Thursday, May 24, 2012

Outside Clyde for Wildflower Wednesday

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.


  1. Welcome back Rose,

    What a wonderful garden, wild and straight lines, I love it.
    When I see gardens such as Christophers, I realise I have got to let go of mine a little more.
    One day I will let the inner control freak go :)

  2. Those woods look so inviting!

  3. What a beautiful place to enjoy and explore!! Thank-you for sharing it with all of us!

  4. What a brilliant place to visit
    S x

  5. It was a wonderful garden...and there were lots of wildflowers. xogail

  6. What a nice garden. I so enjoyed the wildflower meadow and that house was super neat.

  7. What a treat to see his gardens up close and personal. I wish I'd been able to attend the fling. Would have been a joy to meet you in person, Rose!

  8. As wild and wooly as it seemed I hardly wanted to leave that mountain top. Just think of how good we would feel after getting used to traipsing up and down those hilly paths.

  9. Rose, excellent post. It was so nice meeting you!

  10. That does seem like a magical place. Great post!

  11. Thanks for the wonderful tour!
    Happy gardening!
    Lea's menagerie

  12. Christopher's home and garden were truly breath taking. (in more ways than one!)I still think a golf cart is needed though. :)

  13. Rose - what a wonderful trip down memory lane. I loved the time we had on the mountaintop. It was also great to see you again. Hopefully we'll both make it to SF next year!

  14. Beautiful place to live, and to visit, Rose - lucky you!

    The dandelion-looking flowers might be Canada hawkweed. We grow them in our garden for Native Seed Gardeners, a prairie restoration project in the Barrington area.

  15. I'm glad you started with this post. I follow Christopher's blog, but it was so neat to see his familiar spaces here through the eyes of a visitor. I had to laugh at a flatlander working her leg muscles in the mountains. That view from Bonnie Brae is amazing.

  16. I love this kind of gardening!
    Gorgeous woodlands!
    Sounds as if you had an amazing time.
    Looking forward to more Fling!

  17. How wonderful to see this beautiful countryside. Beloved indeed. I look forward to see more about the adventures you Flingers had.

  18. You have a wonderful blog - I really enjoy the detail you provide. And I especially enjoyed getting to know you a little last weekend at the fling!

  19. Hi Rose, Everyone seems to be reporting nothing but positive things about the Fling. A great time was certainly had by all. It will be interesting to have the same gardens from the Fling on different blogs. Everyone sees things so differently!
    Thanks for the tour of Christopher's place. What a view! I like the rock maze and admire the way he has made such a natural garden. Looking forward to seeing more!

  20. You are funny, love the Alice in Wonderland references. Christopher's house was really a labor of love.
    We who live in the Upstate have mountain goat legs, :-) I imagine the hills were rough. When we moved here our slopes were hard for a long time. Think I am finally used to them....a bit.

  21. Wow, what an amazing place!! I love the wooded area en route to 'Bonnie Brae', I would love to explore it myself.

    I'm so glad you had a good time and are back safe and sound Rose. Lovely to see all the flowers. I may be way off beam but the mystery yellow flower looks very much like Coreopsis Grandiflora Early Sunrise to me.

  22. Loved this post. I love seeing things in their natural state and not all manicured. What a beautiful place. Thanks for taking us along on your visit.

  23. I'd have loved to browse round there. The house on the props and the strange bush growing out of the lovely blue pot, caught my eye particularly.
    Maggie X

    Nuts in May

  24. What a beautiful post on these two connecting gardens. I laughed at Janet's comment and your reference, but it is so true. The climbing did not phase me either living along the gorge, I am a bit accustomed to climbs. We forget how different the terrain is from where all of us live. These gardens were such a delight. I could not stop exploring. You did a great job showing the experience. It was so nice to meet you too, Rose.

  25. Thanks all for taking the time to visit, and I'm glad you enjoyed the tour of Christopher's mountaintop bit of paradise--it was such a thrill to see it in person.

    I am still sorting through photos for more posts about the Asheville Fling and trying to get caught up on reading everyone else's posts. I promise to do better on replying to everyone next time!

  26. The mountains are such a wonderful place for wildflowers. I believe the yellow daisy is Hawkweed. We have a lot of it here too and it's a favorite of the bees and goldfinches. Chris' place and his parents' place look magical!

  27. What a gorgeous place! you must have come home brimming with ideas!

  28. What a magnificent view! Thanks for taking us on the tour with you. I love how relaxed this garden is with hits of colour amongst the greenery.

  29. A lovely post, Rose ... have been so enjoying all the many joyful pics from the Ashevill Fling ... how fun!

  30. What a great shot of Christopher's house in that first photo, Rose! His garden sure looks worth the "screaming calf muscles". Thanks for taking us there!

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose

  31. What a magical garden Rose, such a strong sense of place, I love the rock labyrinth.

  32. Rose - I love your long shots of the secluded paths in the woods. And you found plants and treasures I never saw. Just put up my post. I love reliving it! Great to see you again.

  33. As an earlier commenter said, the yellow looks like hawkweed. Around the world we each get our own sub-species.


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