An unapologetic plant geek shares advice and opinions on gardening, the contrived and the natural landscape, as well as occasional topics from the other side of the gate.

October 24, 2012

One Lucky Guy

I have been at my new job for about 5 weeks now, and after spending the first week or two in a constant state of being overwhelmed, now I get a break from that feeling every so often.  At these moments I can look around, pinch myself, and say that I am fortunate to work where I do. So I thought I would share with you a little bit of what I get to see every day.

This fountain is the centerpiece of Baker Perennial Garden, and there are a series of concentric gardens surrounding it.  The hardscape is formal, the plantings are not.

Baker Perennial Garden (2)

Baker Perennial Garden (6)

Chrysanthemum 'Cambodian Queen'
Chrysanthemum 'Cambodian Queen'

Salvia microphylla 'Wild Watermelon'
Salvia microphylla 'Wild Watermelon'

The plant below is Leonotis leonurus or lion's ear.  Despite being native to southern Africa, it is hardy for us here in zone 8.  Being crazy for orange, I am going to have to get one for my own garden, I just don't know what will be pulled out to make room for it.
Leonotis leonurus

Leonotis is also planted in the Humming Bird Garden, where it acts as a colorful background for other things.
Plectranthus 'Mona Lavender'

Euphorbia tirucalli 'Sticks on Fire'

Delosperma 'Kelaidis'
Delosperma 'Kelaidis'

Callicarpa japonica 'Heavy Berry' (Japanese beautyberry)
Callicarpa japonica 'Heavy Berry'

Salvia involucrata, roseleaf sage
Salvia involucrata (4)

The rich back-lit foliage belongs to Colocasia esculenta 'Diamond Head', which has proven to be perennial here in the right location.
Colocasia esculenta 'Diamond Head'

Salvia coccinea 'Coral Nymph
Salvia coccinea 'Coral Nymph' (2)

We have a wonderful children's garden, which also has some unusual plants, but these in the picture are not, though I liked the way they looked together.  The yellow tree is Chinese elm (Ulmus parvifolia) and the burgundy foliage is Loropetalum chinensis.
Ulmus parvifolia

Spitting Lion

We are in the middle of pulling out our summer annuals and popping in things that can take cool weather.  This is Lantana in the front (sorry I don't know which cultivar) and Cassia alata in the back, both of which have numbered days.
Lantana and Cassia

Cassia alata

Several areas of the garden are devoted to our local native plant communities, and some of the earliest fall color is starting there.  The color below is from a tree most gardeners consider a scourge due to its messy fruit, but sweetgum (Liquidambar straciflua) is worth putting up with for its fall color.
Liquidambar styraciflua (2)

I am sure you will continue to see more of Norfolk Botanical Garden on this blog, but if you want to see more of the photos I took this weekend, you can click here for the complete set on Flickr.


  1. Les, Your new office is beautiful and so are your photos!

  2. what an absolutely AMAZING place to work, gosh, i would love to go there once, let alone work there daily or however often, you really are one lucky guy

  3. Les,

    I agree a great job to be inside those gardens everyday! Loved the loins over the water garden, nice touch. The lantana looks like Miss Huff.

  4. Heavy berry - aptly named!

    You are a lucky guy.

  5. OMG WOW!...the beauty berries are loaaded..the colors I must visit...sounds like a mandala based design?

  6. My object in living is to unite
    My avocation and my vocation
    As my two eyes make one in sight.
    Only where love and need are one,
    And the work is play for mortal stakes,
    Is the deed ever really done
    For Heaven and the future's sakes.

    You did it.

  7. Ahhh what perks! I would have thought Lantana would be hardy for you. Thanks for the "workaday" peek!

  8. Les,
    This place looks amazing. I'd be pinching myself too.

  9. Yes you are a lucky guy, but from what I can determine they are pretty lucky to have you as well.

    Leonotis leonurus hardy in zone 8? That's interesting. Even the nurseries most prone to exageration here don't sell it as such.

  10. Those anxious and overwhelming moments will soon leave you as you continue to settle in at your new office. I am sure this job will be very gratifying. Love the pictures.

  11. That beautyberry is amazing. I don't think I have seen that species before. I love orange flowers too and am jealous of your leonotis. So happy for you in your new job.

  12. Glad everything is going well. I understand those feelings of stress...and those moments of perfection:) I hope it continues:)

  13. Your photos are wonderful! Thank you for sharing your joy and wonder with us!

  14. Thank you everyone for taking the time to comment, and for your support as well.

  15. I too want to exclaim how lucky you are to be working in such a blessed place, but I expect a lot of hard work, determination and strength had contribute something too...

    What is the grass in the first few pictures? love that effervescent pink bloom.

  16. I am sure you are working very hard but what a glorious place!

  17. Like a kid in a candy store. Here's wishing that the honeymoon with the new job never wears off (as they always seemed to do with me.)