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GardenSMART Episode

Show #35/7309. An Amazingly Beautiful Garden With A View

Summary of Show

Cashiers
In this episode GardenSMART tours a stunning mountaintop gem tucked away in the hills of North Carolina. CASHIERS, North Carolina is a sleepy mountain town of around 2000 that swells to as many as 25,000 in peak season. Convenient to both Asheville and Highlands, it has become a popular vacation destination for those who love exploring the many beautiful sites of the Nantahala National Forest. For More Information Click Here

Freesia Ridge
Eric meets Judy and thanks her for inviting GardenSMART to visit. Judy welcomes Eric to FREESIA RIDGE. Eric comments the views are amazing up here and is guessing that’s because we're sitting on top of a mountain. It is a pretty expansive site, Judy and her husband have done an incredible amount of work here. Eric asks Judy to tell us about this property. Judy explains, they bought this property in 2007, they are from New Orleans, the flat lands. They fell in love with what was up here. This property became available, it was just a woodland. There had been some trails that a lot of people would come up and use. There was a little shack up here that people would oftentimes use to kind of get out of the weather and that sort of thing. She and her husband would come up frequently just to visit because they lived in a house just a block away down the mountain.
For More Information Click Here

Water Feature
On the way to the guest house they have a really, really nice WATER FEATURE. For Eric no great garden, in his opinion, is complete without water. Eric would like for Judy to talk about that a little bit. It's like a weeping wall, which is a little different, it's not a waterfall as such, it's not a river, but is perfect for the pavilion area. It's parabolic in design. There is a big rock sort of right in the middle that is surrounded by this weeping wall. Just sit there and listen. Just listen. The sound is magnified because of the semicircular design of the wall.
For More Information Click Here

Slope Garden
Eric and Judy next visit the SLOPE GARDEN. Judy points out all the butterflies that are having a good time on the Joe-Pye weed. This garden particularly has changed quite a bit over the years. It started out with plants that were quite small. They did put in things like butterfly weed to try to get the butterflies attracted and that sort of thing. You can't tell now, but in the spring, they have 300 daffodils in here, they're the Garden Club of America daffodils, which are absolutely gorgeous. They do have to be kind of careful when putting other plants in that they don't mess up the bulbs that are under ground. They have to be really careful about that, but Judy wanted a mass of color.
For More Information Click Here

Sheffield Chrysanthemums
Judy notes they started with a small patch of the SHEFFIELD CHRYSANTHEMUMS because in her garden club in New Orleans they had had some speakers who were experts on what attracted butterflies and such. They mentioned that they will grow exponentially. And that is true she is now taking huge clumps out and putting them other places. They're so happy up here and she’s really excited about that.
For More Information Click Here

Pollinators
Eric would like to talk a little bit about the POLLINATORS since that's clearly something that's been important to Judy. As you think about the garden, attracting butterflies and the hummingbirds and all of the kinds of nature all have a wonderful impact on the garden as a whole. Just bringing nature up near the house in rewarding. The pollinators are of course very, very important for seed production and also just the ecosystem. Judy agrees and they have bees, several hives of bees.
For More Information Click Here

Plantings Around The House
Eric knows Judy has a lot to show us, let's go take a look at other parts of the garden. As Judy mentioned earlier the gardens beyond the homestead are more wild and free and more natural. As we get closer to the home, the design becomes much more formal. Eric would like for Judy to talk about the PLANTINGS AROUND THE HOUSE. One of the biggest number of plantings is boxwood, the American boxwood. That is not something one would think of in a wild setting, but for some reason they do beautifully up in the mountains. A lot of people use them. They're easy to care for, or they were until there was a problem with the boxwood blight that struck within the last five years. It was really interesting to see the first people who had this problem were way down low then each year it kind of crept its way up.
For More Information Click Here

Montine McDaniel Freeman Award
Judy and her husband, in 1995, underwrote a program for the Horticulture Committee of GCA where underutilized, but good plant material, native plants, are given an award. It's the only GCA award that goes to a plant, not to a person. It's the MONTINE MCDANIEL FREEMAN HORTICULTURE AWARD and it goes to a plant, the club that nominates it is recognized, but it's the plant itself that wins.
For More Information Click Here

Dahlia Garden
Throughout there are these wonderful little garden rooms that Judy has created, Eric would like for Judy to talk us through several of these. For example, as we were walking in, one can look down on her beautiful DAHLIA GARDEN. Tell us about those. Judy obviously has had wonderful success with them. Judy admits, well, off and on. This year particularly, yes, they have done beautifully. A big question up here for a lot of garden people is - do we leave the Dahlias in the ground at the end of the season or do we take them out? There are arguments for both sides.
For More Information Click Here

