Nature Challenge Day 2: Lilies and Koi at the Heath’s Gloucester Gardens

May 25, 2016 Brent & Beckys 004

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We returned to Gloucester today, with my gardening sister, to visit Brent and Becky Heath’s gardens and pick up our ‘end of season’ order of plants and tubers.  Brilliant sunshine and warm fragrant breezes off the river made for a perfect day to wander around their acres of display gardens.

Every plant the Heath family offers is showcased somewhere in the gardens, grown against a backdrop of ornamental trees, shrubs, perennials and Virginia natives.  We learn so much by observing these thousands of plants grown in optimal conditions by professionals who truly love the many plants they nurture.  I am continually surprised with an unexpected combination of plants, and by familiar plants grown in unusual and beautiful new ways.

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The garden was punctuated today with hundreds of Amaryllis bulbs grown out in the beds with other perennials.  You probably know Amaryllis as one of those bulbs sold in the autumn, and grown in a pot during the winter holidays.  Well, come spring, one can plant those bulbs outside in a flower bed.  Many of them are hardy in our coastal Virginia winters and can be left to naturalize, blooming in early summer.

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The Heath's gardens, where Amaryllis grow beside perennials.

The Heath’s gardens, where Amaryllis grow beside other perennials.

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Jay Heath, attacking weeds along the main path, encouraged us by pointing out that our wet spring has brought abundant growth of ‘natives,’ or weeds to some, to everyone’s garden.  Even with a dedicated staff, they are still challenged to stay ahead of this spring’s abundant growth.

Side by side, both the nurtured and the ‘self-sown’ sprawled and bloomed, a banquet for their bees and butterflies.   The ground was wet, saturated by recent storms.  And everywhere were signs of the change of season and evolution of their garden.

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May 25, 2016 Brent & Beckys 011

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I was captivated by the first water lily blooms of the season.  The Koi here were nearly hidden by the many water plants.  Imagine having to weed the water garden, too!  But that is just what is planned for later this week, along with a re-do of the planters surrounding the fountain and pool.

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We were fortunate to find owner Brent Heath consulting on the water garden as we wandered back to the shop.  I am always delighted to find Brent in the garden because he so generously shares his deep knowledge of plants with interested visitors.

My friend and I had questions, and he guided us around some of the beds to demonstrate answers and to give useful advice.  He points out plants like the old friends they are, teaching us all the while.

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This is the meadow garden where Brent showed us Mountain Mint and other native perennials we might grow in our own gardens.

This is the meadow garden where Brent Heath showed us Mountain Mint and other native perennials we might grow in our own gardens.  Some, but not all of these plants are listed in the summer catalog.

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We each accepted a generous clump of Mountain Mint, Pycnanthemum virginianum, pulled from the meadow, with advice to plant it in a bed with deep borders to keep it in check.  This native medicinal herb can be used in numerous ways, both in herbal medicine and in a perennial border.  But Brent introduced us to its strong delicious fragrance, and advised that rubbing it against one’s skin keeps flying insects like gnats and mosquitoes far away.

Mountain mint is very hard to find for sale.  Brent and Becky Heath don’t sell it at their garden.  But I had been looking for a source ever since reading about its use in perennial plantings in Piet Oudolf and Noel Kingsbury’s new book, Planting:  A New Perspective This is one of their ‘go to’ plants for long-lived perennial plantings which carry through all of the seasons of the year with minimal maintenance.  For Brent to spontaneously offer us each a well rooted clump was a tremendous blessing for us both.

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If you still have an empty spot in your garden, and would like to fill it with something gorgeous and unusual, please take a look at the Heath’s online summer catalog of plants.  Their end of season, 50% off sale lasts through Saturday, and their offerings can’t be beat for quality and value. We filled the back of our car and look forward to happy planting days ahead!

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May 25, 2016 Brent & Beckys 001~

Blogging friend, Y,  invited me to join the Seven Day Nature Challenge last Saturday.  Thank you for your invitation Y., at In the Zone, and for sharing your fascinating photos taken around our shared state of Virginia.  Y and I know many of the same places and share a love for the quirky and beautiful, the fun and poignant.  I appreciate her invitation and will follow her lead to capture the spirit, if not the exact parameters of the challenge.

Not only is one asked to post a nature photo for seven days running, but to also invite another blogger to join in each day.

For this second day of the challenge, I’ll invite you again to join in.  This challenge has been out there for a while, and many nature photographers have already participated.  If you would like to take up the challenge, please accept in the comments and I’ll link back to you tomorrow.

Although I try to take photos in our garden each day, friends and followers may have noticed that it has been a very long time since I’ve been able to post daily.  Life has gotten quite busy over the past year, and the garden is always calling me out of doors!

