Category: Home & Garden

Henry’s Stone Oak: Lithocarpus henryi

by Tony Avent  illustration by Ippy Patterson Since Raleigh is known as the City of Oaks, most residents like to think they can identify oak trees, but when I show Henry’s oak to garden visitors, their jaws drop to an unnatural…

Economies of scale

photographs by Nick Pironio When Kim Shirley and her husband Graham decided to move out of Five Points to build a house on a spacious corner lot in West Raleigh, they wanted light, efficiency, and a home better suited to…

Alabama wild ginger

by Tony Avent I grew up in a wooded section of west Raleigh. As a shy kid, I spent most of my spare time roaming through the woods along Crabtree Creek, where Crabtree Valley shopping center would eventually sprout. One of…

A bouquet of silver

by Tony Avent illustration by Ippy Patterson Pulmonarias, or lungworts as they are commonly called, are bold-textured, clumping woodland perennials, prized for their unique silver-spotted, deer-resistant foliage. Long a favorite of shade gardeners in temperate climates, Pulmonarias flower in late winter…

Glad for my purple prince

by Tony Avent illustration by Ippy Patterson Growing up in North Carolina, it’s not uncommon to see gladiolus growing along country roads through older rural communities. For that reason, I could never reconcile why all the gladiolus I ordered from mail-order…

Tree of hearts

by Tony Avent illustration by Ippy Patterson I was first introduced to Aleurites fordii (also known as Vernicia fordii) through the wood sealer called Tung oil, which is made from the plant. That was long before I met Aleurites fordii in person….

Forever house

by Liza Roberts photographs by Lissa Gotwals Brooks Bell and Jesse Lipson knew what they wanted, and they had a list. Their new house had to have a fenced yard for their terrier, Theo, and a screened-in porch. A freestanding bathtub,…

Enchanting Cyclamen

by Tony Avent The genus cyclamen has long fascinated me, perhaps for its unusual, almost magical-looking flowers as well as its enchanting silver-patterned leaves. I first encountered cyclamen in the flesh in the early 1970s while garden-shopping at the old…

A facelift and a fresh start

by Stacy Chandler photographs by Carla Williams Before a group of Wake County remodelers came to the rescue last fall, the headquarters of the Wake Interfaith Hospitality Network, which helps people out of homelessness, was worn out. Its carpet was…

Short plants got no reason to….Verbesina olsenii

by Tony Avent In a world where most plant breeders and nursery folks buy into the mistaken proposition that all homeowners want short plants, I embrace a different notion. I can’t imagine anything worse than opening my front door and…

A Victorian dowager gets a facelift

by Liza Roberts photographs by Geoff Wood When Dan Forest, newly sworn-in as lieutenant governor of North Carolina, walked into the stately Victorian house with the wrap-around porch on Blount Street that was to be his office, he was amazed….

Eureka! A glimpse of blue Tricyrtis lasiocarpa

by Tony Avent illustration by Ippy Patterson It was early in the morning, a sunny Monday morning, when Mark Weathington of Raleigh’s J.C. Raulston Arboretum and I sped down the winding roads of Alishan mountain on the island of Taiwan,…

Haunted by happiness: The Lassiter Farm House

by Ann Brooke Raynal photographs by Mark Petko There’s a house in North Raleigh that is haunted by happiness. Haunted by ghosts, possibly, but certainly haunted by the happiness of its owners. Built in 1890, the Lassiter Farm House has seen births…

Sunny delight: Sinningia sellovii

by Tony Avent illustration by Ippy Patterson At one time or another, most gardeners have grown African violets, or saintpaulia hybrids. Back in the disco era, we of a certain age also indulged in trying to grow their more challenging…

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