Chickens
Beyond the Dahlia Garden, we can hear Judy's lovely CHICKENS. Eric knows Judy enjoys them for the eggs and they’re probably wonderful company, but also they're kind of the composters of her garden as well. Judy thinks the chickens do enjoy her company because whenever they go out the door, they start talking. They have six now. They usually keep around four, but no roosters, just the hens for the laying, for the eggs.
For More Information Click Here

LINKS:

Montine McDaniel Freeman Award
Plant of the Year | The Garden Club of America

Cashiers, North Carolina
Home - The Village Green Of Cashiers

Plant List

Show #35/7309. An Amazingly Beautiful Garden With A View

Transcript of Show

In this episode GardenSMART tours a stunning mountaintop gem tucked away in the hills of North Carolina. CASHIERS, North Carolina is a sleepy mountain town of around 2000 that swells to as many as 25,000 in peak season. Convenient to both Asheville and Highlands, it has become a popular vacation destination for those who love exploring the many beautiful sites of the Nantahala National Forest. This cool lush town is surrounded by 5000 foot mountain peaks and with over 75 inches of precipitation a year, the area is filled with beautiful rivers, waterfalls and, of course, gardens. Summer temperatures are moderate and entice visitors from warmer regions to seek reprieve from the heat and enjoy themselves outdoors.

As you might imagine, gardening is very popular thus the region has organized a biannual event known as the Joy Garden Tour that features many of the finest gardens in the area. As a gardener, I'd say it's one of the best reasons to make the trip to Cashiers. It's held on odd numbered years, so make sure you mark your calendars.

Today we visit one of the gardens featured on the Joy Garden Tour, it's the home of Judy Freeman. Judy protests that she's only an amateur gardener, but her property says otherwise. Judy and her husband painstakingly carved this little piece of heaven out of the woodlands being very careful with their work in an effort to preserve the natural beauty of the site. The gardens have a timeless feel. They have heavily utilized native plants, giving one the sense that the garden is a seamless piece of the mountain, perhaps the most stunning example of native mountain landscaping Eric has seen.

Eric meets Judy and thanks her for inviting GardenSMART to visit. Judy welcomes Eric to FREESIA RIDGE. Eric comments the views are amazing up here and is guessing that’s because we're sitting on top of a mountain. It is a pretty expansive site, Judy and her husband have done an incredible amount of work here. Eric asks Judy to tell us about this property. Judy explains, they bought this property in 2007, they are from New Orleans, the flat lands. They fell in love with what was up here. This property became available, it was just a woodland. There had been some trails that a lot of people would come up and use. There was a little shack up here that people would oftentimes use to kind of get out of the weather and that sort of thing. She and her husband would come up frequently just to visit because they lived in a house just a block away down the mountain. They often would bring a bottle of wine and come up and watch a sunset. They enjoyed it so much that at one point he said, might be kind of nice if we thought about buying that place. It had been for sale for some time and nobody seemed to be jumping at it. It's 26 acres, so that's a lot for anybody to want to take over. But they did buy it although what they have developed is really only about six acres of the whole property. A lot of it is still woods and trails. There's an immense granite wall behind that's still in the woods, places where the bears live and that sort of thing. Judy explains they are on Little Terrapin Mountain. Right behind is Whiteside Mountain, which is one of the oldest mountains in this part of the world. Going south past Whiteside, one comes to Big Terrapin, then you have Rock Mountain and Chimney Top. They have 280 degree views, providing views of four major mountains. That was one of the things that, coming from the flat lands, to be able to have this kind of view outside of someplace like Colorado is pretty amazing. Judy points out the Nantahala Valley, which is a national forest. It will never be developed, which is fabulous. They are on a ridge and that's why they call it Freesia Ridge. The lot is very, very sloped. In order to develop it, to make it livable and still have gardens and enjoy the woodlands and such they did an awful lot of earth moving and rock moving. Judy can't remember how many hundreds of trucks of rocks that came in. Where they are standing right now was totally filled. They wanted a series of rooms, they didn't want anything to be just open. They wanted to have some little surprises, so as you walk along the paths, you're not real sure what's going to be around the next corner. That's kind of the way it is going up to their pavilion. They have the main house, a guest house and then a party house. The pavilion is completely self-sufficient. Her husband loves to cook. They have his and her kitchens in the main house, and then he has a kitchen in the pavilion as well, plus a water feature. They've just tried to incorporate a variety of interesting elements for enjoyment and to make use of what's here naturally. They’ve made an effort to try not to make it look like they have not done too much to it. They want to keep that natural element involved in the gardens, so that's why the native plants are mixed in with non-natives. Eric thinks they've done a great job of preserving the natural beauty of the site.

