Thursday, October 1, 2009

On the Road to Raleigh NC

Just got back from the Garden Writers Association annual symposium in Raleigh NC. Kevin & I had a tremendous time. Flew Southwest Airlines out Buffalo - even with an overnight at an airport hotel and parking charges for the week - it was half the cost it would have been if we had flown from Pearson out of Toronto. Enjoyed Southwest as well - pleasant staff, fun scramble system of seating folks - first come, first to climb onto the plane and claim a seat. Wondered how they'd feel about me bringing all my plant treasures back on the plane - no problem at all, just comment from the flight attendant, "Look at you. You brought back the whole farm!"

Couldn't get over how helpful the on-ground staff at the airport was in Raleigh - 3 people helped get my plants through the X-Ray machine making certain they came to no harm. Nor did they look at me as if I was making their life difficult. What a novel experience. And, you can imagine with several hundred of us garden folks leaving the conference - there were going to be lots of trees to ferry through the equipment that day. Kudos to them for handling it all so well.

It was pure bliss when we landed - we did our best to soak up some solar units - about 30C, 86F - and humid. Afterall, we didn't have any real heat this summer, and now that it's October, we can only dream of next July. Even though it was only days ago, it was still hard to remember what Raleigh felt like this a.m. when we awoke to 3C, 38F (at least no frost).

Raleigh is plant growing heaven as far as I can tell. They can grow most of the northern plants that I can grow, as well as many tropicals. Most of my annuals are perennials down here. And while my garden is fall-scruffy, everything is still looking lovely. Here are a couple of planters just up from the convention centre - pardon me, center.

Raleigh Durham region was hosting both a Harley Davidson convention and Gay Pride. As our guide said, "Lots of men in chaps, some with jeans, some without...."Tour for the day was to the Sarah Duke garden outside Duke University. NC had not been hit as hard as Georgia as far as rain and flooding. However, many of these pathways had to be rebuilt after a severe storm earlier in the week. They really worked hard putting things back together again - you would never have known what had happened earlier.

See what I mean about all the different sorts of plant material. Their Hydrangea quercifolia blossoms certainly are a stronger colour of brown in the fall than ours.

The entrance area leading down to the terraced garden:

A well controlled wisteria & a lovely cool spot to sit before you step out into the heat.

Really pretty plantings - the top terrace.

A closer look at the grasses.

Wonderful pond.

Agave everywhere in gardens, paired with grasses, coleus, salvias and brightly coloured annuals.

Here's the view of the terrace garden from the other side.

Lots and lots of bamboo - like the light streaks.

And, a side view of the pond that's at the bottom of the terrace garden.

So that's all for today - more photos tomorrow. And, just in case you were wondering, the contents of the farm are still on the back deck getting acclimatized, sort of like me after a wonderful time away.


Teza said...

I was so hoping that you attended the conference and would come back with lots of wonderful pictures and a treasure trove of new and exciting plants. Looking forward to your next posts! Thanks for the wonderful words of congratulations.... still kind of feels like a dream!

Grace Peterson said...

Hi Barbara~~ What beautiful gardens. Kudos to Ms. Duke.

I look forward to seeing and reading more about your trip. And I hope you'll show and tell about the contents of your farm.

sweet bay said...

I live about 45 minutes from Raleigh and it is a lot like plant growing heaven here. I used to work at Duke too but haven't visited the Sarah P Duke Gardens for a few years, so it's wonderful to see these pictures.

Barbarapc said...

Teza, we would die for the salvias they can grow there - also have a cool blue climber that I'll find my slide for that I saw, that I'm sure we can find seed for at come.
Grace, I just hope they aren't on the back deck screaming in this cold. The public gardens in the States are fabulous - and the Duke gardens is right up there with the best.
Sweet Bay - you know, I used to say the same thing about the Royal Botanical Gardens, I'm 45 minutes away too - but now I make a point to go visit every 2-3 weeks or so. And if your gardens weren't fab enough, then there's the nurseries - I'm going to check to see if I can be buried in the salvia aisle of Plant Delights.

Deborah at Kilbourne Grove said...

Sounds like you had a wonderful time. It must have been nice to soak up that last little bit of heat, before we start winter.
Hope you are going to tell/show us what plants you got. Did you have problems at the border?

Barbarapc said...

Deborah - It was grand to be able to enjoy some summer weather. Will be sure to talk about my stash - fingers crossed that many of them will make it through. We had phytosanitary certificates prepared ($23.00US for the lot) in Raleigh. Crossed at the Peace Bridge - and were faced with an army of border guards - none of whom was the plant specialist. So, after much review, serious brow crunching and discussion - our cert was photocopied and handed back to us and we were told to be on our way. And weather permitting tomorrow - I hope to get some of them in the ground.

Frances said...

Oh how wonderful, Barbara. I had planned to go, then decided not to spend the money at the last minute. Thanks for showing the wonderful world of Raleigh Durham. The story of the plants going through the xray at the airport is priceless. I am so glad you were treated so well. :-)

Barbarapc said...

Frances, People were so very kind and gracious - it really made the trip. Now GWA is in Dallas next year - be there or be square! It looks like it will be over-the-top marvelous.

Gail said...

We fly Southwest whenever we can..and they have always been great about any plants I took on board! It does sound like a great city for gardening. As you said, it's that hardiness zone that allows tropicals and natives from the upper regions. The gardens are lovely~thanks for the tour. gail