Friday, May 22, 2009

Travelin' through Many Gardens

I feel as though I have been gone for a long time, but I look at the calendar and it has only been three days. Each year the York County Master Gardeners take a study trip. I have been a Master Gardener for almost 11 years and this is the first time I have been able to go on the trip. Last year they went to Ashville and hit multiple gardens in North Carolina. I had a couple college graduations that conflicted with the trip, so even though I was really interested in going, I just couldn't do it. This year it worked out and I was able to go.
This year's trip was north to DC and then east to the DelMarVa peninsula and south over the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel to home. There was a multiple car caravan -- many outfitted with walkie-talkies. (that was too much fun--they shouldn't have given me one) DC traffic is wild and we were glad to have communication with the lead vehicle. About 31 Master Gardeners went on our trip as well as our Extension agent and a former Botany/ Biology professor who taught our botany portion of Master Gardener training-- imagine traveling to gardens with so many knowledgeable people!
Our first stop (after lunch) was to Green Spring Gardens. This was a real treat for me as I went to high school across the 'street' from this garden. No, it was not there as a public garden when I went to TJHS.
Green Spring is a twenty-eight acre public park in Fairfax County. There is a wonderful garden walk in from the parking lot. From the garden walk we meandered up by the old manor house and across the grand lawn --- each garden beckoned you to come hither.....

Hakonechloa macra 'Aureola' was a plant that we saw in multiple places within this garden as well as others on the trip.

This is a striking grass for the shade.

Another plant I saw a couple times on the trip was the Styrax japonica 'Pink Chimes'. Beautiful pink bells!

Here is one plant that drew my attention-- it is purple!! It is a native to Brazil, Tibouchina urvilleana common name 'Princess Flower'
For more info on this beauty check out this website.

There was a grouping of roses and peonies that drew us over to check out all the heady fragrances. One of the roses was a Bonica Rose- pink, fragrant, long blooming, 'Modern Shrub Rose'....just beautiful!

There were many peonies in this garden stole the show. (At least for a time, we are fickle folks we gardeners...loving one flower after another) Unfortunately we could not find a name for this cultivar... I vote for 'Jewel Box'.

This garden included a children's garden, an orchard, a veggie garden, a swale garden (where I took this hummingbird feeder photo) and many many more garden areas.

As we left the Rock Garden was our parting view.....the fragrance of all these Dianthus was wonderful!

Each of the gardens we visited we could have stayed twice or three times longer...but there were more gardens on the horizion. Over the next few days I will give each garden a post unto itself.


  1. What a beautiful public garden Janet. I was really attracted to the Styrax japonica 'Pink Chimes' and the Peony you named 'Jewel Box' was gorgeous. I've been considering doing the Master Gardener program myself next year.

  2. Janet~~ I only wish I could have been a participant. Garden tours are so fun.

    The one drawback is having to leave before you've really gotten to explore every nook and cranny.

    Love the photos and I look forward to more.

  3. Hi Racquel, I really liked that Styrax too! The photo of the peony did not do it justice. The light was so bright the colors didn't show up as they should.
    I think you would enjoy the Master Gardener class, think you should do it!
    Good morning Grace, it was a great trip...though you are right, it was hard to leave when I hadn't explored every plant and every garden design. Will be posting more later today.

  4. How wonderful to go on a field trip. I am sure that walkie talkie was too much fun indeed! I really like the aurea, pink chimes and peony. I thought that since the aurea won perennial of the year that it would be easy to find (and cheaper). Not so though. Looking forward to all the gardens. What a fun trip! I don't think our group does this kind of studying.

  5. HI Tina,
    I can't tell you how much I learned on this trip. Besides seeing new plants I also worked on differences between different oaks, itea and clethra, new maples, oh--the list is almost endless. The Aurea is really amazing in a large cluster-- brightens an area.
    It is a nice to have such a wonderful agent who looks for opportunities for us to expand our knowledge. You know-- those additional educational hours (though we certainly got more than the 8 hours on this trip!)


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