Thursday, May 24, 2012

Ashville: Day one and the Fling begins

Blue Ridge Mountains
The Saint and I left our Georgia Gardens to partake in a little adventure. This adventure took us to the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina.
Asheville, NC was our destination. We found a wonderful city full of Gardens (Click HERE to learn more about Asheville Gardens), Art, Friendly people and a thriving Downtown.
Biltmore House Gates

This was our first trip to Asheville and our main goal; Attend our first Garden Bloggers Spring Fling! I have read many Fling post's of past with envy. With this years Fling being an easy drive for us, we decided it was time to partake in the fun and meet some bloggers that I have been chatting with for years. What a great chance to knock off a "Bucket List" item by seeing Biltmore and also putting faces to Blog names!
Biltmore House
 We arrived a day early so we could tour Biltmore house. I have toured many castles while living in Europe but this one was like non other to me. This one had more of a warm homey feel verses cold stone castle feeling to me.
To the right of the main entrance was my favorite part of the entire house. The Winter Garden of course.
I could not help but think of some of the European Cathedrals when seeing the Architecture of this magnificent house. Yes, I said house. It is the largest house in America! Today's Post will be rather filled so I will not talk further about the house. If you are interested in learning more, Please Click HERE.

Biltmore Water Gardens
   The water Gardens are one level below the house. We did not take time looking at the gardens as we knew that was on the itinerary during the Fling. We did stroll along the upper level of the 3 Water Gardens on our way back to the car.                         
A close up of the island in one of the gardens.
Iris in the island
More pretties in the island. Anyone that knows me on this Blog will tell you that I am NOT the one to ask about flower types. I shall leave that for our Master Gardener, Tina...
Tina was near by with most pictures I snapped so you may see overlapping pictures. But I think overlapping can be a good thing as you will see two different views and takes of the same thing...
Biltmore Tea House
Wow, the views were spectacular and I can see why the Biltmore family fell in love with North Carolina.
The Saint and his chicken!
 The only time I am sure to get a smile out of the Saint with a camera in his face, is when he is near an animal. I must admit this brought a smile to my face as well. I have never seen anyone pick up a darn chicken and love on the thing like the Saint. Guess I shall have to call him the Chicken Whisperer now. Geesh...
Farmer Tina
                Tina wanted to fire up that old Tractor and till the land      at Biltmore Farms. Kudos to your hat maker girl.
Sow True Seeds
The Fist Fling event started out as an Open House at Sow True Seeds. Click HERE to learn more about their "Open Pollinated/Non-Hybrid and Untreated Seeds.  Here you see Flinger's Tina and Debbie in the cold room of the facility with our wonderful tour guides and Sponsors. I shall not give last names of bloggers as I failed to get permission to post.

Later that evening, we had the official Garden Bloggers Meet and Greet. Sorry but the camera never came out at that event. It was so much fun to put a face to a mere blogger name! Of course no one knew my name as I am known as "Skeeter" and that is NOT my name. LOL.

