Saturday, December 1, 2012

Wildflower Wednesday: A Native Wonderland

Have you ever passed by someone's garden and just invited yourself in for a closer look?  Or better yet, have you dropped in to visit a private garden, when no one was even home?  In a way, that is what two friends and I did on our way home from the Asheville Fling this past May.

The sign at the end of the driveway did say "Open," so we accepted the invitation and walked right in.

I suspect we were not the first visitors to be intrigued by this garden, for the front garden spills from the front of the house all the way to the street, enticing visitors to take a closer look.  The glimpse of the blue bottle tree hints at other treasures within, just waiting to be found.

And indeed there are treasures, sometimes popping up unexpectedly as you round a path.  Reminders that this is a garden where wildlife are welcome.

 A garden where pollinators are encouraged to visit and feast on the variety of plants chosen just for them.

Though I didn't take a single photo of a real bee or butterfly visiting the garden, there was so much to see that I often forgot about the camera hanging around my neck.  It was easy to get distracted--as we moved into the back garden, in fact, friend Lisa, a birding enthusiast, heard a familiar bird song and went in search of the singer.

This is a garden where native plants and wildflowers abound, like this Echinacea tennesseensis with its distinctive downward-curling rays.  It may be on the Federal Endangered Species list, but it is thriving in its native habitat here.

Another native in bloom on this late spring day was the Phlox pilosa,
 known to many of us in Blogland as PPPP.

Agastache (variety unknown, but maybe 'Golden Jubilee'?), also called Hyssop or Hummingbird Mint, is a favorite of hummingbirds and butterflies alike.

The native Hypericum adds cheery yellow blooms in this mostly shady garden.

While the emphasis is on natives here, other non-natives are welcome as well, such as this creamy daylily.

Or the Verbena bonariensis, which although not a native, is loved by the butterflies.

My friends and I didn't take advantage of this inviting bench to rest for a bit, but continued our exploration on foot.  We wondered aloud what must the neighbors think of these three strangers roaming about the garden unchaperoned?  Perhaps they are used to people stopping by to admire this native sanctuary, because no police ever arrived to arrest us for trespassing:)

By now, many of you no doubt recognize this garden as belonging to none other than the hostess of the monthly Wildflower Wednesday, Gail of Clay and Limestone. And to set the record straight, we didn't exactly drop in uninvited.  When we made our plans to attend the Asheville Fling, friends Lisa, Beckie, and I also made plans to leave a day early and visit Fairegarden, but left our return trip home more spontaneous.  I was lucky enough to visit Gail's garden a few years before during another trip through Tennessee and raved about it, so Lisa and Beckie longed to see it, too.  However, when we talked to Gail in Asheville, she said she was going to stay an extra day, but we were welcome to stop by her home anyway and tour the garden by ourselves.  I'm not sure she really expected us to take her up on this offer, but we couldn't resist!

Thank you, Gail, for graciously allowing us to visit your garden, and thank you for hosting Wildflower Wednesday each month.  I've learned so much about wildflowers and native plants through this series, including the Hypericum above, featured in her post this month.  My photos don't do her garden justice, but you can see much more of her garden as well as other wildflower entries posted this month here. To paraphrase an old saying, when it comes to creating a pollinator-friendly garden, Gail doesn't just "talk the talk, she walks the walk"!


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  2. That is awesome. It is really neat to see what others will focus on and take photos of in one's garden. Thanks for sharing.

  3. That's a really lovely garden. I love the phlox and the garden art.

  4. How nice that everyone felt comfortable with visitors wandering around the place when the owner wasn't even there. I like that. What a community of gardeners.

    Those hypericum blooms always make me smile -- so sunny and explosive and bright. I have them in my garden and love them.

  5. I began the tour with you Rose and said to myself ... this 'Piece of Heaven' looks familiar! Old blogging friends ( I have been very bad about blogging of late) are precious ... and would so love to have been beside you touring. To meet both you and Gail is a dream of mine. Perhaps some day ... ! Thank you for the lovely tour.

  6. Rose, I think you enjoyed your visit to this garden. I love the bird house, benches, lamps, etc. Nice photos!

  7. One of my favourite pastimes is looking at other peoples' gardens.
    This one had me fascinated as I just love all the little ornaments and bird/insect houses and seats scattered about. Just as important to me as the flowers.
    Thanks for sharing.
    Maggie X

    Nuts in May

  8. It was a fun stop on our way home. So much to see. Thanks for the link love. I must get something not so depressing posted. :/

  9. This is such a wonderful post to tour through right now, when green is hard to find outside!

  10. Gardener on Sherlock, I enjoy, too, seeing what others show about a garden I've often seen on a blog--we all have different perspectives.

    Jason, I'm not sure why I took more photos of the garden art than of the flowers, but all of it seemed such a natural extension of the setting--I wish I could place objects so well!

    Laurrie, We felt a bit funny walking around when no one was home, but Gail did say we were welcome. I kept looking over my shoulder for a neighbor to pop over and ask just what we thought we were doing:)

    Joey, I wish you could have joined us! This was indeed a little "Piece of heaven." I hope we'll have a chance to meet one day, too!

    Nadezda, Yes, we enjoyed our visit so much; my photos really don't do this lovely garden justice.

    Maggie, This is a garden for wildlife; you could sit on the chairs or bench for hours, I think, and just watch the birds and butterflies.

    Lisa, I'm so glad we stopped, too. I was trying to remember the bird you saw while there, but couldn't think if it was something common or unusual. I hope you are doing better.

    Cassie, I'm glad now I never posted these photos last summer. Any wildflowers I have are all brown and gray right now:)

  11. This was such a beautiful tour and group of photographs. It was nice you extended your visit to see more gardens. I like the owl on the rock, it is such an unexpected touch.

