Camping and Caravanning to See Gardens

The Hidden Gardens of Bury St Edmunds 19-06-2011 by Karen Roe

This Garden Lady loves to visit gardens in the US and around the world. This was on my “bucket list” from my childhood before that term became popular. And as I aged I have visited these places and check off all the spots I have seen. My most recent trip was to see the gardens in Ireland. Though I now am able to travel comfortably in my senior years, I wasn’t always able to afford to indulge my dream so comfortably, but that didn’t stop me.

As a child growing up, rather isolated in a small farming village, I always dreamed of traveling the world. One school teacher I had fed that interest by reading or telling the class stories of exciting travel adventures. My neighbor’s daughter became a teacher so that she could then teach around the globe. She would write home to her parents when she traveled, telling about her experiences abroad. Her mother would come to our house to read these letters. Thus I decided that was what I would do when I grew up; I wanted to travel and see all the world had to offer. But I was a poor child so I had to wait.

I held onto that dream when I got married and my husband knew of my desires. He was a graduate student at that time so once again there was little money to see the world. But he was determined to make me happy.

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TheGardenLady’s Ireland Garden Tour


Gorse by l2x

I love having a garden. It is also so nice when passers-by stop to tell me how much they enjoy my garden, too. Besides having my own garden, I also love to visit other gardens as well, to appreciate what other gardeners are doing and get ideas for my own garden.

To visit gardens, I also enjoy organizing tours of gardens for myself and like minded gardening friends. I have done this for about 10 years, both in the states and in Europe. I do it purely as a hobby; so no need to ask to join any tour, it is only for friends.

This year friends asked me to plan a tour of Ireland’s gardens. To see as many of the gardens as possible, I planned trips to both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. 18 of us went in May; a bad time for our own gardens, but from all I read about Ireland, May was considered the best time to visit. So I hoped it would be a good time for Irish gardens this year even though Northern Ireland had more snow than usual.

We were lucky. Ireland, which was having a late spring and had had so much rain before we arrived hardly had rain when we visited and there were plenty of flowers in bloom for us to see. We were told when we returned home that we missed half a week of heavy rains where we lived. However, our gardens seemed a little bit ahead of the Irish gardens in that all the roses were in bloom whereas we did not see any roses in Ireland. I knew that the International Rose Festival in Belfast was held in July but I had hoped to see a few roses in bloom.

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Gardens to see spring bulbs in bloom


It is still a little too early for many spring bulbs to be blooming in TheGardenLady’s garden. In a few more days, flowers will seriously start showing off. The buds on my daffodils are ready to open- one already did.  I can see some hyacinths forcing their flowers out of the leaf bases. One gets a little impatient waiting.

If you enjoy seeing masses of spring bulbs in bloom outdoors, there are wonderful gardens that one can visit.

Winterthur in Deleware is a wonderful place to see early spring bulbs in bloom. This is the week is when their March Bank is especially lovely. What they refer to as the March Bank is the oldest surviving garden area at Winterthur. H.F. DuPont, the owner of the estate, began naturalizing daffodils on this rolling hill in the early 1900s and “by the 1940s had planted thousands of snowdrops, snowflakes, crocus, squills, and glory-of-the-snow.”

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Touring Other People’s Gardens – The Garden Conservancy

Untitled by edanastas

Not only is this the time to enjoy your garden and its flowers, but this is the time to start thinking about visiting other gardens to see what others are doing in their gardens. Some of the garden ideas you see in others’ gardens can sometimes be brought home and used in your gardens.

How do you get into other people’s private gardens if you don’t know the people? There is a wonderful organization that allows you to do this. It is The Garden Conservancy. They have convinced gardeners around the country to open their private gardens for a few days each year so that the public can visit.

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Photography and Gardens

garden by Sanches90s

Photography and gardens go together like bread and butter, green eggs and ham, meatballs and spaghetti. So if you  enjoy plants and gardening, I hope you have a camera handy to take photos of your plants and gardens and the plants and gardens you visit. Since photos are to share with others, how about sending some of your best shots to TheGardenLady blog so that readers from around the world can all see your photos. We will list your name with the photos if you wish. We would love to know where the photo was taken and if it is a plant, what the plant name is.

If you want to take photos but do not know how, two blogs that give free advice are here and here.  or  Also, check out various gardens, garden shows or garden symposiums to see if they are giving some lectures or workshops on garden photography such as the one at the Atlanta Botanical Garden (see here).

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Great Gardening Book: Thoughtful Gardening by Robin Lane Fox

This winter has been a great time to curl up with a good book on gardening. I hope Santa Claus or whomever brought you good garden books to read in preparation for your own spring gardening.

For this year’s holidays, my daughter-in-law’s brother gave me the book “Thoughtful Gardening” by Robin Lane Fox. I had not heard about this book and when I saw that it was a book written by a British gardener about British gardens, my first thought was maybe I should exchange it. But I love to read and the more I looked through the book, the more interesting it seemed; especially since the President of the New York Botanical Garden and one of my favorite garden book writers, Penelope Hobhouse, highly recommended “Thoughtful Gardening.”

I am so delighted to have received this fantastic book of 80 essays on gardens and flowering plants. A book that is not only interesting to read once, but one that is a fantastic source of information to own. If TheGardenLady’s British readers have not read “Thoughtful Gardening”, I especially recommend your reading it.

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Upcoming Gardening Events

StoneCrop Gardens 152 by jon.trimble

TheGardenLady has received some notices of events that might be of interest to readers of blog. As they are received, I will try to let you know what is happening so that you can mark your calendar and plan ahead.

Carolyn’s Shade Garden is having an open house this October 9th at her nursery at 325 South Roberts Rd, Bryn Mawr, PA Telephone: 610-525-4664 She has some lovely plants for sale. Contact her for more information. Her garden alone is worth the visit.

