My mother, the Hellebore Queen, was in Greensboro this week for a conference, so this afternoon we met at her hotel and drove out to Gethsemane Gardens and Nursery, located a few miles north of town. We had both been wanting to go for a long time; I have no excuse, since it is only about 15 minutes from my house, but it's not on my way to anywhere, so I've just never made it out to that part of the county.
If you live near Greensboro, you need to go. Janice, the owner, has created a woodland trail with hellebores growing everywhere, and several whimsical sculptures around every turn. (Click the photo to enlarge it, and you can see my favorite.) She has a nice selection of shade plants, including things that I've been looking for but cannot easily find other places--things like epimedium, foamflower, lungwort, arum, hardy begonias, all kinds of ferns, and many, many hellebores. Of course, I only have about ten square feet of shade, but you can pack a lot of plants in a small space if you do it right.
The Hellebore Queen bought me a Winter Daphne (daphne odora) which I have been wanting ever since I saw one at the Arboretum, then later in my neighbor's yard, and a small gardenia for Teresa. I have been concerned that those varieties of gardenia wouldn't survive our winter (what winter?) here, but Janice assured me that it is hardy to Zone 6, and she has the air of a person who knows her plants, so I trust her. Of course, if this fall is any indication, we may now be in Zone 8 or 9, so I might be growing banana trees before long. No, check that...they need water...
The HQ's friend Judy was kind enough to send me a couple of her Scottish Rose shoots, along with a nice letter telling me their history:
The original two roses were given to me by a friend of my son's whose aunt's (now deceased) nursery in Bolivia, NC had the only license to sell them in the US. They were brought here by the early English settlers and there are some growing at Orton Plantation.
Thank you very much, Judy! I am honored to have these plants, and being a NC history buff, I especially appreciate the story of their origins. I can't wait to see their tiny pink & white blooms next spring. Watch for them here!