Elizabeth Lawrence's Garden Laboratory

"I cannot bear for people to say (as they often do) that I am better at plant material than design; I cannot help it if I have to use my own well-designed garden as a laboratory, thereby ruining it as a garden."

- Elizabeth Lawrence
Gardens in Winter
I recently read through all of the reviews on tripadvisor about Wing Haven GardensOf course, I was looking for mention of the Elizabeth Lawrence House and Garden - to see what visitors' impressions have been.  A couple of comments have stuck with me... bothered me, really... like an ant bite that won't stop stinging.  I've been turning them over and over in my mind, trying to figure out why they bother me so much.
"I have seen gardens kept in better condition." Nearly all public gardens are display gardens.  Miss Lawrence created her garden here in Charlotte, as she said, as a laboratory.  This is where she experimented with all kinds of plants from all over the world.
"My garden is more of a problem than most, because I expect it to be beautiful every day in the year, and at the same time it must make room for plants that are new to me and may grow poorly or not at all.  There are always a number of these, looking very forlorn until I make up my mind that they are not going to do better and might as well be discarded."
- Elizabeth Lawrence
from the Charlotte Observer, Sept. 22, 1963