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Show #33/3707
Bloggers Garden Tour


Garden Blogging
The GARDEN BLOGGING scene is diverse and includes people blogging about their own gardens, as well as general gardening topics. The large mix of bloggers includes garden writers from the garden media, many magazine writers, as well as individuals, some who are publishing books. It's a diverse group.

Click here for more info

Chris' Garden
Although Chris has been working on it for 5 years he is just now starting to see some of its components starting to grow. This garden is somewhat unconventional by comparison to much of what Chris has done over the years. He calls it a "GARDEN BECOMING" because it is in its infancy. Some of that is because he 1st had to do a lot of clearing to get started. He first built his house, which was his number 1 priority, but he would sneak in some gardening moments while he was building.

Click here for more info

Plants
Chris talks about some of the PLANTS he has incorporated and some of the plants that have performed particularly well in this environment, as well as some of the plants he just likes. His primary concern has been getting winter interest in the garden and some winter screening. So he has been planting a lot of evergreens, pines and clumping bamboo, as well as rhododendrons that will get large enough to provide a little screening from the highway.

Click here for more info

Vegetable Garden
We next visit Chris' roadside VEGETABLE GARDEN. This is the only structured part of his garden. At the early stages this was a good place for Chris to go for a little sanity in this wilderness of gardening in the mountains. Chris is growing a nice variety of vegetables, most standard faire. He has lettuce, greens, tomatoes, potatoes, peppers, green beans, snow peas and radishes. There is a lot of diversity but fairly standard garden crops. This garden is productive.

Click here for more info

Mrs. Carrie's Garden
We have just spent the morning with her son and saw his garden so it is really neat to visit this garden which in many ways provides a picture of what Chris' garden will look like in years to come. This is a more MATURE GARDEN. It too has a very natural, airy, almost wild look but Eric finds it very fitting for the site. When Mrs. Carrie and her husband bought this property what they liked was that it was heavily forested but it had flat areas at the top where they knew they could add plants. They, of course, have rhododendrons and other plants that grow up here but they wanted to add to the wild stuff that was already here.

Click here for more info

Damaris' Garden
This was a challenging site. Number 1 it is a very STEEP LOT. It was a bare yard, the house had white vinyl siding and the front was extremely steep, nothing but weeds. There weren't even steps that led to her car. So, more than once she fell on her behind. Little by little it has evolved. But it really started to change when Ricki came into her life. He is a stone mason and built the very 1st pond and he hasn't stopped since.

Click here for more info

Art And Sculpture In A Garden
Damaris talks a little about the transformation of this lot and how they have integrated their art, sculpture and love of art into this garden. She has been inspired by Ricki's MASONRY. They've explored concrete and formed concrete into some organic shapes, from leaves to birds to other formations. It's been inspiring to see how Ricki weaves everything together. He ties in headstones and bricks and some of Damaris' sculpture into his stonework.

Click here for more info

Softscape
Damaris next addresses the SOFTSCAPE. When undertaking the landscaping the steep slope created quite an undertaking. Initially they had to bring in materials bucket by bucket and carry them up the hill. They next created a path to just go up the slope or hill. Then came stairs, then they needed switch back trails in order to come up with wheelbarrows because they got really tired of carrying everything up by hand.

Click here for more info

Water Features
They next talk about the WATER FEATURES. They are really nice and do a great job of tying in the different elements of the garden. The upper pond is actually the reason that Ricki and Damaris met. She was interested in feng shui and wanted a water feature for it. He showed up in her life beautifully and got into the pond, almost obsessed with the whole pond project, it was like a forever science project.

Click here for more info

Plants In The Waterfall
Damaris mentions the IMPATIENS growing in the cracks of the waterfalls. She had always used impatiens to add color by the pond but because they need so much water she started to plant them with their feet wet. They are growing within the liner and they get water all the time. Same with the begonias that have grown into mounds. People always ask about them, even the bloggers. Most think they will rot but they don't, they grow beautifully and she never needs to water them.

Click here for more info

Raised Beds
Damaris originally drew this out on a piece of paper, she designed a grid, brought some boards up here, put them together, put in organic material and plants and it began. Many of the plants were gifts from friends and have since been shared with friends. It's a great way to start gardening. Eric tells people all the time when dealing with a challenging site, a new construction, a place where there is not a lot of top soil, to start with a RAISED BED. It can be just as simple as some 2 x 6 lumber, then back fill with some high quality garden soil. Oftentimes it's just too difficult to till in hard red clay. It's much easier to incorporate the garden soil, then start adding more organic matter.

