Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Another Stroll Through The Elizabethan Gardens.

Today, I took another trip to the Elizabethan Gardens in Manteo for a class focused on Botany:
The autochthonous plants (That's "indigenous" for those of you with lesser vocabularies - just one of those little nuggets of trivia I stored in my pea-brain years ago and have been waiting for just the right opportunity to use.).
Herbs brought to the New World by the Europeans.
Weeds introduced to the New World by the Europeans.
Plants found in North America and used by Native Americans.
Plants for an Elizabethan hortus conclusus, or enclosed garden.
And elements of Elizabethan Garden Design and the plants used in the garden.

So please sit back and join me for another stroll through this wonderful garden.

This pink tree in the background is a Saucer Magnolia.
That's a Yaupon hedge in front. Yaupon, or Ilex vomitoria is a species of holly native to Southeastern North America. It was used and sold by early North Carolinians as a tea plant and is the only native North American plant known to contain caffeine. The Native Americans used twigs, leaves, and berries boiled into a strong black drink as a purgative, hence the Latin name, Ilex vomitoria.

Neatly trimmed boxwood hedges outline the beds called parterres, French for "parting the earth."

Right now, inside the hedges, grow pansies with tulips coming up.
These are seasonal beds, so the flowers here change for each season.
The name "pansy" is thought to derive from the French, "penser," meaning "to think," since the pansy has what appears to be a face on it.

This is Daphne, a very fragrant plant with delicate blooms.
According to Greek myth, the nymph Daphne was chased around by Apollo, who was infatuated with her after being shot with one of Eros's arrows. She prayed to the river God, Peneus, to help her.
So POOF! Daphne was transformed into a bush.

I really don't think that's what Daphne had in mind.
Be careful for what you wish for. You might get it.

This is Acuba Japonica, an attractive ornamental with red berries.

This is called Leopard Plant, also known as Ligularia.
It's tropical-looking with 6-inch glossy dark green leaves with yellow spots.
In early summer it bears large yellow daisy-like flowers.

This is Fatsia Japonica, a fast growing evergreen shrub.
Tropical looking, it can reach 5-12 feet in height and width.

The flowers are small and white and are borne on umbels, or flower clusters, from fall through winter before turning to dark berries.

The camelias are lovely now and I can't imagine how many different types are in the gardens. A note for those of you that grow camelias, always pick up the spent flowers and petals on the ground.
If not, your plant could be subject to a blight. This is caused by a fungus that is carried over to the next season from diseased petals.

Camellia oleifera, whi
ch blooms in October, is a source of tea oil,
extracted from the seeds.

Camellia Japonica, blooms in January.

Camellia sinensis is commercially valuable because tea is made from its leaves.

These are hyacinths, my all-time favorite spring-blooming bulb.
They smell wonderful.

Close-up of hyacinth.

Statue of Virginia Dare, first child born in the New World to English parents.

This is a view of the Sunken Garden. You may remember seeing it in a previous post showing the Italian statuary. The parterres are filled with flowers year-round. Pansies are blooming there now, with tulips coming up. Annuals, perhaps begonias, salvias, and pentas, are planted in the summer and the displays, colors, and combinations change from year to year.

The tree there is a crape myrtle, the featured plant in the Sunken Garden. At first, it was suggested to put dogwoods down here. That idea was overruled by the suggestion to use crape myrtles.
Why? They bloom from July to Labor Day - peak tourist season.

The pruning technique you see is called pollarding.
It keeps the canopy shape round. The crape myrtles are also a winter feature, what with the unique pruning and interesting bark.

The parterres in the Sunken Garden are in the shapes of boats

and in the shapes of bells. A gentleman named Bell did the back-hoe work when digging this area out, plus bells go along with the boats.

The tree in the back right corner is a Burford Holly, Ilex cornuta ‘Burfordii’.

Behind the brick wall is an aillee of female hollies, a small walkway of trained, pruned hollies which surround the Sunken Garden. There are just a few wild male hollies in the immediate area which fertilize the contained, constrained females.

Here you see Spanish Moss hanging from the tree.
This is a sign of clean air, as the moss will not grow in polluted areas.

Here's a very nice piece of driftwood off to the side of the pathway.

The gate site overlooking the sound.

This could be the actual area where the colonists came ashore.

This is Vibernum and it smells wonderful.

Leatherleaf Mahonia.

Japanese Cherry.

More camellias.

Now, this was interesting to me.
I knew what the plant was, but I had never seen this before.

It's a gardenia, and that's the fruit.

Another camellia.

Camellia with Saucer Magnolia in background.

Hyacinths amongst the pansies.

The manicured grounds in front of the orangerie.


Anonymous said...

Wow, what a pretty day. I really enjoy your garden recaps, almost like being there with y'all. Thanks!

Marilyn said...

Sigh, you may dream of snow, but I dream of flowers. Beautiful! Take care of yourself.

CarolynA said...

Thanks for today's botany lesson. Beautiful. And interesting to see the southern forms of a few plants I'm familiar with up north here (or ones that are houseplants).

Sigh. It would be sooo much nicer to smell the air and stroll in that garden. You want MY snow and ice? Don't know if I can ship it down there, though.

Take care of your cough. Fresh juice. Tea. (enhanced with liquor, of course)