Wednesday, May 20, 2009

I love this weather! The past three days have felt like summer in the mountains, with low humidity, a constant breeze, and temperatures in the 60-70 degree range. Too bad it can't last. It won't be long before the dog days are here, when you do your yearly gut check and ask yourself yet again why you chose a profession that requires you to spend NC summers with a shovel in your hand. In my case, it was what I learned to do in prison. Ooops, strike that comment. I forgot to mention that in my interview. But seriously folks, you gotta love this weather! Okay... what's new? Well, for starters, soccer season is over, so no more long drives at rush hour to Chapel Hill. That's really what I've become when I'm not working at Duke or for myself: a chauffeur who transports young athletes to (pick a sport) practice. I'm sure you didn't log on to read about my children's athletic exploits, though. If you did, just ask me about them the next time you see me and I'll fill you in. One thing of note to discuss is an event I'll be attending in June. The Triangle Land Conservancy in hosting a "Green Jamboree" on June 20th at Irvin Farm in Chapel Hill. I'll be conducting a wildlife gardening seminar during the event. It will involve both instruction on the principles of gardening for wildlife as well as a hands on event in which participants will help me plant a small wildlife garden during the seminar. I'm looking forward to it. As far as what's happening in the Blomquist Garden, at the moment it's weeding, weeding, weeding (rinse, repeat). Warm temps plus abundant rain = an explosion of green things popping out of the ground. The Poison Ivy is particularly agressive this year. Fun, fun, fun! As far as invasive weeds are concerned, Youngia japonica is the weed du jour. This Aster family member is a pain in the rear. It grows fast and goes to seed faster, meaning that if you better not turn your back on it or....POOOF! Job security in the form of thousands of Youngia japonica to deal with next year. Want to learn more about it, just Google "Pain in the @#%$#". I mean, just Google Youngia japonica and prepare for a deluge of hand-wringing and curses. A last note: the "walk on the Wild Side" for June (6/4) will focus on native fern species. Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Singing in the rain... just when it seemed we were about to enter another hot dry prelude to summer, voila! The rains the past few days have really perked things back up again. The weeds appreciate the rains as well, unfortunately. Oh well, that's what we call in the green industry "Job Security". For any of you interested in attending the monthly walk in the Blomquist Garden tomorrow, the topic will be the newly completed Wildlife Garden. We'll discuss the design and construction of the collection, as well as go through a number of related topics such as a) the connection between plant and animal diversity, b) neighborhood scale wildlife gardening, and c) the importance of using native plant species to sustain native wildlife. I hope you can make it. If so, meet me at the gatehouse entrance for the Blomquist Garden @ 11:00. See you then!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Hi there! I'm about to go to work at my "other job" (landscape contracting), but I thought I'd drop a line or two about recent goings-on in the Blomquist Garden. It's hot and dry all of a sudden, and watering has begun in the garden as a result. Rain is called for this afternoon and evening perhaps, a cruel irony of sorts as the Sarah Duke Gardens 75th anniversary gala dinner is tonight, and a portion of the proceedings are outdoors. We need the rain, but perhaps not until the dinner bell, if that can be arranged. Beautiful flowering continues in the Blomquist, with the native azaleas continuing to steal the show. Check out our website at to see photos of what's in bloom right now on the "What's Blooming" page. Since that site was created on an Apple computer, it looks it's best using a windows version of the Safari browser. You can download this browser at . Our spring board of advisors meeting is in full swing as we speak, with folks from across the region coming into town to catch up on what's been happening in the gardens over the last six months. Finally, try to catch the Columbine "meadow" before it's gone. Adjacent to the Endangered Species collection is an area covered in thousands of pendulous Columbine blooms. As is always the case, if your in the garden and you see a guy with a wide brimmed hat and sunglasses who happens to be covered in dirt, it's probably me. Feel free to ask me about what deserves a look in the garden, or just to stop and say hi.