From the Garden: A Season of Change

The first day of Spring is still a few weeks away, but there are exciting changes abloom in the Hill House garden. This week, Hill House welcomed Chris Howells, owner of Gardenlea Fine Gardens, to our team. Chris, a professional estate gardener trained in native plant gardening, has over 25 years of experience in sustainable garden design. We look forward to seeing how her fresh ideas and extensive knowledge will shape the Hill House garden. She envisions our lovely lawn as a place where native plants can thrive in a naturalistic way, and has plans to add more color and fragrance to the garden for porch-sitters to enjoy. Here is a look at what’s in bloom now and what’s to come!


This harbinger of Spring is a welcome sight at Hill House. The Hellebore, or Christmas Rose, is a beautiful and hardy flower, able to weather winter’s frosts and revive with the first rays of sun.


Below, Corkscrew Hazel, commonly dubbed “Harry Lauder’s Walking Stick” grows unabashedly by our front steps. Known for its gnarled branches, this shrub is named for Scottish singer and vaudeville comedian Harry Lauder’s notoriously crooked walking stick. Chris says ours is one of the nicest examples she’s seen.


Above: A young Harry Lauder with his walking stick

In winter, its foliage sheds to reveal its distinct form, but come early spring,  2-3 inch yellow catkins will hang from its bare branches.


We will do our best to keep you posted on what’s blooming in our Southern garden. Be on the lookout for Japanese Maple, forsythia, daffodils, oakleaf hydrangeas, and tulips in the upcoming months (15 Things You Never Knew About Tulips). Here is a sampler of what’s underground awaiting warmer days!

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A bud from North Carolina’s favorite tree, the flowering dogwood. The blossom of the dogwood tree was designated as the official state flower of North Carolina in 1941.



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