Tiffany lamps, garden glories and herons in flight: The visual delights of fall at the Biltmore

Although photography was not allowed at Biltmore Estate‘s exquisite Tiffany lamp exhibit (open through Oct. 23), the gardens are open to photographers — and some of the Tiffany lamps’’ themes (dragonflies, butterflies etc.) are in evidence throughout the gardens.  From the kitchen gardens to the fish ponds to a great heron in flight, it was […]

Top propagator

Dick Bir has a twinkle in his eye and stories to tell. He knows every nursery grower in Western North Carolina and just about everybody else who’s seriously involved with plants, whether as a professional or a hobbyist. Bir loves WNC’s people and plants equally, which is likely why he was so good at his […]

From the roots

Ever wonder why all the yards in a neighborhood feature the same forsythia or Bradford pear? How did every grandmother end up with the same grape-bubblegum-smelling iris and pink peony? From academia all the way to retail garden centers, the plant industry plays a major role in which plants are available to the public for […]

Striking back

Every once in awhile, the perfect volunteer for a particular job shows up just when you need her. Such was the case with Corinne Duncan. RiverLink relies on a host of dedicated volunteers, but Duncan, who studied environmental science and rangeland ecology at Oregon State University, is a plant ecologist who knows how to eradicate […]

Green genius

Great gardens are experienced the same way fine art is — as an emotional connection. The Biltmore gardens, designed by pioneering landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted under George Vanderbilt’s patronage, are a work of genius. Now 116 years old, the gardens refresh and inspire more than a million visitors per year. Parker Andes has been […]

Get your hop on

Feeling hoppy? On Saturday, July 16, from 9 to 11 a.m., visit the "hop yard" at the Mountain Horticultural Crops Research Station in Mills River. The aim is to provide useful information to local brewers, Western North Carolina hops growers, those interested in becoming hops growers and folks just plain interested in hops. Researchers will […]

Mission organic

Roughly one-third of Western North Carolina farms are organic; many home growers also choose this path of least resistance. But figuring out how to make it work (not to mention profitable) can be tricky. That’s where the Mountain Organic Research and Extension Unit in Waynesville comes in. Many Tar Heel agricultural programs work to keep […]

Mastering the craft

At some point, all gardeners find themselves stumped: What the heck is eating my plants? When do I prune my hydrangeas if I ever want them to flower? Master gardeners, the county extension agents’ strong right arm, are the certified experts we turn to when the going gets rough. Here’s a rundown of the questions […]

Exploring darkest Asheville

Gardeners are explorers. Always on the hunt for the next great find, they seek out obscure nurseries, order from distant catalog companies and peer over neighbors’ fences. Like the great naturalists of the past, gardeners are never content with what they have, secretly yearning to discover some unknown specimen. But not everyone who picks up […]

Green Thumb: Tulips galore

More than 100,000 tulips will bloom on the Biltmore Estate this spring, but that’s just one aspect of the annual Festival of Flowers, which runs April 2 through May 15. For instance, there’s live music every day in the Conservatory and Winter Garden. Visitors can visit the “Ask a Gardener” station, featuring the estate’s horticulture […]