Central Ohio is having their 56th Annual Home and Garden Show on Feb. 26th. If you are interested check out this site.

Stonecrop Gardens in Cold Springs, NY (see here) will have their 4th annual Alpine plant sale in the spring- probably early April. If you are interested in Rock Gardens and plants for the rock garden or just love alpine plants, it seems that Stonecrop Gardens is one of the foremost gardens in the US for these plants so that the Rock Garden Society of America has their alpine sale there. And the Stonecrop Gardens are wonderful to visit even if you don’t buy plants. More information will come about the date when TheGardenLady learns which weekend is chosen for this event.

Silver Lake Nature Center: Award Water Garden Tours

Back Yard Water Garden by ranhar2

Have readers of TheGardenLady blog ever wanted to build a pond or water garden on your property? Or are you someone who has a pond or a water garden and wants to see what others are doing with theirs? Or are you, like TheGardenLady, someone who just loves to visit gardens of all types?

Well, if you are in the Bristol, Pa area, the people at  Silver Lake Nature Center know that many people would just love to have a chance to see backyard water gardens. So in the past they have created award winning water garden tours.  And this year, again, they have arranged a “Water Garden Tour” where visiters can enjoy the beauty of water gardens,  ask questions, share ideas, or just enjoy the beauty of trickling water and tranquil fish. These tours will be held Sunday July 18 and Sunday July 25. 11am – 5pm. You need to buy tickets which are sold on line here.
Once at the above site, click on “About the Water Garden Tour” for more information.
Below is a photo of Silver Lake Nature Center:

Daybreak on the 4th by mike@bensalem

Oct 3 Open House for Carolyn’s Shade Garden

Carolyns Shade Garden in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania
Carolyn's Shade Garden in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania

Carolyn is opening her shade garden to the public on Saturday, October 3, from 10 am to 2 pm, rain or shine (checks and cash only).  The following information about the open house is from Carolyn herself.

Please don’t arrive before 10 am. If you can’t come on Saturday, please feel free to schedule an appointment on Friday, October 2, or during the week after the open house.

Parking and Directions: Directions are attached. If you are coming on Saturday, please take a moment to review the parking instructions included with the attached directions. Complaints from neighbors about the parking situation can be avoided by following these simple guidelines.

Now that summer is over, it’s time to think about transforming your fall garden with late-blooming flowers and beautiful ornamental leaves. Fill in spots left by dormant plants, screen tired hosta, add flowers, include hellebores for winter interest—enjoy your garden year round. Fall is the best time to plant because soil temperatures are elevated into December, but new plantings don’t have to contend with hot weather and drought (that’s why bulbs are shipped to our area in October). The plants that I plant in fall are some of the healthiest specimens in my garden. Make your fall garden as beautiful as your spring display!

This open house will offer blooming, specimen size turtlehead, toad-lily, garden phlox, Japanese anemone, hardy begonia (pink and white), and much more. We will also have unusual ferns (including the much-requested holly fern) and plants grown for leaves as well as flowers such as purple, caramel, and lemon coral bells. There will be a good supply of the plant everyone has been asking for—Geranium ‘Rozanne’ (flowers continuously and copiously from May until frost)—and of the 2008 Hosta of the Year ‘Blue Mouse Ears’.

Hellebores: Hellebores have been in demand the last few falls so I have potted up some beautiful, large ‘Blue, White, and Pink Lady’ hellebores for the sale. My own double white plants, ‘Double Integrity’, are huge and ready to sell, and I will also offer the mixed color ‘Double Queen’. I have potted up some very nice specimens of ‘Honeyhill Joy’, a vigorous Christmas rose-Corsican cross with shiny dark green leaves and white, outward-facing flowers. There will also be a good supply of the early blooming (November) and vigorous Christmas rose cultivar ‘Jacob’.

Reusable Plant Crates, Boxes, and Pots: If you took a plastic crate at a previous open house, don’t forget to reuse it on Saturday. Please continue to bring cardboard boxes–we always need more. I am happy to reuse my pots but only if they are black nursery pots with a 100, 200, or 400 on the bottom. Please check the bottom of the pots before bringing them as unusable pots are creating a trash problem.

Questions: My catalogue is an excellent resource for information about the ornamental characteristics and cultural requirements of the plants I offer. I often find incorrect information on the preprinted plastic plant tags and recommend that you go to my catalogue first. Email me to request a copy. Printed copies will be available at the open house. If your question is not covered in the catalogue, please feel free to consult one of my knowledgeable open house “volunteers” in the yellow hats.

Stop by on Saturday and see my gardens. The manicured look of spring has been replaced with the bold and rangy (weedy) look of fall. You can see my collection of toad-lilies in bloom and my wildly self-sowing hardy begonias, as well as unusual ferns, hardy cyclamen, Japanese anemone, phlox in all its many colors, ornamental grasses, and many other fall beauties. I look forward to seeing you then.

Thanks, Carolyn

Chinese Garden Tour

TheGardenLady just received an email about a garden tour in China.  She knows nothing about the organization nor the people running this group so she cannot endorse the group. But she thought TheGardenLady readers might be interested in the following information.

China – Flower Blossoms & Peony Festival Tour April 7 – 21, 2009

Thinking of what to give yourself as a Christmas Present this year? Then think no further as this trip is the perfect answer!

We visit some of China’s most incredible gardens, sights and cities including Beijing, Xian, Luoyang, Suzhou and Shanghai.  Gardens that are thousands of years old beckon you to stroll through to capture
cherry blossoms and peonies in their full glorious bloom.   Gardens that will become your memories!

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