One of the joys of the Garden Tour Season I always look forward to, is the tour put on by Georgia Perennial Plant Association. Several chosen gardens are opened to the membership for one week- end a year. Most gardeners would have bottled water and iced tea available for the visitors. Margaret Moseley would serve her famous Almond Tea whenever her garden was opened. Last week Pimento Cheese party sandwiches were passed around on silver trays for the guests! (Did I forget to mention that in the last post?)
For several years I served as the Tour Chairperson of this organization as well as The American Hydrangea Society. I know firsthand about what it takes to create a successful event. So I was not surprised that in recent years the format has changed and only one garden is opened for a day. I like this change. One no longer has to budget their time and rush to see as many gardens as possible in the allotted timeframe. These are SPECTACULAR gardens where one could happily spend the entire day and still not take it all in.
This year, the garden of Lyndy Broder was the featured garden. Lyndy is a dear friend and an expert on the genus Clematis. Her knowledge and talents however, go far beyond Clematis. She has collected an amazing variety of unusual and seldom seen trees and shrubs to create a personal arboretum ‘par excellence’ on her property….and almost all are festooned with the most delicious varieties of Clematis one could imagine.
A wall of seed grown species welcome visitors
Golden Larch (Pseudolarix amabilis) with Clematis
The Canadian Geese Meadow leading to the lake above.
The Sanctuary of St. Fiacre, patron saint of gardeners ( loved working with Lyndy on this project)
When a garden of this caliber is open….. everyone comes. This turned into a reunion of great plantsmen and gardeners, a huge amount of talent here, the energy was palpable.
I can’t believe it’s already autumn. Time flies, as they say. So here’s what is happening in my garden.
While my Northern garden buddies are cutting back perennials and putting their gardens to sleep… I am enjoying an embarrassment of riches in the way of Camellia sasanqua blooms.
Some so profuse they look like cascading roses from a distance.
Last fall I finally found the Camellia sasanqua ‘Cotton Candy’ a favorite of my dear late friend Margaret Moseley. It was one she had recommended to me many years ago when I first started my garden, but I was never able to locate it. When it starts to bloom I will post a photo. I know Margaret would be pleased. Still on the lookout for Camellia ‘Martha’s Dream’ yet another of her early blooming favorites.
Camellia ‘Daydream’ which I rescued from a compost heap at a nursery. I followed the fragrance and found it. I have never seen it in the trade before or since. Of course the first time I saw it was in Margaret’s garden.
The presentation of Martha Tate’s book about Margaret Moseley was spectacular! Above, Martha and Margaret signing books.
The book is a work of love (by Martha) and art (by Mia Broder) and the best gardening advice ever published (by Margaret).
Above,Mia Broder of Hedwigd Design responsible for the design and illustrations
I could not do better than Martha in describing this book so, with her permission here it is…
“The book is the story of the extraordinary garden that Margaret Moseley started when she was 52 years old. It is also about a very funny individual who kept us all laughing with her antics. Instead of just a lot of expository writing, the book contains excerpts from Margaret’s own journals, her unforgettable quotes and reminiscences from friends who visited her often. It also contains a lot of photographs taken over the years and valuable plant information and hints for success.
I think I might have written already that Margaret’s influence was felt far and wide in the gardening world. When she was discovered at age 78, she had been gardening for 26 years. By the time I got out of my car at her house on a spring day in 1994, she had already filled her 3/4-acre back yard with collections of viburnums, hydrangeas, camellias and just about every other shrub you could think of. She also grew an amazing variety of perennials.
While she had been unknown to garden journalists, she was a familiar sight in area nurseries, seeking out the newest introductions she’d read about in magazines, books, catalogs and the newspaper. She was also already swapping cuttings and divisions with other gardeners and buying old-fashioned plants from advertisers in the Farmers and Consumers Market Bulletin, published by the Georgia Department of Agriculture.
When the news about her garden came out, the tour buses started arriving, along with television crews, and writers and photographers from national magazines. Garden clubs and Master Gardener groups arrived by the busload. Visitors to the garden enjoyed Margaret’s special almond iced tea (the recipe is in the book), and seldom did anyone leave without a plastic grocery bag containing a plant. She generously opened her garden for tours sponsored by plant societies.
The irony of all this is contained in a note she wrote to me on November 2, 1995, when she was 79: “Dear Martha, Because of you I’m enjoying my garden so much in my twilight years. Thank you. Love, Margaret”
Little did Margaret know when she wrote this note what was about to happen. For the next decade and a half, she would come into the prime of her gardening life, making personal appearances at garden centers and events with her friend and founder of the American Hydrangea Society, Penny McHenry. Margaret would come to inspire countless individuals to begin gardening, and a mention of a plant in her garden would cause nurseries to sell out immediately. She corresponded with people from all over the world who saw her featured on HGTV’s A Gardener’s Diary. Every time you’d go there, you would come away thinking that it’s never too late to enjoy gardening or to start a garden from scratch, even if you were in your 80’s.
Margaret is convinced that going out every day and working in her garden has contributed to her long life. She derived such joy in every bloom that opened and couldn’t wait to get out of the bed in the morning and start digging.
But, Margaret says, it’s the friendships she’s made along the way that have given her the greatest pleasure: “Growing old, I’ve been so blessed by the younger garden friends I’ve made through the years. I’m never lonely. I can’t say enough about what gardening has done for me. I wish everybody could have a garden.”
