Stop and smell the roses

Have a rose and a smile: The Asheville Blue Ridge Rose Society Exhibition presents the flowers in all their variations, including whimsical ways to display them. photo by Michael Oppenheim

On Saturday, May 27, the Asheville Blue Ridge Rose Society Exhibition debuts at the North Carolina Arboretum and continues through Sunday, May 29. Award-winning roses of every color and size will be featured at this year’s exhibition, “A Day of Roses.” And experts will be on hand to answer questions and provide information about selection, care and history of these elegant garden plants.

The event also features a sale, which will include rose plants, fertilizer, and soil amendments. Another highlight are the educational programs: Fertilizing Roses for Success with Dr. Satish Prabhu; Old Garden Roses, the Ultimate Garden Plant with Mike Shoup; Rose Rosette Disease: You Can Still Have Beautiful Roses with Ann Peck; Roses and their Friends, Companion Plants for Roses with Judy Deutsch; Planting Your New Rose with Jim Wilson; Growing Great Roses in WNC with Jim Tucker; My Favorite Old Garden Roses with Frank Dezzutto.

The Rose Society Exhibition is one of the most popular events hosted by The North Carolina Arboretum, which draws more than 376,000 visitors each year to its gardens, trails, exhibits, shows and expos, educational programs, demonstrations and lectures. The Arboretum’s ability to meet its mission and enrich the visitor experience is made possible by a community of supporters — from members, volunteers and staff to state and local funds, tribute gifts, grants and community partners.

The exhibition is free for Arboretum Society members; for nonmembers, the Arboretum’s standard parking fee ($8 per personal motor vehicle) applies. For more information, call 665-2492 or visit The event runs 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday.

Deadline May 30 for farmers seeking free renewable-energy systems

A partnership program aims to install 10 renewable-energy demonstration projects for food-producing farms in Western North Carolina. Interested farmers have until May 30 to apply.

According to a N.C. Commerce Department’s Development Division press release, a grant “totaling $149,480, will help install seven solar thermal and three small wind turbine installations in … Alexander, Burke, Caldwell, Cherokee, Clay, Cleveland, Graham, Mitchell, Rutherford and Yancey [counties].” The installations are part of “the 21st Century Communities Program partnership with Asheville’s Community Development Specialists and Green Brothers Solar. … The project was awarded by the North Carolina Green Business Fund with funds from the federal Recovery Act.

“’Encouraging investments in the green economy is a centerpiece of our job creation strategy,’ said N.C. Commerce Secretary Keith Crisco.  ‘This fast growing industry holds vast potential for the future and we must continue to support its development in North Carolina.’”
For questions and to apply, please contact Sara Day Evans at or by phone at (828) 989-3799.

N.C. House budget would eliminate Tobacco Trust Fund farm grants

The Independent Weekly covered the effect of budget measures on North Carolina farmers in a May 18 article by Travis Fain. Here’s an excerpt:

“North Carolina farmers are the latest target of the Legislature, where the Republican majority is trying to eliminate a grant program that has enabled many farmers to survive.

At a family farm where profit margins are thin and unforgiving, a $9,000 grant for a fence can be the difference between operating next year and not.

And a $27,000 tool-sharing program doesn't just help farmers share a tiller. It creates a community where farmers teach their colleagues about the tools and their techniques.

North Carolina's Tobacco Trust Fund was created after the country's biggest tobacco companies reached a settlement in 1998 with 46 states over the medical costs of smoking cigarettes. …”
For the full story, go to (

— Send your farm-and-garden news to or call 251-1333, ext. 152.

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