MEETING SCHEDULE                     
 Our first meeting of 2015 will be Thursday,
 February 12th at 10:15.  We meet in the
 library conference room.
                               Everyone welcome!

                 FOREST FARM CLASS                    
Marshall Library Permaculture Forest Garden: Spring Renewal, in the Fourth Year

Friday, April 10, 2015, 9am-6pm, potluck lunch

Cost: $60-90/person sliding scale, limited work-

trade positions and scholarships available

To register, contact Zev Friedman


class info


Your mail box is probably getting as full as mine with the delivery of the seed catalogs.  Well, now is the time to be thinking about what you might enjoy growing, with a few extra to donate to the plant sale this year. 

Interested?  Give Ed McNally a call to see what native plants we hope to  sell this year.  It's also a great time of year to do hard wood cuttings for propagation! 
Want to find out what else is happening?  Give Ed a call at 828-333-3883.   

                     2015 WORK DAYS                         

Tentatively the third Saturday of the month starting in March, from 9-noon,

Put it on your calendar now.....                       
    workdays are the third Saturday of the   
        month starting at 9 a.m.                            

We've found other great sources of native plants. Meet:
Another great source of native plants is Bear Wallow Native Plants and Nursery.   Nancy Fink, owner, is an active member of the Marshall Native Plants Initiative.  
 News from MNGI

As winter approached with early snow, many gardeners laid aside their trowels and shovels and took a much needed rest. However, at Madison County Library’s Native Garden work continued through November and into December.

On one cold Saturday morning volunteers mulched established beds to protect them from the extremes of winter weather.

On another morning they turned their attention to the new Butterfly Garden where they planted forty annuals and sixty native perennials: Bee Balm, Purple Love Grass, Garden Phlox and Black-Eyed Susan. When summer comes, these brightly colored flowers will nourish many different kinds of butterflies. Other woody plants will be host plants where female butterflies can deposit their eggs.

Choosing native host plants is important to the success of a butterfly garden because caterpillars are voracious but picky eaters, often eating only the leaves of one specific plant. 

In December, MNGI Board Co-Chair Ed McNally announced that the Southern Highlands Reserve had offered to partner with MNGI and co-sponsor our Native Shrubs Garden. The Southern Highlands Reserve is a botanical garden and native reserve that demonstrates ecologically sustainable land preservation and landscape design for the Blue Ridge Mountain region of Western North Carolina. Located in Lake Toxaway, it has established a ten acre woodland garden highlighting plants native to our region.

The Southern Highlands Reserve donated fifteen Gregory Bald Azaleas to MNGI and they were planted on both sides of the drive coming into the library. Gregory Bald Azaleas are deciduous and famous for their extraordinary beauty and diverse colors. As the name implies, they hail from Gregory Bald in the Great Smokey Mountain National Park near Cades Cove, Tennessee.

As the weather turns cold it is tempting to ignore a dormant garden. But winter gardens have their own beauty, which is often most striking on cloudy days when soft grays and browns, muted reds and pale yellows are not diminished by bright sun. On the November day I visited, the Pink Muhly Grass had faded into straw colored stalks with delicate tasseled seed heads that splashed over the edge of the wall.

To the left of the entry the rain chain, with its cupped bells, was coated in ice. Winter had transformed it into a huge, silvery icicle. Ed McNally said that the rain chain “sings” when it rains, a phenomena he can’t explain but which is lovely to think of in the midst of a winter freeze. Although there was more than an inch of snow on the Entry Garden that day, the Green and Gold ground cover was still green, with burgundy hues, and will probably remain that color most of the winter.

 Before the onslaught of seed and flower catalogues arrive in the mail with Kodachrome promises of summer abundance, take some time to read and dream about gardens other than your own.

My favorite winter reading is Elizabeth and Her German Garden, a memoir written in 1898 by Elizabeth von Arnim, an Englishwoman who moved onto the wild and neglected estate of her German husband and fell in love with gardening as a refuge from social and domestic expectations  and responsibilities. The book was very popular and frequently reprinted during the early part of the 20th century.

Exuberant descriptions of the overgrown estate and Elizabeth’s attempts to tame some of it into well managed English gardens are interspersed with humorous anecdotes about her husband (“The Man of Wrath”), her three children (the April baby, the May baby and the June baby) and various friends who visit.  My personal edition of this book is more than a hundred years old and has hand cut pages and photogravure illustrations.

A modern edition of Elizabeth and Her German Garden is available at the Marshall Library.
                                                         Marian Plaut