The White Rabbit put on his spectacles. 'Where shall I begin, please your Majesty?' he asked.
'Begin at the beginning,' the King said gravely, 'and go on till you come to the end: then stop.'
--Lewis Carroll, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
My mind is still in a whirl after spending an amazing week visiting so many unique gardens and talking with fellow gardening enthusiasts during the Garden Bloggers' Fling in Asheville, North Carolina. I feel like Alice returning from Wonderland. Where to begin indeed?? Normally, I would follow the King's advice and start in the logical place, but when I realized this was the week for Wildflower Wednesday, I thought, why not start at the end? The last full day of the Fling took us to the perfect place to view wildflowers--the mountain-top home of Super-organizer Christopher of Outside Clyde.
After reading many of Christopher's posts about his adventures in building this cabin himself, it seemed a bit surreal to step off the bus and see it in person.
Seeing it in person also made me appreciate even more the work and planning
that went into creating this sanctuary.
Christopher has named his home Ku'ulei' Aina, which roughly translates to "My Beloved Land." Behind the cabin and down a steeply sloping path is this rock labyrinth which invites visitors to explore. Unfortunately, this is where I was when Christopher was giving an introduction about his home and garden--no way could I scramble up that slope again quickly--so what follows are my impressions of his garden, not background or details.
As for wildflowers, our host explained that we were visiting during the height of "The Lull" :) Though it was too late to see the mass of wildflowers that earlier blanketed the mountainside, there were still a few to be seen, such as this Phacelia with its dainty lavender-blue blooms.
My untrained eye also spotted a few other wildflowers,
such as this native Solomon's Seal springing up everywhere.
Wild geraniums still in bloom.
Clover peeking through for the bees.
The most striking of all the wildflowers was this yellow bloomer in the perennial bed. Someone thought it might be false dandelion, but no one could positively identify it. Whatever it might be, the bees certainly enjoy it.
Although the wildflowers grow naturally, Christopher has added--and continues to add--perennials throughout the area. Orange poppies catch your eye as you stroll through the green.
Patches of Sweet William brighten up another area.
Yellow and purple irises--heirlooms, I think--travel down a slope.
Colorful blooms stand out more when they're not fighting for attention with other bright colors. Again, no one was quite sure what these were, but we thought they might be painted daisies. The hot pink blooms certainly caught my eye.
This garden is clearly an example of working with nature, not forcing it into a particular style. Even the garden art is natural, taking advantage of the plentiful rocks in the area.
However, on this day with so many Flingers traipsing all over, there was a little impromptu garden art:)
We had plenty of time to explore this mountain retreat, which was fortunate because across the meadow was "Bonnie Brae," the home and garden of Christopher's mother, whom he fondly refers to as "Bulbarella." Some of the more adventurous took the scenic shortcut through the forest.
I chose the easier path, though my calf muscles, used to the flatlands of Illinois, were screaming by the end. Huge rhododendrons still in bloom were a welcome signal that my climb was almost over.
A shady garden awaited me, filled with hostas and a unique bottle tree.
The magnificent view from the deck of Bonnie Brae was worth the aching muscles and feet. It's easy to see why Christopher calls this his "Beloved Land."
Many thanks to Christopher for opening his home and garden for us to ramble through and to all the organizers of the Asheville Fling--it was an incredible experience! There will be more posts to come on Asheville, for sure, as I sort through my hundreds of photos and scattered notes. But if you'd like to see more of the places we visited, you can go here. Also, for wildflower enthusiasts, be sure to visit fellow Flinger Gail at Clay and Limestone.