Thursday, April 24, 2008


We were working in the edge of the gorge and saw the smoke. Later that Day Ray's Weather posted this Photo of a controlled burn taken that evening.

We have done little else but spread mulch the last few weeks. Not my favorite chore, but it does look great when all the beds are edged and looking great. So, we mulch and mulch and mulch.

Blowing Rock gardens have way too much mulch! I suggest groundcovers instead. I think it is healthier for the older trees. Ground covers trap humidity near the soil, and can extend the life of trees greatly. Think of the money saved on mulch and labor!

I do find time to photograph my garden flowers before work and in the evenings. It is smelling so good!

This morning I had to photograph the 'Geurnsey Cream' clematis, the fragrant Phlox divaricata, and the Tulip Bud against the moss phlox.

The other evening I was in awe of my Thalia narcisssus. They are so Orchid like. They shine in the evening light.

Then I noticed the apricot colored cup on this beauty. I will paint these next winter, I did do a series of Thalia in the moleskin sketchbook.

I have also been giving revernce to my sweet white violet, brought from the mountain at home. These used to be my spring groundcover on the slopes. It will take years to get them distributed around my small garden.

I do love my gargoyle, watching over things in the evening light.

Good night Fairies......

Saturday, April 12, 2008


I slept with the windows open last night. As the sun rose I heard the neighbors rooster clearly for the first time since the windows shut last Thanksgiving. How nice to lay in bed and listen to the morning birds. As the sun rose it looked to be a warm sunny day. My gardens look so beautiful in the early morning light.
My Trillium are blooming.

I was thinking I may be able to go work in the community garden after all. I looked at the mountain towards Boone and thought, how dark and grey the sky looked above the hills, then I heard the thunder....Finn wanted back inside immediately after he heard the clap. For a dog that loves to swim he sure is wimpy about the rain.

Just as well, we spent the week mulching a garden that took 35 yards of mulch to get the job done. Of course most of it is up and down a fairly slopey area one wheelbarrow at a time. Mike did the bulk and the harder places gratefully. I hope he gets a quiet rainy weekend to recover. I may get my homework done for my watercolor class after all. Of course there is always the laundry to do, I can't believe how much soil I track home on my clothing. Most of my jeans have a hole in the right knee. (Note to clients...please pay your overdue invoices so I can pay Michael and buy some new work clothes.)
I have been out in the garden these early mornings taking photo's of all the new growth. I love staring at Pan ruler of the nature spirits, guardian of my garden when he is wet with rain.

The Peony foliage is wondrous at this time, deep red as the new leaves unfurl.

I am also enjoying the flowering of my dear old friend Twinleaf. Jeffersonia diphylla, one of Thomas Jefferson's favorites is a native wildflower that flowers before the trees leaf out.

The seed pods when fully formed look like Elf Pipes which my daughters loved to find when they were younger. I have transplanted this special creature to my many new gardens over the last 18 years or so. It spent one year in my daughters garden until I moved to this current home. This is one tough wildflower.
The spring flowers are so fleeting. The leaves on the trees are coming out the dogwoods have begun to bloom. The grass is growing and needing mowing. It all happens so fast!
An amazing season it is, with all it's intensity, beauty, thunder and rain. The music of spring is playing loudly. Enjoy!

Sunday, April 6, 2008

I just completed mulching my slope.
Last year, I tore out a huge mess of overgrown shrubs, honeysuckle and trash trees and prepped the area for creating the garden in view of my patio door.
I planted Vinca alba, Phlox divaricata, Thalia Narcissus, Squill, and ferns as the base. I have also planted rhododendron and blueberries. I have a Chesapeake Viburnum planted as well for it's sweet fragrance.

I sat down to read the garden section of the New York Times and found this article on the
March Bank at Winterthur Gardens in Deleware. I have a long way to go before my vision is reached. The photo's in the article though are a good representation of my vision. I have done it before, in my horsehead garden posted by my profile.

I have spent my whole life planting the tiny bulb, Chionodoxa sardensis also known as Glory of the Snow in gardens. It does take years to get them to naturalize into large drifts. But, like Johnny apple seed I keep poking them in the ground everywhere I go. My clients ask "What are those little blue things?" When they discover what I have done. I once worked on an estate that had them in such abundance in the lawn that I felt I was in 'Blue OZ'.

I have tried to recreate that everywhere. The bulbs in the photo's were planted 100 years ago.

I was so proud of my little slope all mulched and tidy...until I saw these photographs of my dream gardens. The vinca survived last years drought and is blooming, but in tiny little clumps. It is all so baby new. Next year will be better. With perennials, the first year they sleep, second year they creep and the third year they leap. At least two more years and hundreds more bulbs to go.....
Gardening takes a lot of vision and patience. It is so worth it.

Saturday, April 5, 2008


The April rains are here. Friday morning work began in the drip and the fog. We could not see the gorge at all even though we are perched on the edge of the gorge in Blowing Rock. By noon we could see Grandfather Mountain from the parking deck of the garden we were working on. The scene changed by the minute as the fog receded into the gorge.

It has been like this all week, cold and misty in the morning, warm and steamy in the afternoons.

Completing the week of garden labor here, I get a surge of gratitude for where I am and what I do. It is a breathtaking movie of nature in action.

Somehow, in spite of all the physical labor the season demands, I am painting a bit. I have been sketching and painting my Saucer Magnolia blooms. I first cut them in bud two weeks ago and brought them inside. I didn't want to miss the opportunity to paint them if they got frozen. Once I brought them in and put them in water, they opened so rapidly it was hard to sketch them fast enough before they changed. I rarely get to see the unfolding so closely. I ended up with many sketches and several washes and colored pencil renderings by the time the process was over.

These are done in my Moleskin watercolor books. I use them to paint studies of whatever is blooming in my garden over the course of the season in the evenings after work as I wait for my dinner to cook. Very fun....

My garden is bursting with color, every day something new emerges. Kitty watches it all from the living room window.

I have a nice pile of mulch waiting in my driveway to be spread.

But today, the New Moon day is rainy and quiet. Rest and a Reike session are on tap. Yay!