Sunday, August 2, 2015

A Walk In The Deep Forest

My main goal for the day was to take a nap. I slept in late to make sure I would be ready. Then I moved slow in preparation. I did a little editing. Planted some variegated acorus that followed me home. Changed the spark plug wires in the truck, then sat down and rested up.

The sun was beaming on the Joe Pye.

Then it was time for a walk in the deep forest. I started in the roadside vegetable garden where the Ironweed is my best crop this year. I expected more vigor considering all the dung I added. But then the vegetables were pummeled with hail in their infancy. I think that scarred them for life. Then the tomatoes proceeded to get the late blight. The okra is looking good and the peppers are producing. I see squash. It's not a total failure.

We are in a mini dry spell, so I turned on the sprinkler and headed into the forest.

I have been negligent about wandering into the forest this year. I know full well I can be in there for hours, slithering through the dark damp like a slug looking for snacks. There have been too many other things that needed attention before a slow walk in the forest.

Today I was taking a nap. There was time.

The ramps are blooming.

It is getting seriously treacherous in there. Our forest had a significant population of hemlocks. They were killed by the woolly adelgid. Their giant carcasses are now crashing to the ground. The forest was messy before. Now it looks like a disaster zone.

There is still plenty to find in the wooden tangle. I see orchids. I exited the forest with a baby Umbrella Leaf, Diphylleia cymosa, to plant in the garden.

Was I really in there for three hours? That can't be. Oh well. it's time for a nap.

In the long evenings there is still daylight left after a nice afternoon nap. The clouds were looking a bit like it might rain. The Joe Pye was beamless.

I strolled back up to the roadside vegetable garden to fetch dinner and still had time to amble into the Tall Flower Meadow.

Soon, very soon, it is going to explode in a waves of bloom and color. It's almost show time.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

In A Garden

On A Stroll
In September

Friday, July 31, 2015

Chicory Mornings

Some mornings, I don't care what time it is, I stop at the top of my driveway, get out of the truck and look at my chicory. Work can wait. The chicory is here now.

Then I might wander in to the roadside vegetable garden for a look at the former strawberry patch. It is going to be hard to turn it back into a strawberry patch.

The days have been hot, in the upper 80's consistently. Ha ha. I sweat and energy evaporates as much as fluids. It's nice to come home to the high mountain and the cooling shade of the deep forest.

A walk through the garden cools the soul.

The evenings are still long. I can linger in the cool air outside if need be. My well insulated cozy cabin can take a while to cool off after a day of hot sunshine.

Even Button takes his post dinner siesta outside in the cool.

Miss Collar parks herself in the shade.

As the last rays of light fade away, the chorus of katydid nights begin.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

A Minimal Amount Of Order

It only takes one thin strip of mowed grass to prevent the look of abandonment. I can't have the place giving that impression with all the traffic passing by on the scenic byway. I did stop mowing where the sign said to.

On the other side of the rickety split rail fence held together with hope and some baling wire, it is the same story. One thin strip mowed through the wild is all the order we get.

Even the roadside vegetable garden with its neat rows of fine produce gets a bit wild looking by the end of summer.

There is more wild than order.

When you look you can see there is a way in.

And there are things to see. The Tall Flower Meadow is about to bloom in an exuberant explosion of color.

With just a minimal amount of order I can wander in for an up close and personal look at things.

The native Nodding Onion, Allium cernuum, is in bloom.

And so is a lavender Beebalm that followed me home. Will this Beebalm have what it takes to survive in the Tall Flower Meadow? It will have to thrive without order.

Order is mowed. Everything else is not.

Monday, July 27, 2015

What She Saw

It was short and sweet and now it's over until they both return in mid October. I think of the future when the Sisters are retired and can spend more time in the mountains.

The first order of business will be lessons in editing. What stays and what goes? How does the idea of definition work in tandem with chaos? There will need to be some picture book learning to go along with hands on field work. You have to be intimately familiar with your weeds to edit with finesse.

My paths and the Great Lawn were mowed on Sunday. The gardens were show ready for Sister #1's last day of mini-vacation.

Except for the hail damaged hosta, they did not disappoint. The gardens are in high bloom.

One day there will be more eyes watching over this civilized chaos.

With more editing there will be more room for blossoms.

She saw the liatris. "I really like that."
Then we should have more.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

A Walk In The Park

Sister #1 is visiting for a quick three day weekend. We went to see the Inn and had a bonus garden tour of the Posh Estate. Then it was time for a short walk in the park.

We stopped to see the elk along the way.

The elk were a bit of a surprise. We were way up high on a side road off the Blue Ridge parkway, far above Cataloochee valley where the elk are supposed to roam. These all looked young. Some were not collared. The herd is growing.

At the very beginning of our walk, I spotted a ground cover quantity of the native orchid Rattlesnake Plantain, Goodyera pubescens. We have these.

The endpoint and turn back destination was an old clearing some where on top of the Cataloochee Divide. The meadow there was filled with blooming Green Headed Coneflower, Rudbeckia laciniata. We have those.

Rumor has it Fly Poison can be found nearby. I saw a white monarda I had never seen before.

Sections of fence remained from a time long ago.

I saw several places with a most interesting deep forest lawn. There were two kinds of lawn. One looked like a grass. This one might be a sedge. I liked it. I want one. The intriguing part was they were such pure stands of this lawn like look with little else growing in them. How does this happen?

Is this Golden Seal, another valuable mountain medicinal herb? I checked online. It is close, but not quite right. I don't know who this is.

I saw a number of interesting botanical things on a walk in the park on a perfect afternoon.

Thursday, July 23, 2015


There has been a sweet stench in the warm still air.

I am tempted to order me a sack full of bulbs. I might not make it through the night without it happening. I think I need some camassia too.

That scent is drawing things in as intended. I am not immune.

A few lilies in a scene like this couldn't hurt.

Some lilies could go in here.

Or here. Maybe I need two sacks of lily bulbs.

I stop by the roadside before I leave in the morning and inhale the scenery of a wild and rambunctious garden. What should I do with it next?

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

In A Wild Meadow

It is easier to overlook the mess when there is a lot of bloom happening.

The sunny utility meadow is the tidiest it has ever been. That tidy has made for more bloom. So have all the new day lilies Bulbarella has been planting.

My maintenance gardener eye never rests. It is already plotting next year's editing for more definition and more flowers.

This is probably the prettiest strawberry patch you have ever seen. Well I want it back. All those flowers belong in the meadow department one row over. It is going to take some major editing to get them to move. Maybe some dung will help.

Even the daylily department isn't chaos free. My editing has at least made it prettier.

The sunflowers I don't plant are blooming. It would be fine if they wandered off into the meadow, but they pretty much need the soil in the vegetable garden to grow like this.

I got one lemon yellow one this year. I keep contemplating adding some of the red and orange ones.

It is easier to overlook the mess when there are giant lilies blooming.

The service entrance is looking very inviting right now.