There are so many amazing vistas here and there. There’s not a bad view, but a couple of them are really, really special. Eric points out the little overlook with a fire pit, he's sure they love that in the cool weather. And the grandkids probably enjoy it, too. Yes. Their grandchildren, when young, went to camp up here, and of course at camp, they all have to have their s'mores and that sort of thing. Even during wintertime, quite often it's mild enough down there that just the heat of the fire pit keeps it toasty and comfortable. They do a lot of fun things, they try to have many family gatherings up here. Thanksgiving, is a great time. Judy had a family reunion for her family in 2013 and had 60 people come up. Her family's very military and her nephew, who is a marine fighter pilot, had his son commissioned into the Marine Corps here. They want this to be a family place and their family loves to come up. They have what they call a guest house that is a second house for family. They can sleep quite a number of people and it just makes it very special.

On the way to the guest house they have a really, really nice WATER FEATURE. For Eric no great garden, in his opinion, is complete without water. Eric would like for Judy to talk about that a little bit. It's like a weeping wall, which is a little different, it's not a waterfall as such, it's not a river, but is perfect for the pavilion area. It's parabolic in design. There is a big rock sort of right in the middle that is surrounded by this weeping wall. Just sit there and listen. Just listen. The sound is magnified because of the semicircular design of the wall. You hear all these different tones. It has 10 different outlets of water, and each one kind of makes a different tone because it's at a different height from where the water hits the pool. And they keep fish in it, koi and goldfish. Trying to keep the raccoons from eating them is a challenge for sure.

Eric thinks this is an amazing garden. He loves the way that the trails in the garden lead us around these corners that open up into these vistas that are just amazing. It's like little elements of surprise in every direction. This is just such an amazing place.

Eric and Judy next visit the SLOPE GARDEN. Judy points out all the butterflies that are having a good time on the Joe-Pye weed. This garden particularly has changed quite a bit over the years. It started out with plants that were quite small. They did put in things like butterfly weed to try to get the butterflies attracted and that sort of thing. You can't tell now, but in the spring, they have 300 daffodils in here, they're the Garden Club of America daffodils, which are absolutely gorgeous. They do have to be kind of careful when putting other plants in that they don't mess up the bulbs that are under ground. They have to be really careful about that, but Judy wanted a mass of color. As you can see, there are purples, there are yellows, there are whites, they wanted to have mass plantings. The birds love it. The butterflies love it. The bugs love it. The Black-eyed Susans were just in bloom recently. We're talking towards the end of summer, so things are not looking like they did earlier in the season, but that's one of the things that Judy was aiming for, to have something that would be beautiful all year round, not just spring or summer. Eric has noticed an incredible diversity in this landscape. So many beautiful native plants are going to attract pollinators and can see just how they would have a wonderful succession of color year round.

Foliage also plays into this as well. There are some amazing plants that are going to provide vibrant foliage. For example the oak leaf hydrangeas are going to look amazing once they start to turn that vibrant fire engine red and the spent seed heads and all of that makes for a very cohesive garden design and something one can enjoy all year round.

Judy notes they started with a small patch of the SHEFFIELD CHRYSANTHEMUMS because in her garden club in New Orleans they had had some speakers who were experts on what attracted butterflies and such. They mentioned that they will grow exponentially. And that is true she is now taking huge clumps out and putting them other places. They're so happy up here and she’s really excited about that. Usually when they are blooming, there are butterflies all over them. It's just exciting to see. Eric thinks one of the wonderful things about going with great diversity in a garden is one gets to learn fairly quickly what likes being there and what doesn't like being there. As they're doing with the Sheffield chrysanthemum, the things that thrive, of course, are wonderful plants to start putting in other parts of the garden and moving them around. Plus it's a great way to get free plants.

Eric would like to talk a little bit about the POLLINATORS since that's clearly something that's been important to Judy. As you think about the garden, attracting butterflies and the hummingbirds and all of the kinds of nature all have a wonderful impact on the garden as a whole. Just bringing nature up near the house in rewarding. The pollinators are of course very, very important for seed production and also just the ecosystem. Judy agrees and they have bees, several hives of bees. They're a wonderful little Italian bee that are very gentle. They don't go after you like some other bees might. They provide fabulous honey that they collect twice a year. They are really key pollinators. Eric is impressed, what a beautiful space.

