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

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Local Gardeners share tips


As February draws to a close and we see snippets of warm, sunny days, many of us are itching to get back out in the dirt, but Mother Nature is not quite ready. Thinking ahead to spring, I asked the members of the Black Mountain Beautification Committee to share some of their gardening tips and secrets. 

A common theme of their responses was how much they learned from, or how their love of gardening stated with, their parents or grandparents. 

Here are some of the nuggets of wisdom that were passed down and are still used by our gardeners today. 

Grandpa Filipski maintained a huge, productive vegetable garden. He passed down gardening wisdom to his kids and grandkids. When planning is vegetable garden, he used the succession planting method. Basically, this method can extend the production of cool or warm weather veggies throughout their growing season. This can simply be done by not planting an entire crop all at once but to plant a few rows every two weeks. For instance, one of our favorite vegetables are different varieties of cucumbers. We will begin to plant seeds around May 15, followed by extra rows until July 31. On the seed packet check the number of days it takes to mature, to ensure that the harvest is before the first fall frost.  ~Lyndall Noyes-Brownell 

One little tip my Mama taught me about trimming roses is to always clip right above a five leaf branch. And when removing Japanese Beetles, pick them off and drop them in a jar of soapy water.  ~Tracy Munn 

My Grama May had the most gorgeous Peonies in her perennial beds. I guess I always dreamed of growing my own gorgeous peonies when I grew up.  She always said, “Don’t forget that they don’t like to be transplanted or planted deep.” Peonies don’t seem to thrive in the South under my care as they did up North under hers, but that’s okay. Having them in my own garden is a lovely reminder of my love for her.  ~Joyce Langevin 

My grandmother was from the hills of West Virginia. She was a no-nonsense woman who I loved with all my heart and soul. She would have a copy of the Harris Seed Magazine on the parlor table and she and I would look through it every winter in an effort to plan her summer garden. She had all kinds of garden sayings including:  “There is always room in the garden for one more flower.” 

 “There is always something nice to do in the garden.”  “The best part of gardening is being all alone and no one is bugging you.”  “There are no gardening mistakes.....just experiments.”   “Gardening is an excuse to just get good and dirty.”  “Flowers are a relief from work and school and such.”  ~Renee Soulis  

Grandpa enjoyed working in the perennial beds. Before the flower beds became too  crowded, he would divide them to keep them healthy, and have more plants.  Coneflowers, daisies, daylilies were good candidates to be dug up and depending how big the clumps were they would be split into 2 or more sections. Shake off any loose soil  and remove any dead sections. Place them in containers and pack moist soil around the  roots. Water them and keep in a cool, shady spot. He would enjoy sharing them with  family, friends and neighbors. Before leaving Grandpa's, he would have bags of fresh  veggies, plants and containers of his homemade soup to bring home. ~Lyndall Noyes-Brownell  

My Grandmother, who had beautiful African Violets, would say that “You need to take your plants for a walk” meaning, when they are in a window, they need to be turned. I also do this for potted plants so they are not constantly hit by harsh sunlight or high winds. ~Joyce Ackerman  

As members of the Black Mountain Beautification Committee were sharing these with me, I came across this quote that sums up the mindset of all our members as they share their knowledge, talents and creativity not just here, but in our community throughout the year.  

The lesson I have thoroughly learnt, and wish to pass on to others, is to know the enduring happiness that the love of a garden gives.”        - Gertrude Jekyll

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