I love playing matchmaker in my garden. I introduce plants that will be compatible in terms of color, texture and form. As with humans, the best relationships achieve a balance of contrast and harmony. For example, I paired little bluestem and rattlesnake master because they share the same blue foliage, but one is coarse and strappy while the other is refined and upright. These arranged...Read more
Charlotte’s seen rapid growth over the past several decades, but many say that boom has come at the cost of inclusivity and, perhaps, even a bit of the city’s soul. With the loss of many historic buildings and without much of an identifiable design vernacular — aside, perhaps, from the profusion of five-story apartment buildings — Charlotte’s even been accused of looking and feeling bland....Read more
The message seems to be getting out — monarchs need milkweed. The charismatic orange and black butterflies seek nectar on a wide variety of flowers, but their caterpillars feed on no other plant. And that appears to be where the clarity ends. Even after planting and managing for several of the 16 milkweed species native to North Carolina, I was still perplexed by the monarch’s preferences and...Read more
Bucket of Doom. A slasher movie from the 1970s? The latest season of Fortnite? No, but for many homeowners, it might be something equally thrilling – an effective, inexpensive and safe way to control mosquitos.
Five-gallon buckets are often a source of standing water where mosquitos can breed. This simple idea turns that around so the humble bucket becomes your ally in the fight for...Read more
Plant obsessions can run in different directions. Some plant lovers amass a deep collection of a single species – say, iris, roses or hostas. Others go wide — they want one of everything. I’m definitely on the wide end of that spectrum, but I’m moving toward the center. I’ve come to appreciate how a mass underplanting of Southern shield ferns brings cohesion to a shrub border and how a wavy...Read more
As COVID-19 fades from the front pages but normalcy still hovers out of reach, Charlotte’s two biggest employment centers want to resemble each other a bit more in the decades to come.
On the surface, University City (a sprawling, suburban landscape dominated by cul-de-sacs, strip shopping centers, the university campus and office parks) doesn’t seem to have much in common with...Read more
This story originally appeared in the Charlotte Ledger business newsletter, and is reproduced here with permission.
The start of summer beckons in the region’s extensive greenways, but Mecklenburg County’s publicly owned green spaces are under attack from a half-inch-long insect that’s turning whole areas of our urban forest...Read more
At a work session about the city’s new unified development ordinance this week, Charlotte City Council members repeated several phrases so often they sounded like mantras: Middle ground, finding a balance, and trade-offs.
The ongoing work illustrates the balancing – and sometimes the tension – inherent in translating a high-level document like the Charlotte 2040 Vision Plan approved...Read more
It was a warm, late-April evening in the Uwharries. Conditions seemed auspicious. The skies were clear, and the wind was calm. The moon wouldn’t rise until the wee hours. At dusk, my husband and I threw some camp chairs and a cooler into the bed of the truck. We drove halfway up the mountain near the house, navigating by our parking lights. The tree canopy enclosed the narrow, abandoned road....Read more
Charlotte-based architect and urban planner Martin Zimmerman talks with Melissa and Chris Bruntlett about their latest book and their family’s first few years living and navigating Delft, a 1,200 year-old city in the Netherlands, mostly by bike, at speeds rarely exceeding ten miles per hour.Read more