Category: Home & Garden

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…

A house for horses: The Shanahan Barn

by Liza Roberts  photographs by Nick Pironio  Some people build beach houses or mountain houses to get away from it all. Tina Shanahan built a barn. Home to two mares and a filly, the custom barn is the realization of a dream Shanahan,…

The Arboretum: In Bloom

illustrations by Laura Frankstone One of the largest and most diverse collections of plants that thrive in the Southeast can be found at Raleigh’s J.C. Raulston Arboretum. This meandering, 10-acre research garden, planted with more than 5,000 different kinds of…

Technicolor wonder: Canna ‘Phasion’

by Tony Avent illustration by Ippy Patterson I’ll never forget the day in June 1997 when I met Canna ‘Phasion’ in person. For normal people, it would be like meeting Elvis or Barbra Streisand. I had long been a fan…

Art as Heritage

by Liza Roberts photographs by Mark Petko For Monica and Dalip Awasthi, art is the glue. It helped cement their relationship early on, and it links the two of them – and their three young children – to the Indian…

Hummingbird heaven: Spigelia Marilandica (Indian Pink)

by Tony Avent illustration by Ippy Patterson Spigelia marilandica is another of those great plants native to the Southeast that few people have grown or even heard about. In the wild, I usually see Spigelia growing on deeply wooded slopes,…

SMALL AND CLEVER: The Martin house thinks big

by Liza Roberts photographs below by Juli Leonard When Steve and Sujitra Martin decided to move to Raleigh from Charlotte in 2006, they knew what they wanted in a house here: Something small but efficient, in a walkable, downtown neighborhood….

All hail the regal OSTRICH FERN

by Tony Avent illustration by Ippy Patterson In my travels through much of the northeastern United States, I have always been struck by the amazing masses of ostrich fern happily congregated in low wetlands. I was determined to grow this…

Just one plant: Edgeworthia Chrysthantha

by Tony Avent illustration by Ippy Patterson  I’ll always remember the day I spotted my first edgeworthia, tucked beside the narrow, dark, windy path that used to lead past the old lath house at the J.C. Raulston Arboretum. There it…

Just one plant: Stokes Aster

by Tony Avent illustration by Ippy Patterson   Though it grows wild from coastal North Carolina westward to Louisiana, gardeners in our area have traditionally found their Stokes’ Asters at the local nursery. Back in the 1960s and 1970s, all…

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