Sunday, August 7, 2016

The Art of Bonsai

I recently posted that I had visited the North Carolina Arboretum. My favorite part of the Arboretum was seeing the Bonsai Collection. I find the art of creating a tree to miniature, recreating a miniature landscape and caring for that tree for generations to be very interesting. Here are just some of the bonsai trees in the North Carolina Arboretum collection. I hope you find them as beautiful as I did.

For those of you who are new to the term Bonsai, it translates to tree-in-a-pot. It is an art form of creating a miniature tree that would in nature be full size. Bonsai started in China then moved to Japan and other countries. When their are several trees in a container, miniature landscape or nature scene, it is called Penjing or "landscape in a tray". You will see examples of both in the pictures.

If you are ever in North Carolina, stop by the North Carolina Arboretum and spend the day. You will enjoy it.

Happy Gardening!


I just returned from a short trip to Florida. On the way back home we stopped at a bonsai store and guess who returned home with a small bonsai? Me! I have got the bonsai bug for more!!!!

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!