Click here for more info


LINKS:

Biltmore Estate and Inn
Stay at Inn on Biltmore Estate | Four-Star Hotel in Asheville, NC

Garden Bloggers Spring Fling
Garden Bloggers Fling Asheville 2012: Visiting Asheville before and after the Fling

Christopher's Blog
Outside Clyde

Wamboldtopia
Wamboldtopia - A Little Slice of Heaven in West Asheville

The Rock Pirate
The Rock Pirate

Plant List



Complete transcript of the show.

33/3707. Bloggers Garden Tour

In this Episode GardenSMART tours three very different and unique Asheville gardens. Along the way we pick up some great tips on gardening in the shade as well as gardening on steep slopes.

Eric first visits with Christopher Carrie who has been involved with horticulture for many years as a landscaper, a designer and as a consummate blogger. Chris tells us a little about himself. He got involved in horticulture mainly through his parents and grandparents who were all avid gardeners. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in ornamental horticulture from the University of Florida and as a graduation present to himself went to the Island of Maui to visit a friend. It was great there so he stayed for 20 years working as a gardener, landscape designer and maintenance gardener. He came back to North Carolina when his parents made him an offer he did not want to refuse. They offered an early inheritance of land in North Carolina.

Chris is very involved in garden blogging and talks a little about the blogging scene. The GARDEN BLOGGING scene is diverse and includes people blogging about their own gardens, as well as general gardening topics. The large mix of bloggers includes garden writers from the garden media, many magazine writers, as well as individuals, some who are publishing books. It's a diverse group. Chris is an active blogger and has been active in bringing bloggers from all over the U.S. and Canada together for the Spring Fling. He helped put on the Spring Fling this year in Asheville, North Carolina. It was the 5th annual Spring Fling, the 1st was in Austin. When Chris was in Buffalo for their Spring Fling he mentioned that Asheville was beautiful. He probably should have kept quiet. But it came to Asheville.
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One of the components of the Spring Fling is a garden tour. This year they toured 11 different Asheville gardens, three we'll visit today. One of the gardens was Chris' garden. It's only fitting we too look at his garden.

This garden is in its' infancy. Although Chris has been working on it for 5 years he is just now starting to see some of its components starting to grow. This garden is somewhat unconventional by comparison to much of what Chris has done over the years. He calls it a "GARDEN BECOMING" because it is in its infancy. Some of that is because he 1st had to do a lot of clearing to get started. He first built his house, which was his number 1 priority, but he would sneak in some gardening moments while he was building. This site will look very different 10 or 15 years from now. This site has a very natural feel and look. It is in the mountains of Asheville and would look out of place if it was a hyper formal or a heavily sculpted garden. This garden is very light and airy, it has a natural feel and does a good job of fitting the space. His challenge is the opposite of most, in that he needs to fit a cultivated garden into a wilderness whereas a lot of other people are trying to use native plants and trying to fit them into suburbia.
Top

Chris talks about some of the PLANTS he has incorporated and some of the plants that have performed particularly well in this environment, as well as some of the plants he just likes. His primary concern has been getting winter interest in the garden and some winter screening. So he has been planting a lot of evergreens, pines and clumping bamboo, as well as rhododendrons that will get large enough to provide a little screening from the highway. In the flower department he is using a lot of common perennials like black eyed susan, shasta daisies, day lilies, things like that in the sunnier places will provide a lot of color in the summer time. Eric sees a lot of potential here and is looking forward to returning in 10 years to see how it all turns out. It will be completely different then.
Top

We next visit Chris' roadside VEGETABLE GARDEN. This is the only structured part of his garden. At the early stages this was a good place for Chris to go for a little sanity in this wilderness of gardening in the mountains. Chris is growing a nice variety of vegetables, most standard faire. He has lettuce, greens, tomatoes, potatoes, peppers, green beans, snow peas and radishes. There is a lot of diversity but fairly standard garden crops. This garden is productive. They really do not buy any produce from about the end of May until the 1st of October, during that time they're eating from the garden. This site is only about 5 or 6 feet from the highway so the soil was initially compacted. When his parents originally bought this site it was a pull off on the side of the road, people would pull off and park. So Chris has been improving the soil over time by adding wood chips as a mulch on top. He then lets it naturally decompose, break down and feed the soil. It's a great way of reclaiming a site and over time improving a site. Eric looks at the color of the soil and it is a very dark, intense color indicating it's productive and organically rich. By adding mulch on top and pulling it back to plant it provides a tremendous amount of water conservation, the mulch holds the water in and there aren't many weeds in this garden. Mulch does all those things. His weeding is reduced by 95%, next to none, and his soil is much richer than his neighbors, and that is just after 4 years of adding mulch.

