Tag Archives: azaleas

Creating Beautiful Gardens with Pantone’s Color of the Year

pantone-color-of-the-year-lee-eiseman-quoteRose Quartz and Serenity are hues that call out for a garden setting. The color experts at Pantone proclaimed the two as Colors of the Year for 2016.

This is the first year that Pantone introduced two colors, instead of merely naming a single color of the year. According to the announcement, “Rose Quartz is a persuasive yet gentle tone that conveys compassion and a sense of composure. Serenity is weightless and airy, like the expanse of the blue sky above us, bringing feelings of respite and relaxation even in turbulent times.” And, the colors are “a harmonious pairing of inviting shades that embody a mindset of tranquility and inner peace.”

What could be better for a garden?

“With the whole greater than its individual parts, joined together Serenity and Rose Quartz demonstrate an inherent balance between a warmer embracing rose tone and the cooler tranquil blue, reflecting connection and wellness as well as a soothing sense of order and peace,” said Leatrice Eiseman, Executive Director of the Pantone Color Institute.

Blue is always a lovely way to tie a garden together and shades of Serenity sound perfect. And surely there are roses in the shade of RoseQuartz to be found. And don’t hydrangeas come to mind with both of these colors?

If you’re looking for more color clues, the New York Botanical Garden’s website has an excellent primer on color in the garden: Home Gardening Center Tip Sheet: Color Theory in the Garden.


LaGrange: Hills & Dales Estate


A not-to-be-missed site for garden travelers is the Hills & Dales Estate, the historic home and gardens of the Fuller E. Callaway family located on 35 acres of rolling hills and shady dales approximately an hour south of Atlanta.

Your first stop is the Estate visitor center to arrange a tour of the 30-room manor house. The Callaways commissioned architects Hentz & Reid to design their Italian villa style home, which was completed in 1916. There are wonderful views from the windows overlooking the gardens and one can pick out the mottos formed in some of the boxwood parterres below.


Either before or after your tour of the home, the visitor center has a short film on the history of Ferrell Gardens and Sarah Coleman Ferrell, who began expanding the gardens on the original site in 1841. It’s well worth your time and gives a proper context for the gardens themselves.

Mrs. Ferrel seems to have designed the gardens based on formal Italian Renaissance and Baroque designs in a series of patterns, mazes and descending terraces. She loved to share her gardens with others and used to invite local children to play in the parterres, even holding Easter egg hunts. One of the children who visited was Fuller Callaway, who grew up to become one of the South’s textile magnates. When he grew up, Fuller and his wife, Ida Cason Callaway, ended up buying the property in 1912 and built their home on the site of Mrs. Ferrell’s cottage. The Callaways, father and later his son Fuller, Jr. and his wife Alice, continued developing the gardens. The idea was always that the property would someday pass on to a foundation and be open to the public.

“Life is short, and as we pass this way but once, why not strew our paths with rose petals, so as to leave fragrance on life’s way?”

—Ida Cason Callaway, 1929


What’s Special

  • The signature plant is dwarf English boxwood, but there are also American boxwood, tree boxwood, Spanish boxwood and curly leaf boxwood. Overall, there are 2 ½ acres of formal boxwood parterres.
  • 23 different species of Camellia japonica.
  • Magnolia Walk, where the magnolias were reportedly planted from seed during the War Between the States.
  • Explore the greenhouses, where occasionally you’ll see blooms amongst the orchid collection which includes cattleyas, phaleonopsis, cymbidiums, vandas, brassavolas and angreacums.
  • Conifer collection includes more than 30 varieties from at least 13 different genera.


Children under six are not allowed in the manor house.

March – June

Tuesday – Saturday

10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.


1:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.

 July – February

Tuesday – Saturday

10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Closed on New Year’s Day, Easter, July 4th, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve, Christmas. Visiting hours are subject to change. Please call before visiting.

