Starting With Wildflowers

Phlox divaricata 'Blue Moon'

There is now another Fairegarden of the alternative universe. The southeast Tennessee garden remains as numero uno, but another space has been added to the bits of earth under our sensitive, we hope, cultivation. It lies in western North Carolina, and will be thought of as our home away from home.

Since our influence on the garden building there will be occasional and intermittant rather than the intensive daily intervention that occurs in FG-TN, the planting must be as close to maintenance free as a garden can be. The plan is to add natives of the region, studying and learning what will grow best in the part shade, moist and sandy soil. There will be observation to see what is naturally occuring there, what wildflowers will spring forth in spring. We will watch as seeds now exposed to sunlight from grading by heavy machinery germinate when the time and conditions are right.

So far heroic restraint has been exercized in the purchasing of new plants for this virgin soil. The natives only rule helps eliminate many impulsive buys, and the fact the the ground is frozen. But, of course there has to be a but with plant buying, a couple of things are ready to be placed when conditions allow. Two winterberries and their male, Ilex verticillata ‘Winter Red’ and ‘Southern Gentleman’ wait patiently with switchgrass, Panicum virgatum ‘Northwind’. We feel confident that these were wise buys. Lists have been made of other shrubs and perennials, seeds that can be gathered in Tennessee and scattered, divisions taken from our old friends growing happily in FG-TN that are also natives of the similar space on the other side of the mountains.

It is all very exciting and the progress will be shared as trips are made over the Appalachian Mountain range that forms the boundary between Fairegarden-Tennessee and Fairegarden-North Carolina.

Don’t forget the monthly meme of Wildflower Wednesday, sponsored by my dear friend and fellow blogger Gail of Clay and Limestone on the fourth Wednesday. Do scoot over there to see what wildflowers are featured and/or leave the link for your posting.


ps. The details of the where, why and how of FG-NC are purposely vague. That is intentional. For blogging purposes, that is irrelevant. What matters is the dirt and what goes into it. There are some sketches already on the paper in my mind. But frozen ground forces patience. There will be updates.

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26 Responses to Starting With Wildflowers

  1. Les says:

    How wonderful you can have a get-away in such a beautiful part of the country. I remember when my parents bought the land that eventually would become their retirement home. Years before the the first nail was hammered, they began planting trees. Now the property is full of nearly mature red maples, red cedars, loblollies, birches, fruit trees and now a wonderful home.
    P.S. Merry Christmas and happy new year to you and your family!

    Hi Les, thanks and the same good wishes to you and yours. We didn’t really mean to buy a home there just yet, but are opportunistic and things fell into place. Like plants jumping into the shopping cart, this house jumped into our hearts. Good deal for your parents too. Mature trees are priceless.

  2. I am impressed that you, with your gorgeous and very large parcel, would embark to the alternate universe of a new plot to tend. This is real gardening love and dedication. I have like one eight acre and feel it is too taxing. And people say I have energy, wait until they read about FG-NC. I commend you on planting natives. At least your work load should be reduced.

    Seriously though, I can not wait until your first plants go into the dirt. I hope you post your design and ideas. Should be fun to follow along on your gardening path and plant picking adventure.

    Hi Donna, thanks so much. this was an impulsive buy, not supposed to happen for a few years, but everything was right so we went ahead. I am trying to give lots of thought to the landscaping before diving in. Not being there will help me wait, for sure! First thing is some tree work to be done. Don’t want new plantings squished. There will be blog reports as things get decided and done. Lots of ideas swirling. πŸ™‚

  3. Valerie says:

    Excitement abounds. Looking forward to future postings.

    Hi Valerie, thanks so much. The future is a blank slate. I like that, anything is possible. πŸ™‚

  4. Rose says:

    How exciting to be planning a new Faire Garden! That also means, I hope, we get to read firsthand the chronicles of this creation of a garden–I’m really looking forward to this.

    I’ll be back later to read your post on hardscapes–the grands are coming over today to bake cookies, so Grandma needs to make sure all the necessary frosting and sprinkles are available. Wishing you and all the clan at Fairegarden a blessed and very Merry Christmas, Frances!

    Hi Rose, thanks. Yes, I will record every planting and idea that comes to fruition, I hope. Wish I had that for the TN garden. How fun to bake the cookies! My kids loved doing that with my mother in law. They made roll out sugar cookies by the dozens. They were delicious too. May your family have the Merriest Christmas ever! πŸ™‚

  5. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    What excitement having a new garden to plant. I will look forward to your postings regarding the evolution of this garden.

    Hi Lisa, thanks. It will be fun to record this new garden space with the slant towards natives. There is tree work to be done then it will begin! πŸ™‚

  6. Frances that sounds wonderful, what a lovely project. Look forward to following your progress.

    Hi Janet, thanks so much. I will have fun planning, planting and then writing about it. πŸ™‚

  7. Picture of before and after tree work?

    I hope to, Diana. I have a few photos already and have contacted a tree guy. Not being there much will hold up the work since I want to be there when it is being done.

  8. Marguerite says:

    I understand wanting to plant the trees first. This last summer was our first at our home and many many trees were planted. And next spring – more trees! Congratulations on the purchase and I look forward to many happy updates in your new garden.

    Hi Marguerite, thanks. I planted loads of trees at this larger property in TN. The new place is less than 1/10 of an acre and already has a few large trees that need cleaning up in the worst way. After speaking with the arborist, we will see what big stuff needs to go in, if any. Small trees for sure will be added.

