GWA Symposium 2009
Raleigh, NC
September 24-26th

Saturday, Sept. 26

We had our GWA Annual Business Meeting this morning at a very early hour – 6:45 a.m. so when the time came to leave to Montrose Gardens, we were raring to go…

Montrose Gardens, Hillsborough;
Because of her intimately written garden books, Nancy Goodwin is a recognizable name to garden writers, and visiting her breathtaking 61-acre Montrose Garden was going to be good. It had an area that was full of tropicals and I enjoyed visiting this area and recognized many of the plants there.

Nancy Goodwin has written for Fine Gardening, American Gardener, Horticulture, Veranda, Country Home Country Gardens, and other magazines. She is a coauthor of A Year in Our Gardens: Letters by Nancy Goodwin and Allen Lacy and coeditor of A Rock Garden in the South, by Elizabeth Lawrence, also published by Duke University Press. From 1984 to 1993, she operated Montrose Nursery, which specialized in unusual perennials, including hellebores and cyclamen.

Montrose is the home of Nancy and Craufurd Goodwin. The nationally known complex of gardens on the site was begun in the middle of the 19th century by Governor William Alexander Graham and his wife, Susan Washington Graham. The Goodwins purchased and moved to the property in 1977 and have maintained and expanded the plantings.

The grounds include several 19th century buildings, a rock garden, scree garden, several acres of woodland plantings, and large areas of sunny gardens with unique color and planting schemes. Unusual trees and trellises, fences, and arbors, designed and constructed by a local artist, enhance the gardens.

It was formerly the home of Montrose Nursery (closed since 1993), a mail-order nursery specializing in hardy cyclamen and other unusual perennials. A selection of plants, produced on the property, is available for purchase at the end of each tour and during Garden Open Days.

Montrose is a Sponsored Project Garden of The Garden Conservancy.

Twice a year, once in Spring and once in Autumn, Montrose holds a Garden Open Day, providing visitors the opportunity to tour the gardens at their leisure. Admission is free. Those interested in being added to the mailing list for a notice of Garden Open Days should write to: Montrose, PO Box 957, Hillsborough, NC 27278

North Carolina Botanical Gardens, Chapel Hill
The North Carolina Botanical Garden is a "conservation garden." “ Our guiding mission is to inspire understanding, appreciation, and conservation of plants in gardens and natural areas and to advance a sustainable relationship between people and nature.”

The North Carolina Botanical Garden has been a leader in native plant conservation and education in the southeastern United States for more than 30 years. It was a delight to wander through but this was a busy day again and we all could have used more time to really appreciate what was here. At the time of our visit there was some sculpture in the garden that was lovely to look at.

There are many areas of this botanic garden that are sure to delight. The Garden's new Education Center was dedicated on Oct 12, 2009 and is now open to the public. Designed to achieve Platinum level LEED certification, it was built with private contributions.

Located halfway between Durham and Chapel Hills is a wonderful display garden of roses, complete with pathways, colonnade, fountain and gazebo. Thousands of roses to greet you with their scent…and they were in their prime when we arrived. Witherspoon Rose Culture, a family owned and operated business that not only sells but maintains roses for over 58 years. The trial section is where you want to focus your attention on, this is where you see the new cultivars from many of the leading hybridizers. They offer professional rose care in over 70 communities and more than 2400 gardens in North Carolina, from Charlotte to Morehead City A wonderful but short visit…

S.E.E.D.S., Durham
We enjoyed visiting here and the enthusiasm that the children had for their special place was very evident. These are the future gardeners.
SEEDS is a non-profit community garden whose goal is to teach people to care for the earth, themselves and each other through a variety of garden-based programs. Over the years, SEEDS has grown and developed to meet the changing needs of the community, particularly by adding programs for children and youth. In early 2000, SEEDS created a program called DIG (Durham Inner-city Gardeners). DIG is a youth-driven entrepreneurial business in which teenagers grow produce, herbs and flowers to sell at the Durham Farmers’ Market. Today, DIG is flourishing and continues to expand its growing space with the additions of a hoophouse and a market garden across the street from SEEDS’ original plot. In 2003, SEEDS responded to a need identified by the Durham Family Initiative and created an after-school program. The program is free and serves children in 1st through 5th grades by providing a safe and supportive environment where kids can explore, play, and learn with lots of positive attention from adults
The SEEDS Garden, located northeast of downtown Durham, represents the potential in abandoned land. This beautiful oasis consists of two separate parcels at the corner of Elizabeth and Gilbert Streets. The larger parcel is the Southside Garden, which includes community garden plots tended by the local neighborhood and people from all over Durham, a cut-flower garden cultivated by DIG youth for the Durham Farmers' Market, composting facilities, a medicinal herb garden, a permaculture pond, an outdoor classroom, an 8-panel mural on a neighboring abandoned warehouse wall, and an outdoor art gallery. The Market Garden is right across the street and is used by DIG to grow organic vegetables to sell at the Farmers' Market.

Many hands have created this magical place. What was once a dumping ground has become a beautiful park that showcases the creativity, productivity, and diversity of Durham. It is the site for Art Grows in Durham, SEEDS' arts festival and biggest party, which happens every spring. Educational workshops take place in the outdoor classroom, and SEEDS is honored to co-host with the Latino community cultural celebrations such as the Day of the Dead. The garden provides service opportunities to a wide variety of civic, student and church groups, and brings gardeners, artists, students, and elders together with local neighborhood folks.



  • New Eden
  • Kids Garden
  • Plant a Row Grow a Row