Anita’s Garden

Anita’s Garden is the private home garden of Anita and Tony Avent. This 4 acre garden is the largest of the garden sections at JLBG, but one which is typically off limits to visitors to give the Avents’ privacy. This garden is designed with Anita’s preference for larger plant drifts, and less “wild” appearance. The garden will be open once annually for the JLBG Endowment fundraiser.

In the center of the garden is a Frank Harmon designed modernist house, completed in 2016. From the glass-plated east side, the garden opens as a three-level, connected series of patios. This area is planted with an array of small to mid-size trees, including Chionanthus retusus ‘China Snow’ (Fringe Tree), Parrotia persica ‘Vanessa’ (Persian Ironwood), Asimina ‘Plum Crazy’ (Paw Paw), and a 30 year old Acer palmatum ‘Orangeola’ (Japanese Maple).

Aesthetics and biodiversity

The walk between the lowest two patio sections crosses a 550’ long recirculating stream that starts at the Sauls Road driveway entrance, and traverses the entire length of the property before doubling back toward the northeast corner. The stream ends as a bubbling rock fountain in the corner of Anita’s Japanese Garden. Herbaceous treasures like gentians, ferns, hostas, and eryngiums are some of the many plants tucked into the rocks that line the entire stream.

The Japanese Garden has its share of interesting mid-size trees including Pseudolarix amabilis ‘Greensanity’ (False Larch), Styrax japonica ‘Evening Light’ (Black-leaf Japanese Styrax), Quercus gilva (Asian Oak), Hamamelis japonica ‘Tsukuba no Kurenai’ (Witch Hazel), Morus alba ‘Ho-o’ (Round-leaf White Mulberry), Taxodium distichum ‘Peevee Minaret’ (Bald Cypress). The understory consists of Mahonias, Microbiota (Siberian Juniper), Juniperus, Carex (Sedge), and Ophiopogon, to mention but a few.

Visual interest in every season

Bordering the winding driveway that parallels the stream is an allee of JC Raulston’s introduction of Lagerostroemia faurei ‘Townhouse’. These are skirted with a magnificent underplanting of Cephalotaxus harringtonia ‘Brooklyn Gardens’. Nearby are lovely specimens of Cornus alternifolia and Ulmus glabra ‘Camperdownii’. Viburnums are prevalent in this garden, with over 16 taxa located here.

Maples dot this garden section, from a specimen of Acer ‘Crimson Sunset’ west of the drive, to the other 38 different maples found throughout. The 24 different magnolias on the part of the property include rare gems like Magnolia biloba ‘Fireworks’, Magnolia ‘Atlantis’, and Magnolia ‘Maxicat’.

Trees for every season

The three rain garden pits on the Southeast side of house are planted with a combination of specimen trees, as well as a diverse herbaceous layer. A few of the tree highlights include Salix sachalinensis ‘Golden Sunshine’ (Golden Sakhalin Willow), Metasequoia glyptostroboides ‘Amber Glow’ (Golden Dawn Redwood), Betula nigra ‘Dura-Heat’ (River Birch), and Cornus wilsoniana (White-barked Dogwood)

Tree specimens in the Southwestern section include Metasequoia glyptostroboides ‘Shirmin’s Nordlicht’ (Variegated Dawn Redwood), Betula nigra ‘Summer Cascade’ (Weeping River Birch), and Zelkova serrata ‘Goshiki’ (Variegated Japanese Zelkova).

The outer perimeter borders, which shield the garden from the nursery are planted with a fascinating mix of mostly evergreen shrubs. These include Machilus thunbergii ‘Ulleung Island’ (Japanese Bay), a number of Cryptomeria (Japanese Cedar) and Chamaecyparis obtusa (Hinoki Cypress) cultivars, a collection of 50 different Camellia cultivars and species, along with 16 different taxa of Loropetalum chinense (Chinese Fringe Flower).

Unless you’re a delivery driver for Amazon or are in charge of monitoring Chinese spy balloons over the US, the only chance to see Anita and Tony’s home garden is during our annual June endowment fundraiser. We hope you will join our special Open Garden event each June as we work to build the operational endowment at NC State.

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