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Thinking about gardening

I was touched to be included in this roundup:   58 of the very best Landscaping and Gardening Blogs, Influencers, and Instagrams

A bumblebee hawkmoth on Vernonia in a past summer

I don’t normally pay attention to these sorts of things, but clicking through, the writer has done a really nice job of collecting various sites. I’m surprised that she found my Natural Gardening blog out there, as I’m hardly a media-seeking-followers kind of blogger.

I’m doing a program tomorrow about “Creating a Naturalistic Landscape” for the NC Arboretum (via Zoom, of course). There are 22 folks signed up — remarkable, it seems to me for paid education programming, but thinking about it, I’m paying similar amounts for writing classes and other programming, so why not, I suppose, for those of us fortunate enough to be able to do these things. We’re privileged, indeed.

It’s been interesting to contemplate, as I’ve totally “rebuilt” this presentation, with largely new images and message “slides.” The NC Arboretum has an excellent Blue Ridge Eco-Gardener program of whom many have heard me talk about other topics — I wanted something new to share with them.

It’s been diverting to rebuild a familiar message into a new version.

And as I’ve be doing free programs for a local nursery and as a profile about me and promoting pocket meadow appeared in a newsletter for Conserving Carolina, a local land trust, I’ve been doing a lot more benefit landscape consultations.

I’ll be doing another free (by registration program) for a local non-profit at the end of the month, for Asheville GreenWorks Bee City’s Pollination Celebration. Just click on the link to register and see the other offerings, including my gardening companion’s program about Interactions between Plants and Pollinators: Highlights from the Southern Appalachian Mountains.

He’s developed his program from “scratch,” too — it looks wonderful, based on what I’ve seen on his iMac!

How nice is that?


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Why aren’t the collards bolting?

Please, can’t the collards bolt?  I am enjoying them, but…. I’m truly tired of greens.  We’ve been eating them since March, enjoying the parade from spinach to mustard to kale and collards.

The kale and collards are still holding up.  (Thankfully, the purple mustard bolted — harvested yesterday).  Uh, surely it will be soon that the collards and kale will bolt?

I have lovely basil, parsley, thyme and chives growing vigorously, as are the climbing squash, pole and yard-long beans. The tomatoes and peppers are doing well, too.

I still have a full bed of beets with greens in the lower bed, below the house, not to mention Swiss chard in my upper beds, but both of them are easier to use than kale or collards, easily cooked and tender, like spinach.

So, please, in late June, isn’t it time for the collards and kale to flower?

today’s view of my raised bed vegetables
this evening’s collard harvest (where are the cabbage white caterpillars?)  the butterflies are flying

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Hmm, an "upgraded" theme layout for Blogger

Well, my favorite sidebar gadgets have disappeared in my former layout, but I guess I can figure out how to link the presentations and plant lists (from Google Drive) to my website, I suppose. But hey, I’m doing this now as a volunteer. Really, I’m not happy to try to create new links to my website, etc.

I’d just updated a link to a pollinator presentation that I’m doing on Saturday for our Pollination Celebration, part of National Pollinator Week, here in Asheville.   So many thanks to my garden blogging friend, Janet Davis, for permission to use her wonderful pollinator photo montage in my presentation:

I also need to explore alternative themes and layouts in new Blogger themes;  undoubtedly there are nice ones out there.

An old schoolhouse above our road

As I come to terms with probably not being able to make it to our cottage this summer (maybe fall?), I’m remembering all the special places that are part of our experience there.  Our cottage is a renovated 1920 schoolhouse.  This image is of another one, never renovated, on the 2nd rang about our house in Quebec.

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Delighted to see growing vegetables

I planted tomatoes and peppers, along with squash and bean seeds, thinking they’d be a nice bonus for our veggie-gardening prone summer renters.

Well, it looks like I’ll be harvesting the tomatoes, beans, and squash myself.  I’ve already harvested LOTS of basil that I planted for the second set of renters, now looking for another place as we’re still here.

Beans, squash, and tomatoes are looking good

I’m basically OK with this. It’s a familiar summer warm-season gardening dance, even as the darn collards and kale persist (not to mention the beet greens).

There’s nothing to complain about — when you have fresh young succulent basil growing.  I like to grow it in containers or flats as a cut and come again herb — keeping the leaves and stems succulent and tasty. 

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Favorite recommendations for pollinator-friendly gardens

I like to promote these as they’re adaptable, easy to grow native perennials,  often with multiple good species to choose from within a particular genus.  (This is a list to accompany a presentation for a Pollination Celebration in Asheville GreenWorks Bee City program).
Herbaceous perennials (average to dry sites):
Asclepias tuberosa    Butterfly Weed
Baptisia sppFalse Wild Indigo
Coreopsis spp.  Coreopsis
Echinacea spp.  Coneflowers
Eupatorium perfoliatum   Common boneset
Helianthus spp.  Sunflower
Liatris spp.  Blazing Star
Penstemon spp.  Beardtongue
Pycnanthemum spp.  Mountain mints
Rudbeckia fulgida   Black-eyed Susan
Rudbeckia spp.  Black-eyed Susan
Silphium spp.  Prairie dock; compass plant
Solidago spp.  Goldenrod
Symphyotrichum spp.  Asters
Thermopsis villosa  Carolina false lupine
Zizia aurea  Golden Alexanders
Herbaceous perennials (moist sites):
Eutrochium spp.  Joe-Pye Weed
Lobelia spp.  Lobelia, Cardinal flower
Phlox spp.       Phlox
Monarda spp.   Bee-balm
Vernonia spp.  Ironweed

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The skies opened

We’ve been in thunderstorm times the last few weeks, especially in the late afternoon.  Today’s was a doozie, but the moisture (for gardeners) is always welcome.

The video of the downpour hasn’t appeared.  Just think hard rain.

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A wildflower Wednesday pick: Silphium perfoliatum

I planted Silphium perfoliatum (cup plant) a few years back in the pollinator-friendly planting that I call the pocket meadow.

Here’s a photo from three years ago, showing a still “young” plant to the left of the ginkgo.

At the Garden Blogger’s Fling in DC, I’d been amazed at the size that these plants get (my fellow Flingers also warned me of their self-sowing tendencies….)  Yikes, I thought, so I’ve been dead-heading them, too, and asking our summer folks to do so in the past couple of years.

Regardless, it’s an impressive plant and one that I’ve enjoyed having, so an excellent candidate for Wildflower Wednesday.

This year, still in Asheville in mid-June, I cut it back by a half, reducing its size.  Happily, that seems to have worked nicely, so it won’t loom over the front meadow quite so impressively (nor seed as profusely, either).

It’s just now starting to flower.