Farm & Garden: Flowering bridges and canning classes

Flowers across the river: Volunteers help construct the Lake Lure Flowering Bridge, a new pedestrian walkway planned for Rutherford County. Photo by Mike Lumpkin

Journey as destination

If you wanted to travel across the Rocky Broad River back in 1925, you had to use the Lake Lure Bridge, the fastest way between Chimney Rock Village and Lake Lure. This historic triple-arched passageway was replaced in 2011, but the original crossing remains.

Soon the old bridge will have a new purpose. A group of volunteers is transforming this abandoned catwalk into a haven of color. The Lake Lure Flowering Bridge is currently taking shape, and both visitors and natives are getting excited about this new addition to Rutherford County.

Flowers will dot the entire 155-foot-long bridge. The garden will extend beyond the crossing to create a welcoming passageway for pedestrians. A grand opening is scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 19, and volunteers are already busy creating the flowering walkway. Organizers have many factors to consider, including finding fertilizers that won't impact the river's trout and selecting trees that will best attract local birds.

The public is invited to help establish the Lake Lure Flowering Bridge. Volunteers can sign up to water, weed and care for the garden. Committees have been formed to address infrastructure, marketing and special-event needs, so there are opportunities for even the most black-thumbed volunteers. Learn more about this innovative and historic project at

Yes we can

Homesteader and author Ashley English is a canning wizard. She can transform modest okra into a Moroccan delight with little more than a big pot and a dozen Mason jars. As the water boils, she'll be happy to explain the history of this traditional art and how preserving food can connect the community.

Learn her secrets on Wednesday, July 31, from 6-8 p.m. at Small Terrain, located at 278 Haywood Road. Overcome your fears of pressure canning during this hands-on class, which will include a jam or pickle-making activity. Preregistration required. $25. Info:

The Buncombe County Cooperative Extension Center has a summer full of canning possibilities. Previous classes include a pickle-making workshop and a program on preserving peaches. On Wednesday, July 31, from 9 a.m.-3 p.m., the science of canning beans will be explained. Beans are a popular food for preserving, but they can be one of the most risky if not canned properly. Explore the right way to can beans at the Buncombe County Center, 94 Coxe Ave. $10. Registration and prepayment required. Classes are limited to 12 participants. Info:

A sculpture utopia

Garden-lovers who are in the know whisper about the Wamboldtopia sculpture garden. This private garden is only open to the public a few days each year, and its summer open house is scheduled for Saturday, July 27.

The garden, which is located on 69 Wamboldt Ave. in West Asheville, will be open from 9-11:30 a.m. this Saturday. A Wamboldtopia-inspired ice cream flavor from The Hop will feature rosemary from the garden combined with Nutella, a hazelnut-chocolate spread favored by the garden's owners. The ice cream is free and so is the tour. Don't miss the opportunity to peek into this one-of-a-kind garden.

— Send your farm-and-garden news to Jen Orris at


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