Most Photographed Mabry Mill

If you are sitting at a desk in Dallas looking up photos of the Blue Ridge Parkway, there’s a good chance that the majority of the photos that you are seeing are from the North Carolina stretch.  I don’t know if they just do a better job of Internet marketing or what the deal is there but there is one site along Virginia’s Blue Ridge Parkway that is touted as the most photographed. That is Mabry Mill.  It’s about an hour from Henry County, maybe a little less, just north of where the Parkway passes Meadows of Dan.  Part of the National Parks System, Mabry Mill is a perfect blend of natural beauty, history, and local fare.  The Mabry Mill Restaurant is lauded for its  sweet potato, blueberry, and apple pancakes made from buckwheat and corn meal ground at the mill.  Continue reading “Most Photographed Mabry Mill”

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Gardening in MHC

I would call myself an avid gardener but then someone  is going to ask me the name of a plant and I’m going to blink like a deer in headlights.  Let’s just say that I really, really like to play in the dirt. I make an effort to remember the names of the plants but I don’t think that they really care.

The soil here is red and I’ve been told that that means that it is rich in iron.  Plants that love acidic soils, like azaleas, love it. In fact, the azaleas need absolutely no care here to thrive.  It does help to keep the wisteria out of them and they don’t seem to like  a blanket of leaves around their base.  Other than that, they are the gift that just keeps giving.

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Rhododendron also thrive here.

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And peonies.

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The biggest problem for gardeners here is not the soil or the weather. It’s all the critters who see the flowers as salad. The deer come all the way up to the house and eat the prettiest blossoms.  Actually, I’ve been lucky with them only eating the blossoms.  My neighbors have had some of their plants eaten all the way to the ground.

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If you are trying to tame an area that’s been long neglected, there is one other pest to be aware of.  Wisteria.  I’d always heard about the invasive kudzu in the south so, when we got here and saw this:

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I thought that we were looking at kudzu. Our neighbor would squint at me whenever I talked about our battles to eradicate the vines that travel along the ground and climb anything and everything in its path.   Now that we’ve cut away all of the vines from all of the trees and shrubs and have been preventing them from taking a hold anywhere new, I understand that it really is wisteria.  Left alone,  it will climb to the top of the trees and then bloom the distinctive purple blossoms in early spring.

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It can kill a tree or shrub either by girdling its trunk or blocking its canopy from getting sufficient sunlight.  When Mother moved here, she couldn’t understand why I didn’t want to help her bring a wisteria that she was growing in her back yard in Texas.  Since she got here in April, she never saw this cedar tree in bloom:

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I’ve got several new beds of flowers started and hope to be able to post some photos as the beds mature.  So far, obedient plants and coneflowers are real winners. Daylilies just need to be shown the dirt to do well but they seem to particularly attract deer.