Monthly Archives: September 2011

Opening at The West Asheville Library

Dorothy Whipple Mrs. Whipple Opening CeremonyThe 2011 West Asheville Garden Stroll’s opening speaker was a stand in at the last moment. Grand Dame Dorothy Whipple stood in for her son Bill. She closed with her own inspiring and catchy rap.

Presenting Dame Dorothy Whipple and………….

The More You Give The More You Get
(Rap for senior citizens)

Here’s a call and a response on which to reflect
The more you give, the more you get
When I say, “The more you give”
You respond with, “The more you get”
Try again. This one’s just a test.
The more you give (Pause the music) The more you get
My hearings not good you’re a little qui-et
The more you give… The more you get
So here we go. Let’s give it our best. Because the more we give
The more you get
When you garden is dry you make it wet, because the more you give
The more you get
When the soils impoverished and your plants are bereft, the more you give
The more you get
When you are exhausted and needing some rest, the more you give (yourself)
The more you get
Your neighbor is elderly and needs a lift, the more you give
The more you get
To expect a return is slightly inept, the more you give
The more you get
If it is your turn to receive no need to get upset, the more you gave
The more you get
To offer a solution is my sincerest intent, the more you give
The more you get
How to fix holes in our community’s net, the more you give
The more you get
Without you all its just a futile attempt, the more you give
The more you get
With you all failure’s exempt, the more you give
The more you get
Symbiosis is the better bet, the more you give
The more you get
When we’re too busy we seem to forget, (that) the more you give
The more you get
Or if you own a Rolls or a Chevrolet, the more you give
The more you get
There will be folks who consider this a threat, the more you give
The more you get
They are afraid, lonely, and just don’t understand it, the more you give
The more you get
If we give them compassion in the face their contempt, the more you give
The more you get
All will be better and no need to be upset, the more you give
The more you get
This is the greatest gift we can present, the more you give
The more you get
Compassion is the greatest gift we can present, the more you give
The more you get
(Music retards-)
This is the greatest gift we can present, the more you give
The more you get
So get the word out by smoke signals or internet,
That ..The more WE give

; < )

The Sculpture Gardens

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For the last 15 years new beds have emerged when trees reach the end of their lives. The brutal spring freeze of 2007 may have killed the sour cherry, but that Hari Kari Cherry just made way for asparagus, figs and garlic beds. Ever-changing through lots of trial and error, the stalwart perennial survivors have made it through more than an occasional refusal to water, and even a new puppy’s teething spells. Dispersed through the grasses, vegetables and flowers, Mimi Strang’s sculptures add yet another element of color and texture. This garden represents a true synthesis of artistic sensibility and horticultural exploration. The garden sculptures are for sale and 10% rolls back to support next years’ Stroll.

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In 20 years at 72 Vermont, Marion Norwood has gardened just about every inch of her yard, including half of the driveway which she dug up to create more planting space. Her use of reseeding annuals has created a cottage garden effect. When she originally established the garden, most of the perennials were gifts from friends. Now she enjoys passing on these same plants to other gardeners. A visit to Rosemary Verey’s potager in England inspired her to make her kitchen garden decorative as well as productive. With an interest in gardening according to the phases and signs of the moon, Marion’s intent is “to create a peaceful and private meditative space where I can have fun with my cats, grow food and celebrate the changing seasons.”

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The Freshman Garden

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This first year garden has transformed an unkept lot into a garden that strives to produce and delight. An initial effort focused on establishing perennial beds and hardscaping along the perimeter. Mixed with common flowers, many fruit-bearing perennials were planted, including blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, strawberries, peaches, and currants. In addition, the backyard has several raised beds dedicated to standard rotations of spinach, carrots, beets, broccoli, cauliflower, beans, peas, and peppers. Fitted with cold frames, these beds also support a winter garden. The front yard offers space for warm season vegetables like squash, melons, and cucumbers. “Key principles guiding this ongoing transformation,” says gardener Erik Ostergaard, “are conservation (including an 800 gallon rain water collection system), waste recycling in composting bins, and organic gardening using natural products.”

