PPA – Day 1

After arriving in Raleigh, NC yesterday for the Perennial Plant Association (PPA) Annual Conference, we started the festivities early this morning.  I wasn’t prepared for the instant humidity at 7 am in the morning as we boarded buses for some tours of area gardens.  I stayed hydrated throughout the day (including chugging a beer at lunch) and thankfully the showers that were forecast for the day seemed to be timed with our travel between five destinations.  I’ve run in to about two dozen folks that I know and met some previously unmet (in person) “Facebook Friends”!  Nice shot directly above of a pollinator hotel at our first destination which was the “Pollinator Paradise” Garden at Chatham Mills (which was an old, restored warehouse with shops and other cool things going on…).  It had just poured prior to arrival so everything was sagging and wet but it was impressive.  We then headed to the North Carolina Botanical Garden which was a special treat.  There was a strong focus on native plants and environments at this garden.  North Carolina, compared to Wisconsin, is the “banana belt” and many of the plants I saw would never overwinter at RBG.  However, it was neat to recognize a lot of perennials and woody plants that we also grow in WI.  When the sun did peak out today on occasion, it got REALLY hot quickly.  Networking and chatting with other tour participants was also fun.  The collective knowledge of attendees was impressive.  We then went to the Honeysuckle Tea House (see below) for lunch and they had some cool herb beds.  On to the Keith Arboretum with some rare woodies and we finished at an impressive private garden that had a lot of well landscaped “nooks and crannies”.  I think I only took 500 photos today but that’s a pretty good start.  See below for some highlights.

little bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium) in a parking lot island – perennial

loofah gourd tee-pee for the kids!

yellow pitcher plant (above)

ALL rainfall on the roofs of the structures was collected for use in this modern, LEED Platinum Certified Vistor’s Center

cool gate above

wicked cool chess board

nice raised beds above and lots of carnivorous plants like pitcher plant (below)

pine lily (Lilium catesbaei) – perennial

neat water garden displays above

loblolly pine (Pinus taeda) – woody tree

cool driftwood gate above leading to the Honeysuckle Tea House

paw paw (Asimina triloba) – woody tree

columnar sweet gum (Liquidambar styraciflua) – woody tree

lots of crepe myrtles in this area with beautiful bark (Lagerstroemia sp.) – woody tree

mountain mint (Pycnanthemum sp.) is a pollinator magnet!

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