Sierra Nevada Brewery near Asheville

We stopped be this lovely establishment, the Sierra Nevada Brewery,


as we passed through the mountains yesterday evening.

We did not have the time to take a guided tour and do a tasting.


We did enjoy strolling through the upstairs and looking down on the huge vats


and peering through windows at the bottling machinery.


There were lovely gardens with many annuals and vegetables.



There were even some hops vines growing up on trellises.

I had no idea hops had such a nutty aroma.

It was a nice break in our journey.


If you find yourself passing through the North Carolina mountains,

you may want to drop by for a meal and maybe a drink.


Coffee Cups Cause Trouble Again

I featured this particular elephant ear last year.

At that time it was planted beside one of the fish ponds.

I was thrilled with its placement until its cupped leaves filled up with

caterpillar poop from the oaks above.

Thus the post entitled “Coffee Cups Caterpillar Crapper.

Later in the season, the leaves filled up with tiny acorns, then falling leaves.

I considered the oak tree above to be the issue,

so this year I moved it to the front of the house.

Today’s heavy rains from hurricane Michael filled the cups with water.


The plant fell over onto its Mojito elephant ear neighbor,


which flopped over onto the giant Frydek elephant ear cluster.


We had ourselves an elephant ear avalanche.

Colocasia leaves are supposed to tip and dump water,

not hold it until the whole plant flops over.

This domino disaster has ruined my prized  Mojito.


Where can this plant go where it won’t cause any more trouble?


Coffee Cup Colocasia compost.


A Gift from Florence

There’s a new weed in town.

Really it was here before, but Florence has made it flourish.

There had been small spots of Virginia Buttonweed in the lawn

before hurricane Florence brought all the rain.

Now this Diodia virginia has spread into huge mats.

Step one is to pull it up.

Step two will require the bare spots to be treated and reseeded.

This plant reproduces by hairy seeds and pieces of roots and stems.

I was just removing the bulk of the problem.

Then it’s Mr Flower’s job to fix and fill in.

I spent two days scooting across the grass on my sled pulling up clumps of this weed.

I hope Hurricane Michael doesn’t bring any more trouble.

I have bushels of it all ready!



Hang these Weirdos

Epiphytes get their name from living on other plants.

This does not mean that they are parasites, just that they share space with larger plants for support.

They have long succulent leaves that are heavy.  These have strange shapes that may vary on the same plant.

I have several Epiphyllums.

Since they normally live in the semishade of trees in Mexico,

I hang them in trees so that they will feel at home.

Both of these Epiphyllums were obtained as pieces, not whole plants.

I asked to buy cuttings from two of my favorite garden centers.

No point in my buying a giant plant when a piece will do.

I know that this orchid cactus will bloom red.  It has not as of yet, but its parent plant had red blooms.

These Epiphyllums bloom during fall or winter, so I hope to see a bloom soon.

This fishbone/zigzag cactus should have white or yellow blooms.

Its blooms are nocturnal.  I will be watching both these plants in the coming weeks for signs of buds.

If you get an Epiphyllum, you had best hang it up.

They love to swing in the breeze from the trees.



My Three Favorite Dahlias

I have many dahlias.  It may not surprise you that most of them are purple.

I have three favorites.  Only one of which is purple.

These three are the most trouble, because they are dinner plate dahlias.

The blooms are so large that plant must be supported by stakes and fences.

These three need more water that the smaller dahlias. They need more nutrients.

It takes a lot of work on my part and the plant’s part to produce those big beautiful blooms.

I have decided to let some of my dahlias go.   I can’t bring them all in.

There is not enough space… or energy… or time to save them all.

So which three will be dug up, stored and treasured?

Firepot Dahlia

The three big, needy ones will.

Thomas A. Edison dahlia
Snowy Country dahlia

Because when we work together, we make something beautiful.

Synergy in the garden.


The Year of the Eggplant

I promised my readers more purple and here it is.

An edible purple fruit, eggplant.  Call it a vegetable if you must.

I got three small plants from the same source in June.

All three have been producing fruit for months.

This is the biggest plant.   It is sprawled out like a large shrub.

I have had to prop up its limbs to keep the fruit off the ground.

With all this eggplant, I have had to get creative with recipes.

Eggplant Parmesan, eggplant lasagna, eggplant sauce on spaghetti-squash, eggplant casserole, ratatouille…

Still the eggplants keep coming…and it’s October.

I wonder how eggplant would taste with pumpkin spice?

If you want some, let me know.  I will share with plenty to spare.

Purple food.    What a wonderful world!


Purple October

I have a passion for all things purple.

Purple mum

Purple is a color that changes in different light.

Thomas E. Edison dahlia

It is one of my favorite colors because of this transitional property.

Stokesia ‘Peachie’s Pick’ aster

At dusk purple flowers almost look black.

Passion vine hybrid

At high noon purple leans toward pink.

Picotee Blue morning glory

I love when the flowers also have white in the blooms.

Acidanthera Orchid glad

The contrast makes the purple pop.

water hyacinth

Mona Lavender also has leaves with purple undersides.

Mona Lavender Plectranthus

Some leaves have purple veins.

Frydek Elephant ears

There is even a lovely purple vegetable

Purple Food ; Eggplant

which will be the subject of my next post.

FLOWER is lovin’ some purple.



The Beauty of Decay

There are many reasons that I love fungi.


I have featured them many times on this blog.

When one sees mushrooms, brackets and their kin

we know that something is dead or dying.


Beauty in death?  Yes.

Everything must die.

Fungi takes the valuable organic molecules and recycles them back

to a usable form.


Decomposition is a renewing process.

I think these weeping conks are beautiful.


The dying tree is all ready sharing the wealth it harvested from the sun

during its growing years.

Giving back to its neighbors as it declines.


Beautiful isn’t it?


Barley’s Bottom

I promised Barley I would not share photos of his bare bottom.

It was not pretty.  He seemed ashamed and hid in his box more than usual.

It all started on a trip to the mountains.

Barley urinated in his crate and had a wet bottom when we arrived.

It tried to clean his fluffy rear with wash clothes and wipes.

Bunnies hate to be wet, so we both ended up soaked and I got bitten twice.

Barley has never bitten me before, so I knew this was not going to end well.

The fur on his cute,  little rear end was soon matted and dirty and clumped into locks.

It was time to visit our specialty vet.

This woman is amazing. Anybody that can hold a giant rabbit with one hand and shave his bottom with the other is my hero.

I must add that if this had been Charlotte, the attack rabbit scene from Monty Python would have been reenacted.   She is a beast!

We came home with an antibiotic, an anti-inflammatory and sulfa cream to slather on his bare rear.

Yes folks, Barley had diaper rash.

Charlotte had to be isolated during this period, because she would have licked off the cream.

I am happy to report that the crisis has passed and his bottom is back to its former cuteness.

All’s well that ends well.