Think fall: Now that summer has officially started, it’s time to begin planting autumn crops. Brussells sprouts and cabbage are long-season crops that are at their best after light frost. Of course, the brassica family tends to suffer serious summer caterpillar damage and therefore exacts vigilance from organic gardeners. While some folks use bacillus thuringiensis (Bt), a disease-causing bacterium, in small gardens it isn’t all that difficult to search leaves every couple of days to spot cabbage-moth larvae and remove them manually.
Lily fever: July is the high point for lilies (including hostas) and a great time for “window shopping” walkabouts with an eye peeled for blooms you’d enjoy in your own garden. Most lily varieties quickly become crowded and require thinning to encourage blooms, so you can do yourself and your neighbor a favor by offering a hand – an hour’s work in exchange for a basketful of bulbs. There’s no bad time to transplant lilies, though you’ll want to cut back blooms to encourage bulb growth – and don’t forget to water transplants frequently during August’s drought.
Causing a flap: Get up close and personal with hundreds of butterflies native to the southern Appalachians during the Beauty of the Butterflies exhibit at the WNC Nature Center, which runs from July 1 to Sept. 4. The exhibit opens with Nectar Collector Day on July 1 with food, butterfly games and displays, children’s activities and info from a butterfly specialist. It will be open daily, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is $7 for adults, $6 for seniors and $3 for children. For more information, call 298-5600 or visit www.wildwnc.org.