Eric thanks Chris for the tour. It's been exciting to get to know him, to learn a little about the world of blogging and to see his garden. Our next stop is the garden right next door, which is Chris' dear mother.
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Eric next meets Mrs. Carrie. We have just spent the morning with her son and saw his garden so it is really neat to visit this garden which in many ways provides a picture of what Chris' garden will look like in years to come. This is a more MATURE GARDEN. It too has a very natural, airy, almost wild look but Eric finds it very fitting for the site. When Mrs. Carrie and her husband bought this property what they liked was that it was heavily forested but it had flat areas at the top where they knew they could add plants. They, of course, have rhododendrons and other plants that grow up here but they wanted to add to the wild stuff that was already here. They already did have native azaleas, the flame azaleas, and rhododendrons but they wanted to add to that while still keeping the wild look. Mrs. Carrie has been gardening here for around 25 years. She and her husband bought the property about 30 years ago but they were working and could only come up during vacation time so they couldn't get much done. When they retired they wanted to spend as much time as possible here and that's when they started gardening seriously. Some of the original wild plants were undesirable. The blackberry vines had grown 10 feet tall and they had to get rid of those. Other vining plants covered the ground and they had to get rid of those before they could even put in pathways. It was a challenge. But they have enjoyed it. One of the questions we receive on our web site is - How do I take a larger site and develop it into a garden. Many people have half an acre, in this case they had many acres. It could be a daunting task to try to tackle and develop this large space. Mrs. Carrie thinks one needs to tackle one small section at a time because if one tries to do it all at once, it's just too much, especially as one gets older. Here they started at the front. They cleared that, then planted. They started with daffodils because they were here in the fall and that was the time to plant daffodils. They kept in mind they wanted to keep it forest-like. They didn't want to clear the land completely and didn't want to have a lawn or anything like that. Eric notices a number of native plants and flowering plants, it looks like they worked in year round color. They do try to have something blooming all year long. Mrs. Carrie's suggestion for other gardeners is to start with small spaces, pick plants that you know and love and go from there. If you find a plant isn't growing in a particular spot, maybe it's not getting enough sun or getting too much sun use the shovel and move it into a new location. She has started with plantings then divided and spread those plants into other parts of the garden. This is a marvelous example of starting small and growing it into a larger garden. Eric appreciates Mrs. Carrie sharing her garden with us but we have another garden to visit so we're off. And Mrs. Carrie tells us she too enjoyed the visit as well as the chance to show her garden to the audience. Thanks Mrs. Carrie.
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The next garden is quite different from the first 2. In fact, this garden is different than most gardens we visit. This garden is built on and around some incredible hardscape - stonewalls and sculpture. It has a very playful and whimsical feel about it. Eric meets the gardener, Damaris. Damaris was originally from Germany and her love of plants and gardening didn't start until she was in America. She used to borrow books from the library and literally fantasize about having gardens like this. When she moved to Asheville in 1999 was when she really started working on this place. It started with a small, geometric, formal herb garden and has evolved since then.

This was a challenging site. Number 1 it is a very STEEP LOT. It was a bare yard, the house had white vinyl siding and the front was extremely steep, nothing but weeds. There weren't even steps that led to her car. So, more than once she fell on her behind. Little by little it has evolved. But it really started to change when Ricki came into her life. He is a stone mason and built the very 1st pond and he hasn't stopped since. They have divided the property into sections mainly through the hardscape and that has made the slope more manageable. Then each section just offered its own potential to do something with it and to get creative with plants and sculpture and stones. Little by little they transformed the lot. Eric can tell they have put a lot of heart and a lot of passion into this garden. The stonework is amazing, it is a very central and important part of this garden.
Top

