Tag Archives: Muhly grass

Friends Old and New

On Tuesday morning, I had the opportunity to present a gardening program, Making the Most of Shade, at the North Carolina Arboretum in Asheville, just a short 90-minute drive up the mountains west of Greenville. I always look forward to a visit to NCA, which offers superb education programs and exhibits in addition to its gardens and hiking trails. Plus, I can always count on discovering something new or exciting.

Salvia madrensis

Salvia madrensis

On Tuesday, I did both. Upon arrival, I immediately bumped into an old and much-missed friend, Forsythia sage (Salvia madrensis), which I grew in my previous garden. This very large and vigorous salvia is a late-bloomer that grows to mammoth proportions, reaching 5 to 8-feet tall and spreading roughly half as wide. In the Upstate, it begins to flower in late September and carries on until frost, but in lower Florida and other frost-free areas of the South, it blooms until spring. For those in the Piedmont who want to give it a try, the cultivar ‘Dunham’ is more hardy than the species.

Equally exciting was the warm welcome of a new and dear friend, Louisa, who traveled to Italy with me in June and surprised me by attending my program. It was a thrill to see Louisa again and a great comfort to have a friendly face with me in the classroom.

A Hedge Against Extinction

A Hedge Against Extinction

On departure, a stroll through the garden provided other pleasures. The Arboretum’s well-known sculpture, A Hedge Against Extinction, by artist Martin Webster, was graced with the pink, cloud-like blooms of muhly grass (Muhlenbergia capillaris). And the quilt garden, a great favorite of every visitor, was near the peak of its autumn glory.

Lacinato kale (Brassica oleracea) with chrysanthemums and pansies.

Lacinato kale (Brassica oleracea) with chrysanthemums and pansies.

The North Carolina Arboretum's quilt garden, October 7, 2014.

The North Carolina Arboretum’s quilt garden, October 7, 2014.

A River Runs Through It

Inspired by A Tidewater Gardener to capture glimpses of a world beyond my own backyard, I chose Greenville’s Falls Park and Liberty Bridge over the Reedy River for my early morning Winter Walk-Off 2013.

The Reedy River Falls in downtown Greenville are 28-feet tall.

The Reedy River Falls in downtown Greenville are 28-feet tall.

If Greenville is the hub of the Upstate, then Falls Park is the hub of Greenville. The park features breathtaking waterfalls, scenic overlooks, landscaped garden areas, nature trails, a pond, and a spectacular land bridge. Falls Cottage (1838) is located within the park along with a historic grist mill. Plaques provide details related to local history and native plant species.

Bridge-eye view

Bridge-eye view

Reedy River Falls is where Greenville’s first European settler, Richard Pearis, established his trading post in 1768. Pearis later built grist and saw mills at this same location and it continued as the epicenter of industry in Greenville until the 1920s. Although you wouldn’t know it now, Greenville was once touted as The Textile Center of the South, with three mills operating on the Reedy River.

In 1967 Carolina Foothills Garden Club, with the support of Furman University, the City of Greenville, and the Planning Commission, reclaimed 26 acres for the current park. The Club remains a driving force in the park’s development, restoration, and preservation.

Muhlenbergia capillaris (muhly grass)

Muhlenbergia capillaris (muhly grass)

Mary's Restaurant at Falls Cottage

Mary’s Restaurant at Falls Cottage

Liberty Bridge was designed by bridge architect Miquel Rosales of Boston, engineered by Schlaich Bergermann of Stuttgart, Germany, and constructed in 12 months by Taylor and Murphy Construction Co. of Asheville, N.C.

The bridge’s concrete reinforced deck (345 feet long, 12 feet wide and 8 inches thick) is supported by a single suspension cable. The deck’s distinctive curve has a radius of 214 feet and it is cantilevered toward the waterfall from supporting cables on the outside. The bridge deck also inclines 12 feet or 3 percent from east to west over the river.

Liberty Bridge

Liberty Bridge

Rock toss

Rock toss

Today, Falls Park is the location for many public events, from Shakespeare in the Park to Artisphere, and is regarded as a feature attraction of the Upstate.

Garden and grist mill

Garden and grist mill

Catch the wave?

Catch the wave?

Details for this post were taken from Greenville’s website FALLS PARK.

An early morning run in Falls Park

An early morning run in Falls Park