  12. You know, visiting other people's gardens in real life and on the blog is becoming more my habit than actually working in my own garden. It's wonderful to see such cheery flowers on a winter's day. Some frosty mornings of late have sent most of my blooms to bed for the winter.

  13. Hi Rose, when the photo with the two chairs appear, i thought that i've seen the scene. Then suddenly you said it is Gail's garden. So it is that wide, lovely and well maintained. I guess it is easier to maintain temperate country guardens because you don't get a lot of weeds as they finish during the winter months. And...thanks for visiting my wildflowers!

  14. Rose, you had me until I saw the purple bench. Then I knew. I want to visit Gail's garden one day. It's on my bucket list. What a lovely place it is and friendly to all sorts of visitors. I enjoyed seeing your viewpoint of her beds. Thank you and Happy WW.~~Dee

  15. The road less traveled and all that. What a wonderful side trip. I am sorry to have missed that Fling. Next year for sure. Will I see you there?

  16. Indeed, your photos DO do Gail's garden justice, I recognised it after a couple of photos. How fascinating to see her garden, thru your eyes. A slightly different angle, some different context.

  17. What fun to go visiting a friend's garden, feeling welcome enough to just walk through. Such a lovely garden too.
    Your trip before hand must have been a success and continuing on was only natural!

  18. What a lovely, colourful post to brighten up a rather miserable time of year Rose. It must have been rather exciting being able to explore unaccompanied and it looked like there was lots to discover. I loved the owl and other ornaments and the first photo of the Hypericum was such a lovely sunburst of cheerfulness. I have tried to grow Verbena bonariensis in my garden to attract the butterflies but haven't been able to tempt it to stay so far....I shall try again :-)

  19. What a special place! I'm so sad I had to miss the Asheville Fling. But a son's college graduation takes precedence--even over such a wonderful garden experience. Thanks for sharing your experience with those of us who couldn't make it! Lovely photos!

  20. Great posting Rose. Yes, seeing another blogger's garden is almost like deja vu, we see so much through one another's posts.
    Now that my daughter lives in Nashville I plan on seeing Gail's garden firsthand.

  21. I knew that bench looked familar! ;) How nice that you got to see Gail's garden in person again.

  22. Rose, thanks for the tour of Gail's garden. It is lovely! It was nice to see green with so much brown up here in Maine.

  23. What a beautiful garden and a beautiful vision of green and color on this gray day.

  24. Gardenwalk, I wish I had taken more photos, but we were more interested in seeing everything.

    W2W, I'm glad to hear I'm not the only one like that:) I spend more time talking and thinking about gardening than actually doing.

    Kalantikan, Gail's garden really is huge; we didn't even explore the back garden, or Garden of Benign Neglect, as she calls it. I don't know about weeds--they get killed off by our cold winters, but seem to pop up again as soon as it warms up.

    Dee, I hope you get to see Gail's garden one day--it's beautiful! Nashville was on our way home, so it seemed a shame not to miss it.

    Layanee, San Francisco is doubtful for me, but I won't say a definite no. But I am certainly thinking of Charleston the next year.

    Diana, Thank you--I didn't take nearly as many photos as I had wished, because we were enjoying rambling through and identifying different natives.

    Wendy, This stop was on our wish list, too, so I'm so happy Gail was kind enough to let us stop by even though she wasn't home.

    Songbird, Yes, my own garden is 50 shades of gray and brown right now:) I've never been able to get the Verbena bonariensis to grow well for me either, yet my friend has to pull excess plants everywhere out of her garden. I can't figure that out.

  25. Lovely, inviting garden, very warm and with lots of interesting features!

  26. Beth, You would have loved Asheville. But I understand what you mean--my daughter's graduation last year is why I couldn't go to the Seattle Fling. Some things are more important than gardening activities:)

    Janet, I'm sure Gail would love to have you visit!

    Sweetbay, The first time I visited Gail's garden was in the fall, so it was nice to see it in a different season, too.

    Sarah, Everything is pretty brown here, too, not to mention downright muddy this weekend:)

    Pat, It's a gloomy day here, too. I just can't get motivated to take photos of my own gray and brown garden right now.

    Tatyana, "Inviting" is a great word to describe Gail's garden--not only for humans, but for lots of winged creatures as well.

  27. I can't believe I haven't been over here until now...Shame on me! Thank you for you always kind words and support and for not showing the worst parts of the garden. Love to you Rose. xoxogail

  28. That blue bottle tree gave it away immediately to me! How wonderful that you were able to see Gail's garden even without her there. She really is an inspiration isn't she?

  29. Hi Rose, How kind of Gail to give you an open invitation of visit in her absence. I love the personal touches she has incorporated into the garden, especially the cute little owl. The chairs are an interesting color. Are they navy, black or purple?

  30. Such a beautiful garden - I'm really loving that bird box. I think it's the nicest one I've ever seen!

  31. I see some different views of C & L through your lens. Lovely as always and you are so right concerning Gail's blog. She always informs and entertains at the same time.

  32. This certainly must have been a garden tour to remember!I love this treat of seeing color and flowers since my world is now colorless..we expect a white snow dusting on Fri..just in time for Christmas!
    Rose I will NOT be heading for AZ this winter. One of my felines is not well and the trip too stressful for her so I stay home/ HUbby will go for a month.
    This year I will post from hopfully "a winter wonderland"..did I say that!
    Should I not get around, I wish you and yours a wonderful Christmas and many more treasured garden tours in coming New Year!
    love and light Anna xo

  33. LOL, Rose! I didn't realize it was Gails until you said so, but I had thought to myself, when I got to the purple bench, that Gail has one like it. I loved seeing the garden from your perspective.


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