Wednesday, June 28, 2017

In a land of long days

It's hard to believe it's almost 11 pm, and the last bit of the sunset is still visible here in Stockholm.

We arrived late mid-day, and then made our way to the flat of our Home Exchange partner.  She and her 18-yr old son will be staying in our house while we're here.  What fun!

We have a chance to experience mid-summer life in urban Sweden, while they get to experience our small house surrounded by gardens and native woodlands, as well as hiking in the Southern Appalachians, listening to bluegrass and Appalachian music (an interest of theirs).

They'll have been in Atlanta and Savannah, before coming to Asheville. I'm quite sure that they'll enjoy our eclectic mountain town, just like we've already enjoyed their flat and its location in newly hipster and diverse neighborhoods.

(I have nice photos to include, but neither Blogger or the website is playing nice).

News Flash!
This ISN'T Stockholm obviously, but suddenly all of my NM photos are available via my iPhone .

Very peculiar.  The previous available photos on my phone had only been through March/April.

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Tuesday, June 27, 2017

You can grow it!

Spotted, on the wall outside the U.S. National Garden, during the Garden Bloggers Fling 2017. I loved the message and the garden, which was full of great plants. I especially enjoyed the regional garden, featuring Mid-Atlantic natives.

Similarly, the Peoples Garden's message and demonstration was about this, too. Yes, you can grow it.

(Note: this is a test post from Bloggo, one of the few blogging apps still out there; there apparently aren't many good ones, and it's frustratingly difficult to access photos, modified or unmodified via Photos on iPad directly on the website, as a direct link isn't provided to Photos and the iPhone sync can be delayed, etc. Suggestions welcome!

Google Photos seems like a possibility, but getting a url for each photo doesn't seem to work). Blogger is unstable on the current operating iOS, apparently, and seems to crash more often than not. Hmmm.

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Sunday, June 25, 2017

A pollinator-friendly berm

In Peg Bier's wonderful garden on the Garden Bloggers Fling, there were shade plantings that were lovely.  I admired her container combinations, too, and bough a Laurentia today (at Merrifields Nursery) based on one I'd admired.

But what I really found compelling were the full sun perennial garden up on the berm, separating her property from the neighbor's detention drainage area (I think-- it was all mown grass).

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Saturday, June 24, 2017

Garden Bloggers Fling

One of the wonderful things about the Fling is sharing gardens with new and old friends.

What do I/we like?  What resonates? Do the gardens reflect the gardeners?  What's interesting?  What's different?  Do I like this garden?  Does my opinion matter? Of course not.

Gardens are individual spaces that reflect the gardener, and it's lovely to see that.

I'm most interested in how their gardens reflect the gardener.

In early blogging days, a fellow blogger asked the question: do our gardens reflect us, or what we aspire to?

Hmm, I'm firmly in the camp of gardens reflecting us!

My garden friend Andrea and me, courtesy of Julie Adolf's photo
Thanks, Julie!


Friday, June 23, 2017

National Mall gardens

In an amazingly rich and diverse array of gardens on the National Mall, all quite striking, and mostly all in Smithsonian Museum gardens, my favorite images (of many) from today, were the new entrance plantings at the National Museum of American History.


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Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Natural Bridge State Park

On my way to the Garden Bloggers Fling in DC, there are numerous opportunities for stops along the way. It's basically a seven-hour drive, with wonderful scenery along I-81, so not a lot of time for extra excursions, but I was planning to stay somewhere within a couple of hours of DC.  So, I enjoyed occasional forays off the interstate as a welcome break, and a refreshing visit to the Natural Bridge State Park, near Lexington.  It's one of VA's newest state parks, having long been in private ownership.  I didn't have time to hike any of the trails, but it was a wonderful respite from travel -- a brief dip into the natural world does wonders.

Interestingly, Thomas Jefferson was one of its first "owners" -- and apparently a great fan, judging by the guest book he kept, during his regular visits.  My overnight destination hadn't been planned, but I think the mention of Jefferson tipped a return visit to Monticello tomorrow, and an overnight stay in Charlottesville this evening. I was at Monticello for the Harvest Festival last September and loved visiting - the Vegetable Garden is truly a wonder, not to mention the Flower Garden, natural areas, and the house and history.....


Monday, June 19, 2017

Garden Bloggers Fling

I'll be heading off on Wednesday for my 7th Garden Bloggers Fling.  Perhaps blogging seems quaint in a Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook world, but I like the format.

What's best about blogging, to me, is the ability to craft a post, include photos, and originally, I liked to format the way the post appeared, although that's disappeared in the mobile device age.  Hmm, that's what is nice about print, I'm suddenly thinking.

Nevertheless, I love the Garden Bloggers Fling -- what's not to like about visiting gardens for three days in the company of other garden lovers?  It's a volunteer labor of love -- tons of work for the host committee -- sponsored generously by many green businesses, large and small, national and local.

It's a reunion each year for those of us who have come over the years, but a welcoming place for new Flingers, too, who are often regional folks.  Everyone is welcome!

And gardening is a community-building activity, after all.

Woody (and me) on the trail


Thursday, June 15, 2017

Cultivating Place

I've been enjoying listening to a wonderful podcast lately: Cultivating Place: Conversations on Natural History and the Natural Impulse to Garden, a co-production of North State Public Radio and Jennifer Jewell (

On my walk this morning, a piece from June 1 (Dispatches From The Home Garden - Urban Homesteading and a Garden Journey) was especially compelling, as a young gardener (at 33) talked about her approach to urban homesteading and a garden journey.  It could have been an interview with me, I thought, although I'd not consider myself an urban homesteader and I'm in my early 60's.

She (Melissa Keyser) described so clearly how creating gardens connected her to the natural world and grounded her experience in urban landscapes.

Jennifer Jewell's conversation with her illuminated the journey that gardening truly is, and the sometimes bittersweet experiences of making (and leaving) beloved gardens.

It was a lovely accompaniment to my explorations of burgeoning front gardens in one of the neighborhoods near by:  full of pollinator-supporting flowers, edibles, and other not-lawn plantings.


Sunday, June 4, 2017

Apache plume (Fallugia paradoxa)

Apache Plume flower and fruits

We've seen Apache plume in most of the high desert landscapes we've visited in Northern New Mexico. It's apparently an excellent landscape plant;  there were a number of them at the Santa Fe Botanical Garden and we've seen them planted elsewhere, too.

This one, at Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument had both flowers and fruits, along with abundant flower visitors.