Sunday, July 17, 2016

A Visit to The North Carolina Arboretum

This week I had the opportunity to visit The North Carolina Arboretum. If you are ever in Asheville, North Carolina, you should stop by and visit. The gardens are very nice and you can spend about two hours looking around the gardens. Some of the areas in the Arboretum that you will want to see are the Quilt Garden, National Native Azalea Collection, Heritage Garden, Stream Garden, Bonsai Garden and several other gardens. My favorites were the Bonsai Garden and the Quilt Garden. The Arboretum has many pieces of very nice art work throughout the gardens to enjoy.

Here is a  photo tour of The North Carolina Arboretum for you to enjoy.

I really like this shed with the green roof, rain barrel and rain chain.

One of my favorite gardens was the Bonsai Garden. They have a beautiful collection of Bonsai trees in a Japanese inspired garden.

Frederick Law Olmsted

This was my other favorite garden. This is the Quilt Garden and if you look you will see that each bed is a butterfly created from plants. Do you see the butterflies?

The gardens have some very beautiful gates and arbors that were designed by many different artist.

That is the tour of The North Carolina Arboretum and I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did. Check back for a post on the Bonsai collection at The North Carolina Arboretum. The collection was beautiful!

Happy Gardening!

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Critters, Drought and Gardening

Deer damage to a hosta plant.
Gardening this year has been interesting. I have been spending time working on the hardscape and planting additional plants to fill out the garden. I had great expectations for the garden this year and I hoped I would see blooms and good growth, but Mother Nature has not been helping.

The area that I live in is a thermal belt with cooler summers and warmer winters and normally 56 inches of rain per year. That works out to be 1 inch plus per week. Not this year. Spring did not bring lots of rain and my plants did not grow as tall as they should have. We are now in a moderate drought and each day they forecast rain, but it just does not come. The temperature and humidity is really high and it is not pleasant to be outside. I have been watering to keep the garden alive.

The deer have found my garden and one deer did lots of damage to hostas, lilies, roses, hydrangeas and containers of annuals. I am now spraying the garden to keep the deer out. The pictures show the deer damage to my plants.

Deer damage to my container and oakleaf hydrangea.

No lilies this year!

Deer damage to my rose garden.

I was very happy that my tomatoes were doing very well. They are located in containers on the second floor deck. I have squirrels who has found the tomatoes and they have been eating on them.

Squirrel damage
Then came the tomato hornworms. They found the tomatoes and have been feasting on the vines.

Tomato hornworms

A very large tomato hornworm enjoying my heirloom tomatoes. This hornworm is about 5 inches long.

This is what tomato hornworms do to your tomato vines.

I am trying to have a positive attitude about the garden. I know during drought, that animals need food and my garden provided that. I know that if I keep watering the garden, it will survive and that there is always next year for those blooms.

I am now spraying the plants to keep the deer away and it seems to be working. I am using a product that is all natural called Deer Out.  The hornworms are another story. They are hand picked and given a toss down the mountain!

Happy Gardening!


Sunday, June 12, 2016

Chinese Lizard's Tail

The other day, I was walking in the park and I saw this plant. It was a beautiful clump that was about 36 inches tall and about 4 feet wide. In the sun, the white color in the leaves just glowed. The markings of white to green on the leaves was very unusual and nothing that I had ever seen before. I took a picture, went home and started searching on the Internet for the plant. After about an hour of searching, I found it. It is called Chinese Lizard's Tail or (Saururus chinensis).

The plant grows between 2 to 4 feet and can grow in the sun or part shade. It grows along ponds, swamps, marshes, and streams in zones 5 to 11. It produces a fragrant white flower from June to September. It is deer resistant and the bees enjoy the nectar from the flowers. This plant spreads by rhizomes and needs to be growing in shallow water up to 6 inches deep around a pond, lake, river or it can be grown in a container water garden.

This is a striking plant to see and much nicer than common green leafed Lizard's Tail. This may be a plant that I add to my water garden just for the striking foliage.

Happy Gardening!

I started a new project in the garden today with the help of my husband. We are building stairs down the slope to the garden. The stairs will make it easier to go up and down from the lower garden. Check back on our progress!

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

The Lure of the Lake Lure Flowering Bridge

Back in March of 2015, I wrote a blog post on the Lake Lure Flowering Bridge. My husband and I were visiting the area in February and we decided to walk across the bridge to see the gardens. It was extremely cold and icy that day. The gardens were down for the year, but as we walked across the bridge we could tell what had once been blooming in the gardens and that there was something very special about this place.

Since that time, much has changed. We purchased a home in Lake Lure and made the move to North Carolina. When we were in town, we would stop by the bridge and walk the gardens. They were always changing with the seasons and always beautiful.

The bridge was built in 1925 on the Broad River in Lake Lure. In  2011, the bridge was closed due to constructing a new road and bridge. The old bridge was turned into a garden with raised themed beds running over the 155 feet length of the bridge. In October of 2013, the bridge was dedicated as "The Lake Lure Flowering Bridge".

The bridge has become a place where visitors from around the country come to visit and enjoy the flowers and wildlife. They take pictures of family and friends posed in the gardens to remember their visit. Here are some pictures of the Lake Lure Flowering Bridge in bloom. Enjoy!