Eric knows Judy has a lot to show us, let's go take a look at other parts of the garden. As Judy mentioned earlier the gardens beyond the homestead are more wild and free and more natural. As we get closer to the home, the design becomes much more formal. Eric would like for Judy to talk about the PLANTINGS AROUND THE HOUSE. One of the biggest number of plantings is boxwood, the American boxwood. That is not something one would think of in a wild setting, but for some reason they do beautifully up in the mountains. A lot of people use them. They're easy to care for, or they were until there was a problem with the boxwood blight that struck within the last five years. It was really interesting to see the first people who had this problem were way down low then each year it kind of crept its way up. And did eventually hit Judy. A lot of people have taken their boxwoods out because it completely defoliates the plant, just decimates it then the plant dies. Judy wasn’t going to let this happen. These boxwoods are too important to her home. Brad Phillips, who tends her gardens, began a very rigorous spraying program, and so far, they are doing fine. Eric weighs in commenting boxwood is one of the iconic staples of the formal garden and it is heartwarming to know that there are things that we can do to battle boxwood blight. It will spread through rain splash from plant to plant to plant. That's why in time, it's navigated throughout most of the east coast of the US. But it can be treated with fungicide. An important thing to remember is to rotate the fungicides that you're using because the fungus immunity mutates quickly. It will develop an immunity to whichever fungicide or a tolerance to it, so it's important to trick it from time to time with something different.

Eric would like to talk about other native plants around the home. He knows this is very near and dear to Judy's heart and is important to the design of this garden. Even the formal garden heavily features native plants, and she has used them throughout the whole of this design. Judy points out the pear tree, the Espalier pear, as well as the boxwoods and the hydrangeas. There are a lot of native plants available that are fabulous plants that are not being appreciated, even known about.

Judy and her husband, in 1995, underwrote a program for the Horticulture Committee of GCA where underutilized, but good plant material, native plants, are given an award. It's the only GCA award that goes to a plant, not to a person. It's the MONTINE MCDANIEL FREEMAN HORTICULTURE AWARD and it goes to a plant, the club that nominates it is recognized, but it's the plant itself that wins. Which Judy thinks is important. Eric thinks it’s a wonderful award, it's great to hear that we're celebrating natives and hopefully it will encourage more garden clubs to really focus their attention and their energy on the next generation of great native plants for the garden.

Throughout there are these wonderful little garden rooms that Judy has created, Eric would like for Judy to talk us through several of these. For example, as we were walking in, one can look down on her beautiful DAHLIA GARDEN. Tell us about those. Judy obviously has had wonderful success with them. Judy admits, well, off and on. This year particularly, yes, they have done beautifully. A big question up here for a lot of garden people is - do we leave the Dahlias in the ground at the end of the season or do we take them out? There are arguments for both sides. The ones left in the ground will not come back very well the next year in full force. Two years ago, she believes, half of what they had planted came back, which was a real disappointment. So last year they dug them up and stored them in some loose soil and kept them in the garage. Then in the spring, they were replanted in the ground and every one of them came up. And not only did they come up, they were even taller than she and Eric. They've been well fertilized and they're just blooming like crazy. Actually, Judy has been around to see a number of gardens, like High Hampton has a Dahlia garden and such, and their little Dahlias really never got as large as here, she doesn't know quite why. But they were just very lucky. Eric feels that's one of the joys of gardening. Having those ups and downs and the bumper years are super exciting.

Beyond the Dahlia Garden, we can hear Judy's lovely CHICKENS. Eric knows Judy enjoys them for the eggs and they’re probably wonderful company, but also they're kind of the composters of her garden as well. Judy thinks the chickens do enjoy her company because whenever they go out the door, they start talking. They have six now. They usually keep around four, but no roosters, just the hens for the laying, for the eggs. The residue from the chickens goes directly into the compost where it breaks down and it makes great dirt. Some people think she is crazy but Judy loves to make dirt. She loves her compost pile. It's fascinating to watch how it breaks down and makes this wonderful light soil. It's full of worms. That dirt then goes into her vegetable garden. The vegetable gardens are raised beds making it's easier on the back. And, it also helps keep a lot of the critters out when they're raised like that. But she does have a picture somewhere of a young bear who has crawled up into the garden, she's sitting in the middle of her lettuce patch just helping herself to all the left over lettuce. She is just feeding her face. Eric says, well bears love good food, too, and here she has her own private salad garden.

Eric again thanks Judy there's not a bad view in this garden. And, this is an amazing garden and garden tour. He feels we could have spent a week here and still not experienced everything. Thank you so much for being with us today. Judy thanks Eric and GardenSMART. It's been their pleasure to have us here.

LINKS:

Montine McDaniel Freeman Award
Plant of the Year | The Garden Club of America

Cashiers, North Carolina
Home - The Village Green Of Cashiers

Plant List


   
 
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By Delilah Onofrey, Suntory Flowers
Photographs courtesy of Suntory Flowers

Planting annual beds of flowers, especially those that are bred to take the summer heat, thereby extending their glory into fall makes a lot of sense. Click here for an informative article that discusses an economical strategy along with design ideas that can provide color like - a living highlighter. To learn more click here.

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