Sunday, June 24, 2012
The semi-annual Haywood County Master Gardener Tour was yesterday, June 23rd. There is nothing I like better than nosing around other people's gardens. An added benefit of this tour is that it takes me places in Haywood County where I have not been. It is amazing what the forests and folds of these mountains can hide.
The Hamm garden in Plott Creek is the ultimate mountain stream side garden. A beautiful stream splits the garden and property in half and this natural feature was used to full advantage.
It was planted with a diverse array of interesting trees and shrubs to maintain a natural feel in this very well maintained garden. I know my maintenance.
I have many of these native Bottlebrush Buckeyes, Aesculus parviflora. All they need to do is grow.
I keep toying with the idea of bringing Acanthus mollis home with me, I like the bloom so much. It would be zone pushing for me though. How much would it hurt to try?
Next we headed way up to Cataloochee Ranch.
The Alexander garden was my favorite on the tour. Everything about it was unique. At 5000 feet up the views were stunning.
The first section of this authentic log cabin house was built by the Alexanders from logs harvested on site in 1970.
It was primarily a shade garden with towering trees reaching higher into the cool mountain air. The native Diphylleia cymosa graces a small stream and pond. We got plenty of that down by our tiny stream bed.
Water, cool mountain air, lush green foliage in many textures, it all adds up to tranquility.
A much smaller log quest cabin sat across a broad lawn adding more local authenticity to the scene.
There has to be a story that goes with this.
There was even the native Flypoison, Amianthium muscaetoxicum blooming at the base of a tall tree. This is not something you see in just any garden, except now there is one next door in the ridge top garden that survived and bloomed a sister's relocation efforts.
Fuchsias like the cool mountain air.
A small meadow blooms before the view. I could live up here.
In Jonathan Valley on Hemphill Creek is the Dombrova garden. The home was perched on a point where two streams meet. Narrow foot paths much like our own here wandered through the shaded forest along the stream. The main sunny gardens were across the stream.
Raised stone planters were filled with sun loving perennials.
Their Beebalm is much further ahead than ours. Lower down in the valley on a larger stream, elevation in these mountains makes all the difference.
Once we got our directions for the tour I planned our route to take us towards home at the end. The last two gardens we saw were in Iron Duff. I pass by this neck of the woods coming and going on my daily travels.
The Rotondo garden I understand well. How do you create a garden on a very steep site? Many homes in the mountains here have a flat spot just big enough for a house, a driveway and a narrow bit of planting cut into steep slopes. In a lot of respects you just have to plant and ignore the steep slope.
The view from Iron Duff looks directly home. The wild cultivated gardens are just on the other side of that high mountain center right, Crabtree Bald.
Nice looking steps but the rise and tread was way off.
At the base of the slope behind the house a short retaining wall created a narrow level planting bed.
Just a few houses down in the same neighborhood is the Gurley garden. Still very steep, but not quite as severe as the Rotondo garden.
I have plans for one of these, Japanese Tea House style perhaps on the hill above my little creek in the shade of the forest. Here we don't need screened porches so much.
The cultivated merges with the forest beyond.
Lucifer. Now this is taking advantage of a steep garden and a plant's natural inclination to flop over.
While this Haywood County Master gardeners tour was pretty much a study in suburban landscaping, all of these gardens were done by the owners and their enthusiasm for gardening showed. The diversity of plant choices and the willingness to try the unusual was evident. I was not seeing landscapes with plant materials.
I missed the Highsmith professional building garden on the tour, but I have seen it before because it is next door to Client #1's. It was actually planted by my Client # 1 many years ago. I had noticed all the major renovation work being done in the last year. Next time I am at Client #1's I'll stop by and have another look now that it has been all spruced up.