Monday, April 30, 2012

Visiting Christopher's Garden

For today's garden fix blog post you will need to visit the other blog, Garden Bloggers Fling Asheville 2012.

Where I can be seen eating cupcakes with Lucy in the red dress.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

The Showy Orchis Blooms

Hidden deep in the forest an orchid blooms.

This year the flowers will finish and seeds will form.

The deer have been excluded. Good thing because there was evidence of browsing in between the two patches of Showy Orchis. They must hold some memory of the location of this delicacy. Tough. I got there first and caged the wild orchids.

I will do this extra bit for a wild orchid hidden deep in the forest and the rest of the wild cultivated garden must suffer the slings and arrows of weathers and varmints. It pained me to no end when the deer ate the tops off the Showy Orchis last year at the peak of bloom. But Gardy can't be babying three acres of plantings mingled in with the Lush. There are too many other things that need doing.

If a few columbine disappear we might not even notice.

The heavy Blue Pot art project needed to be stood back up. I shortened the bamboo poles by about a foot and a half. Maybe that will help. Rebar through the drain holes in the pot were out because it sits on a brick paver base. We will hope for the best and move on to Plan D if need be in the future.

There are other things that need doing. Next.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Two Houses West Asheville

Full Gospel

Full Metal

Next Came The Sun

A garden takes a beating and keeps on growing. The life force is an amazing thing. The leaves get a little tousled and bent and when the sun comes out they straighten right back up.

The weathers of late have not been so great for gardeners though. The Lush may getting ahead of us.

Iris buds not frozen continue to expand and bloom.

Trilliums go about their business.

Lily the Obscure, Melanthium latifolium looks none the worse for the wear. Growing at the feet of the forest trees may have its advantages. There is a roof of sorts.

Kathy at Cold Climate Gardening went for a walk along the road in her new neighborhood and saw something that looked much like Lily the Obscure. I think I will have to concur with the Veratrum viride, False Hellebore ID after a closer look at my lily.

Scorpion Weed, a winter annual wild flower infests the wild cultivated garden. It comes in two colors, two species. The white is Phacelia fimbriata.

The blue is Phacelia purshii. There is a lot more of the blue and when it blooms en mass it is a sight to behold. It is starting to bloom now. Will it still be blooming when the bloggers arrive?

The sun came out and the garden keeps growing, ignoring all the freeze damage. Life must go on.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Fog Bound

I just plain ran out of steam yesterday while everything else was being engulfed in steam. For two days we were racked by violent thunderstorms. Somehow I managed to squeeze in some work kind work in between them.

After getting freezer burn, the wild cultivated gardens on a North Carolina mountain top were getting battered by torrential downpours and violent blasts of wind. It hailed on me in my travels.

Rain is good though. Even a hard rain. The sedges in the zen lawn of the cabin side bed are getting poofy green and looking fun.

The new trellis shows up quite nicely in the steam. Still has a forward lean to it, but it didn't blow over. I bought some long metal stakes of sorts to give the trellis some more bracing against the wicked winds that like to roar through these mountain tops.

I was fog bound in mind and body.

Have I mentioned how strong the winds can be up here? The Blue Pot art project blew over. I can't believe it. Three hundred pounds of gravel pushed over from the wind catching abilities of leafless bamboo poles. The biggest surprise is that the Blue Pot didn't smash. Seeing this and thinking about standing it back up really made my mind go foggy.

Such is life in the wild. Always at the mercy of nature's whims.

Fog Bound.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Take This Freezer Burn

On my baby Kousa Dogwood

And extrapolate it out into the wild forest at a certain elevation range all across WNC. The leaves on the trees didn't freeze down below because they weren't assaulted with the wind and the snow and the cold. They didn't freeze higher up because the trees weren't leafed out. Round about 4000 feet maples, tulip poplars, buckeyes and locust were burned good.

When I said the wind was howling, it meant the wind was howling.

This go round it seems the things closer to the ground were much better off.

The Bluebells have survived both of these rude freezing spells just fine.

The Lush just keeps on growing even if the tops of some things have been singed.

Sadness.The borrowed ferns have been toppled. The other planting of this same fern ten feet away, lower down the hill and in a bit more north facing angle were not this far advanced in the unfurling. They are perfectly fine.

The emerging bamboo canes escaped more destruction with this second blast.

In many ways it is baffling how the victims are so random. Minor differences in the delivery mode of the cold completely changed who got zapped. What froze last time didn't. What froze this time didn't freeze last time.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Pastoral North Carolina

Scenes I see in the places I go.

Monday, April 23, 2012

A Little More Freezer Burn

The storm rolled in last night as the world according to the Google vanished from the interwebs. When I woke up the next morning the Google was back and it looked like utter devastation had descended in the night. It was still snowing. The wind was still howling. Most everything was encased in a thin layer of ice. Droopy. The fresh green growth of the notion of spring was hard and droopy. It was frightening.

I went to work kind work anyway. I am busy like that now. By the time I came home the sun was sort of out. The snow and ice were gone. The wind still howled.

A Dogwood winter they call it. I am thinking the Dogwoods are done now.

