Blog, flowers

Carolina Bonsai Exposition

Yesterday we spent the day out and about enjoying our neck of the woods. The first stop was the North Carolina Arboretum.

This weekend is the North Carolina Bonsai Exposition. The weather was perfect, warm with cooling breezes. It really felt like fall. We had tickets for a lecture on “The Art of Bonsai Pottery,” featuring bonsai pottery artist Ron Lang. He has done some interesting sculpture and talked about his transition to making Bonsai pottery.

The art of Bonsai takes great patience, skill, and knowledge. It is a lifelong study for those dedicated to the art. Bonsai in its simplest definition is the art of growing miniature trees in shallow containers. The tree should mimic the shape of its larger counterpart. The selection of the appropriate pottery is an art unto itself. The pottery should be a complement to the tree but never take center stage.

There was also a display of Ikebana (the Japanese art of flower arranging) as well.

We had a few errands to run where I ran into an old friend at one of the big box stores. I took a moment for a selfie then moved on.

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From there we took a drive to Bullington Gardens although they were closed when we arrived. There were still some wonderful flowers to enjoy. I am thinking about taking a watercolor class there and just wanted to reacquaint myself with the route to get there.

Afterward hubby suggested we stop for Thai food. We have been wanting to try a particular Thai restaurant in Hendersonville so last night was the night. I think our server was new so the service was not great. I ordered my favorite dish, Panang Curry, but unfortunately, there were no red or green peppers nor were there any kaffir lime leaves – both flavors I feel are important to the dish. It was still tasty, but hubby was not as fond of the zucchini they used in place of the peppers as I was.

On the way home, the moon was large and hanging in the sky as if it had been purposely placed there to beckon our eyes toward the heavens. The moonlight shone in the bedroom windows most of the night until the much-needed rain started to roll in during the early morning hours.

It is still raining and we are thankful. It is good to see it raining again. We have almost had an inch of rain today. The sound of the rain makes it a perfect morning to linger over a cup of coffee and catch up on my reading.

Blog, flowers, gardening, gardens, Spring

Living In The Moment

Day 204

img_9647Yesterday was our warmest day of the year thus far. This morning the temps were a little cooler which made perfect walking weather.

The visual landscape around here is changing fast. Most of the azalea blooms are gone as well as the dogwood flowers and the native azaleas. We seem to have an abundance of rhododendron blooming this year. The irises continue to bloom but the spring flowering season is coming to a close. This morning I was greeted by a splendid white iris that had evidently bloomed. It was spectacular.

I love spring. It has to be my favorite season. I am always a little sad when the warm days and cool nights make way to hot days and equally hot nights. Right now we can still open the doors and windows, but with many more hot days, it will soon be time to close the house up and turn on the air conditioning.

We have a good start on our gardens. We have already had a salad out of our lettuce garden. It is so divine to have our own greens topped with the punch of flavor from fresh dill and cilantro. (Yes, I am one of those that love cilantro. Thankfully, so is hubby.)

I mentioned earlier that hubby raised our container garden. Last year we had so much rain and the ground was so saturated the garden could not drain. Our plants literally drowned.

Raising the garden was cumbersome. I told hubby I thought he over-engineered it which did not go over well. Sorry, but it was so heavy we almost could not turn it over. He basically attached legs of 4×4’s and put planks across the bottom, leaving spaces so the soil could drain. Then he covered it with landscape cloth to keep the dirt from falling through, then comes the soil and the mushroom compost then the planting. I asked him to keep the little ledge rather than even it up. Makes a good place to put pots and the watering can.

Friday we will go to the Asheville WNC Farmers Market for their annual Growing in the Mountains Plant Sale. This is where we usually find a nice array of native plants. We have a bad habit of buying more than we have room to plant, thus a lot of garden plants end up overflowing into individual pots.

Yesterday afternoon we went to help our friend unload his kiln after a 40+- hour soda ash firing. He is an amazing potter and the resulting work was beautiful. The community of artists in this area is inspiring.

Tonight we will go see our grandson at his final track meet of the season and next weekend we will drive to Charleston for our granddaughter’s piano recital.

It seems this retirement life is jam-packed full of things to do.

Blog, flowers, gardens, nature, Plants

How to Garden On a Rainy Day

Day 191

Today is overcast with intermittent rain. I love spring so much and love being outside and enjoying all the gifts of nature and working on our predominately natural landscape. The forecast for the weekend looks to be much of the same.

Last weekend we went up on the Blue Ridge Parkway to the Southern Highland Craft Guild to see art demonstrations by metal and glass artists. It was an interesting day. As we were preparing to leave, I went into the gift shop to browse for t-shirts. What caught my eye, however, was a book: Wildflowers & Plant Communities of the Southern Appalachian Mountains &Piedmont: a Naturalist‘s Guide to the Carolinas, Virginia, Tennessee, and Georgia by Timothy P. Spira. I thumbed through it and knew I needed to add it to my collection.