But in the spirit of the challenge I’ll set the intention to post a photo or three daily.  If you decide to accept this challenge, too, I’ll look forward to seeing what surprises May has brought to your corner of the world, even as I share the beauty of ours.

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All photos in today's post were taken at the Heath family display gardens in Gloucester, VA, which are open to the public during much of the year.

All photos in today’s post were taken at the Heath family display gardens in Gloucester, VA, which are open to the public during much of the year.  Please check their schedule if you are planning a trip to visit the shop and gardens.

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Photos by Woodland Gnome 2016

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Achillea

Achillea

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Wednesday Vignettes: Questions

March 11, 2016 gardens 038

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“A much more interesting, kind,

adventurous, and joyful approach to life

is to begin to develop curiosity,

not caring whether the object

of our inquisitiveness is bitter or sweet.”

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Pema Chödrön

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March 11, 2016 gardens 017

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“Judge a man by his questions

rather than by his answers.”


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Voltaire

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March 11, 2016 gardens 053

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“No matter how knowledgeable you are,

respect your parents for their experience

and your children for their curiosity.”

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Amit Kalantri

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March 11, 2016 gardens 034

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“The scientist is not a person who gives

the right answers, he’s one

who asks the right questions.”

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Claude Lévi-Strauss

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Photos by Woodland Gnome 2016

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All photos taken at Brent and Becky Heath’s display gardens

outside their Bulb Shop in Gloucester, Virginia March 11, 2016

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March 11, 2016 gardens 054

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“Most misunderstandings in the world

could be avoided if people would simply take the time to ask,

“What else could this mean?”
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Shannon L. Alder

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March 11, 2016 gardens 008

 

Inter-dimensional

February 29, 2016 early flowers 058~

“Fish would probably be the last

of all creatures to discover water.”

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Flavil  Yeakley Jr

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February 29, 2016 early flowers 021

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“Some look at life, for their entire life,

before they actually see.”


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Nikki Rowe

 

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February 29, 2016 early flowers 014

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“Intention and awareness

are the two tools that enable us to create

anything our heart desires

from the universe.”

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Russell Eric Dobda

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February 29, 2016 early flowers 064

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Photos taken at Brent and Becky Heath’s display gardens in Gloucester, VA

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February 29, 2016 early flowers 079

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Photos by Woodland Gnome 2016

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February 29, 2016 early flowers 076

 

Wednesday Vignettes: Flow

October 15, 2015 Gloucester 041

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“If you have a good idea, use it

so that you will not only accomplish something,

but so that you can make room for new ones

to flow into you.”


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Ming-Dao Deng

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October 15, 2015 Gloucester 052~

 

“Water shapes its course

according to the nature of the ground over which it flows;

the soldier works out his victory

in relation to the foe whom he is facing.”

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Sun Tzu

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October 15, 2015 Gloucester 039

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“The only way to make sense out of change

is to plunge into it, move with it,

and join the dance.”


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Alan W. Watts

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October 15, 2015 Gloucester 043~

“Flow is the nature of energy;

flow is another name of life.”


.

Banani Ray

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October 15, 2015 Gloucester 053

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Photos by Woodland Gnome 2015

All photos were taken at the display gardens of Brent and Becky Heath in Gloucester, Virginia

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Thanks to Anna of Flutter and Hum for hosting Wednesday Vignettes each week.

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October 15, 2015 Gloucester 040

Wednesday Vignettes: Lotus and Koi

August 15, 2015 Gardens 108

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“It is said by the Eldar that in water there lives yet

the echo of the Music of the Ainur

more than in any substance that is in this Earth;

and many of the Children of Ilúvatar hearken

still unsated to the voices of the Sea,

and yet know not for what they listen.”


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J.R.R. Tolkien

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August 15, 2015 Gardens 107

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“In one drop of water

are found all the secrets of all the oceans;

in one aspect of You

are found all the aspects of existence.”


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Kahlil Gibran

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August 15, 2015 Gardens 106

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“When you sit in silence long enough,

you learn that silence has a motion.

It glides over you without shape or form, exactly like water.

Its color is silver.

And silence has a sound you hear

only after hours of wading inside it.

The sound is soft, like flute notes rising up,

like the words of glass speaking.

Then there comes a point when you must shatter

the blindness of its words, the blindness of its light.”

.

Anne Spollen

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August 15, 2015 Gardens 109

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All photos from Brent and Becky’ Heath’s display garden in Gloucester, Virginia

 

Photos by Woodland Gnome 2015

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August 15, 2015 Gardens 113

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