At the Garden Writers Symposium

A couple of weeks ago, I went to the 2009 Garden Writers Symposium in Raleigh, North Carolina.  It was conveniently close to my Wilmington, NC home!  I had a great time and got to learn about all of the cool new plants, garden tools, books and general gardening stuff that's coming out over the next year or so.  I also enjoyed hanging out with people who are as passionate about plants and nerdy about words as I am.  The highlight of these meetings is always the garden tours, and we traveled to several, including:
  • Plant Delights and the Juniper Level Botanic Garden
  • JC Raulston Arboretum
  • North Carolina Botanical Garden
  • Montrose Gardens
  • S.E.E.D.S. a community garden in Durham
  • Sarah P. Duke gardens
I'd seen some of the gardens before, but never in the fall.  My favorite was, hands down, Montrose, the garden of Nancy Goodwin.  Here are some pics I snapped on my whirlwind walk-around. gardengate birdbath


What I loved about Montrose is that there are manicured areas and wild areas in the same garden.  To me, contrast is what makes a garden beautiful.  If all of the plants in a garden are the same shape or same color, they blur into a big mass.  This is one reason why I think that a piece of well-cared for lawn has its place in our gardens:  it acts as a picture frame around the rest of our gardens and landscape beds.  If you read books about fall color, nearly all of them mention the place of evergreens in the landscape as a backdrop that makes fall color pop.

Coming Soon:  Highlights

The trade fair at the Symposium is a swag-fest like no other, and being a greedy gardener and voracious reader, I snapped up everything that I could, tried out all of the new gizmos and gadgets, and got the skinny on new books coming out within the coming months.  Here are some of the things that I most enjoyed learning about, or am most looking forward to hitting the shelves:
  • The NEW Fiskars Reel Mower!  This will hit the stores in December or early January (PuHLEEASE let it come out in time for Christmas!).  The writers all had an absolute field day trying this out Witherspoon Rose Culture in Durham.  Since when do people ENJOY mowing?  The Momentum mower is so much easier to use than other reel mowers for a variety of reasons that I'll detail in another post.
  • Dramm watering products, including their re-designed watering wand.  If you read my other posts about water, you know that I'm a big supporter of watering wands.  I think that they give the most gentle spray, are easiest to control, and put out the most water in a short amount of time of any of the watering tools.  However, lots of people are addicted to their spray-gun watering attachments.  Dramm has taken this idea and re-vamped its long-handled wands to keep all of the attributes that I like, and infuse a little bit more "spray" into the wand.  They've added a squeeze handle AND a hook to hold it shut, so if you are a "spray-gunner" you can still pull the trigger.  They've also added a more tapered inside to force the water out a teensy bit harder.  None of this detracts from the function, though.  (DRAMM didn't give me a new one of these, but I like it, and bought one, so I'm pluggin' it! Maybe next time. . .)
  • Grocery Gardening:  a new book by Jean Ann Van Krevelen, Amanda Thomsen, Robin Ripley, and Teresa O'Connor, to be published by Cool Springs Press in December 2009.  It's being written by four amazing gardeners that I chat with on Twitter and got to meet in person at the Symposium.  A fun book of gardening and recipes that will have readers and gardeners chomping at the bit for warm weather and home-grown veggies. (I've seen the previews and it is a beautiful and functional book.
There's so much more to share!  Suffice to say, my garden-writing well has been re-filled, and I can't wait until next year in Dallas!
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