Gail’s Garden on the Side of a Mountain Leave a comment

Hi GPODers!

Today’s photos come from Gail Bromer in Black Mountain, North Carolina. As the name suggests, Gail gardens in a very mountainous region and deals with something many gardeners dread: slopes. Given the treacherous planting and growing conditions, you might suspect that she has limited garden space, but Gail has created garden magic on just about every available inch of her landscape. She was generous to share what’s been blooming this spring.

Here are some photos so far this season. It seems like we’ve had more rain this spring than I remember in the last couple years. It has produced a lot of blooms, but they haven’t lasted as long because of the rains. I thought I was going to have fewer gardens here than I had in Connecticut, where I gardened for over 30 years, but I was wrong. We live on the side of a mountain, and even with these slopes I am managing to fill all the available space. It’s taken some time. The only thing that slows me down are the chiggers. I harvested serviceberries this weekend for pies and got my first chigger bites, which means I don’t go into our big front slope until mid-fall after the chiggers die.

We moved here eight years ago. As with all gardens, some things have worked, some haven’t, and some have needed to be moved to thrive.

sloped garden bed next to long drivewayThe view above is off our driveway from part way down the front slope. Morning is just beginning to arrive. (What a view! I’m not sure if any garden challenge would out weigh the gift of waking up to this every morning.)

Gulf Pride azaleaThe first azalea bloomer of the season. (Looks to be a ‘Gulf Pride’ azalea (Rhododendron ‘Gulf Pride’, Zones 6–9), which is a fabulously fragrant early bloomer.)

close up of bright pink azalea bloomsAnother breathtaking azalea, this time in sensational sunset colors with wonderfully ruffled petals.

close up of pink ladys slipperThe pretty pink plants continue! Here, a small pink lady’s slipper (Cypripedium acaule, Zones 2–9) is glowing in the sun.

Geranium sanguineum with Hypericum calycinum BrigadoonGail creates sensational plant combinations in her garden as well. Here, a bloody cranesbill (Geranium sanguineum, Zones 3–8) is the perfect compliment to the chartreuse Brigadoon St. John’s Wort (Hypericum calycinum ‘Brigadoon’, Zones 5–9), with the fabulous foliage of Carolina cranesbill (Geranium carolinianum, Zones 2–11) bridging the gap.

Ice N Rose helleboreThis Ice N Rose hellebore (Helleborus x glandorfensis ‘Ice N’ Roses’, Zones 6–9) has the most profuse blooms I have ever seen.

close up of leatherleaf viburnumA leatherleaf viburnum (Viburnum rhytidophyllum, Zones 6–9). I originally planted 3, but only one survived.

sloped garden bed full of wildflowersMaking the most of a tricky garden situation, Gail absolutely covered this slope in flowers. A beautiful wildflower mix creates a kaleidoscope of colors without having to regularly climb these slopes for maintenance.

close up of purple dwarf irisI have half a dozen dwarf iris (Iris pumila, Zones 4–9) scattered about. They seem to flower better for me than the traditional bearded iris.

And one final artful combination to wrap up our time in Gail’s garden. Garden chives (Allium schoenoprasum, Zones 3–9), one of the prettiest herbs out there, looking like a firework of color next to spires of lupine and bursts of pink peonies.


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