|From In the Garden|
Well, I must say it is great to be home again but boy did we have fun! All of us-even the Jimster and Mr. Fix-it. Many of you have asked me to post some pictures of our blogging friend's gardens and I am here to comply-in a way. Yesterday I posted a picture of two special flowers, one from Cameron's garden, and one from Helen's garden. In today's post I will share the most special flowers in the gardens-Cameron and Helen themselves! (Plus one picture of each garden)
First of all let me say that our visit to see Cameron and Helen was pretty short notice. I found out the day prior to our departure that Mr. Fix-it's car interests would take us close to the Raleigh area; which was close to both Cameron and Helen. I quickly emailed both of them and asked if we could meet somewhere, maybe even the JC Raulston Arboretum. They both were most excited and invited us to their homes! Hey, I'd much rather see their gardens than the arboretum any day but don't you tell anyone that okay? Mum's the word! We did not have time to visit any other North Carolina bloggers, perhaps next time.
It takes a special person to trust a complete stranger enough to invite them and their family to their homes. I am always heartened when folks do this for me and my family. I guess we are not complete strangers since we talk on the blogs, but you know what I mean. Meeting other bloggers might not be for everyone, but given a chance and an opportunity I have no qualms with at least asking to meet someone, and I have been very blessed to have positive responses from all the bloggers I've contacted. I've taken to putting asterisks next to the names of bloggers I've met so I can keep track. Ha! No, I don't really need to do that, but now you know why you have an asterisk next to your name if you've ever wondered. I got this trick from Annie in Austin. So, on to the visits!We'll start with Cameron because her home was the first stop on our travels to the Raleigh area in North Carolina. First of all, I love the name Cameron and had really gotten used to calling her Cameron. She has posted about her name before and most folks know it is Freda. Do you know how it is pronounced? I didn't but do now. It is pronounced Fred-a. As in Fred with an a on the end. A very nice name. I remember another name I did not how to pronounce and it was Faire Garden. I always had thought it was pronounced Fair-ee Garden, but found out that no, it is pronounced Fair Garden. A common mistake I think and one easily made on blogs. Another reason to meet the real person if you ask me.
We had excellent directions to Cameron's home, but I tell you as soon as we rounded the corner of the road no directions were needed as I had seen Cameron's home situated in its lovely cottage garden many times on her blog, Defining Your Home and Garden. I knew right away we had arrived. Mr. Fix-it was still busy checking the street address though. Just like a man!
I took several photos. I was most impressed by the crytomeria (I hope that is what it is as I always get confused on the crytomerias and chaemocyparis) gracing the garden, as well as all the butterflies and bees, but truly loved the textures, all the plants, and how they flowed together in a liquid manner. Here is one photo I took from the garden. It shows the crytomeria, along with creeping Jenny, cotoneaster, and what I think is calla lilies? (Help Cameron) This picture was taken by the waterfall; which is the beginning of the long stream Cameron has in her garden. It had a lovely sound!When we arrived we were greeted by Cameron, Charm (her beautiful and ever so sweet greyhound) and Cameron's husband. They were a delightful family and great hosts. We had such a good time! And yes, her garden is everything and more that you see on her wonderful blog. It was alive with bees, butterflies and all sorts of wildlife. It was truly an awesome sight. The trickle of the stream in the background added to the ambiance and really made us feel like we were in a wildlife refuge. It was most wonderful and well designed. We all loved it and so enjoyed our visit we may have to make another one! Are you listening Cameron? The problem with garden visits, is you only get a snapshot in time. I suspect Cameron's garden is abuzz with life all year and it would be great to see it again. Thank you so much from our family to you, your husband and sweet Charm for hosting us!
Helen is the second blogger on our visit. She lived a bit further away and more in town. Helen and I have been talking for quite a while and in fact, she is the one who encouraged me (with a slight kick in the you know what) to hang out my shingle and get busy as a garden coach. I will forever be grateful to her as it is a perfect match for me. I think Mr. Fix-it is quite happy too that someone got me motivated to get out and work. He is a bit puzzled as to why anyone would pay for gardening help. We are both garden coaches, me a fledgling one that has emailed Helen too many times to count asking her all sorts of things most professionals don't talk about, and she an experienced one who is active at the JC Raulston Arboretum. She has always been supportive and helpful and really a blessing. If you need a mentor in gardening, she is the go to gal.
Helen has already posted about visit our visit, so go see her here and say hello if you've not already. Her garden was truly a wonder. Anyone who hires Helen gets their money's worth. Like with Cameron's home, I needed no street numbers to recognize the house and garden. We were warmly greeted by Helen and her three wonderful children. They were just too cute! Jimmy surely thought the oldest daughter was most cute too.
Helen showed us around her garden and Mr. Fix-it followed along in tow. He usually does not do this but was most interested to hear about the plants. I was a bit shocked but enjoyed him coming along. The first plant that caught my eye was a huge (like 20 foot tall) windmill palm. I could not believe it! It was sited on the south side of her home along a chimney and was ever so cool. I failed to snap a picture of it. (You never really know how folks feel about others taking pictures so I waited to ask her and then forgot to go back. Thank goodness Helen sent me a photo!) This palm was simply spectacular. It fit in well with the Southern Magnolia sited close by. I loved it. The garden had so many rooms, styles, and love that you could see the hard work in every nook and cranny. I was truly amazed. Helen also had many specimen plants. She is modest with her plants too but let me tell you, she has many rare and awesome plants in her garden that are very happy with her tender loving care. Thanks so much for having us over Helen and tell those kids they were awesome!
Let me close with saying that I was so truly honored to get personal private tours of these two most special bloggers' gardens. Both of their gardens amazed me, not so much for the designs and plants, but for the gardeners themselves. Anyone who has a garden knows they are not easy to take care of, but it is something we do because we love the work and the feeling of nurturing a garden. It is so clearly evident how much these two gardeners loved their gardens and poured their hearts out into them that I was touched.
The first picture is of myself and Cameron. We are sitting on her front steps so as to not show my big hips. The second picture is of Helen and I. We should've been seated there as well so she does not look like two feet taller than me! I really did look for a step stool but there wasn't one to be found.
Okay, now on the the plant identification. Did you guess them? Was it fun or hard? I must know so give me some constructive feedback. I thought this would be a good way to share Cameron's and Helen's gardens with you and I hope they don't mind.
Here are the answers:
Cameron's Plant (the first one): Common Name: Sweet Bay Magnolia, Latin Name: Magnolia virginiana.
Helen's Plant (the second one): Common Name: Bears Breeches; Latin Name: Acanthus spinosa. (This particular beauty is named 'Summer Beauty' and is a cross between spinosa and mollis. I accepted either name for the Latin name.)
The two recipients of marker stones are: Drumroll please..........
Only two other folks emailed me with guesses on the plants. They are Karen at Greenwalks, and Barry. Thanks! It occurred to me that maybe the plants were too hard, or that folks were afraid to email me because I might send unwanted emails. I totally understand this, but let me assure you, I don't earn money from my blog (probably dumb), and I'm not selling anything so don't worry about soliciting emails from me-ever. I'll be giving away more marker stones most likely in September at our two year Blogiversary so there will be another chance to have your very own.
in the garden....
P.S. The daylily pictured above is growing in Helen's garden. It was the biggest daylily I'd ever seen. Helen said it opened just for me-I'd like to think so.