Pearl Fryar Topiary Garden, Bishopville, South Carolina

Pearl Fryar Topiary Garden, Bishopville, South Carolina

In 2006 PBS showed the documentary film “A Man Named Pearl.”  The film was about a topiary artist’s garden in South Carolina.  Seeing the film made a lasting impression on me so much so I recently headed to Bishopville to see Pearl Fryar’s topiary garden.  Arriving at his home there are no gates, no posted hours, just a welcome sign with a donation box.  A homemade kiosk holds a small brochure with information about the garden.  Rich and I walked right into Pearl’s garden, and by the end of our visit we had met Pearl, wandered through his garden and left feeling grateful and inspired.

...   Continue Reading

Audubon Swamp Garden  Magnolia Plantation, Charleston, SC

Audubon Swamp Garden Magnolia Plantation, Charleston, SC

As an Arizona gardener I don’t deal with much mud and I don’t own a pair of rubber boots.  So I can’t imagine gardening in the low country of South Carolina, where there is water meandering  through the landscape nearly everywhere. Yet when I learned of the Audubon Swamp Garden, I knew I needed to wander through. I was assured by Christopher at the ticket window that we would be walking through on a raised wooden walkway, safe and protected from alligators.  After winding my way in the Swamp Garden for several hours on small board walks spanning the muddy places and navigating around the protruding tree roots I wasn’t sure Christopher had set foot in the garden.

...   Continue Reading

Kudzu Baskets

Kudzu Baskets

Visiting Piedmont Park in Atlanta, Ga I arrived just in time to take in the Dogwood Festival. I love street art fairs. I feel so inspired as I wander through seeing the original creations made by artists who see the world in a unique way creating powerful expressions of their view.  The Dogwood Art festival began in 1936 and it is hard to imagine how many incredible new art creations have occurred in all the years of this event.

...   Continue Reading

Parks & Gardens, History & Beauty

Parks & Gardens, History & Beauty

This year is a celebration for the 100th anniversary of the signing of the law founding our National Parks Service.  In February a 3D IMAX film, National Parks Adventure, narrated by Robert Redford was released. The film flies viewers over canyons, red rock arches, and walks them into ice caves near Lake Superior. Highlighting 30 of the 58 national parks, there are moments where you feel the urge to reach out and touch the ice crystals and rock walls. Seeing the film will inspire you to “Find Your Park” which is the theme for the yearlong celebration.

...   Continue Reading

Inspiration from Chanticleer

Inspiration from Chanticleer

The Art of Gardening: Design Inspiration and Innovative Planting Techniques from Chanticleer,  R William Thomas, Timber Press, 2015

In the nearly 100 gardens I visited in 2015, Chanticleer Garden in Wayne, PA was by far the most inspiring. I came home and implemented design ideas from a Northeast garden into my Southwest landscape.   Bill Thomas is the executive director and head gardener of Chanticleer and in the introduction he says the “book aims to be a conversation between our staff and you. . . Our garden exists to inspire and is filled with ideas to try at home.”  

...   Continue Reading

Chihuly’s Garden

If you are visiting downtown Seattle board the monorail and ride directly to the Space Needle, the most iconic image of the 1962 Seattle World’s Fair.   The 74 acre Seattle Park is a prime destination with many attractions to choose from.  The Pacific Science Center is designed to inspire budding scientists of all ages, the 3D IMAX theatre is celebrating the 100th anniversary of the National Parks, the Music Center plays the history of rock and roll and the International musical fountain invites you in for a splash. 

...   Continue Reading

Vander Veer Botanical Park & Conservatory, Davenport IA

Vander Veer Botanical Park & Conservatory, Davenport IA

Reporting from Iowa

This just in, Iowa has beautiful gardens and parks, with grand trees, roses, hostas, and lakes.  Despite the frenzy of Iowa’s political caucuses happy people are ice skating on the lagoon in Vander Veer Botanical Park and Conservatory in Davenport.

...   Continue Reading

Memorable Gardens 2015

Memorable Gardens 2015

“We are perishing from want of wonder and not from want of wonders, GK Chesterton”

During 2015 I visited nearly 100 gardens in a dozen states and every garden delighted me. Reflecting on my garden adventures I have looked through the photos and notes of my travels and found a few I want to share with you.  While the gardens I write about here are all unique and worthy of a visit for so many reasons when you go there will be something new and interesting to see.  Here is the most memorable moment discovered just when I wandered through the garden. 

...   Continue Reading

Celebrating the Light

Celebrating the Light

Desert Botanical Garden

LAS NOCHES DE LAS LUMINARIAS

As we approach the winter solstice, the longest night of the year, we turn on our lights with little thought. It gets dark and we need light to complete our daily tasks. Yet in December, light becomes a part of our celebrations. Hanukkah is a festival of lights, Christmas trees are lit as a gathering place for the festivities of the season, the Luminaries of the Southwest light the pathway for the worshippers to find their way to the Christmas Miracle.

...   Continue Reading

Gratitude for Gardens

Gratitude for Gardens

In this week of Thanksgiving I realize again how grateful I am for gardens.  In this world of war, wild weather, and wandering refugees it is hard to see solutions to such complex problems.  Yet at this very moment I am lucky enough to be able to step outside my home and walk in my garden. I have a place to sit with the people I love, where I can see the sky and be warmed by the sun.   Delighted by wild canaries flying through the view, a light breeze rustles the leaves on the olive trees, and a wind chime plays a trio of notes.  I have clean water for my plants and for my family.

...   Continue Reading