Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden
Much of garden design is simply about envisioning what a space could be. Making the transformation happen takes skill, but the real gift is having the vision.
Now imagine that vision multiplied by 450 acres and the result is the Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden in Belmont, North Carolina. I was a guest speaker at their annual 'Celebrate Fall Plant and Craft Festival' a few weeks ago and was impressed by the scale and beauty of gardens. It is hard to believe that it was only a glint in founder Daniel Stowe's eye as recently as 1989.
If you are looking for ideas for your own garden, this is definitely a place to visit. I was especially taken with the Canal Garden. This garden features a narrow canal of water that spills into a circular fountain. To create a sense of rhythm the designers placed a series of leaping fish statues down the length of the canal. Seasonal beds and gravel walks flank the water making it a nice place to stroll and take in the scenery. And I love the way tropicals are combined with perennials and annuals creating interesting texture. The garden is lined with large banana trees and on either side of the canal papyrus punctuates a sea of lantana. It is an inspiring scene that really gets the creative juices flowing.
If you are interested in touring the gardens, visit their website at www.dsbg.org. In addition to the Canal Garden there are 8 other themed gardens and a woodland trail. If you can plan your trip before the end of the year you can see the 'Big Bugs' exhibit. A collection of oversized insects created by artist Dave Rogers out of reclaimed forest materials. It definitely takes the garden design principle of whimsy to a whole new level!