1916 Hills & Dales Drive, LaGrange, GA. 30240

Call 706-882-3242. GPS: 33.039041 / -85.048439

email: info@hillsanddales.org

Save these Dates: April/May 2017 Flower Shows and Garden Festivals


April and May bring hard choices for gardeners — spend time in your own garden or visit others? It’s tough, but you know you can manage to do both. For some suggestions, here’s a look at some of the top flower shows and garden festivals around the country.


March 20 – April 17, 2017. Washington, DC: National Cherry Blossom Festival 

Each year, the National Cherry Blossom Festival celebrates the 1912 gift of 3,000 cherry trees from Japan to the city of Washington, DC.  Festival activities take place throughout the city, but of course the highlight is the magnificent blossoms of the Yoshino cherry trees surrounding the Tidal Basin.

Exactly when the buds will open is not easy to predict, but the 2017 Peak Bloom Period — when 70% of the blossoms are open—is predicted to be March 14 – 17. Visit the National Park Service‘s website with links to the Blossom Cam, cherry blossom photos for updates.


March 16 – April 27, 2017. Charleston, SC.: Charleston’s Festival of Houses and GardensThe South’s premiere garden festival is a month-long celebration of the “City set in a Garden.” There are walking tours of the City’s magnificent private gardens, with docents stationed at each gate in the Old & Historic District. 


March 20 – May 25, 2017. Biltmore S.C. Biltmore Blooms, Biltmore’s magnificent gardens were the final project of renowned landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted.  Weekend “Ask a Gardener” stations in the Walled Garden allow guests to talk with Biltmore’s horticulture experts. Free, daily seminars are held in A Gardener’s Place at the Conservatory on a variety of topics. For an up to date report on what’s currently blooming, check out   Biltmore.com/bloomreport.

March 24 – April 9, 2017. Tyler, TX: Tyler Azalea & Spring Flower Trails 

April 22 – 29, 2017. Virginia: Virginia’s Historic Garden Week, Statewide. 250 of Virginia’s most picturesque gardens and private homes are showcased in 30 tours during “America’s Largest Open House.” Proceeds go toward the restoration and preservation of Virginia’s historic public gardens, with beneficiaries such as Mount Vernon, Monticello and the grounds of the Executive Mansion in Richmond.

May 13 – 14, 2017. Atlanta: Gardens for Connoisseurs 2017. Celebrate Mother’s Day and visit beautiful private home gardens in metro Atlanta.



May 4-6, 2017, Pella, IA: Pella Tulip Time Festival

May 6 – 14, 2017, Holland, MI: Tulip Time

June 1 – 11, 2017, Nebraska: Nebraska Wildflower Week. Nebraska’s prairies and gardens are at their best.



May 21, 2016, Sandwich, Mass: Heritage Rhododendron Festival

May 17-21, 2017 Port Townsend, WA:  Rockin’ Rhody Rhododendron Festival

May 19-21, 2016, Florence OR:  Rhododendron Festival


May 6 – 7, 2017  Texas: Becker Vineyards Lavender Fest, Stonewall, Texas

Ball Ground: Gibbs Gardens Daffodil Display


Ball Ground, GA

Gibbs Gardens Daffodil Display

February 18- April 15. Gibbs Gardens Daffodil Gardens is is the largest daffodil display in the country, with more than 20 million daffodil blossoms covering 50 acres of hillsides and valley. Did you think daffodils only come in yellow? There are 60 varieties with colors ranging from primrose-yellow, yellow, gold, saffron, orange, shades of yellow and orange, to blush pinks, creamy whites and white.

There’s more to see in this brilliant spring display, with forsythia and spirea plantings and cherry and flowering dogwood trees.

There are also more than a thousand azaleas, including hundreds of fragrant early-, mid- and late-blooming  native azaleas. During June, ancient Viscosum (Swamp Azalea) are in bloom.

Gibbs Gardens is a pleasure garden created by the Atlanta area landscape designer Jim Gibbs, founder of Gibbs Landscape Co., one of the largest landscaping firms in Atlanta.





