Thursday, October 21, 2010

Hi there!

I've enjoyed communicating with you through this blog, and many thanks to those of you who have commented, both online and off, about what you like/dislike/would like to see talked about. This will be the last post for the Blomquist Blog. It's been harder for me to find time to post in recent months, and it just seems like the right time take a break. If you have any comments/questions about any and all things Blomquist and/or native plant related in the future, please feel free to e-mail me at Thanks, and remember to spend time in the woods! Enjoy!

p.s. If you want to keep track of the topics for the monthly "Walk on the Wild Side", you can still visit the "Wild Side" page of the Blomquist Garden website. Take care.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Hot again!

Today is supposed to hit 88! Summer just won't accept defeat.

I wanted to supply a short recap of last week's tour in the Blomquist Garden. We talked a good deal about drought, it's affects on plants, ecosystems and economies, and how we as gardeners can mitigate the effects of drought in our own gardens. One of the things we covered was how to build soil that helps your plants withstand drought conditions. We recently completed a complete reconstruction of an area of bed space within the Blomquist with an eye for just this topic.

First, we removed all existing plant material and heeled it in elsewhere, then we added a custom mix of soil with a high organic material content (mostly composted leaf mulch). Next we added limestone to adjust the pH value to a level that is more hospitable to plant life (we were at pH 5.5 and we are aiming for 6.5-6.7) by adding eighty pounds of lime for every one thousand square feet of soil surface area. Then we added a fungal and bacterial granular inoculant. This introduces beneficial fungi and bacteria into the soil which interact with the plant roots to effectively increase the volume of soil from which the plant can harvest water. In times of drought, having specimens that can more effectively manage their water needs means less watering and healthier plants. Finally, we added our shade to part shade shrubs and perennials, and now we wait till Spring to see our results!

We were over at the State Fairgrounds yesterday sprucing up our native plant garden for the opening of the State Fair this weekend. If you come to enjoy the rides and low-fat food along the midway, check us out. We're just down the hill from the village of yesteryear and not far from the blacksmith shop in the gardening area of the grounds. Just ask for the North Carolina Native Plant Society garden. See you there!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

What a great start to Fall!!! I talk to many folks who are new residents of NC, and they have been telling me "I didn't realize weather this nice existed!" Just when we were starting to think we'd be wearing shorts and tank tops in January, the heat wave broke, gave up the ghost, and left us to chop our firewood in peace. That last is a bit paradoxical, as the burning of firewood and its subsequent release of carbon dioxide fuels things like global warming and endless days over ninety degrees. LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA- can't hear you! (fingers in my ears)

I look forward to seeing you all tomorrow for our monthly Blomquist tour! We should have great weather, and apropos of the four inches of rain we received last week, I'll be talking about drought, and the different ways that drought puts stress on forest ecosystems. Please join me!

If you haven't visited the information kiosk in the Blomquist Garden lately, please do. My colleague Jeff Harward helped me construct some improved literature receptacles for a larger selection of brochures, etc. You can now pick up copies of our Duke Gardens magazine there, as well as brochures related to the Blomquist Garden, self guided botanical tours, and info about Durham.

Just bought some more great plants from our friends at Niche Gardens and the North Carolina Botanical Garden yesterday. Whenever I need native species that are hard to find, those are the two places I go. Please do the same and support these great native plant sources.