What an intense garden and travel week!
First stop was Charlotte, North Carolina which is about two hours west of us.
Bright and early Monday morning with clear blue skies we drove over to Charlotte: First up was a private tour at

Winghaven Gardens and Bird Sanctuary
Elizabeth Lawrence Gardens

Camellia at Winghaven IMG_0416_wm

Spectacular Camellia!



One of the allées at Winghaven. Everything in this garden was hand dug over many years.


Reflecting Pond at Winghaven IMG_0420_wm

The Reflecting Pond: the name says it all..



Another gorgeous Camellia but no, I don’t know which.

I was very fortunate to secure a spot on this private tour arranged by
The Chapel Hill Garden Club. And, for any of you locals, our wonderful, gorgeous and much-anticipated Garden Tour is April 30 and May 1 of this year. If you want a ticket, contact me! I will also be a docent on Sunday morning.

Moving along to Tuesday and the
Davidson Horticultural Symposium

What can I say? I was SO pleased to have a ticket. Hearing Fergus Garrett speak on “The Garden Rooms of Great Dixter” was so inspiring.
Last year I went to Sissinghurst and loved every minute of it. And yes, I see a trip to Great Dixter in my future! Just so fabulous.

And then to hear Jon Carloftis on “Small Space Gardening” with his humor and many anecdotes…well, it was wonderful.
Those were just two of a very full day of garden inspiration.

I also, finally, met my blog and on-line friend Marian St. Clair who writes the blog
I hope you will go on over and take a look.  She does, among many other things, lead garden tours every summer. This June she will be going to “West Country Gardens” in England. Additional tours are (I think) planned for later in the season!

On to Charleston.

First stop was at Drayton Hall Plantation.
Drayton Hall is just down the road from both Middleton Place and Magnolia Garden. While I’m sure these two are beautiful, they are very manicured. Drayton Hall is in “near-original” condition with no furnishings and a minimum of glossy and “made to look romantic” aura. It’s about the closest you will get to the real thing, and thus it interested me the most.

Drayton Hall IMG_0437_wm

We had been here many years ago, in the late 70’s, just after the National Trust had taken it over. In those days, we were free to wander around and take pictures; not so any more…

Drayton Hall view IMG_0443_wm

The Ashley River: view from Drayton Hall land. This was the main access route for centuries.

And Charleston… I’m not going to go into great detail, here and now, but it was, of course, lovely.


There is something about these coral stucco walls and buildings that gets to me. The color. The texture. The mix with dark, glossy green foliage or black iron gates: they are a treat for the eyes and such fun to photograph.



I have a post “Choosing a Hotel: Charleston” where I went into detail about a lovely small inn we had liked very much. Well, this trip we went budget so I won’t go into it all ! except to say it left us some $$ to spend on food. Not bad…

And this restaurant,
Rue de Jean,
did not disappoint. Thank you, Marian, for the suggestion!

I had one of my favorites: Frisée Lyonnaise salad. With a glass of rose it was perfect. And followed by a Crème Brulée!


One more restaurant recommendation is
Magnolias Charleston
Convenient, perfect service, great menu and really good food. You can’t go wrong with either of these places.

Home again and looking forward to a warm week here with time spent in the garden!