And then my heart with pleasure fills
And dances with the daffodils.”

—William Wordsworth


Less than an hour’s drive from Atlanta, the gardens are open from February 28 through Dec. 15.

Located at 1987 Gibbs Drive, Ball Ground, GA 30107

Phone 770-893-1880 or 770-893-1881

Asheville, NC: Biltmore

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The Walled Garden below Biltmore House features pattern beds overflowing with more than 50,000 Dutch tulips each spring.
Copyright 2007 The Biltmore Company, all rights reserved

Biltmore Estate, the 250-room “little mountain escape” George Vanderbilt built on 8,000 acres in the mountains of Asheville, NC. back in the 1890s was the final project of the renowned Frederick Law Olmsted, considered to be the father of American landscape architecture. The Biltmore  is a top Garden Traveler destination.

Biltmore horticulturalists and gardeners have created a Garden Guide to showcase calendar blooms, and there’s a progression of tulips, multi-colored azaleas, rhododendron, along with native mountain laurels and vertical gardens of succulents.

Noteworthy is the Spring Garden with azaleas, rhododendrons, forsythia, spirea, deutzia and Mock Orange. Also look for pink Lady’s Slippers, May Apples, Flowering Quince, Sweet Shrub, Beauty Bush, Kousa Dogwood and the not-to-be-missed Dove Tree.

The Italian Garden is one of a series of outdoor "rooms" Landscape Architect Frederick Law Olmsted designed in the formal gardens surrounding Biltmore House. Copyright 2007 The Biltmore Company, all rights reserved.

The Italian Garden is one of a series of outdoor “rooms” Landscape Architect Frederick Law Olmsted designed in the formal gardens surrounding Biltmore House.
Copyright 2007 The Biltmore Company, all rights reserved.

The Walled Garden features an estimated 2,300 roses — more than 250 varieties, including 159 All American Rose selections.

For more information, visit Plan Your Visit to Biltmore in Asheville, NC.

Memphis: Memphis Botanic Garden



Memphis, Tennessee

Memphis Botanic Garden

If you think the most popular attraction in Memphis is Graceland, know that the Memphis Botanic Garden has its own legion of devoted fans.

Here are more than 96 acres, with 28 specialty gardens, among them: an extensive holly collection; a hosta trail designated as an American Hosta Society National Display Garden; a Cactus and Succulent Garden; Conifer Collection; Four Seasons Garden; Hydrangea Garden; Azalea Trail; Magnolia Trail; Rose and Iris Gardens.

The Daylily Circle is an official Display Garden by the American Hemerocallis Society and features approximately 500 different daylilies. The Herb Garden is one of the largest in the United States, with 750 species represeningt those which will do well in the Mid-South, or are being trialed.

One of the photographed locations in the Memphis is the Japanese Garden of Tranquility (Seijaku-En). Originally designed by Dr. P.T. Tono of Tokyo, the garden was redesigned in 1989 by garden designer, Dr. Koichi Kawana who  worked with local landscape architect J. Ritchie Smith. Dr. Kawana pioneered the design of traditional Japanese gardens that employ native plants.

Instead of merely reading a list of plants, the Butterfly Garden is a wonderful place to visit, and see firsthand which plants attract different species of butterflies in terms of color and nectar. Many of these plants found here are natives. Herbs such as parsley, fennel, and chives are food for butterfly larvae, while coneflowers, goldstrum daisies, asters, and joe pye weed are nectar sources.

The W.C. Paul Arboretum is a showcase of rare trees and is a must see for horticulturalists.

A wonderful tribute to honor the men and women in the Armed Forces of the United States, the Blue Star Memorial Marker and Garden is designed to represent the stars and stripes of the American flag.

What’s Special

My Big Backyard children’s garden is part horticultural display, part children’s museum, part playground and part imagination extraorinaire.