The gardens on the bridge are maintained by a group of very hard working and dedicated volunteers who work tirelessly to keep the gardens beautiful, blooming and ever changing. Donations of time and money keep the gardens blooming and open for the public to visit and enjoy.

If you are ever in the area, please stop by the bridge and stroll the gardens. Take time to talk to the many wonderful volunteers that make the bridge possible. They are always ready to share their love of gardening with each and every visitor to the bridge. For more information on the Lake Lure Flowering Bridge go to their web site or  Friends of Lake Lure Flowering Bridge on Facebook.

Happy Gardening!

Friday, May 27, 2016

Gardening on the Mountain

What a view!

Gardening on the mountain has been very different than when I gardened back in Indiana. I do have a beautiful view in my garden but gardening on a mountain has it's own problems. The main problem that I have found is high winds and how it dries out the soil. There are days that the wind can be very strong and with the lack of rain that we have had for the spring season, I find that I need to water the gardens to help establish the plants. I have noticed that many of my plants are not as tall as they would have been due to a dry spring. Recently we have been getting some really heavy rains and the plants are starting to look much better. I have been adding mulch to the gardens to help retain moisture in the soil. 

Another problem has been the soil. It is not bad for growing plants in but it does contain lots of rocks. When I plant, I have found lots of large pieces of white quartz buried in the ground. I have been using the stone in a dry creek bed. The soil drains well, but organic material in the soil would help.

I have lots of old tree stumps and clumps of Mountain Laurel growing in the garden. I have been digging out the stumps and cutting out and digging up some of the Mountain Laurel. I want to leave Mountain Laurel in the garden because it is a native and very beautiful when it blooms. It also adds color to the garden in the winter and acts as barrier to keep animals out of the garden.

Gardening on a mountain is interesting due to having the house located near the top of the ridge and the gardens much lower and on a slope. You are always going up and down the hill to garden. It makes for stronger leg muscles but it does wear you out more when moving mulch and rock. The other problem is when you dig a hole to plant, the hole is always sloped. Even my pond water level runs down hill to some degree. I also spend time walking down the hill to pick up tools, flower pots and other things that roll down the hill due to gravity.

The fish pond is just about complete. I need to add a few more stones in different areas to complete it. The fish are doing well in their new home and I have had a few new additions born in the pond this year. The pond is covered with heavy gauge steel fencing to keep out large birds and slow down a hungry bear.

 Roses seem to grow very well on the mountain. I have a rose garden and I have added more roses to the garden. I have decided to add a second rose garden to the other side of the house. The area is a steep slope and I plan to design a new rose garden and terrace the area. I can add some steps to the area making it easier to garden. Here are a few pictures of my roses that were moved and are now blooming.

The garden is growing, surviving and I am adding additional new plants all the time. I have transplanted a few plants to new locations due to lost tags in the move. The garden is taking shape slowly!

My next task in the garden will be adding steps going down two of the steep sloped areas to make it easier to walk down to the garden. I started cutting landscape timbers and I plan to start constructing the steps this weekend. After the steps are in, I will add a gravel path throughout the garden for strolling.

Happy Gardening!

Monday, May 9, 2016

The New Garden is Starting to Bloom


The garden is starting to bloom! Maybe that seems normal to many, but last year my garden was dug up, potted up and moved nearly 500 miles to the new garden site. Plants were put into the ground and for periods of time went without water or care. Now that we have made the move to North Carolina, I have been able to start working the garden and creating the new garden. If you have been reading my blog, you know what has been happening over the last year. Now you can see some of the results. Take a look.

The area in the picture above will be a creek bed with a bridge. It will be rocked in and moss will be added to age it. This area will be planted with assorted ferns and other woodland plants.

The stone bench was recently moved and placed next to the goldfish and koi pond. It required four adults to lift the rock and place it on top of the stone base. Now you can sit and enjoy the fish.

The front of the house had this small mulched area. I decided to plant it with grass. Most everyone in the area mulch their yards, but I wanted grass for our two little dogs. It only takes 5 minutes to cut the grass which is better than 1 hour at the old house.

I have made repairs to the steps that go down to the lower garden. Some of the stones were loose and were dangerous. The stone steps pass through the rose garden and end at the fish pond.

The white to pink flowering shrubs in the garden are mountain laurel. I removed some of the older damaged plants and left lots of this native plant in the garden. It is beautiful to see and it smells nice.

The Oakleaf  hydrangea 'Ruby Slippers' is starting to bloom. This plant is at the gate that leads to the fairy garden and woodland garden.

The fish pond is just about completed. I still need to add some more stone in a couple of places. I added a heavy gauge wire fence material over the top of the stone and pond to keep birds and deer out of the pond. The fencing should slow a bear down, but if he wants into the pond that bad, I am sure he will find a way.

I have found that roses bloom very well in this area and I plan to plant more in the future. Take a look at rest of the photos on how the garden is progressing.

I planted a container garden of tomatoes, basil, oregano, leaf lettuce and sage. The tomatoes are loaded with flowers. I planted my garden on the second floor deck at the kitchen windows. It is nice to have the vegetables close to the kitchen and up high enough from deer.

I recently visited several nurseries and purchased additional plants to fill out the garden. I have  seeded some areas with seed for future perennial plants for the butterflies. I still need to do more mulching and add additional gravel to the garden path. It will all come in time!

Happy Gardening!