June 8, 2010

Follow Up Road Trip

Last month I had planned to visit Phillip Oliver in Florence to tour his amazing garden but had to postpone that visit due to bad weather.  This past weekend, Cynthia and I and our friends Laura and Arnold Reichert traveled to Florence to tour Phillip's garden. I've always admired Phillip's beautiful photos of the garden but they pale in comparison to the real thing. We were absolutely blown away by his garden. As Laura stated, " It's like a Garden of Eden" and "sensory overload",  almost too much to take in and process. Cynthia said it was Nirvana. Phillip was a wonderful host and personally escorted us through the garden and answered all our questions.

We were welcomed to the garden by Phillip's cat Chester who watched us from the arbor.

    The purple wall was a favorite with everyone.

The Variegated Cornus Kousa "Wolf Eyes" was stunning.

The hyrangeas were magnificant.

We all came away from Phillip's garden with a shopping list of plants we wanted and ideas gathered that we could incorporate into our own gardens. I can only hope that one day my garden can look as good.

We left Phillip's and traveled to Decatur to see the Delano Rose Garden that I had visited on my last   
"Road Trip". The roses were out of bloom at the time but the day lily's and hydrangeas were in full bloom which made the trip back an unexpected pleasure. 

White and pink Annabelle Hydrangeas.

Laura and the giant "Sum and Substance Hosta"

Lace cap Hydrangea,

Next we treated ourselves to some "world famous" Big Bob  Gibson's BBQ which is just down the street from Delano Park.  After lunch we traveled to our last stop of the day to Bob & Kay Butler's home in Fairview Alabama to look at his Japanese Maple collection.  Bob has been seriously into Japanese Maples since the early 90's. He currently has over 200 cultivars of Japanese Maples. 

Bob showing Arnold some of his 1200+ starts from last fall.

An unusal large leaf Acer Palmatum variety.

Since I know absolutely nothing about Japanese Maples other than the fact that they are beautiful trees and can only show you  a sampling of what Bill has in his yard and nursery. Bill shares his love for Japanese Maples with local gardening clubs and Master Gardener programs. He also has students from Wallace State come and he demonstrates the art of grafting Japanese Maples.  Bill has some wonderful rock borders that came from old homesteads that had been demolished and the rocks were given to him for the taking. He also had some large stones that had been used as foundation supports from  the barn of my grandfather's brother. A flood of fond memories filled my mind.

We did not leave the Butler's empty handed.  Arnold took home three Maples to add to his already impressive collection.  I took home  a  variegated selection called "Butterfly shown above and another selection called O'Isami.  I have no ideal where they are going, but I will find a place or put them in large pots until I do.

The road trip was a tremendous success. We got to see some amazing gardens and brought home some new plants to enhance our own gardens.

O'Isami and Butterfly Japanese Maples

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