Saturday, March 31, 2018

A first tulip

This tulip isn’t quite in flower, but close, so nice to see it before we leave. It was one of the Colorblend bulbs, all of which are growing well. A container full of tulips near the raised beds is also about to flower, perfect for the folks here in our absence!

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Heading off for more traveling

This has been an exceptional traveling year, with more traveling to come.

As a gardener, I need to think about gardening opportunities to come, but also have just cleaned up my raised beds here in the mountains of North Carolina, planted a few more herbs and veggies, and we're watering, and hoping for rain.

Our Home Exchange partners will enjoy the beds, I hope, as will we, when we return.  The harvested collards yesterday were delicious.

This summer, we think we'll be shaping a lovely ornamental and fruit garden up in Quebec towards a more wildlife-friendly one, as we enjoy a wonderful historic house near Parc National de Bic and incredible natural landscapes on the Gaspe Peninsula.  We'll see.

Life has a way of providing serendipitous turns that weren't expected.

An old renovated schoolhouse turned into a wonderful place

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Appreciating a view

A walk downtown this evening had me admiring the early spring sky, with the view towards Mt. Pisgah beyond the Chamber of Commerce/Lenoir Rhyne/Asheville Visitor Center building looking remarkable.
Past the visitor center

















On a chilly and quiet evening, strolling through downtown was nice;  the historic buildings are looking great, and some of the new ones (the AC Hotel, in particular, are nice, too.)

Sunday, March 25, 2018

A cold beginning to spring

We’re heading off for traveling on April 1, and hoping for a few more signs of spring before we leave. All of the Asian imports have been evident as have the Mediterranean ones.

Daffodils, tulips, hyacinths, forsythia, and quince are all in flower, as have been Asian magnolias, cherries, etc. Saucer magnolias have had an excellent run — they’ve managed to survive the March snowstorms, etc., unlike the star magnolias.

The male cardinals are calling, marking their territories. A Carolina wren is investigating our porch (probably as a nesting site). They’re vocalizing, too. And the red-shouldered hawks are evident as well.

I’m also hearing chickadees, not surprising as they’re year-round residents here, but also white-crowned sparrows, which I think are just summer residents, or maybe they’re just passing through.

It’ll be odd to be gone in April, as that’s when our native hardwoods leaf out, and the understory trees, like dogwoods and halesias flower. The redbuds are just starting and the Amelanchier buds are expanding, and the Sassafras buds hopefully will pop before we leave.

When we return, the forest trees in the back woodland will be leafed out and the pocket meadow will be even further along.
Oconee Bells
Here’s an image of an early spring native wildflower, Oconee Bells (Shortia galacifolia) from last week’s garden club field excursion. It was transplanted (via rescue, probably, as its native range is limited) here to a wonderful protected rich cove forest, full of wonderful natives: at Pearson’s Falls, NC, managed by the Tryon Garden Club for over 90 years!

Thursday, March 15, 2018

A welcome spring azure sighting

After a program talking about gardening for pollinators this morning, and mentioning Spring Azures and Cornus florida, as their host plant (probably among other Cornus spp.), and their early emergence, I was delighted to see two fluttering around below the deck, in our woodland landscape.

It's been cold, but warmed up this afternoon (~ 60° F) -- enough for them to fly, obviously.  What a delight.


Not my photo, but a nice one -- these are very small butterflies, about an inch wide.

Truly, spring IS coming, in spite of the unexpected snow on Wednesday.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Spring is coming...

The sassafras buds outside my bathroom window continue to swell:  they're on time, according to past posts.

Many of our native plants are reliable barometers of spring;  others are responding to different cues, and non-native ornamentals -- well, they're all over the map in terms of timing.

Sassafras buds last year -- they're about the same stage right now
We were reminded in our local paper today of a Storm of the Century 25 years ago -- it was truly a storm and blizzard here in the mountains. 

I was down in the Coastal Plain of Georgia, and snowflakes were falling there, most unusually, so I didn't drive up to Clemson that weekend, where my hubbie already was.

Things change, but the seasons do still come, although perhaps with different rhythms.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Greens, herbs, pollinator plantings, and other conundrums

It’s a good problem to have, of course, traveling off to distant places, but not good for the gardener.

My raised beds in front have chives, collards, some thyme, French tarragon and a remaining oregano (?) plant, along with garlic and lots of perennial leeks.  I’m planning to add parsley, some rosemary if I can find it, and some more thyme and marjoram before we leave in early April.  Our HomeExchange partners will hopefully find it interesting enough... There's not much point in planting more greens and lettuces, with no definite harvester!

The tulips are coming along fine and the perennials in the pocket meadow are slowly emerging (on schedule).  They'll be coming along by May, with Penstemon digitalis, Phlox carolina, and Zizia the first to flower.

Doing a Gardening for Pollinators program on Thursday (at the NC Arboretum) has me reviewing our plantings and the ebb and flow of them over the years.  Interesting.

I was reminded of last year’s display and added these images to my presentation.

Pocket meadow, July 2017
It was nice to drive in!

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Traveling, more traveling, and gardening possibilities

There are benefits to staying at home.  Gardening is one of them.

I've been mopey a couple of times over the last few months thinking about vegetable planting times in spring and late summer that I'll miss this year (in my garden in Asheville, and at the Southside Community Garden, where I volunteer) -- not to mention harvesting times.

But the lure of traveling, and feeling now IS the time, seems more compelling.

There's a garden to "clean up" in Italy in April (a HomeExchange house) and a place in Quebec (on the Gaspe Peninsula), perhaps to garden in -- in June and July,  so there are possibilities there.  And then we're back home in mid-September, with hopefully a long fall season to come.

In the meantime, bloodroot is in flower now below the house, just as I'm prepping for a couple of talks about creating a native woodland garden in the next couple of weeks.

Bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis) is such a great early woodland wildflower and robust, too, in the garden.

This search on bloodroot (in previous blog posts) brought up a lot of posts.  (Many of them toward the end were only tangentially involved with bloodroot).


There are so many wonderful plants to appreciate in the wild, as well as in the garden.

These are first-world thoughts, as I'm fortunate to be posting, with resources and good health.  I'm always mindful of that.
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