Note: The paperback version of the book is available at Amazon.com. It can also be purchased in the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Spain and Italy.”
The temperature here in Georgia is an unseasonable 76° F. I should not complain about this (coming from Canada), however all the buds on the spring bloomers are swelling and the cold, that is sure to come, will inevitably kill them.
In a ‘normal’ year the Japanese Flowering Apricot (Prunusmume) above, starts to bloom sporadically mid to end of January. This year on the 15th, it is almost done, its petals adorning the ground.
The Helleborus, commonly called Lenten Roses, should peak, you guessed it, at Lent. Not this year,(below)
I’ll not whine any longer. The camellias are putting on a spectacular show…
and Margaret Moseley’s favorite, ‘Fragrant Pink’ is perfuming the air with its rose-like fragrance.
This is also the earliest I have ever seen Edgeworthia crysantha open.
All in all this is going to be a very interesting gardening year.
It is never too late to wish you all a wonderful healthy & joyous New Year.
Due to an injury I have been unable to garden. I finally got to take a walk and snap some photos so here goes.. a bit of this ‘n’ that.
This scene makes me smile every time..the faded flowers on the hydrangea and the Camellia sasanqua ‘Sparkling Burgundy’ perfect partners.
Stewartia showing some of its famous exfoliating bark. This was the year to remove all the lower branches, it will look somewhat awkward for a few years…
Camellia sasanqua ‘Daydream’ I rescued this plant from the trash at a nursery. Margaret Moseley told me it was the only fragrant sasanqua in her garden…If Margaret was growing it ..I needed to have one too; but it was an old variety and no one carried it. One Autumn day, plant shopping in Alabama, I caught a sweet fragrance and went to investigate…there it was, a broken scraggly mess, lying in the trash heap… the treasure I was seeking! They gave it to me.
Beautiful colours on the lacecap hydrangea…
eggplants and peppers still going in the potager…
and the clematis that bloomed all summer & going strong still… Clematis ‘Odoriba’
Famous words from Margaret Moseley. For 44 years she has created an incredible garden. She designed and planted everything herself and has done all the maintenance, except grass cutting. (“that’s not gardening”) Only recently has she hired some help.
These photos show “nothing”.
Can you tell pink is her favorite colour?
Can’t wait for the next visit. I always learn something new from her garden and I have seen it several times a year for the last 19 years!
I am sorry the photos of her Kwanzan Cherry Tree that was in full bloom the day I took these photos were so blurred.
Yesterday I visited with Margaret Moseley. As usual I came home with a list of ‘must have’ plants.
Margaret has been an inspiration for many gardeners. Every season her garden is filled beauty wherever one looks.
Above, a welcoming entrance… the large tree to the right is a Ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba), straight ahead is a Japanese Flowering Apricot (Prunus mume).
Margaret laid those stones when she was in her 70’s!
Below, a seating area beneath a flowering cherry tree (Prunus serrulata ‘Kwanzan’) surrounded by azaleas, camellias and underplanted with a variety of textured & fragrant groundcovers…
Well thought out focal points….
Camellias in bloom…. my new plant list…
Some of these Camellias are heirlooms, rare in the trade. While they may be a challenge to locate, don’t give up, they are out there.
One of my personal favorites is Camellia japonica ‘Ava Maria’ (above). When I first saw it in Margret’s garden the hunt to acquire one was on! Her very generous daughter Jane located it for me. It is a gift I treasure, as is Margaret’s friendship.
Note: plant names are visible if cursor is on photo. To read more on Margaret & her garden visit GARDEN PHOTO OF THE DAY. She is often featured.
It’s blooming…. As soon as I walked out the door I caught the fragrance. Osmanthus fragrans, known in the south as ‘ ‘Tea Olive’.
Tiny but abundant cream coloured blossoms emit the most remarkable and penetrating fragrance.
This is a beautiful, pest free, evergreen shrub that matures at 10 to 15 feet, and blooms TWICE a year; fall & spring.
To quote Dirr* “to not try the plant is to cheat one’s garden.” I so agree, and cannot recall a garden design where this plant was not included. It also makes a remarkable evergreen hedge.
This spring, at the suggestion of my friend Marsha, I acquired a new selection (Osmanthus aurantiacus) that blooms only once in the autumn, and the flowers are ‘pale orange’.
It’s hard to say how fragrant it is because I have Osmanthus fragrans planted much like Margaret Moseley* advised with gardenias, every 25-30 feet or so ,where an evergreen was required and the conditions are favorable, so the entire garden is permeated with the fragrance. I have followed her advice on this with almost every fragrant shrub in the garden. Something you might want to try if there is a fragrance you are particularly fond of.
I don’t take lightly any advice given by a 95-year-old gardener. Clearly she has much more experience than I.
*Dirr, Michael, Renowned woody plant expert. Author of the textbook A MANUAL OF WOODY LANDSCAPE PLANTS.
The Gardenias are blooming! The fragrance is amazing. I follow *Margaret Moseley’s advice and have a Gardenia planted every 25 feet or so where conditions allow. According to Margaret the fragrance will permeate the entire garden. And it does.
Every Gardenia in my garden came from a bouquet she gifted me when I lost a bidding war over a house. Turned out to be a good thing….that house was not right, and I got these fabulous plants!
* Margaret Moseley, Dear friend & famous Atlanta gardener, celebrating her 95th Birthday tomorrow. Happy Birthday Margaret!