Gardening in the Valley

Black Mountain News

We are extremely proud to have a monthly  column in The Black Mountain News.  The column is titled Gardening in  the Valley and the author is a member of the committee.  Typically the column is the third Wednesday of each month.  So pick up a copy of the paper.



Also want to thank Rhonda Reedy for her behind the scenes management of the column and working with the paper.   For being a relatively new member, she has already done so much for  our committee.

Committee  members interested in writing an article, please contact Rhonda.  If  you are wondering what to write about, select  a month and we can offer  you some suggestions. 

Current Column

Scroll down to read this month's column.

Dying to plant some seeds? Better hold off for now

 “April is the cruelest month,” says T. S. Eliot and certainly all of us in Black Mountain have first hand experience with this. Despite our boomerang winter, spring and summer promise to arrive and it is time to perform some essential chores in our gardens.  

The first warm days of April send strong temptations to go to the nursery and purchase all the new bloomers. Hold off, April is a tease. Today may be 75 degrees. Tomorrow may bring snow and sleet; this is the joy of living in western North Carolina. In 1987 the Asheville area had 11 inches of snow.  Purchasing too many young plants now will bring sleepless nights when the thermometer plummets. Think of April as preparation time. 

People have strong feelings about one of my favorite shrubs, azaleas. Some people love them for their multitude of colors; some would not have them anywhere in their yard because their blooming season is so short. For those of us in the former category, it is time to fertilize, but wait until the last bloom and don’t even think of pruning this southern charm until after its last bloom. Other shrubs to prune after they bloom are lilac, forsythia, spirea, and weigela.
Some other plants (not fertilized in the fall) that need fertilizing in April are annuals, shrubs and trees.

Daylilies and hostas can be divided now.  Daylilies are very hardy and can be divided in early spring. Since the root ball can be quite large, dig out several inches around the plant to make sure you get it all. Flip it over and using the amazing hori-hori knife (found at Town Hardware and the Black Mountain Garden Sale) or a straight-edged shovel, divide the daylily into 6 to 8 inch clumps. Hostas, likewise, have a large root ball. However, instead of dividing the root ball in half, separate small clumps that have formed beside the larger parent clump. 

While you have out your pruning saw, check shrubs and trees carefully. Cut out any winter damage. Energy for new plant growth is severely challenged when the plant is trying to grow while dead branches hang on.

 So much needs to be accomplished in April to prepare your garden for lovely summer days sipping tea outdoors. Wander around your yard and make list. What is growing well; what did not survive the winter? What plants, shrubs, trees, annuals, perennials, herbs and vegetables do you want to add to your garden this year? 

Save that list until May 19 for the 13th Annual Black Mountain Garden Show and Sale. From 9 AM until 4 PM experts in all things related to gardening in western North Carolina will be selling their plants and will be available to answer all of your gardening questions. Join us at the Monte Vista Hotel for this rite of spring as we reconnect with old friends and make new friends among the professional gardeners who will be in Black Mountain.   
 I might challenge T. S. Eliot and say April is not cruel. April helps to set the stage for a glorious spring, summer and even fall. See you May 19.
Bio:  Black Mountain Beautification Committee member Libba Fairleigh is an organizer.  She has had fun coordinating the annual spring Black Mountain Garden Show and working with the new plant containers in town.


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