Memphis Botanic Garden

Memphis Botanic Garden

Among the many attractions, Seedling Circle is a special spot for toddlers while Nature Play features more challenging activities, like fort-building. Raindrop Stop comes on every 30 minutes, with one minute of clouds and thunder followed by two minutes of “rain”.  And in Wormville, young visitors Wiggle like a worm through larger-than-life worm tunnels.


Closed Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day.

Phone: (901)636-4100

Address: 750 Cherry Road Memphis, TN 38117

General info email: info@memphisbotanicgarden.com [ info ]

Charleston: Magnolia Plantation and Its Gardens

Charleston, South Carolina

Magnolia Plantation and Its Gardens

gardens_longbridgeandlake1Magnolia Plantation is one of the great plantations on the Ashley River Road,  begun in the 1680’s by the Drayton family. The gardens were open to the public in the early 1870s and  are one of the oldest public gardens in America.

gardens_slopewalkToday the 50 acre-garden of Magnolia Plantation includes a spectacular maze with over 500 Camellia sasanquas, as well as azaleas, daffodils, and much more. The maze is based on one designed by Henry VIII at his country estate, Hampton Court, in 16th-century England.

Once a reservoir for the plantation’s rice fields, the adjacent Audubon Swamp Garden offers 60 acres of blackwater in a cypress and tupelo swamp,with bridges, boardwalks and dikes.

There’s a tram tour of the plantation’s wetlands, lakes, forests, and marshes, along with a boat tour through Magnolia’s flooded rice field along the Ashley River. Also, zoo and nature center and Plantation gift shop.

Open 365 days a year, including all major holidays.

Magnolia Plantation and Gardens
3550 Ashley River Road   |   Charleston, SC 29414
(800) 367-3517

[ info ]

Wayne, Pennsylvania: Chanticleer Garden


Chanticleer is appropriately labeled “a pleasure garden” and it’s easy to see why it’s regularly included in lists of the 10 best public gardens in the U.S.

Originally a summer home that Christine and Adolph Rosengarten, Sr. used to escape Philadelphia’s heat, Rosengarten named his home “Chanticlere” after the estate in Thackeray’s 1855 novel “The Newcomes.”

The 35-acre garden includes a Teacup Garden and Chanticleer Terrace with seasonal and tropical plants. Bell’s Woodland features plants of the eastern North American forest, with azaleas, foam flowers, and ferns, as well as wetland plants including skunk cabbages, rushes, and sedges. There’s also the Asian Woods, Water Garden, Stream Garden, Ruin Garden, and the Cut-Flower and Vegetable Garden, where a potager, enclosed by paling, contains a mix of vegetables grown for taste and ornament.

Chanticleerveg1Photo: Cut flower and vegetable garden

In addition to horticultural expertise,

many of the talents of the Chanticleer staff are found throughout the garden — ranging from wood working, stone carving, painting, and metal working.

What’s Special

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places. This is a garden that’s a source of inspiration for any gardener – novice to master.


Open from April through October; Wednesday–Sunday, 10:00 am–5:00 pm, Fridays until 8.  Closed Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day. There is no food available, although picnicking is generally allowed in designated areas. Painting is allowed on Wednesdays.

Located at 5105 Kennett Pike (Route 52), Winterthur, DE 19735

For in-car GPS and online mapping services, use: 786 Church Road, Wayne, PA 19087-4713


Photo: The Teacup Garden planted with purple mustard, and apricot Diascia barbarae
[Flirtation™ Orange] = ‘Dala Oran’ and Heuchera ‘Caramel’. Photo by Lisa Roper

Website: Chanticleer Garden

Rockford: Klehm Arboretum and Botanic Garden


Rockford, Illinois

Klehm Arboretum and Botanic Garden

The Klehm Arboretum and Botanic Garden is beautiful throughout the year. Features around the 155-acres include the Nancy Olson Children’s Garden and a Prehistoric Garden, as well as other specialty gardens including Hosta, Grass, Butterfly, Daylily, Peony, Rhododendron and Azalea and, Wildflowers.