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Kathleen’s Twins’ Gardens

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Twins Will and Carolyn Wallace are the family gardeners for their mother Kathleen who moved to Asheville from Mississippi 8 years ago at age 82. Will oversees a large, terraced vegetable plot that provides an abundance of delectable seasonal offerings. Using truckloads of horse manure, tons of leaves, grass clippings, and food scraps, he creates what Carolyn brags about as the “the best compost ever.” Carolyn focuses on the front yard’s cottage garden. She collects pass-along plants and loves playing with color, texture, and garden kitsch. “Gardening is in our blood, Carolyn says. “Will spends many hours in his garden every single day. And I have to keep my heart near, and my hands in, the soil.”

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Westwood Cohousing Community Gardens

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Planning for this environmentally friendly community on four acres bordered by Rhododendron Creek began in 1995, with input from Permaculturist Chuck Marsh. Goals included composting, limiting lawns, avoiding toxic chemicals, growing organic, and emphasizing edible landscapes and native plants. Pumps bring collected rainwater from three large cisterns to shared gardens. A small orchard produces apples and pears; elsewhere, grapes, blackberries, & blueberries grow. Included in the the central terraced area are numerous vegetable plots. A butterfly garden – their Peace Garden – sits at the top of the terraces. To the left/north of the farmhouse, beekeeping hives help support another vegetable garden. “We share in the work and in the harvest of the gardens, and we hope you enjoy them as much as we do!”

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Quirky in West Asheville

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Andi Smith inherited her garden from landlords who worked very hard to turn a grassy front yard into fertile beds suitable for growing food. She’s only worked this garden since December and this is only the third year that she’s had a garden of any kind. “Gardening has taught me and nourished me, and it’s great fun,” Andi says. “Although my garden challenges me, it also gives me a sense of accomplishment, especially when, after a few hours of hard work, there’s a fine meal of the freshest possible veggies.” Initially she only wanted to grow various veggies and herbs, but when volunteer poppies and bachelor buttons popped up all over the yard, she realized that with flowers she could also harvest smiles.


Vermont Avenue: West Asheville Park

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Public Spaces for All Species

At West Asheville Park, just behind left field, a neglected hillside holds the beginnings of a public food forest. Conceived in the spirit of community initiatives two years ago, the Buncombe Fruit and Nuts Club planted small clusters of mostly native perennials, paying careful attention to the soil conditions necessary to build resiliency and withstand neglect. The Club’s intention was to create an easily managed, mini-forest system as a prototype. They envision a day when public edible parks and gardens will quilt our public spaces and be places that foster new human relationships, through learning, sharing, cooperation, compassion, and of course, really good, fresh food.

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Rhododendron Creek Restoration

In 2008, Riverlink teamed with Baker Engineering to develop and implement a stream restoration and stormwater mitigation project in West Asheville Park. The project reduces sedimentation and improves water quality in Rhododendron Creek which benefits the larger downstream system of Hominy Creek and the French Broad River. Neighborhood volunteers helped with the plantings, removing invasive plant species, and setting in live stakes. Look for soft rush, big bluestem, nine bark and silky dogwood. RiverLink now holds a conservation easements over the entire riparian buffer area of this project which will protect it in perpetuity. For more information, visit, their riverwhisperer blog, or RiverLink’s facebook pages.

West London Meets West Asheville Garden

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Amy Lanou started the garden at 30 Virginia Ave three seasons ago with the intention of growing fresh herbs and vegetables and learning about the pleasures of urban gardening. She and her partner, Sophie Mills, travel regularly to Sophie’s childhood home in West London. Amy continues to be inspired by the tiny and productive urban gardens she sees in England where the plants are often tightly packed and interestingly grouped together. Amy’s main focus for her garden so far is on growing food, paying attention to the plants, and taking care of the flowers and trees that she inherited from a previous resident. One day she hopes to write a book titled, Beautiful and Functional: Front Yard Gardening in Two Hours a Week.