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.

September 28, 2009

Hermitage Foundation Plant Sale

On Saturday I went to The Hermitage Foundation for their Fall Heirloom Plant Sale. My intention was just to go and see what there was to see, maybe take some photographs and stroll the grounds of one my favorite places here in Norfolk. I really had no intention of buying plants, afterall I work in a garden center, but looking wouldn't hurt. I ran into several good friends and also got to speak with the enthusiastic Yolima Carr who is the Curator of Gardens and Grounds. I have also been wanting to see the results of their wetland restoration project, as a similar project will be starting in my neighborhood of Colonial Place this fall.

This is not this blog's first visit to The Hermitage, and if you want more information just click on the links. However, I will say it is an oasis of art, brick, wood, gardens, forest and marsh, set on one of the busiest waterways in the country. The first photo is from the courtyard where the plant sale took place. This border was full of heat loving Sun Coleus, Lantana, Margarita and Blackie Sweet Potato Vine and Magilla Perilla.
Courtyard Border 1

Mirabilis jalapa - Four O'Clocks
Four O' Clocks 3

Lantana camara - Lantana
Lantana 1.1

Seedhead from an unknown Clematis
Clematis Seedhead 5.1

They were setting up for a wedding in this side garden, and I must say that the gardens looked to be in great condition. Over the years this has not always been the case.
Gardenview 1

Garden View 5

Japanese Maple 2

Woodwork 2

Lichens 1

Gardenview 6
Through the archways you get a glimpse of the wetland restoration project along the Layfayette River. This was quite an undertaking to correct years of erosion that threatened the grounds and gardens. Now you wouldn't know that anything every happened - the marsh has matured, and the natives planted around the shoreline above the normal tideline have filled in.
Archway and Wetland

Marsh on the Lafayette 1

Upland Wetlands 2

Quercus virginiana - Live Oak
Live Oak By the Water 2

Maclura pomifera - Osage Orange
Maclura pomifera 2

This Virginia Creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia) is the first sign I have seen that fall is near. If you would stand still long enough in these woods, either the Creeper or English Ivy would likley run up your leg.
Virginia Creeper 4

You may have already guessed, but I did come home with plants, and in my defense, I know we do not currently have them at work (besides, it was for a good cause). I bought a Callicarpa americana (American Beautyberry), Agastache x 'Tutti Frutti' and a Ruellia brittoniana (Mexican Petunia) with a bonus Rain Lily (Zephyranthes) in the pot.

(you can find the rest of the pictures here)


  1. Glad to see you got your Callicarpa! Pretty cool you got a Tutti-frutti too!
    You have a great eye, who would have thought to take a photo of the yellowing moss on the brick? This is somewhere I have not visited. Adding it to the list...

  2. Great images, Les. I love that clematis seedhead, the cornice detail, and Japanese maple. The gardens do look great, and I'm glad to hear you got some nice plants too.

  3. Looks like a beautiful and interesting place. American Beautyberry is a great plant.

  4. Les, YOur photos of this garden are a joy to look at~~The seedhead of the unknown clematis is lovely; like little bird feathers. Great plants!

  5. As I was reading through one of my tree books I realized I forgot to thank you for posting the Osage Orange. Certainly different than your thorny guy.

  6. Nice pictures. I'll have to go down there sometime...I've never been.

  7. You have beautiful photos, but some load slowly - perhaps if you reduced the resolution before posting, it would resolve this issue, and would still display well. All the best. Enjoying your blog.

  8. Janet,
    I learned to look at lichens from my wife. She took a whole role of similar pictures back when you had to pay to get them developed. I like the Osage too. I have fond memories of using the fruit as a projectile when I was young.

    Thanks for the comment. The Japanese maple was in a container with hand made tiles embedded in the sides and they matched the foliage and the patio.

    Sweet Bay,
    I have wanted an American Beautyberry for some time now, I just have to do some re-arranging to get it a home.

    I thought they looked like feathers too.

    If Clayton's Natives ever needs a field trip idea, the restored wetlands were replanted with natives. Yolima Carr does speak with groups about the whole project and it is very interesting.

    Garden Lily,
    I realize I am pushing the envelope on size, but I can't stand small pictures. I will play with the resolution on the next post. Thanks for letting me know.


  9. What a beautiful spot. Thanks for the tour!

  10. Such a lovely garden. It is great the restoration was effective and congrats on your new purchases! Can't go to a plant sale without getting some-come on now-it is expected and perfectly fine.

  11. I love that osage orange - I've always found them fascinating!

    I love unintended plant purchases - they're such fun. I've heard that 'Tutti Fruiti' is a gorgeous color, although I haven't seen one - and I foolishly haven't added an American Beautyberry yet either (only the native coralberry last fall). I'm sure that you'll fit it in somewhere!

  12. Joan,
    Thanks for coming along.

    I just have to figure out where I am going to put my new purchases. I wonder of my neighbors would notice if I put them just over the property line?

    I like picking a few Osage Oranges to put in a bowl for the house. They look like green brains, but smell really sharp and fresh, enough to mask hound dog smells.


  13. Hi Les, you are my go to travelogue and once again have transported us! There is nothing like old brick with greenery, wrought iron and bright foliage to make one sigh at the beauty of it all. The marsh looks like it has always been there, hope that is what will be done in your own area. What a specimen that J. maple is in the pot. :-)

  14. What a beautiful site (and sights). I want to come live on that patio with the Japanese maple! Just back from a two-day bus trip to Iowa visiting Arboretums, private gardens and nurseries. I only bought one plant and it was really hard to restrain myself. But it's late in the season here and I decided I needed a plan before I plunked down more money.

  15. Frances,
    I am gladly accepting any and all donations to TTG Travelogue fund. I will use these resources to scour the region and the world for great photo opportunities. ... oh, was I daydreaming just now?

    That patio lead you right up to the front door and I loved how the foliage matched the pots, the floor tiles and the bricks. I hope we will see pictures of your tour. You are very smart to want a plan before putting new plants in. I still do not know where the plants I bought are going to end up.



  16. Lovely, mature garden spaces. Acer palmatum has been waiting all year to talk to the patio bricks.