Taking Time to Enjoy the Garden

“This January, I have added a new resolution to the old promises to get behind my garden sins; the new one is to take time to enjoy my garden. It has been a long time since I sat in it with a book that I didn’t read, and never gave a thought to weeds or watering or plants overgrown by other plants. I have always found it hard to reconcile a resolution to do nothing with one to do everything and do it ahead of time, but I used to find it easy to put my sins and negligences out of my mind. This year I am going to try to recover the talent for leaving things undone.”
Elizabeth Lawrence
January 1, 1961
the Charlotte Observer

Ever since I initially read this passage, I loved it.  It took several readings for me to really get it, and I still force myself to slow down and drink in every word.  As we find ourselves thrust into the hectic chaos of the holiday season, perhaps Elizabeth’s words will help us all stop and take a breath, and make some much-needed time to just sit and chill with nature. 

So at long last, I am finally making the time to sit, chill with nature, and write another post.  How amazingly busy (in a good way) it has been here in the Lawrence Garden!  I have kept my schedule so filled with reorganizing garden areas, research, our incredible volunteer group (the Keepers of the Garden), and several fantastic workshops; I’ve left myself no time to fill you all in on the garden goings-on.  And there has been a whole lot going on!  

If you've visited the Lawrence Garden since August, you may have noticed a new face helping me out. We were lucky enough to have a co-op intern from the Horticulture program at Central Piedmont Community College, April Ryan.  April has helped me out with many aspects of the garden in her 4 months here. Although her internship officially ended December 4th, she will continue to volunteer some of her time here in the Lawrence Garden.  April has just been awarded an American Hemerocallis Society scholarship, and has been named President of the CPCC Horticulture Club for 2013.

April (far left) taught part of a propagation workshop in the garden.

And now on to some plant highlights from the garden...

Galanthus are coming up and blooming in the back woodland.  I’ve spread out several congested clumps over a larger area in the hopes of creating more of a show in future years.  A vibrant patch of sweet tiny Crocus laevigatus ‘Fontenayi’ in front of the house decided it was time to shine last week, even though their “normal" bloom time is February.  (I'm always amazed at how plants never read their manuals!)  

One of my all-time favorite plants is the Chimonanthus praecox (wintersweet), whose relatively small flowers permeate the entire Lawrence Garden with their intoxicating fragrance... especially when the late afternoon warms them.  I routinely cut branches for Elizabeth’s desk to admire the delicate flowers and sweet perfume up close.

Chimonanthus praecox

Last year, the Algerian iris, Iris unguicularis, made its fleeting debut on December 16th; I am sitting on tinter-hooks eagerly awaiting the first bloom's arrival this year.  I have seen it in other gardens... Ann Armstrong’s was blooming in late October!  Hopefully we will see a bloom here before too long.  This is Elizabeth Lawrence’s original plant... still under the kitchen window where she planted it so long ago.  I find this kind of perennial longevity absolutely amazing, and it’s part of the unseen depth of this garden.

Wing Haven is a magical place to visit any time of year, but especially in the winter.  The Clarkson Gardens are filled with birds galore, and the Lawrence Garden is bejeweled with blooms... each more precious now than any in the spring.  Come see us... take time to enjoy the gardens of Wing Haven!  
Yours in Dirt,
Andrea Sprott