A tropical garden in the temperate Piedmont

The right combination of protective hedges, sun-absorbing walls and a southern exposure can turn a corner of your yard into a tropical microclimate ­– especially in a rain-soaked year like this one. Last summer’s record heat and drought gave us a taste of weather in desert regions. This year, the abundant rainfall has been more […]

A rich spot of earth

One could argue the local foods movement in America has its roots in the red clay of the Piedmont, on a hilltop not unlike the Uwharries near Charlottesville, Va. Nearly two centuries before Alice Waters opened her landmark restaurant Chez Panisse in Berkeley, Calif., Thomas Jefferson understood the allure of applying French culinary techniques to […]

Hydrangeas, summer’s coolest flower

Categories: General News Tags: Flowers, Gardening

On the cusp of summer, just when I begin to dread the onset of unrelenting heat and humidity, a cool and soothing vision appears in our forests and yards – the blooms of native and Asian hydrangeas. Wild hydrangea (Hydrangea arborescens) is uncommon, even rare, in the Piedmont. I’ve seen them at only one location […]

Saving Charlotte’s trees, one at a time

If trees could talk, what stories they’d tell. They’ve been silent witness to children shinnying up their branches and young lovers picnicking beneath their shade. They endure, watching over us from cradle to grave, and beyond. Charlotteans have a strong affinity with their trees, and for good reason. The city has some 160,000 street trees, […]

Growing the market for local foods

Two different organizations in the Charlotte region are using borrowed land and volunteer labor to get fresh, local food on the plates of people who need it most. Sow Much Good raises vegetables to sell well below market cost in low-income neighborhoods that are far from traditional farmers markets, while Friendship Gardens, started by Slow […]

The USDA food atlas

This interactive map of the U.S. displays data on food availability, local foods, health and socioeconomic statistics. Data are displayed at the state or county level, depending on availability. Staff

Get revenge on weeds: Eat them

Our yard in the Uwharries always looks especially mangy in early spring. I wouldn’t presume to call it a lawn. That sounds much too manicured and highfalutin. The fescue is green, but it tends to get lost in a flush of winter annuals like chickweed, buttercups and henbit. These weeds will die back after setting […]

Tired of watering? Xeriscape.

Despite recent rains, the Uwharries have experienced abnormally dry to moderate drought conditions for much of the summer. This isn’t unusual for our region. According to the N.C. Drought Management Advisory Council, our conditions ranged from abnormally dry to extreme drought in four of the past five summers. Days in the upper 90s and weeks […]