  9. Barbara H. says:

    What a surprise! And how exciting! We never know where or when we will be led, do we? Big changes happen in the blink of an eye sometimes. It’s a little humbling when we realize we are not the ones driving the ship all the time – the universe has its way of changing our course, for the better! I look forward to the new adventure of natives only.

    Hi Barbara, thanks. It even surprised us! HA We just hang on and go where life takes us. There will be update postings as things happen over there, I promise. πŸ™‚

  10. Valerie says:

    I’m so thrilled you are coming near to me. I’m in N C Blue Ridge Mountains. I’m in zone 6, should be 7 except for being in the mountains. Now when I see your new garden I can be assured that what you grow will probably grow for me. I can’t wait to see the pictures.

    Good deal, Valerie! I was wondering about the zone at the new place. It is in a microclimate so we shall see what will work there, although I don’t plan on pushing the zone, except with muhly grass. πŸ™‚

  11. jodigazette says:

    How exciting to develop a new garden, dear Frances! I don’t know how you do all you do now, but I’m glad you do it. Happy Christmas to you and yours, from me and mine here in windswept Nova Scotia.

    Thank you dear Jodi, and the same good wishes back to you and yours. Stay warm and safe, with electricity! As for doing it all, just one step at a time, with an eye to the future. The tree guy just called me back and we will have a meeting about what needs to be done the next time we go there. The wheels of progress keep on turning! πŸ™‚

  12. skeeter says:

    Merry Christmas…

    Thanks Skeeter, and the same to you and yours. πŸ™‚

  13. Debi says:

    Merry Christmas, Frances. Thank you for a year of stunning photos and delightful prose!

    Thanks Debi, and the same good wishes back to you and yours. I appreciate your kind words. πŸ™‚

  14. Congratulations Frances! How wonderful to have a new piece of land to grow to love and nurture. I hope to see some before and after shots too. Happy Winter Solstice and MERRIEST OF CHRISTMASES!

    Thank you Carol, and the very best of Christmases to you and yours. I am excited to have a new gardening space, with very different conditions. There will be before and afters, I promise! πŸ™‚

  15. Starting with a blank slate is so great for fostering creativity. There are so many great natives, that you’re going to have trouble choosing just a few.

    Hi MMD, thanks for adding to the conversation. I will have to use control in keeping it to the best and most maintenance free. Grasses will be high on the list and shrubs with berries. Evergreens will be the hardest, I might have to fudge on natives for a few of those.

  16. I LOVE Western NC! My grandparents have a gorgeous piece of land out in the mountains, and I love every chance I have to visit.

    Hi Joseph, that is great! Maybe your relatives are near to Christopher of Outside Clyde? He is way up there in the mountains. Our new house is urban, but we love that whole area. πŸ™‚

  17. Catherine says:

    How exciting! I never knew much about North Carolina until I started blogging, it sounds like a beautiful place for a getaway home. Have fun planting!
    I hope you and your family have a very Merry Christmas!

    Hi Catherine, thanks. North Carolina has it all, beautiful beaches on the East and fabulous mountains in the West! Something for everyone. May you and yours enjoy a wonderful Christmas. πŸ™‚

  18. Lola says:

    Congratulations, Frances, on the new soil to tame & furnish another part of the world full with blooms. You will love it there & will want to be there permanently. I sure miss the place we had. I had planted a lot but also had to have a lot of trees cut. Dangerous. Wishing you & yours a very

    Thanks Lola. I do love North Carolina already, one reason we bought this new property! May you have the best Christmas ever! πŸ™‚

  19. Merry Christmas Frances

    Thanks Rob, and the same to you and yours. πŸ™‚

  20. Gail says:

    My dear, it’s very exciting! I can’t wait to see what emerges from this magic~shady, moist, sandy soil~Oh, my, that does sound delightful. Gail

    Thanks Gail. So different from the FG-TN clay well drained baked in summer stuff. Easy digging! πŸ™‚

  21. Anna says:

    How exciting to have another garden to love and nourish. Not sure how far the two states are from each other so will have to get the atlas out. I have forgotten what plants look like at the moment ~ everything under a blanket of white. Hope that you enjoy Christmas with your loved ones Frances and all the very best for 2011 xxx

    Hi Anna, thanks. The two gardens are three and a half hours apart although the states share the boundary of the peak of the Appalachian Mountains. A white Christmas for you then, Anna, how exciting. May you have the very best of Christmases with you and yours. πŸ™‚

  22. Gail says:

    PS Dear Frances, I forgot to tell you that I am jumping up and down with glee that you are making your new garden a mostly native garden! I can’t think of a better way to celebrate Wildflower Wednesday. xxg

    Thanks Gail. I knew you would be pleased. I am glad you added the word mostly, there are a few non natives that might be needed, evergreens especially. And bulbs. πŸ™‚

  23. Cindy, MCOK says:

    It is indeed exciting and I look forward to future reports from FG-NC!

    Thanks Cindy. I will be reporting as things happen there. This will be a well recorded garden process, I hope! πŸ™‚

  24. Pam/Digging says:

    Congrats on the new place and garden-to-be, Frances. I look forward to seeing how it grows.

    Hi Pam, thanks. I think of you with your new baby garden as this new FG-NC begins. πŸ™‚

  25. Send us a list of seeds to collect Frances. I might could still gather some now. An Aster grab bag perhaps? Shady, moist, native, I got that. Come spring we could dig some of the native spring ephemerals.

    Dear Christopher, I will be in touch!!! Thanks for the generous offer and Merry Christmas to you and your family! πŸ™‚

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