Friday, September 19, 2014

North Carolina Arboretum (Part two)

Lycoris radiata
Brace yourselves: this is only the SECOND part--and there will be a third as well. There are so many images from this Arboretum that I shall not have the time or patience to annotate them all: since it's the busy end of Autumn here in Denver, I don't have the luxury or patience to provide scholia for each photo: but I was really enchanted with this little known garden which with a little luck and ingenuity could be come one of America's greatest! Of course, they'll have to hire James (and you know who you are) to achieve that! I was there in mid August--hence the Surprise lily above--which is not quite hardy in Denver....yet.
There was not a lot of signage, but I was impressed at what I saw there..

Angelica gigas
Surely the most spectacular Angelica:I have become quite fond of this genus, despite its monocarpic tendencies--and this is part of the reason why. I believe it was introduced to cultivation by Barry Yinger--one of America's great horticulturists.

Plaza at the entrance court: I love the Agastache and the Hydrangea!

Enormous pathways could accommodate crowds: would love to see crowds here...

There are lots of interesting pieces of garden furnishings like this--this one is a bit creepy perhaps.

Not a typical container planting. But I liked it. Perhaps because of that. And of course, Agastaches rock--even the wannish ones like this!

I liked the existential waterfall (whence? wither?) Waterfall for waterfall's sake.

A wonderful ring of Chinese elms around the circle drive--love the bark!

Hydrangeas in the distance: Verononia in front (you'll see it better soon). I'm a sucker for Hydrangeas--and I notice they're getting more and more popular on both coasts.

Closer one shows it better...

Veroninia gigantea
I believe this is the correct name: the plant is certainly gigantic--growing along the margins of the garden (and probably wild).

Endless vistas everywhere: this place is huge. There is great relief on the property--it's awesome!
Another grand vista with wide, wide paths: they were expecting droves here. Not the day I visited!

I rather liked this sculpture: the label (read below) was intriguing...

Rudbeckia gigantea
The foliage certainly looks like the giant coneflower....
Eupatorium  behind a branch of Rudbeckia
Either the ray-flowers have been shed, or this is a rayless form. It superficially resembles our giant Rudbeckia occidentalis in the west, but the foliage doesn't jibe: a MYSTERY! Unless there's something afoot I don't know about. Do you?
Labelled "Eupatorium 'Dwarf Red Stemmed Selection'"
Hard to believe this was dwarf--but it is more compact than generic Joe Pye Weed. I love these late summer daisies!

I believe trhis is Cinnamon Fern in full summer glory in front of "Eupatorium 'Dwarf Red Stemmed Selection'"

A bank with Lobelia siphylitica and sedge--lots of nice combos

Zenobia pulverulenta 'O'Ree'
The picture doesn't reveal the powdery blue color of this compact ericaceous mound.

Pachysandra procumbens, unmottled form
I envied this massive planting of Alleghany spurge: Surely they wouldn't miss a spadeful?

Delicate tracery on a gate

Eupatorium rotundifolium with Cinnamon fern and Belamcanda
This was a new one for me: there are no end of Joe-Pye-Weeds in the East!

Closeup of the flowers of Eupatorium rotundifolium

Sorghastrum nutans
The Indian grass had been blooming in Denver when I left--for a fleeting week or two it's my favorite grass of all.
Closeup of Sorghastrum nutans

Fabulous bark on Cladrastus kentuckea
There is a cell phone tour: we have them at Denver as well....I've never seen anyone do it however...

"Quilt" garden
The one extensive annual display is laid out to resemble a quilt: I checked and sure enough they change the pattern every year. I've been gardening nearly sixty years, and I've finally been worn down and have to admit I enjoy annual carpet bedding. If you've gardened less than me, you may still be a snob.

Here's the best view--although you're supposed to clumb up on that parapet and look down.

More nice views and allees.

Don't have a clue why I took this: some interesting woodlanders?

More crisp paths and views spangled with some Zinnia angustifolia

More expansive views

Schizachyrium and some purple leaf annuals and marigolds
A rather arbitrary aglommeration of things, perhaps, but pleasant enough. Love the Hydrangea poking up above!

The Petunia of choice--that strange biscuit gold one: I grew it this year too.

Another mixed up border; Bananas and Perovskia--a new one for me!

I must find a place to let Hyacinth Bean do this in MY garden!

Well grown annuals--the color would be more evocative at dawn or dusk...

Giant Sacaton (Sporobolus wrightii)
I was astonished to see this Rio Grande native thriving in Asheville! What a glorious plant.

I'd hate to be the one to lug the Sago palms in and out.

Mandevilla as a hedge: another new one for me.

A few random pictures from one of the several grand buildings on the site: a lovely gallery space with irridescent objets d'art

A well lit solarium space

A wonderful display of foliage tropicals--one worth copying.


Obligatory gift shop sans shoppers

The atrium I showed from above at ground level: big enough to serve a major National Park

Trim annual plantings out front of the building...
Mind you, there's a third installment on the way: the place is enormous. I couldn't capture the fact that you're dropping a fairly large distance as you walk through--and there were lots of spaces I didn't show. I managed to show a few visitors--I doubt there were more than a couple dozen the entire time of my visit over two days: someone said they had over a million visitors a year--but I seriously doubt that could be the case since this was a weekend in high vacation season: I'd just come from Denver Botanic Gardens which was nearing the million visitation mark a month or so later--the crowds are non stop at DBG from 9 to 9: albeit North Carolina Arboretum is much bigger.

The maintenance of the plantings was really good--albeit the plantings were rather modest in scope. There were some wonderful trees and shrubs. If a few more plantsmen were in the mix, this could easily become one of the premier gardens in the Country. As it is, it is redolent with promise!


  1. By some quirk of the computer I missed this post completely until now. I liked every picture you posted, except perhaps the waterfall. The thing about the waterfall is I am not a fan of concrete walls. I can definitely see why working at the NCA would be a horticulturalist's dream come true.


  2. Glad you finally tracked the piece down--especially since I buried a nugget in there for you! If you're not crazy about concrete, better not come to Denver: DBG is a veritable BUNKER of concrete (albeit in somewhat more tolerable Mid-Century Modern mode). The latter is a synonym of dolled up Stalinist-realism. I like concrete best when its a) painted b) covered with plants or c) in someone else's garden!


Featured Post

A garden near lake Tekapo

The crevice garden of Michael Midgley Just a few years old, this crevice garden was designed and built by Michael Midgley, a delightful ...

Blog Archive