Surprisingly the utter devastation did not materialize. This second round of freezer burn was minor at best. How similar conditions choose different victims on different days is a mystery. The rhododendron in full bloom is unscathed. It's a miracle.

The big fat lilies by the service entrance were a dark mushy green and stiff as a board this morning. I figured they were toast. By the time I got home they had revived. The look a little bedraggled, slightly nipped, but pretty much ok. It was a miracle.

The Blue Pot art project survived gale force winds with its bottles still in place. One last picture with the Dogwoods before the petals shrivel and turn burn.

The new Ogee Trellis has a slight lean forward, but it didn't fall over. The fill dirt there is wet and soft. There was no need or desire to compact soil that was planned for a perennial bed. Longer stakes can be fashioned and added for more support in the wild and wind whipped environment of this mountain top.

The creation raises its eyebrows.

Don't worry. In a garden filled with the proper structure and Objets d', the plants can take a beating and the garden will still be there.

Accumulating Objets d'

A large flat package arrived. Lucky me. I was expecting this. As the Planner Man for Asheville Fling 2012 I will go to any length to make the garden blogger's annual gathering a memorable event. So I agreed to accept a free gift that was mine to keep and could be used as a demo model for the others that will be given away as door prizes.

I will be testing out the Ogee Trellis from H. Potter Marketplace, one of the sponsors of the Asheville Fling. I picked this one from the 30 choices available at their website. It took some deciding to finally settle on just one choice. It made sense that a door prize like this be shipped directly to the winners address. It is not something that would be easy to take home by plane or even a car on a long drive without some careful consideration. That is where I come in, with a garden setting demo for all the bloggers to see such a fine looking trellis.

It is definitely sturdy. Has some weight to it. I really like the charcoal brown powder coated finish. You have to look close to see it is sort of a distressed/camouflage finish. It will blend nicely with the bark of forest trees.

When I was first asked about his I thought where I am going to put a trellis that won't get lost or just look odd in my vast and highly wild surroundings. I will never have a formal garden. How could a trellis fit in? So I wandered outside to think it over.

I didn't get far before the absolute perfect place for a screening trellis presented itself. I had let my wood burning neighbor take the two half dead Black Locust trees on the back corner of the cozy cabin, leaving 10 feet of trunk for a future gateway project into the gardens below. Then I cleared out more of the misshapen and poorly placed smaller trees. This left a gaping hole. I was now staring into the abyss and in the winter all the way to the scenic byway beyond when I pulled in to park at the service entrance. You can see those two tree trunks on either side of the stair railing.

A screening trellis would be perfect here. The view into the garden would be obscured and some mystery added to where the stairs would lead. It would add a visual stop to the parking space. Large shrubberies with big roots were out in this narrow bed because the sewer line is directly below. The trellis would add instant height were it would be hard to come by with plantings year round.

I attached the twelve inch spikes with the bolts provided and readied to pound the thing in the ground. Instead, with the weight of the trellis, it simply sank into the soil. A slight push down and it was settled. Frankly with the high winds I get up here another six inches on those spikes would make me more comfortable, particularly once a vine gets going and adds more wind traction. We shall see.

The new addition meant that the accumulating Objets d' had to be rearranged for maximum appeal. I finally thought of something to do with the big glazed saucer that followed me home one day, other than it being a mosquito pond and cat's water dish.

Out in the wild cultivated gardens there is nothing that could be described as formal structure. The forest and the Lush set the stage. Hyacinthoides hispanica have turned wild.

Plenty Objets d' can be found out there - not my style mind you - but there is no trellis. I have found a place where one can go near the Blue Pot art project. It will require untangling a red honeysuckle vine away from the cheap tacky lattice it resides on now. That vine and the tacky lattice had concealed the decades old plastic pot collection. I sorted the collection and sent them all to a good local nursery for reuse. They are all gone now. It is nice to have a place to stash things though. A nice trellis for the vine might encourage more regular cleaning behind it. That can be a project for another day.

The first wave of iris now blooms. As I type the temperature is dropping. It is currently 33.6. The wind howls and solid rain pelts the roof and the fresh green growth of the notion of spring.

The estimated lowest low for round two of this rudeness is 29ish for Tuesday morning. At 8:21 pm with a current 33.4 I imagine we are in for two nights of freezing temps.

What will this do to the rhododendrons that have decided to bloom. What will happen to the remnant bloom on the azaleas not zapped by round one? Can the hosta and astilbe take another round of this? Oh woe in the gardens, we are having another freeze after way too many 80 degrees.

Well if it all turns to mush at least I will have the accumulating Objets d' to look at. I already like my Ogee Trellis from H.Potter. I plan to grow Moon flower and blue morning glories on it this year. The seeds are out there in the cold germinating now.

This trellis can be a set and actually has two 10 inch shorter side pieces that form a much wider screen. I may have to consider those. It would add even more structure, screening and interest in the winter garden.

It is snowing now. I may not have to wait long to see what the new trellis will look like in winter. And with this raging wind I'll get to see how well the spikes work holding it steady.