, the winter season isn’t based on the solstice, but rather, from first to last frost; too long a pause not to plan for the season.

With the fine weather we experience from the Triangle to the coast, we have the potential to garden year round.  No snow to compete with, we can add to the landscape so that our gardens can be just as interesting in winter as they are in spring, summer or fall.  What you do in winter, will also enhance other season’s appeal.

Even with a professional design, the winter interest aspects are often overlooked.  It’s never too late to evaluate your garden’s winter appeal.

The Umstead Hotel and Spa, in Cary, NC, recently did just that.  Landscape designer, Suzanne Edney, of Custom Landscapes, Inc., was brought in to evaluate and add winter interest elements to the 6 acres surrounding the Five Star hotel.

“My mission was to give a ‘sense of place’ by using cultivars and ornamentals that have characteristics of North Carolina plants,” says Suzanne.  Working directly with Ann Goodnight, Suzanne evaluated and added to the existing design.  What Suzanne found was many of the plants used in the original design were deciduous perennials, therefore, the landscape looked bare from December to April.  Suzanne’s design added to the ground plane and broke up a single plane of plantings.

This sense of place is an important factor for hotels of this caliber. As Suzanne explained, “When you arrive at The Umstead Hotel and Spa, you want to know that your are in NC, not in Italy or Miami or some other place.”

Plum yew, juniper, and Hellebores were some of the ground covers used in the design along with boulders to fill voids while giving the eye a restful place to pause.  Grasses were added to give movement, evergreen vines, perennials and shrubs such as Clematis Armandii, poet’s laurel, Fatsia, roof iris, Spirea, and Deodara Cedar were added for winter interest and to add rhythm to the design.

Implantation of the design began this fall and will continue through the winter.  It will be most interesting to visit often during this time to see how the transformation progresses.

Now and after the holidays is a great time to evaluate your winter landscape.  Plan on making your winter more interesting with plants and other elements such as boulders, benches, or accents.  You too will be enjoying your garden all winter long.


The JC Raulston Arboretum hosts an annual A Walk in the Winter Garden program in February each year.  Enjoy a winter garden themed presentation and tours and see what the winter garden has to offer.  Visit their Web site at for details

Helen Yoest is a garden writer and coach through her business Gardening with Confidence™

Follow Helen on Twitter @HelenYoest and her facebook friend’s page, Helen Yoest or Gardening With Confidence™ Face Book Fan Page.

Helen also serves on the board of advisors for the JC Raulston Arboretum

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In Print – Elizabethan gardens delight visitors

Virginia Dare

Virginia Dare

Metro Magazine

Here’s the originial copy:

The Elizabethan Gardens

By Helen Yoest

The Elizabethan Gardens is a unique American garden, with a definite nod to 16th century England.  Built on the site of the first English colony in the New World and staying authentic of the era, these gardens offer a wide appeal.

Horticulturists, nature lovers, history buffs, and culture seekers find their way to this historic site on the Roanoke Sound in Manteo, North Carolina.

Nestled under a canopy of Southern Magnolias, pines, dogwoods and ancient live oak trees, the garden was originally funded more than 50 years ago by the Garden Club of North Carolina and designed and built by M. Umberto Innocenti and Richard Webel.

A visit to The Elizabethan Gardens is very much like touring a great English estate.  Ten acres of gardens are designed with a mixture of both formal and naturalized areas.

The formal areas include an entrance garden designed with desirable parterres of clipped boxwood and filled with annuals to reflect the seasons.  The Shakespeare’s Herb Garden is filled with culinary, medicinal and sweet smelling herbs.

Of particular interest is the Sunken Gardens with a magnificent antique fountain donated by The Late Honorable John Hay Whitney, former Ambassador to the Courts of St. James and Mrs. Whitney.

The fountain dictated the design of a formal parterre pattern of clipped boxwood and yaupon hollies.  Surrounding the fountain is a circle of eight Crepe Myrtles.  Each year, the trees are pollarded to maintain their size.  In doing so, the ends of each branch form gnarled orbs that have become individual works of art.  During the summer, their watermelon-colored flowers are simply striking.

The naturalized areas have you trod on ground softened by fallen leaves and pine needles with walls of azaleas and camellias.

A summer stroll will reveal many different types of hydrangeas.  Climbing hydrangeas grace the Gatehouse wall in the Courtyard.  The sweet scent wafts the area making it difficult to venture on.  Linger long enough to satisfy, but then be ready for the sight of lacecap and mophead hydrangea blooms beckoning you in blue.  Naturally pink cultivars also abound along with Oak leaf hydrangeas with their white blooms fading to a rosy pink.

Lining the Great Lawn are daylilies offering several weeks of great color and delight.  Perennial sunflowers, rain lilies, Stokes Asters, Gardenias, and coneflowers will also welcome you, as well as, the wildlife.

The natural paths will lead you to the octagonal shaped Gazebo.  Built to period specifications with a thatched roof over looking the Roanoke sound, it is also sighted at the perfect moment to rest.

As you journey back, you will meet Virginia Dare, or at least the artist’s rendition of the first child born to the new world, if she had lived.  Sculpted in Italy by American sculptor, Maria Louis Lander, in 1859, the statue stands at the place of the child’s’ birth, now a young woman looking towards the future.


The Elizabethan Gardens

Open year-round seven days a week

Closing times vary with season

1411 National Park Drive

Manteo, NC 27954

(252) 473-3234

Self guided tour open 7 days a week year round

Be sure to visit the Gatehouse Gift shop offering unique items and plants propagated in greenhouses located on the gardens grounds.

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In Print – Metro Magazine – Thomas Sayre’s latest earthcasting

My March column for Metro Magazine is about Thomas Sayre’s latest earth casting for Eliza Kraft-Olander.  It’s the story of how a piece of very public art found a home down a country road in Raleigh, NC.

Here also is my photo journey of the event; the art set up, curing, and curing spanned over 2 months.


The model







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