In the Piedmont of the good ol' North State (NC, that is)

Are you dying for an excuse to enjoy the wonderful Fall weather in your garden? North Carolina's piedmont has a ton to offer. Write this on your calendar now or forever hold your peace:
Winghaven Gardens inspires both the formal gardener and more eccentric types
Their plant sale begins next week, October 10 for members (guess who just dished out the membership fee so I can call in sick to work and fantasize my mornings away with hard to find hellebores) and the 11th through 14th for nonmembers. I'm willing to wager they'll have some camellias from Chapel Hill's Camellia Forest, and even more willing to wager I'll go home with a station wagon full of cold tolerant beauts. Some of the prices can be steep, but you can while away the day in their gardens and bird sanctuary. The only thing truly sick is the money you'll find yourself shelling out for the plants you never knew you needed.

Daniel Stowe Botanical Gardens in Belmont has a plant shop, offers art classes, and keeps the community alive with events. Not to squelch on the promise of Fall, join them for their Celebrate Fall! Garden & Home Festival, Saturday October 14, 2006, 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Sunday, October 15, 2006, 11:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. If your ability to grow does not match your ability to flow, join them on Sunday for the Feng Shui in the Garden workshop. And they should have a greater restraint with bad rhymes than I do.

The Mecklenburg County Cooperative Extension is offering a workshop on lawn care called Successful Fescue Lawns in the Piedmont. Okay, the class sounds a bit dull, but the Cooperative Extension usually leans more toward the organic side than the chemical, so I'm betting you'll leave with a good grasp of affordable solutions for a healthy, affordable and less thirsty lawn. Plus, you can use your wealth of knowledge from YGG to stump the masters. Très amusant, non ? Monday, October 16, 7:00 PM - 8:30 PM: Mecklenburg County Park & Recreation Administrative Office Building (5841 Brookshire Blvd.)

Camellia Forest in Chapel Hill is having their Fall Open House October weekends through the 22. They offer a rare chance to see their amazing camellia selection, which includes a handful of Camellia sinesis, the source of basic leaves for black, green and white tea.

Check out when they are open, then go see Niche Gardens this month. You can order from them online, but you get 20% off in person. Would it make it more worthwhile for you know that they have pitcher plants that hardy enough for outdoor growth in our zone. Pitcher plants. In. The. Ground. Outside. All. Winter. with 20% off?!?! I'm going.

While you're in North Carolina's Triad, you and your best friend can head over to Logan's Trading Post. When I say best friend, I mean your ever-loving, tried and true canine companion. Yes, even the ones too big to fit into a Paris Hilton style puppy purse are welcome, and that is an idea I can really wrap a collar around.

For Future Reference and Garden Geek fun on a Friday night:
Though they don't seem to have any upcoming events, the Piedmont Daylily Club will link you to an enormous resource of private gardens and extravagant images of daylilies. It seems they have a bunch of club functions, so if you join I can foresee an incredible daylily collection in your future. These guys are very serious about their daylilies, and cover all the ground including care and hybridizing.

Okay, so I have a bad history of killing my 25 cent goldfish. I am not about to spring several hundred dollars for a fish outside, but I sure do love to look at them. The Piedmont Koi and Watergarden Society seem to have a good grasp on keeping their more-expensive-than-the-value-of-my-car koi alive, and I can live vicariously through them. Visit a meeting, or find a fish function online.

The North Carolina Botanical Gardens offers an assortment of resources for all levels of gardeners, including classes of homeopathic remedies, photography, and annual plant sales. If you missed the fall plant sale, they will have the plant shop open through the end of October. Did I mention they have coupled with the UNC Herbarium, which has a native plant guide 750,000 species of native plants? You can see it on the internet, but I'm more partial to seeing it in person.

If you have a free Saturday or Sunday, visit the McGill Rose Garden in Charlotte. They have all of the roses, herbs and veggies you can imagine, more creativity than you can find in any of the galleries within a 2 mile radius, the garden not only grows roses, but veggies and herbs for the area soup kitchens. All in wrapped up in an unassuming package, the garden is guaranteed to inspire.

And when I'm not around to pester you into visiting some gardens, try Carolina Gardener Magazine's website. They are really a great resource for the entire mid-Atlantic region including lists of when to do what, and a calendar of events that spans from Virginia to Georgia. They'll keep you busy through November.

This article was originally posted to and written for You Grow Girl's The Dirt Blog, which is way better than a good ol' hot slice of mud pie.

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