A recent study concluded that viewing pictures of nature can help people recover from stress. According to Magdalena van den Berg, who led the study at the VU University Medical Center in Amsterdam, the effects would probably be magnified if someone could visit nature and see actual greenery.
I can attest to that. My garden is a constant source of comfort and pleasure. And at the April 2016 American Rhododendron Society/Azalea Society of America Convention in Virginia, I was afforded the opportunity to tour many fabulous gardens. Here are a few highlights:
The Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden had a number of interesting design features.
Walls were adorned with Lady Banks roses (Rosa banksiae).
And extraordinary trees were showcased, especially the Crape Myrtles (Lagerstroemia).
[Note: The Ginter added this surprising No No to the usual list of visitor guidelines:” The Use Of Drones Is Prohibited.” A sign of the times.]
Striking in design was a private, Japanese influenced garden, with a tea house by a pond surrounded by colorful Japanese Maples. Especially lovely were the images of the maples reflected in the water.
Further enhancing the beauty of the garden were the pink double blossoms of the elegant Japanese Cherry Trees (Prunus serrulata ‘Kwanzan’).
In another private garden, a dazzling Viburnum drew many admirers — including my husband. (Note the wonderful blossoms marching two by two up and down the stems. My kind of buddy-system!)
And then there were the glorious flowering Azaleas. Notable among them:
The fragrant flowering deciduous native Azalea, Rhododendron austrinum ‘Escatawpa’.
And the evergreen Azalea hybrids, R. ‘Herbert’ and R. ‘Linwood Lavender.’
All are winter hardy in my area, Northeast Zone 7a. Sadly, not so for my two favorite Azaleas: R. ‘George Lindley Tabor’ (a\k\a ‘Taber’) and its sport R. ‘Mrs. G.G. Gerbing’. (The large, showy, pure-white flowers of Mrs. G.G. Gerbing are so irresistible, I’m tempted to ignore her zonal shortcomings.)
Finally, I loved the winter-hardy shrub, Kerria japonica, a golden-flowering Diva flaunting her stuff in a private shady garden.
Kudos to the hosts and organizers of the 2016 ARS/ASA National Convention for an outstanding, rewarding experience!