Snow on Trees

A late snow storm created an opportunity to see the form of different trees.
ironwood, fastigated


black walnut

albert spruce


red pine

black gum

Chinese witchhazel blooming

red maple

sugar maple

yellow locust


norway spruce

Nordman fir
These shots were taken before the sun broke through, and relly show the personalities of the different species.

Spring Flowers at Canyon Kitchen
Cashiers, North Carolina

 The frost date is May 15th here, but this year we had a light frost on the 19th. So we plant with frost in mind. The planting above consist of pansies, chard, purple cabbage, onions, and strawberries. It was planted
May 1st. and was not damaged by the cold.

rhubarb should last until mid June.


A picture is worth a thousand words.

Frog Pond

   Don't want the headaches of a water feature?
 This frog lives in a sedum pond complete with hens and chicks for water lilies, blue sedge for cat tails, reindeer moss for white water and yellow sedums for sun reflections

   The planting is located on top of rocks and is supported by 3" of growth medium. It is water once a week during the growing season which seems to keeps the frog happy. 

Palweys Island Park Dedication

Mother day was a fitting day for the dedication of the new park at Pawleys Island SC. The new green space
provides natural habitat , open grassy areas and, a small open pavilion.

The night before the dedication the town of Pawleys Island held its Pavillion Reunion Party in the park. This annual event is held in memory of the Pawleys Island pavilion which burned down in the late 70's. 1,600
people attended. The majority had been to the pavilion and there were fabulous shag dancers. It was great
seeing this older crowd dance to the music of The Tams ("I've Been Hurt, Hay Girl Don't Bother Me, What Kind Of Fool Do You Think I Am).
The Mother Day dedication crowd was much smaller, but this was special for Marcia and Me because the
park was being dedicated to my mom. She had gave the land where her beach house once stood for the park. Thanks mom and thanks to the town of Pawleys Island for doing such a knock out job on the park.

Frost Watch

       5:30 AM the thermometer reads 37 degrees. That is a drop of 1 degrees in the last hour.Looks like the weatherman missed it, no frost this morning.
       The forecast last night included a frost/ freeze warning. That caused us to spend a big part of yesterday covering annuals, moving pots under cover, and setting up sprinklers to frost protect large plantings. Now it appears this work was an exercise which was not necessary.
       I was 80% sure it would not frost this morning. Yesterday was warm in the upper 60's. The wind was light. There were not enough cooling factors to drop us down to the freezing point. I could have chanced it and skipped the frost protection .But you really can not chance it. There is no way I could have rushed out just before sunrise and protected all the plants we have out, no way. So here I am watching the thermometer and happy to report 37 degrees in Cashiers, 1 hour to sunrise.
Planter Combo
The planter above should be interesting with comfrey in the middle,setcreasea ( I would have prefered to use persian shield), and pansies on the edges. The leaves of the comfrey will need thinning during the summer and the pansies will likely disappear. I will follow up on this post in a month.

Comfrey is an important herb in organic gardening. It is used as a fertilizer and as an herbal medicine. The main species used now is Symphytum × uplandicum or Russian comfrey, a hybrid between Symphytum officinale and Symphytum asperum.

Tradescantia pallida is a species of spiderwort more commonly known as wandering jew, a name it shares with the closely related species T. fluminensis and T. zebrina. Other common names include purple heart and purple queen. 

Persian Shield:

Overview of Persian Shield: Persian Shield - Strobilanthes dyerianus

It is easy to see how Strobilanthes (pronounced (stroh-bih-LAN-theez) got its common name of Persian Shield. Its most striking feature is its colorful leaves, which have an iridescence that gives them an almost metallic look. Persian Shield is a native of Myanmar, formerly called Burma, not Persia. Strobilanthes is a sub-shrub that is evergreen in hot climates. It is also a very popular houseplant because it tends to bloom during winter.

Impatience Still Being Grown

light frost this morning but no damage...
I took this picture yesterday at a commercial greenhouse. The plants in the foreground are Impatiens walleriana.
    I was surprised to see Impatience in production because last summer a strain of downy mildew destroyed  this species  throughout the eastern US.  I had heard there would be no impatience grown this year, but as you can see plants will be available. My thought is that it would be a good idea to not plant impatience this summer.
Rainy Day at the Asheville Herb Festival 
6" of rainin three days
Despite huge rain and flood warnings the 24th Asheville Spring Herb Festival went on at the Asheville Farmers Market.
There was a good size crowd

and 60 herb growers from the Carolinas and Tennessee.
   The most interesting plant variety we ran across was Napolitano ( I believe the label in the picture is spelled incorrectly) Basil Ocimum ( also called Italian large-leaf basil). It  is said to be the best variety for pesto. The large leaves can be harvested all summer long growing to 2 feet tall and 18 inches wide. We Came up with the idea of making basil wraps.
     Basil is truly an incredible herb. It is enjoyed for its rich and spicy, mildly peppery flavor with a trace of mint and clove. Basil is an annual herb belonging to the mint family, Lamiaceae (Labiatae) and like others in this family, basil can be identified by its square, hairy stems. There are over 40 known varieties of basil of which Ocimum basilicum or Sweet Basil is the most commonly known and grown. Ocimum is from a Greek verb that means "to be fragrant." The foliage is easily bruised; just brushing against its foliage releases its wonderfully spicy fragrance. Varieties can grow to a height of 2 1/2 feet and are about as wide. Foliage colors range from pale to deep green, vivid purple and even purple laced with goldish yellow foliage. Texture varies from silky and shiny to dull and crinkly. Flowers appear in summer as whorls on the ends of branches and are either white or lavender. Some of the unusual fragrances and flavors include: cinnamon, lemon and anise. Basil is native to India and Asia having been cultivated there for more than 5,000 years. Being a member of the mint family, it is not surprising to see it recommended for digestive complaints. So instead of an after dinner mint, try sipping an after dinner cup of basil tea to aid digestion and dispel flatulence. Herbalists have recommended basil for years for stomach cramps, vomiting and constipation. Basil has been described as having a slight sedative action, which would explain why it is sometimes recommended for headaches and anxiety.
Another good basil we saw was  Ocimum basilicum
"boxwood"  boxwood basil.  This variety has small leaves and is ideal for edging.
For more information about the festival check out

JOHN McCarley

PO Box 524
Cashiers, North Carolina 28717
United States


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