In addition, a bur oak grove covers 12 acre, with the largest bur oak trees estimated at over 300 years old. Impressive native trees among the grove include an enormous basswood, giant black cherries, white oak, shagbark hickory, black walnut and hackberry. Plus, over fifty species and cultivars of coniferous evergreens on site represent nine groups from North America, Europe and Asia.

Woodland trails include 1.5 miles of paved paths in two loops and 2.5 miles of unpaved trails through the heart of the Arboretum. In the winter, the trails are great for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.

What’s Special

During your visit, see if you can spot the Klehm Arboretum mascots (pictured): Cow-li-flower, Klehmentine and Flora Fauna.


Open Daily: 9am – 4pm

2715 S. Main St | Rockford, IL

(815) 965-8146

Email Klehm

[ info ]

Ball Ground: Gibbs Gardens

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Ball Ground, Georgia

Gibbs Gardens

Although classified as a botanical garden, Jim Gibbs tells visitors “it’s a pleasure garden, a feast for your senses.” Nestled in the foothills of the North Georgia Mountains are more than 220 acres of gardens developed by the Gibbs family. Jim Gibbs is the retired president and founder of one of Atlanta’s leading landscape companies. 16 garden venues, with the nation’s largest Japanese Gardens and Water Lily Gardens, as well as springs surrounded by millions of naturalized ferns and native azaleas, dogwoods, and mountain laurels. There’s always something in bloom – daffodil display, rhododendrons, the Hydrangea Garden, crape myrtle trees, roses, a wildflower meadow and much more. The Japanese Garden is truly spectacular!Open March 1 – November 30, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, 9:30 a.m. – 5 p.m. Closed Thanksgiving day. [ info ]

Winterthur Estate and Gardens




Winterthur, Delaware

Winterthur Estate and Gardens

Winterthur (pronounced “winter-tour”) is the horticulture legacy and childhood home of Henry Francis du Pont (1880–1969).  Set in the hills of the Brandywine Valley, du Pont created a wonderful 60-acre naturalistic garden within Winterthur’s 1,000 acres of woodlands, meadows, and streams.

The plantings at Winterthur bloom from late January to November, delighting visitors with a true living landscape. Generations of du Ponts from Evelina du Pont Bidermann, the first owner of Winterthur, to Henry Francis du Pont, the last private owner, have lived here.

A garden “should fit in so well with the natural landscape that one should hardly be conscious that it has been accomplished,” H. F. du Pont said.  The concept of the four layers of natural woodland (ground cover, shrubs, small trees and tall tree layers) are incorporated to create a beautiful garden that’s regarded as one of the last “Wild Gardens.”  As the website explains:

“The garden encompasses the entire estate; the views in every direction are important to the whole; the woodlands, hay fields, and meadows are as crucial as the more formally planted areas. The paths are an integral part of to the overall design, curving rather than straight, following the contours of the land, passing around tree, drawing walkers into the garden. At Winterthur ‘color is the thing that really counts more than any other,’ said du Pont. A master of color, the garden is known for its harmony and “near-discords,” as landscape architect Marian Coffin, who worked with du Pont on the garden’s hardscaping, wrote with admiration.”

Be sure and take the narrated garden tram shuttle at the Visitor’s Center to acquaint yourself with all Winterthur has to offer (and of course, allow time to visit the house!) Stops include Azalea Woods, Magnolia Bend, and Enchanted Woods.

What’s Special

Enchanted Woodsthumbnail

Enchanted Woods. There’s a saying that “Faerie folks are in old oakes.” In this enchanting three-acre children’s garden,  woodland fairies live on Oak Hill where there’s a Troll Bridge, Fairy Flower Labyrinth, Faerie Cottage, Frog Hollow, Tulip Tree House, Bird’s Nest and much for children to explore.


Open Tuesday–Sunday, 10:00 am–5:00 pm. Closed Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day.

Located at 5105 Kennett Pike (Route 52), Winterthur, DE 19735

For in-car GPS and online mapping services, use: 5105 Kennett Pike, Wilmington, DE 19807

[ info ]

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