Some of my favorite sights of the year.
The first sign of spring arrives early (in February) at a house by the lake. (All pictures are my own except where noted.)
The Corneille Bryan Native Garden next door to our cottage has some of the most unusual native plants. This photo is of the Yellow Sessile Trillium in full bloom this April.
In 2018, a pair of bald eagles built a nest in our neighborhood and took up residence. This year they had babies. It’s not unusual to see the eagles all around the lake, but it took a powerful long-distance lens to capture video of the babies. (Photo and video by local photographer/videographer Joseph Thomas of Carolina Photo Art)
April 10: the dogwood by the lake is spectacular.
A view from the Blue Ridge Parkway (April).
The first cygnets of the year were born in May.
The Lake Junaluska landscaping department won a third-place finish in the national 2019 Pamela Crawford Side Planting Photo Contest. The Pamela Crawford planter has holes throughout the liner to allow for unusual and innovative designs. Nineteen of these planters were used in the landscaping design for the first time this year. (Photo: Melissa Tinsley-Lake Junaluska, NC)
More babies. . .
The native garden is dense with flowers in July.
We added more than 300 plants and a garden shed to our own newly excavated garden space behind the house; including 25 trees, dozens of shrubs, ornamental grasses, perennial flowers, succulents and ground cover. The windmill was added in August to commemorate our 20th wedding anniversary.
Our wildflower experiment was generally successful. They grew over 6 feet tall, gave us oodles of cut flowers, and bloomed well into October. However, they literally took over the back corner of the garden, and were so thick they obstructed our view of the other plants. It took me all day to cut back the dead stems, and four trips – holding all the dead stems I could possibly muster – to haul them to the street. We’re re-thinking our strategy for next year.
Lavender would rather die than be transplanted, but the one I moved to the front of the house last year has defied all odds.
This one scraggly lavender plant produced more lavender than I could have imagined. Scary as it now sounds, there’s 26 new lavender plants behind the house that could be ready to harvest next summer.
Butterflies frequented the planters on the front porch all summer.
An unusual flower blooms by the Memorial Chapel.
The cygnets at one or two months old.
Four more cygnets were born in July. This photo was taken by Jim Pearson, the cygnet caretaker.
The statue in the foreground was erected years ago in memory of the first swan of our neighborhood, Malcolm.
An eagle attempts to prey on small water fowl, but they cluster together and flap their wings to scare him off. After four or five tries, the eagle finally gives up. There’s something to be said about the little guys’ strategy.
There were stunning vistas from late September through November as fall showed its best colors.
By December 11th, we had our second light snow of the season.
Five days before Christmas we found three Japanese Cedar trees significantly discounted at our local garden shop. We had to move six other plants to position them where we needed them most, but I’m beginning to believe there’s never too much evergreen.
I made a small donation to the Arbor Foundation this summer, and they sent 10 flowering trees as a thank you gift. This brings the total number of trees we’ve planted this year to 38 – even though 10 of them could take the rest of our life to look like trees. After this last day of planting, on the eve of winter solstice, my gardening year is a wrap.
From my garden to yours, Merry Christmas! And the very best New Year!