Bring the beach to the Piedmont

Summer is winding down. Kids are heading back to school. Days will soon be shorter than nights. Labor Day weekend marks the end of peak season at the beach, but birders and fishermen flock to the coast in fall. If you plan to visit Kitty Hawk, Hatteras or Bald Head Island in the coming weeks, […]

Bull tallow: Bane of Piedmont gardeners

Red clay. It’s the bane of Piedmont gardeners. Heavy and lumpy when wet, it dries as hard as a terra cotta pot. We spend bundles of money on soil conditioners to make it friable. We complain about it as much as the English do about chalk, the highly alkaline soil found throughout much of the […]

‘Passalong plants’ also pass along memories, cultural history

Categories: General News Tags: Gardening, Nature

The yard has been tilled, the clay amended with compost and mulch. I’m eager to start a new garden at our home in Charlotte, but my first trip to the nursery left me with sticker shock. I couldn’t part with $35 for a fancy cultivar of the ubiquitous Carolina jasmine that blooms freely across the […]

Go native when choosing non-invasive evergreens

It’s been said that good fences make good neighbors, but a dense, evergreen hedge can keep the peace and provide attractive wildlife habitat as well. Whether you live on a tenth of an acre in town or a hundred acres in the country, you always abut a property you cannot control, and sometimes a fence […]

Fragrant late summer flowers

Categories: General News Tags: Flowers, Gardening, Nature

Even though late summer brings the promise of cooler weather to the Piedmont, we still have the sultry presence of two old-fashioned and fragrant Southern favorites in our gardens – the ginger lily and the tuberose. Everything about the ginger lily (Hedychium coronarium) speaks of its origins in the tropical regions of Asia. This lush, […]

Wilmore wins grant to build ‘edible walkway’

Wilmore resident Kris Steele knew his neighborhood was a food desert, an area with little access to fresh food. But it didn’t hit him what that meant until he saw neighborhood kids streaming in and out of the corner convenience store carrying bags of candy. To get there, the kids walked past a rusting chain-link […]

Uncommonly lovely spring shrubs

When the flush of spring ephemeral wildflowers begins to fade, several shrub species come into their own. Mountain laurel ought to be at its peak in the coming week. Their enchanting masses of light pink flowers are found throughout the Uwharries, but some of our most interesting and attractive spring-blooming shrubs aren’t nearly so abundant. […]

Long dreamed, an urban farm sprouts at Garinger High

Where there once were weeds, there is now a farm field, planted in potatoes, broccoli and greens. Where there once was a defunct greenhouse, there are now floating trays bursting with lettuce, fed by water circulating through a tank of tilapia. A year has passed since Friendship Gardens’ Henry Owen and his team of enthusiastic […]

Turn your leaf piles into mulch or compost

Despite the popularity of trampolines and bouncy castles, kids still love to frolic in a good old-fashioned leaf pile. A solid mound turns out to be delightfully springy. There’s plenty of room to hide. Armloads of leaves are virtually weightless. Thrown into the air, they spiral slowly back to earth. As adults, we start to […]

Backyard bogs and wetland gardens

After months of steady – and sometimes excessive – rain, we’ve recently seen a more typical pattern of precipitation. Autumn is our driest season. If this trend continues and we don’t receive a soaking from a hurricane or tropical storm, our total precipitation for 2013 could be deceptively average. It’s been a banner year for […]