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.
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.
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.
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.
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.