Saturday, May 30, 2020

Penstemon smallii

We acquired this native a few years back, from a vendor at one of Botanical Gardens at Asheville's plant sales.  It's flourishing now.

A wonderful native penstemon

Labels: ,

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Chamaelirium luteum (Fairywand) and Piedmont rhododendron

Here are a couple of Wildflower Wednesday candidates.  Fairy Wand (Chamaelirium luteum) is a standout in our wildlflower border right now. We only have one plant, but it’s lovely.

Equally nice is the Piedmont Rhododendron (Rhododendron minus), which has been in full flower for several days.

Labels: , , ,

Monday, May 25, 2020

Spiderworts along a fence

Our historic neighborhood, and the gardens around its various eclectic houses, is now awash in mid-spring flowers.  The gardeners were out this morning as I walked through the neighborhood, both experienced and newbies.  Welcome, all, I thought.

This row of spiderworts, Tradescantia spp. -- it could be some robust Asian species that I'm not familiar with, of course (our native species is much more dainty in appearance, normally, (but maybe the gardener fertilizes!)  has been delighting me for a couple of weeks now, as I walk by.

Small bumblebees were collecting pollen as I walked by.  Lovely.

Labels: ,

Saturday, May 23, 2020

Piedmont rhododendron

We have a problem area in our landscape;  it's an area that gets overflow gutter water in heavy rains from the 100+ yr old apartment next door.  (The gutters seem to be old, too.)

We've lost a sassafras tree there (maybe more than one), and various other small trees that we've tried there too.

Currently, the Fraser magnolia, mountain laurel, and Piedmont azalea (rhododendron) are doing well.

It's a delicate balance between managing the water flow and keeping soil fertility (and soil organic matter high).  My gardening companion is good at managing this -- he keeps tweaking the conditions in this spot.

I'm so glad to see this Piedmont azalea looking good; it was not looking good last fall!

Rhododendron punctatum and Fraser magnolia

Labels: ,

Friday, May 22, 2020

Old stone walls

I live in an historic neighborhood, the oldest in our mountain city.  Victorian and Queen Anne-style houses from those early times line several of our main neighborhood streets.

But there are many smaller houses, too, Arts and Crafts bungalows, worker's houses, and "four-squares," -- simple block houses with four rooms on the main floor, four rooms on the upper floor.

So we're an eclectic neighborhood that was founded in boom times in the late 19th century, flourished until the Depression, and then descended in more difficult times in the 1950's and 1960's and 1970'.

As Asheville started to recover, slowly, in the late 1980's and early 1990's downtown (about the time we started visiting downtown), that when our neighborhood gradually started recovering, too (although we totally didn't know about it then.)

It wasn't until our serendipitous (and unexpected) house purchase here in 2008 that we discovered Montford and other neighborhoods in Asheville.

So I was sad to see a venerable piece of a beautiful stone wall collapse in the rains that we've had recently.  The walls surround a beautiful old Victorian house at the intersection of Chestnut and Cumberland avenues.  I hope the long-time owner has the resources to repair the wall -- the original stones are beautiful.

They're covered with mosses and lichens --not replaceable.

Labels: ,

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Thinking about gardens and gardening

This is a re-post from March 5, 2017,  reflecting thoughts about gardening and creativity, a topic for this afternoon's presentation.

Early on in my garden blogging days, I remember a fellow blogger asking a question.

Do we create gardens that we aspire to?  Or, do we create gardens that reflect ourselves?

I'm firmly in the second camp, having created gardens now in two places (with my gardening companion) that thoroughly reflect our preferences and sensibilities as gardeners (and being native plant folks by background).

As I realized the connection between my own creativity and gardening, I started to encourage folks to think about their gardening styles and expressing their creativity through gardening in some of my presentations and workshops.  Fran Sorin's book, Digging Deep: Unearthing Your Creative Roots Through Gardening was a catalyst, over a decade ago, in my thinking.

Hmm, I thought, that's what's been my end round back to being creative again, it's gardening.  And almost 1,850 blog posts later, I'm realizing that writing is my first creative love, although I continue to love gardening and art.

I truly enjoy reflecting on nature and gardening on a regular basis, and getting ready to do a talk tomorrow on creativity and gardening, I was rather surprised to look over the titles of blog posts over the years (looking to see if I'd written about this before).

Both the diversity and similarity of posts struck me, as did the seasonal rhythm of the topics.  It's almost spring now, so the emergence of spring empherals and early flowering native shrubs and trees are part of the vocabulary, as are the vagaries of spring temperature.

This year is remarkably early. That's part of the equation of a changing climate. But I'm also continuing to enjoy the swelling sassafras buds outside the upstairs window, harvesting the overwintering kale as it's starting to bolt, and planting sugar snap peas, with a hopeful thought that maybe I'll be able to harvest a bowlful, before summer heat sets in.

Sunday, May 17, 2020

Pocket meadows

I did a free presentation yesterday for an excellent local nursery: Reem's Creek Nursery in Weaverville, just outside of Asheville about creating a native pocket meadow.

At the last minute, we decided to record it, as a friend from Bee City USA asked us about whether we'd planned to record it.

So why not, we thought?  Yikes, I thought.

But, if you have any interest in my thoughts about "pocket meadows" -- well, just click through.  It's one of my regular presentations and has lots in common with my pollinator-friendly gardening talks.

The first 3 minutes don't have my presentation going (a bit of a glitch), but it's fine after that, I think.

You'll need the password below to access the video.

Password: 9y#%f&*+

bee on  Aster


Saturday, May 16, 2020

A garden's promise

A duplicate post from Places of the Spirit.

Last year's early plantings in Bic in June

Friday, May 15, 2020

Using native plants in your landscape

I really loved this piece from the New York Times by Margaret Roach, the former garden editor at Martha Stewart Living, and now very active at A Way To Garden.

She lays out lots of good points about why to use more native plants!

Here's a view of native columbine and Robin's plaintain from a few weeks ago in our garden.

Labels: ,

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

A pileated woodpecker

We've had a pair in our back woodland forest for awhile, now.

This morning, the male hung out on the oak below the house;  with a decent camera and lens, I'd have a better photograph.

But this one from my phone will have to do.

A pileated woodpecker in our back woodland
 So nice to see this morning.


Saturday, May 2, 2020

A lovely diversion: warm season vegetables

It's been great to be able to focus on new Zoom presentations about plant-related topics.  Not only did I need to get much more familiar with Zoom (a good thing), but also diverting to think about warm season vegetables, too.

mid-May vegetable beds (oh, and look at the white rose behind!)

I extracted warm season vegetable content from my normal year-round vegetable gardening program, added a bit more about growing favorite "summer" vegetables, and generally redid a program for what I did this morning.

It was my first Zoom presentation.  I've been on a number of Zoom programs, led informal garden chats, talked with my family, but -- doing a regular presentation via Zoom -- totally unfamiliar.

Fortunately, having a few of the participant's "live" video faces on my sidebar helped me ground with the audience, rather than just feeling like I was talking to myself.  Curious.

But the Q&A afterwards went fine, as folks raised their real hands with questions and un-muted themselves, and we really had minimal technical glitches. 

I was a co-host along with the lovely staff person from the nursery who sponsored the program.  When she disappeared as she was introducing me, I could just launch right in.

On the sidebar of the blog, there are links to the pdf version of my program along with the handouts. 

Feel free to share them, as you like!