Damaris talks a little about the transformation of this lot and how they have integrated their art, sculpture and love of art into this garden. She has been inspired by Ricki's MASONRY. They've explored concrete and formed concrete into some organic shapes, from leaves to birds to other formations. It's been inspiring to see how Ricki weaves everything together. He ties in headstones and bricks and some of Damaris' sculpture into his stonework. And Ricki has learned to sculpt, in addition to masonry. Eric thinks some of the most impressive stonework is on the residences. The 2 buildings are quite different. The building they added is wrapped in natural stone and has headstones mixed in as well as brick and a variety of other objects. The upper residence is wrapped with a different type of rock, a rock that is manufactured. It provides a lot of opportunity to literally to paint in rock and to paint in concrete. Damaris feels she gets to paint in sculpture. She considers herself and Ricki very fortunate in this area.
Top

Damaris next addresses the SOFTSCAPE. When undertaking the landscaping the steep slope created quite an undertaking. Initially they had to bring in materials bucket by bucket and carry them up the hill. They next created a path to just go up the slope or hill. Then came stairs, then they needed switch back trails in order to come up with wheelbarrows because they got really tired of carrying everything up by hand. So, Ricki built the trails, that in turn kind of chopped up the land into manageable areas that Damaris could plant. Prior to that it was overwhelming, a steep slope, very weedy, very grassy, very dangerous to mow. She is very glad they got rid of the grass, there is nothing fun about mowing and without a doubt this is more attractive.
Top

They next talk about the WATER FEATURES. They are really nice and do a great job of tying in the different elements of the garden. The upper pond is actually the reason that Ricki and Damaris met. She was interested in feng shui and wanted a water feature for it. He showed up in her life beautifully and got into the pond, almost obsessed with the whole pond project, it was like a forever science project. After the upper pond he built the lower pond. Ricki was then inspired to join the 2. A little creek joins the 2 ponds and attracts birds by the flocks, as well as other wildlife such as opossums and raccoons, it seems everyone comes here to drink.
Top

Damaris mentions the IMPATIENS growing in the cracks of the waterfalls. She had always used impatiens to add color by the pond but because they need so much water she started to plant them with their feet wet. They are growing within the liner and they get water all the time. Same with the begonias that have grown into mounds. People always ask about them, even the bloggers. Most think they will rot but they don't, they grow beautifully and she never needs to water them. It really is a creative way to add color to a water feature. Many aquatic plants don't add that color. Eric thinks that the reason they're able to survive in so much water is because of the dissolved oxygen in the water. There are many different elevation changes and the water is getting churned up as it goes around the corners of the creek which makes it possible to grow these plants in this setting. If this was more of a bog there might not be enough oxygen to support plants.
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Eric finds it fitting that we end this garden tour where Damaris' garden journey began. It started right here in the herb garden which has now given way to a lot of blooming perennials. Damaris originally drew this out on a piece of paper, she designed a grid, brought some boards up here, put them together, put in organic material and plants and it began. Many of the plants were gifts from friends and have since been shared with friends. It's a great way to start gardening. Eric tells people all the time when dealing with a challenging site, a new construction, a place where there is not a lot of top soil, to start with a RAISED BED. It can be just as simple as some 2 x 6 lumber, then back fill with some high quality garden soil. Oftentimes it's just too difficult to till in hard red clay. It's much easier to incorporate the garden soil, then start adding more organic matter. Raised beds with garden soil make the process much easier and are an excellent way to start. Damaris tells us about some of her favorite plants. The Rose Campion is a favorite, it blooms for a long time, puts out a lot of brilliant blooms, is easy to grow and is drought tolerant. She loves it. The Hardy Begonia is a happy shade plant and they do have a lot of shade here. The foliage has amazing texture, underneath is red and especially in the afternoon when the sun hits it, it seems to glow. Another favorite is the Leatherleaf Viburnum. The texture of the leaves is amazing, she loves it. The leaves go from light pink to white and then turn into clusters of red berries, then later, blackish berries. So all season long it provides interest. She even presses the leaves into clay or concrete.

Eric thanks Damaris for sharing her garden with us. It's been inspiring to see the creativity in this garden, to see how Damaris has worked her personality into this amazing garden. Great garden, thanks Damaris.
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LINKS:

Biltmore Estate and Inn
Stay at Inn on Biltmore Estate | Four-Star Hotel in Asheville, NC

Garden Bloggers Spring Fling
Garden Bloggers Fling Asheville 2012: Visiting Asheville before and after the Fling

Christopher's Blog
Outside Clyde

Wamboldtopia
Wamboldtopia - A Little Slice of Heaven in West Asheville

The Rock Pirate
The Rock Pirate

Plant List

   
   
 
   
   
   
   
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