Banner Elk Winery

We found an interesting winery this past week.

Banner Elk Winery is located in a peaceful spot.

It has a pond and picnic tables.

The children there were very busy playing as their parents relaxed.

Someone smart designed this place.

There is a lovely little creek running into the pond with a stone bridge across it.

There is a centrally located fire pit.

The entrance features a life-sized, driftwood sculpture of an elk.

Inside the building is cozy with a giant stone fireplace.

It is the perfect respite for folks who want to visit while their children romp through nature in full view.

The bartender with an “I hate you” tattoo even gave me their Sangria recipe.

It was worth zig-zagging on mountain roads to find this jewel.

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FALL HERE

Sometimes I take things for granted.

I am guilty of this when it comes to fall here in North Carolina.

Of course the leaves turn colors in October.

Of course it is gorgeous.

I forget what an unusual treat it is until I notice the ten-fold increase in traffic in the mountains.

Then I see what everyone else sees with new eyes.

The cold comes. The green goes into the tree and the other colors are left out in the leaves.

I hope I will remember this lesson about other things.

I live in a beautiful place surrounded by kind folks. I am lucky.

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The Hibiscus Circus

I purchased an hibiscus combo pot earlier in the summer.

The colors would be a surprise. It thought this would be fun, anticipating the combination of blooms.

I was pleased with the results. Two ended up being the same type, but were a gorgeous double peach colored.

There was also a stunning red.

The last to bloom was a vibrant pink.

I have loved watching this plant on our deck. It has put on quite a colorful show.

That’s why I call it the ‘Hibiscus Circus.’

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Flow Grows Kudzu’s Cousin

I have learned my lesson. I will never order seeds off of the internet that are not from a known company.

Remember that my first set of seeds was supposed to be Flying Saucer Morning Glories.

Those bloomed weedy purple instead of blue and white. I had to do my first killing of the season.

Now my Lablab purpureus has formed seed pods that are NOT purple.

My neighbor accused me of growing Kudzu. https://www.floridamuseum.ufl.edu/science/five-facts-kudzu-in-florida/

Anything that looks like Kudzu and grows like Kudzu does not belong in my garden.

It is not really Kudzu, but it is misbehaving by grabbing everything around it.

I have been removing the seed pods so it will not self-sow, but I have gotten behind.

It may be time for my second murder of the season.

POOR FLOW

Chipmunk Rescue

I glanced down at the pond as I passed by. I spied something brown on the water lettuce.

It was the size of a frog, but had fur and was shivering.

Rose and I sprung into action.

We got a rake and scooped that scared baby up.

It sat in the pine needles shivering for a bit.

Its mama came for it and led it under the walkway.

Then she returned many times to look me in the face as if to say “Thank you.”

My heart is full.

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First Tree of Life Revisited

I returned to my first Tree of Life to check on its changes since 2017. (See link below.)

Tree of Life

Most of the fungi was gone. Instead it was covered with lichens and mosses.

The bark and covering life forms were still soaking wet from a downpour the day before.

Water was actually traveling through the mosses and dripping onto the ground below.

The tree itself looked less alive but it was totally covered with other forms of life.

It was truly beautiful.

FLOW and Ebb

Tree of Life Two

I have found another Tree of Life located not far from the first.

Both are ancient sugar maples near a walking path that I frequent.

There is a variety of fungi tucked in its nooks and crannies.

The bark surface is covered with moss and lichens.

The mushrooms came and went each day.

My next post will be about Tree of Life One.

It is further along in the cycle of death and life.

FLOW and Ebb

Seeds that Fly

I study plants from start to finish. I have learned to do this.

They are not just flowers and leaves.

They are seeds in the beginning and humus at the end.

The cycle is a circle. The whole picture is important.

I refer to seeds as future flowers, but they are also food.

Seeds need to spread to reduce competition with the mother plant.

Butterfly weed seeds fly. I think this is appropriate.

Seeds are also beautiful.

As this Asclepias tuberosa pod splits open it exposes the lovely arrangement of the seeds enclosed.

As the wind blows, these seeds will separate.

The fluffy fibers will serve as a hang glider so the seeds can float to a new location.

The fibers open like an umbrella as they emerge from the pod.

It is a beautiful thing to witness.

Flying seeds on a journey to make future flowers in a new niche.

I love nature!

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Three Queens

I have been watching the buds form for weeks.

They change each day; getting bigger, getting greener, changing shape.

Last night was finally the night for my Night Blooming Cereus to bloom.

I could tell it was time by the giant buds actually quaking in anticipation.

Their petioles had curved up to get the blooms into a horizontal position. Thus the name ‘Dutchman’s Pipe.’

At around nine PM the petals had opened up to exposed the stamens and pistil.

The parts kept peeling back until the throat was opened wide.

I waited hours for a pollinating bat. Only small moths appeared around the blooms.

The scent was a mixture of wintergreen mint and coconut.

This Epiphyllum oxypetalum is truly amazing in every way.

Oh, what a night!

Flower