Wildflower Route, Bunches Creek Rd. Blue Ridge Parkway, to Big Cove Rd. Cherokee,NC

Just beyond Big Witch Tunnel, on the right, is a dirt road , Bunches Creek Rd, which winds from over 5,000 ft elevation on the parkway down to 2,000 ft. in Cherokee
 The route is back country, and filled with wildflowers. The change in elevation has different species blooming all along the way. It like driving through spring. With early spring up top and it gets later
the lower, and warmer you go.

When you arrive at Big Cove Road you can turn right and go to Straight Fork Road another good spot to see wild flowers, water and woods.


Spring Wildflowers After The Fire 4-17-2017

Image result for chimney tops 2 fire mapSmoky Mountains National Park, 11,000 of the parks half million acres burn in the November forest fires (  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2016_Great_Smoky_Mountains_wildfires).                             Image result for chimney tops 2 fire map Now in April what will spring be like in the Park?
Chimney Tops' chared ridge line is bare.
The forest leaf litter (duff) is gone in fire zones. 
Wild flowers are returning.
In areas where there was no fire the spring flowers are the best in years

     The forest sericev reports that the burned areas will recover and  that fire is good for the forest.
If you can get out to the park in the next couple of weeks and check the spring flowers,

             and support our national park system.             

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.

JOHN McCarley

PO Box 524
Cashiers, North Carolina 28717
United States


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