I have never met the author, but he is married to a relatively new friend of mine, Lisa, who authors the blog Natural Gardening. I have learned so much about the plants and trees native to this area through them. I am really enjoying trying to put my new knowledge to use.

Yesterday, I snapped some photos of new blooms which happens almost daily during this time of the year.

I also see non-native plants like this wisteria along the road where we walk each morning. Look at the size of the vines! The wisteria vines are completely taking over this native dogwood. You only need look around at the kudzu in this area to understand what non-native species can do to an environment.

So back to my original question. How do I garden on a rainy day? Well, I am making use of a wonderful book my sister-in-law gave us, The Naturalist’s Notebook, by Nathaniel T. Wheelwright & Bernd Heinrich, to document what is blooming and when. It is nice to know from year to year how things change.

(I am thinking about purchasing one of the new Polaroid instant cameras compatible with Zink instant peel and stick film so I can put photos directly into the book.)

Of course, as I am preparing to publish this blog, the sun is breaking through the clouds. I might get a little outdoor time today after all.

Blog, flowers, Love, nostalgia, rainy day

Random Thoughts on a Sunday

Day 136

It’s late and I decided to just throw out some random thoughts for tonight.

Flowers

I just spoke with some friends about our favorite flowers. Mine is an iris. Flowers bring up a lot of thoughts for me:

  • I always prefer natural planted flowers above cut arrangements.
  • My mother’s favorite flowers were portulaca, bleeding heart, and lilacs.
  • I like orchids and pansies because they look like they contain faces or figures.
  • I miss the yellow tab trees in Florida when all the flowers fall to the ground.

Rainy Days

It’s pouring rain right now. Some random thoughts about rain:

  • I love to walk in a spring drizzle of rain.
  • I love the sound of rain when I sleep.
  • I do not like threatening rain.
  • I remember my grandfather teaching me that when the leaves turned upside down it meant it was going to rain.

Love

I’ve been thinking a lot about love since Valentine’s Day. Some random thoughts:

  • I do not understand why it is so hard to love one another.
  • One should never be fearful of love.
  • Sometimes a bouquet of flowers doesn’t necessarily symbolize love.
  • As children, we used to break milkweed and if it grew back our love was true.

Nostalgic Items

The memory of some things make me smile every time I think of them:

  • Gum wrapper chains
  • Dotted Swiss
  • Marionette shows
  • The TV show Where the Action Is

Dreams

I love thinking back on the things I wanted to be when I grew up:

  • A Breck girl
  • An elevator operator (I thought this was the MOST glamorous job ever!)
  • A diamond cutter
  • An archaeologist

Tomorrow is my sister’s birthday. I want to be happy about the day and not sad.

Blog, flowers, Mountains, nostalgia

Friday on My Mind

Day 134

This morning, Friday on My Mind was spinning in the jukebox that plays in my head.

The year was 1966. Why is it I do not remember much from that time but I have every word of this song and every inflection of their voices firmly committed to memory? I do miss the era of amazing radio stations — are there any still in existence outside of Pandora, satellite radio, or Spotify? I guess it (and my transistor radio) is another time gone by.

I listened to several versions of this song on YouTube and it brought up so many memories, but I am not going down that rabbit hole today! (I am currently arguing with myself concerning the merits of researching whatever happened to Wolfman Jack.)

I feel inspired today and for some reason, I had Friday on my mind all week. Not sure why, but here we are just the same.

Today, I am keeping it light-hearted. Enough heavy stuff in the world today without polluting my blog with it all.

We have several bushes sporting blooms this week. Late winter / early spring can be quite a dichotomy here in the foothills. Allergies are kicking in because of early blooms and my property still shows the look of winter for the most part. The photos are a bit blurry due to the wind that’s stirring and bringing the camellia blossoms to the ground. I also noticed signs of a woodpecker on the tree closeup that I did not see until I looked at the images on my phone. Such is life in nature.

I am still loving my MasterClass subscription. Last night I took a break from my Judy Blume class and tuned into a little Gordon Ramsey cooking. Today I intend to sharpen all my kitchen knives the correct way. Then I want to try my hand at fine dicing some veggies like a real chef. I am absolutely loving MasterClass and I highly recommend the annual subscription if you, like me, have a lot of varied interests. and have the budget for it. (No, I in no way get anything from MasterClass from talking about their programs. I just really like them!)

That’s about it for all the things on my mind, other than a constant carousel of changing 60s tunes.

Have a super weekend.