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, Mountains, music, Spouse

A Rare Night Out

Day 239

IMG_0042My husband has been looking forward to going to the North Carolina Arboretum for their new ArborEvenings on Thursday evenings. After a long day staring at the computer screen, I was ready for a break.

Tonight they had music by a local duo, Liz and Elizabeth. We were looking forward to a night to just get away for a bit.

It was a warm evening, and the mosquitos were out in full force as were the gnats. The Japanese Iris in the collage below is covered with little tiny insects, too.

The Arboretum is a wonderful collection of gardens and trails just south of Asheville. During ArborEvenings, the gates are open until 9:00 pm and the gardens are lit. The last Thursday of every month they have live music.

We walked around the garden and then went up toward the education center where they had drinks and light food for purchase and of course music. We grabbed a BBQ sandwich and a bottle of water and just listened to music for a while.

Tonight’s event was sponsored by Asheville Beer Week (which I never knew existed). We bought bottled water to drink rather than opting for beer or wine since we were driving. I got a kick out of the marketing on the labels of the bottled water.

Liz and Elizabeth were really enjoyable. I liked their melodious harmonies and loved the violin and guitar together. I am attaching a clip from their YouTube channel, but I enjoyed their music so much more live. It was a nice eclectic mix of country, folk and their own brand of acoustic music. I even found some new music I had never heard before and that is always a plus.

All in all, it was a good night to get out for a bit. It was one of those nights we just needed a few minutes to just walk through the gardens, enjoy the flowers and listen to some music. Not a bad way to spend a late spring evening and something we need to do more often.

 

 

Blog, hiking

A Much Needed Walk in the Woods

Day 120

What a gorgeous day! Our temperatures climbed into the mid-’60s. We decided it was time to take our daily walk a little north. We have a membership for the North Carolina Arboretum, so we decided to go to Asheville and get some fresh air.

We dressed in layers not knowing how the temperature would be. As we drove into the Arboretum we noticed the Blue Ridge Parkway was closed — most likely due to remaining snow and ice or downed trees. Ice was evident on the drive in. Temperatures were running about 5 degrees cooler than at home.

We stopped by the office and picked up a trail map, grabbed our hiking sticks and some water then headed out on a short three-mile hike. The trails are well maintained although a little muddy today from melting ice and snow.

Our walk was leisurely — not our usual push. It was nice to have the changing terrain and places to stop and take photos. The surroundings reflect a different beauty when the trees are bare. It’s amazing to think it is only 46 days until the first day of spring. Before we realize it, the buds will start to appear on the trees and my redbud trees and dogwood trees will start to escort spring in and winter out.

The trails we chose today were easy to moderate but so refreshing. We walked a good bit by the creek. The sound of the moving water takes me back to my youth. The trails are lined with rhododendron and there are lots of nice stops along the way should you need to rest. There was still plenty of evidence of ice alongside the edges of the water as you can see at the end of the following video.

We got a little dirty, but all in all, it was a really great afternoon to be outside and enjoying our little slice of heaven. The view coming off the trail was stunning. I loved the clouds allowing a peek of the sky over the distant mountain peak. This is the kind of view that allows me to breathe in deeply and relax.

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All in all, it was a great day to be alive.

Blog, children, christmas, Family, gardens, grandchildren, Holidays, memories, mother, traditions

What a Wonderful Day

Day 86

Today was nice. It was a bit of normalcy after a few weeks of difficulty. We are still trying to take in the holidays a little and today was a last-minute bit of holiday spirit.

Winter Lights

IMG_8305We had tickets to go to see Winter Lights at the North Carolina Arboretum with our daughter and her family back before Christmas. We ended up canceling when we learned that Mom, sadly, would be going into hospice.

After Christmas, hubby and I decided we would like to try to get tickets to go see the lights and were delighted when our daughter and grandson wanted to go with us. We went last year and had such a good time we knew we would love it again this year.

Family Time

There is nothing better than just hanging out with those we love. The family came up and spent the afternoon with us. We went to a local pub-style restaurant for dinner and then drove up to Asheville to the Arboretum to see the lights.

It was much warmer this year than last. Last year was so COLD — in the 20’s F.  Brrr.  This year was in the low 40’s F so it was much warmer. We dressed warmly nonetheless.

The drive into the Arboretum was beautiful. Lights were strung in all the trees in the parking lot and throughout the grounds. It was beautiful and it was a clear night to boot. No rain in sight!

Chandeliers hanging from the trees, bottles of water lit in huge cylinders, lights synchronized to music, and trees decorated like ball gowns. It was fantastic!

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Times like this remind me of what is important. The time we spend with those we love just enjoying one another’s company is the absolute best. We are not promised any time, so take advantage of the time you have.

Mom wanted to come to Winter Lights this year. She had planned to come up with her sister and go see the lights with us. Unfortunately, she was not able to do so. I kept thinking over and over tonight how much she would have enjoyed it.

At the exit point of the light display, there is a Cocoa Shack. We had hot cocoa and I enjoyed a gingerbread cookie! It was a little bit of holiday joy in an otherwise tumultuous December.

That’s it for now. Time to publish this and hit the sack.

 

 

Blog, bonsai, gardens, nature

Cool Fall Days

Day 8

The last remnants of Hurricane Michael have passed. I woke early this morning to the sound of wind gusts rattling through the trees. The rain stopped yesterday and today is full of sunshine and much cooler weather.

Now it finally feels like fall.

It was a perfect day to venture out and enjoy the weather. What a nice break from the heat and humidity of the summer. There is so much to enjoy where we live. There is never a lack of interesting and fun places to visit.

IMG_7167We have hubby’s mom with us so we opted for a trip to the North Carolina Arboretum. We often come up to enjoy the trails or take a class. It really is a beautiful place.

The trees appear lighter in color – evidence of the slow change to fall color. It was cool with the slightest breeze – a glorious day to be outside.

There was still quite a bit of color in the gardens. We took our time going through and just taking in the fall plantings. The Gardens were filled with parsley as ground cover and kale and chard used as beautiful accents in beds and pots throughout. Now why have I never thought of that?

I also fell in love with a Jin Dai Tatarian Daisy – a member of the aster family. I would love to have them blooming throughout our landscape. The butterflies and bees seemed to love them. I wonder if they qualify as native plant material? Probably not.

Carolina Bonsai Expo

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The Carolina Bonsai Expo Opens at the Arboretum tomorrow morning. It is a wonderful event if you are in the Asheville area.

The guest artist this year is bonsai expert and instructor Bjorn Bjorholm. We are very novice bonsai lovers so hubby will be going to attend the workshop ‘A New Styling for an Old Pine’. Hopefully he can share some of his newfound knowledge with me when he gets home..

Art at the North Carolina Arboretum

There was also an amazing art exhibition by artist Sayaka Ganz entitled Reclaimed Creations. It was an amazing display of ‘creatures’ all made of reclaimed plastic such as forks and knives. It was beautifully realistic from a distance and even more breathtaking up close.

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Overall, it was a beautiful afternoon. We have such an abundance of interesting places to visit in this area and one of the reasons we call it home.

I hope fall means more afternoons like this one.

“Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson