Friday, December 19, 2014

A Trip To West Asheville

At the end of this summer I became the very part time assistant gardener at Fairegarden East. My own nemesis, Clematis virginiana was taking over the mostly native front bed. Though in this case I think it is the citified Clematis terniflora. The entire neighborhood is full of it. I'm talking about the clematis vine here. Help was requested.

I went to visit the garden today for it's winter/spring, chop down, cleanup.

Most of the Panicum grass was still looking mighty fine so that was left until real spring before it gets cut down. All the other flowering native perennials were chopped down and a thin layer of mulch was added. Fairegarden East is now ready for its winter showing.

Because I was so close by there was no reason not to stop and take a peak at Christopher Mello's always entertaining garden.

It looks like Shovelhenge is getting thicker. I have made a few contributions to the installation. Working gardeners end up with broken shovels quite regularly.

The work trucks are parked for the holidays.

Yes you may.

Come in to see the caged cherubs.

The Green Man is not looking to thrilled with winter. The solstice is upon us. The long ride of the barren time is here.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

The Water Beneath My Pond

The Posh Estate #2 was a posh estate in it's own right from probably the early 60's to the mid 90's. Then things fell into disrepair. The forest made a valiant attempt to reclaim what it once controlled.

The process of restoring its former grandeur is much like an archeological dig. You never know what you are going to find once you start clearing things away.

When the draining of the pond for the deconstruction and rebuild began I discovered the liner was bubbled up from a significant amount of water beneath it. Whatever the cause of that might be, it is safe to say, that is not a good thing.

Word had trickled in from the long ago care takers that this small pond had once been much larger and filled the entire space. It had been filled in and a flagstone patio was built on top. You can see the former pond's edge and shape in the difference of the stone work.

Is the much bigger old pond beneath still holding water? Was it spring fed? There are signs of a small spring. I will have to figure out what is up with that trickle of water outside the pond and deal with it somehow. I have seen that trickle emerging in three different places. I know it isn't leaving the patio area. Is that what is putting all the water beneath my pond?

Once the liner was pulled up, I pumped water out for half the day. It kept coming back in with a steady flow. I managed to lower the water level. I have not managed to drain it completely.

Where is that water coming from?

And what is that 4inch corrugated plastic pipe for? In the dismantle it looked like it had been set up as an overflow drain. Just to test it I put the drain hose in there for a good while with the pump going. It never filled up and I couldn't find any place where it was discharging. Hmm? Where does that pipe go? Do I care as long as it is away? I need an overflow and there are no good options.

This little project is going to take some thinking.

I'll think about it later. That was enough excavating and discovery in the muddy wet cold for one day.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Evergreen Progress

I have to look at the Under Garden while I can. It may be gone again by next weekend.

Progress is being made on my evergreen winter interest. One day those two evergreens in the foreground are supposed to be trees.

Quite a few varieties of evergreens have been planted on the slope below the scenic byway. Some trees. Some shrubs. Some bamboo. They are all slow, slow, slow to grow.

Don't ask me why, but the deciduous trees and shrubs grow twice as fast as the evergreens. My newly planted Stewartia pseudocamellia is in the foreground. I hope it does well here and grows as fast as the Heptacodium miconioides. That had a pretty nice bloom this summer.

There are evergreens at the bottom of the Great Lawn to mark the property boundary. These are the native Leucothoe fontanesiana or Dog Hobble. I'd need a whole lot more to actually keep the hounds out.

The evergreens do grow. The larger Blue Star junipers are three or four years older than the smaller ones. The 'Emerald Spreader' creeping yews are still in a sit and sulk kind of phase. I am already beginning to wonder if they are going to reject my elevation. They are rated to zone 4 which means nothing to me now that I have lost zone 3 plants to the cold.

There was a suggestion for a dash of snow tonight. It sure is acting like snow is on the way. The last bit of light peaks through the low dark rolling clouds as the temperature fades away.

It was nice to see the Under garden again and the progress I have been making.

Monday, December 15, 2014

NC Winter Lights

It's Garden Bloggers Bloom Day. There are no flowers in my garden at the moment. Most of the snow did melt though. That was nice. The Under Garden is back until the next round.

I don't want you to leave empty handed. So, for December's Bloom Day we will visit the NC Winter Lights show at the NC Arboretum in Asheville.

Just consider this a highly seasonal floral display.

The night was clear and cold.

Bundled up, my friend Deb and I strolled the arboretum's grounds taking in the sights. The quilt garden stayed true to its theme

Glowing orbs rolled through the forest.

Blue arches covered a main walkway.

Full grown trees were bathed in primary colors.

It was an over the top Christmas light freak show.

Which is the whole point.

Extravagance and abundance in a multitude of changing colors. Don't like blue? Wait a few seconds.

The winter lights over flowed.

There was a lot to like. I think my favorite was the simple lighting to paint the trees.

And all the different ways for the camera to frame and play with them.

Many of the lights had a botanical theme. Calla Lilies anyone?

In many colors of course.

I hope the Winter Lights at the NC Arboretum are an acceptable substitute for a plethora of blooms. It will be late March to early April before the wild cultivated gardens are back in a plethora.

Just so this won't be complete cheating, I do have two real orchids in bloom. Maybe you can find more at Bloom Day headquarters at May Dreams Gardens.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

I Have A Feeling

The post snow melt has been deficient this week. Three days later and I am still surrounded.

It doesn't help that the sun is barely getting over the top of Hebo mountain across the scenic byway now. Poor kitties. I have been tossing them out in the cold when I leave thinking it will be a nice warm snow melting day.

I'm thinking I may be in for another winter with a long standing snow pack.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

On The Way Home

My neighbor across the scenic byway owns a good chunk of the white stuff up there.

His plans for a couple thousand acres is to let them be. At least that is the impression he has given me.

On my way home the stark contrast between where I live and the world below is a clearly visible dividing line.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

A Short Walk On A Cold Day

The kitties and I stayed huddled inside. Though barely noticeable, it did snow most of the day. At a certain point my fidgety takes over and even if quickly, I'll wander outside.

I do have a fair amount of standing grass remaining after the first crushing snow.

The little cabin on a hill for all the world to see.

There is only a little bit of grass still standing in the sunny utility meadow.

Bright red holly berries still linger in the ridge top garden.

I saw some bird food lollipops.

It is winter again high on the low spot of a North Carolina mountain top.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

The Earth As Canvas

In Colors

And Black and White

Using Nature's Paints

And mood swings in a living and ever changing gallery.

It was sleet, snow, snow today instead of snow, snow, snow, but enough to keep them inside all day except for one brief excursion. Now, I wouldn't mind the capture and release inside program quite so much if they didn't insist on playing with their food first and deliberately letting it get away. That one on the left is the worst offender.