Our next meeting will be at the JC Raulston Arboretum on March 16 at 10, when NARGS Traveling Speaker Paul Spriggs will present A Grand Tour: Experiencing the Rock Gardens of the Czech Republic. In the past ten years, Paul Spriggs has visited the Czech Republic four times on his quest to become the best rock gardener he can be. During each of these visits, Paul had the opportunity to go ‘behind the scenes’, accessing gardens that are rarely seen by western eyes, meeting their owners, and learning their secrets. The rock gardeners in The Czech Republic have experienced a heyday in recent decades which has established them as one of the worlds great rock gardening cultures. In this presentation, Paul will explore the reasons for this as he guides us on a tour of rarely seen gardens, their people, and their plants.

Paul is the co-author, with Kenton Seth, of The Crevice Garden. A limited number of copies of the book will be available for sale at the meeting.

Paul Spriggs
Vancouver, BC

December, 2023: Piedmont Chapter Members Pack Seed for NARGS Seedex

photo by Bobby Ward

Thanks to all who helped with this great project, and will receive an extra 10 seed packets in first round ordering! Ordering begins December 15. Check out the list and plan your order at the website – you must be a NARGS member to order.

Piedmont Chapter Member Open Garden

Chapter members enjoyed a wonderful visit to  Jay and Kim Yourch’s garden following the September 16 meeting. Lucky visitors toured almost three acres of tropicals, an extensive woody plant collection and lovely perennials, followed by refreshments, including homemade persimmon pudding. Thanks to our amazing hosts for a memorable visit!

Piedmont Chapter Picnic, 2023 

About thirty chapter members enjoyed delicious food in beautiful surroundings at Kyle and Mary Sonnenberg’s Sunny Mount Gardens. Thanks to the Sonnenbergs for hosting a memorable year end event!

Delicious spread!   with Sandy Harwood, Sandi Dabrowski and Roy Dick
Englemann’s daisies putting on a show
Happy picnickers at Kyle and Mary Sonnenberg’s Sunny Mount Gardens        

Piedmont Chapter Fern Table Workshop 

Piedmont Chapter members gathered recently for a fern table workshop on a chilly afternoon in March. We combined ferns and companion plants with stones, moss, cones and wood to make beautiful displays featuring our favorite fancy fronds.

Amelia used ferns, saxifrage and a variegated Brunnera
Marty with curved wood, ferns and seed pods
Juliette adding a very special eyelash fern, Actiniopteris australis
Sandi and Sharon consulting
Aparna and Sita
Sandi and Amelia
Marilyn used a fancy Rhodea

Photos from Piedmont Chapter’s Visit to Montrose Gardens

On Saturday, November 19, chapter members thoroughly enjoyed a perfect afternoon viewing Nancy Goodwin’s famous snowdrop plantings! Thanks to Nancy and our guides, Jen and Tom, for a memorable visit to this extraordinary garden.

Perfect warm afternoon to see the snowdrops with our guide, Jen
Rivers of large, fully open Galanthus elwesii v. monostictus flowed through the woodland
Nancy digging snowdrops for Bobby Ward, 2008
photo: Bobby Ward
Montrose snowdrops at their best

Photos from Piedmont Chapter’s Visit to the Bristol Briar Garden

Thanks Jeremy Schmidt and Meghan Fidler for a wonderful day visiting your extraordinary garden!

Did you miss the tour? Check out Jim Putnam’s video on his HortTube channel!

Open day at the Bristol Briar                                                              photo by Bobby Ward
Bristol Briar drone shot                                                                                photo by Jim Putnam
photo by Bobby Ward
photo by Bobby Ward
photo by Cheri Elliott
Jeremy Schmidt                                             photo by Cheri Elliott
Mark McClure                                                  photo by Cheri Elliott


Bobby Wilder, 1932-2022

Bobby Wilder at Montrose Gardens, 2013
photo by Bobby Ward

One of the Piedmont Chapter’s longest members, Bobby Wilder, died September 25, 2022, age 90.

Bobby attended the organizing meeting of our chapter in the fall of 1985, when he responded to a newspaper notice of a rock garden meeting in Chapel Hill that was organized by Edith Boyer, Nancy Goodwin, and Sandra Ladendorf. Sandra was elected first chair of our chapter and would go on to become national president of NARGS in 1990. That meeting was attended by 25 people and thus, Bobby became a founding member of the Piedmont Chapter of NARGS.

Bobby became our fourth chapter chair, serving from 1990 until 1993. In 1994 he took over as treasurer serving 20 years through 2014 until David White became treasurer. But Bobby continued to handle the membership records and email The Trillium to our membership.

Bobby served a two-year term on the NARGS board of directors in the mid-1990s and attended many national meetings in the United States and Canada, representing our chapter.

Our Piedmont Chapter has hosted five national meetings: in 1990, 1999, 2004, 2013, and 2017. Bobby served on the planning committee for each of those five meetings—volunteering in various capacities including registration, making name tags, and treasurer.

Over the decades, until recent years, he home-hosted scores of our chapter’s out-of-town speakers, who stayed overnight while visiting our chapter. Many were repeats from previous years—except one who found Bobby’s liquor cabinet after dinner guests had left and Bobby had gone to bed.

Bobby grew up in Johnston County, North Carolina, in the Corinth community. He served four years in the U.S. Navy, stationed initially at San Diego, and upon discharged earned a B.S. degree in Science Education at N.C. State University. He then taught science at Daniels High School in Raleigh for several years.

Bobby had a 43-year relationship with his partner, Jack Lamm, who died in 2001. Together, they co-owned a picture framing business on Dixie Trail in Raleigh, called Century Framing.

His health had been gradually declining during the Covid pandemic when he was unable to venture outside and it worsened with a collapsed lung this summer. He recovered from that and was in a rehab facility but making plans with his extended family to return home when he unexpectedly died.

The Piedmont Chapter has made a donation to the Bobby Wilder and Jack Lamm Horticultural Scholarship Endowment at NC State University in Bobby Wilder’s memory.

By Bobby Ward


Chapter members are off on their travels this summer – send your photos of destinations near and far!

Spiraea splendens
Mount Baker, WA
photo: Cyndy Cromwell
Wave Hill
Bronx, NY
photo: David White

Wave Hill received the Francis Cabot Award this year. For more photos and a description of this garden, please see the Awards section of the NARGS Quarterly, Summer 2022.

Trillium erectum
Smoky Mountains National Park
photo: David White
Asclepias variegata
Kitty Hawk Woods Coastal Reserve
photo: David White
Palermo Botanic Garden
photo: Ann Swallow
View from hotel in Wengen on NARGS Swiss tour
photo: Amelia Lane
New crevice garden under construction by Sean Hogan, Jeremy Schmidt, Kenton Seth and Paul Spriggs
Cistus Nursery, Portland, Oregon
photo: Jeremy Schmidt
Lake Cayuga, taken during the NARGS AGM in Ithaca, NY
photo: Bobby Ward
Paul Spriggs and Kenton Seth selling out copies of their book, The Crevice Garden, NARGS AGM 2022
photo: Bobby Ward