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Visiting Wing Haven Garden and Bird Sanctuary

Tucked in the hustle and bustle of Charlotte, Wing Haven Garden and Bird Sanctuary provides a return and connection to nature that is wrapped in a story of love and commitment. Elizabeth and Edwin Clarkson lived an incredible love story that forged an urban oasis for nature and nature lovers. The grounds of the garden feel intimate while encouraging visitors to slow down and enjoy the sounds and sights all around. This secret garden feels like a portal to another time, as one can focus on the sound of the breeze in the branches above, the industrious work of the birds and squirrels, and the scents of the blooming flowers that awaken senses of delight that may have been in hibernation for far too long.

The home that Edwin built for Elizabeth, to her specifications no less, continues to stand with authority and grace on Ridgewood Avenue, a testament to the shared dream they had of their future together and the importance of creating space for the event the smallest that nature offers. The three acres feel much larger, as the paths encourage visitors to take a turn this way or that, for either side will not disappoint. You’ll lose time meandering around the plants, finding yourself remembering gardens and people of your past. It feels too special to rush and yet, time passes quickly without notice. Every part of you engages in this tour of the gardens, and you may find yourself both refreshed and tired from the stimulation of your senses. It is that “good tired” one feels when the only activation of the nervous system has been pleasant and fulfilling.

Read the Journals of Elizabeth Clarkson, dating from February 1933 to November 1951.

Don’t forget to visit the Elizabeth Lawrence Home and Garden (check out my visit), as it is included in the admission of Wing Haven.

Elizabeth was a concert pianist, and her performances at the piano were a delight in their home. The piano takes center stage in the front room, as it is the first thing one sees upon entering the home. The window to the back tucks into the wall, allowing Elizabeth to roll her piano outside to play for visitors on the back lawn. A bird caregiver, she often played the piano with birds resting on her arms as she danced upon the keys. One would expect nothing less from this dynamic duo who gave their all to the animals and land they loved.

Back of the house. Elizabeth would roll her piano out onto the patio.
Side of the house reflected in the koi pond.

One of my favorite items to look for are the quotations that are sprinkled around the property.

Discover more about this hidden gem in our beautiful city of Charlotte! There are a number of books available about the property and the Elizabeth Lawrence Home and Garden down the road.

Two Gardeners: Katharine S. White and Elizabeth Lawrence–A Friendship in Letters

No One Gardens Alone: A Life of Elizabeth Lawrence

A Garden of One’s Own: Writings of Elizabeth Lawrence

Through the Garden Gate

The Little Bulbs: A Tale of Two Gardens

Gardens in Winter

A Rock Garden in the South

Lob’s Wood

Birds of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County North Carolina

Becoming Elizabeth Lawrence: Discovered Letters of a Southern Gardener

Beautiful at All Seasons: Southern Gardening and Beyond with Elizabeth Lawrence

Clemson has a beautifully written garden profile available for reading.

Price: $10 for ages 11 and older; 10 and younger are free; an annual membership is also available

Be sure to keep up with their events, as they host many of them, including FREE Admission days like the one coming up on Earth Day!

Wing Haven is a 501(c)(3) organization.

“Wing Haven’s purpose is to maintain and develop its
properties located in Charlotte, North Carolina as a garden and bird sanctuary for the use, education,
and enjoyment of the community and to stimulate interest in horticulture.” Wing Haven Foundation, Inc.

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Celebrating Nature: National Bird Day 2023

Do you feed the birds in your yard? I love supplying them with additional nutrients to help them through the days that seem colder and hotter than ever. I’m blessed to have a wide range of birds that visit and happily partake in the food.

While I was healing from surgeries last year, I found it peaceful to watch the birds visit. I installed two feeder poles and a feeder with a solar light.

I was very excited for this first pole, but I find the attached bowls are not ideal for me. They would be better if they twisted where they attached to the pole to make it easy to dump out debris or dirty water. They don’t do this, and it therefore makes for a very messy clean-up. All is not lost, I still use the pole for my hummingbird feeders. I love the bird design, and it is made well.



The squirrels love it.

This bird feeder is busier than my hometown mall when I was a teenager. Every bird loves visiting it, especially cardinals, blue jays, morning doves, and the nuthatch. The nuthatch population in my yard is large, and they will come perch on it as I fill it. Unafraid of their human, the little birds hop around the feeder eating, hanging upside with ease. The solar powered light was beautiful while it lasted, and while they did supply an extra lid, “in case the other quit” as they stated, both lids did quit early on. It is a beautiful light when it works. But again, the light was simply an added benefit of the item, and it by no means makes the feeder obsolete without the light.

Two solar lights came with the feeder, but neither of them lasted very long.

/
It is so pretty when the light works.
Looking so innocent, no…I couldn’t possibly be ready to pounce on these feeders to get some grub.

Finally, this is my favorite feeder pole. The feeder above is hanging from this pole on my back deck. The arms swivel so I can bring the feeder in and out as I like, and the bird and leaves are sweet decorative touches.



The clamp is strong and the plastic twisting piece is sturdy.
This is how the poles comes packaged. Easy directions and install.

The birds who visit my yard are sweet visitors, and I hope to make a place for them that is safe and stocked with their needs. I’d hate to imagine life without birds! Here are a few birds I’ve painted with watercolors.

My father loved cardinals, and every time I see one, I think of him. I love my new mug.
Cuddled in my cardinal blanket and drinking a cuppa as I look over the new seed catalog. A good start to the new year.

I wasn’t able to locate my mug online, but this cute one is certain to please the cardinal lover. 🙂



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Manual Exposure Reader Review: Sunset

DG Kaye Review

To highlight some of the amazing reviews Manual Exposure is receiving from readers, I am recreating the reviews on my original photographs. This creative outlet gives me the opportunity to express how grateful I am that they have taken the time to leave a review. So often we love something and fail to make note of it. I encourage all of you to leave a review for the books that you’ve loved. It could be the very thing a writer needs to encourage them to keep writing.

This photograph was taken in Illinois. The sunsets on the flat horizon can be very beautiful, and I just happened to be standing in the right spot at the right time. There was no need for a filter, as the sky was just that color. Amazing, right?

I hope you enjoy the images, and I hope the reviews encourage you to read my book.

Click on the image to enlarge it.

DG Kaye Review