Christopher Mello's Garden

Future works of Art
 We had so many people that we had to split up into two buses. Has been about 40 years since I was on a school bus. Wow, have those seats gotten smaller or what? Our bus took us to our first stop being the Garden of Artist Christopher Mello. Here you see his surplus of materials that shall one day be pieces of art.
This Waterfall greets you as you enter his Whimsical World of Art surrounded by a circular garden.
A Lot of iron, rust and clay within his decor.
This Blue Bottle Tree glowed in the garden. I have seen many Bottle Trees on different Blogs but never one with the Tree itself being painted!
The Blue Bottles glowed with the sun shining upon them.
With Art, One must use their imagination at times. I have a good imagination and for some reason, I could see this contraption as a type bomb that would creep along the sea floor and into a ship of another era. Just my vision.
Again, I see some type of Military war head that missed its target.
I cannot tell you how many times we have burn such a beautiful piece of wood. In the Garden such as this, not trashy wood but a work of art. I shall view old wooden pieces a bit differently now.
This is not only a place to display works of art but a beautiful garden filled with color as well.
Look at this beautiful Poppy!
Works of Art incorporated with Flowers.
This reminds me of an old Farm house and Barn. Do you get that?
A Farm Implement at some point maybe?
Now a planter full of Succulents.
This piece reminds me of a Gladiator's weapon.
Or did inspiration come from this beautiful bloom? Hum, See how my imagination works in an art/garden?
Christopher was sure to let us know he likes purples and blues in his gardens.
Black Mimosa
Raindrops on the Smoke tree look a bit like ice in this picture.
So pretty.
Oh so pretty indeed.
There was much talk amongst bloggers on this portion of the garden. It was interesting hearing every one's take on this garden as we all have our views. Some Art, well, I must admit, I just don't get it. But in this case, I believe I do get it. Some referred to this as the Shovel Garden due to it being surrounded by tall standing rusty shovels. This garden is centered in the middle of the entire circular property. So a sort of garden within a garden.  
Some referred to it as the Truck Garden. As we move in closer, you can see old rusty metal trucks, hence that name.
 First of all, I like to think that I am Open Minded thus, Not too quickly to judge. I like to sit back, think on things then form an opinion. But as soon as I saw this Tonka Truck Garden, I got it! Childhood memories of me and my brothers playing in the yard with Tonka Trucks came flooding into my memory bank.
We would play in the warm earth while being surrounded by my Grandmothers Peony, Wisteria vines, Iris, Rose's, etc. We were mere tots soaking up the surrounding nature as a sponge to spilt milk! Yes, that happen a lot as children too. 
To this day, I credit my gardening and nature loving to being in that back yard surrounded by nature and scraping dirt while just being a little kid playing and using my imagination.

All 3 of my brothers enjoy nature and have some sort of flower or veggie growing in their yards! Hum, Am I on to something or just letting my mind take over here?  
Today, I fear children are stuck behind a TV or Computer and are missing out on the simple things in life. I think Christopher Mello is on to something with his garden! He opens his gardens to the neighborhood children so they can play in his safe Garden while soaking up art, flowers and just plan using their imaginations! If this is what it takes to get a child into the garden so be it in my opinion. Christopher's passion for gardening is awesome and I was pleased to be able to spend some time walking through a wild meadow and learning a few things from him along the way. He is a jewel to his community in my book. Oh yes, I wrote a book today. Sorry but that is what happens at DAY ONE OF THE FLING, In the Garden...  
Words and Photos Property of In the Garden Blog Team, In the Garden


  1. I have one more thing to put on my Bucket List now! I DO "get" the circular garden w. Tonka trucks. In fact, we have a small collection of rusted Tonka trucks ourselves! Hmmmmmm.

    I would have loved this garden and REALLY like the pictures you took of it. Can't wait to see the next bunch.

    Lucky you, Skeeter. (I ♥ the Biltmore, too. I think we've been there 3 times, including the last one at Christmas. Probably won't go again. Too many other things I haven't seen yet...)

    1. There was a lot of chat about this garden and not all positive. But with any work of art, we dont all seem to get it. There is a lot of art I do not seem to understand but in this case, I got it! How neat you have a Tonka garden as well! See, some do get this whimiscal garden...

      I would like to go back to Asheville again as there was so much more to see and do but our time had us busy with wonderful Blogger Events...

  2. Skeeter, I loved your take on Christopher's garden. It's amazing how differently we all see the same view, isn't it? I completely missed some of the artwork in your photos--I'll just have to go back! ;-) I'm enamored with his blue poppies--and his creativity. Lovely photos! Thanks so much for sharing!

    1. Yes Julie. Kind of like looking at an abstract piece of art hanging on the wall. Some times I look at that art and think, Hum, did a kindergartener paint that? Then other times it jumps out at me and I get it. Christopher Mello's garden jumped out to me and I totally understood it. And those poppy’s were so dreamy….

  3. Skeeter, You probably would not be surprised to learn we have MANY of the exact same pictures and words. Isn't that too funny? I love hearing your take on it all and think that is the best way to blog and get your message across-especially when you talk about the tonka truck garden.

    I am taking a break to spend time with my family. I will try to get some posts up soon but boy does it take a lot of work. That is why this post is awesome-I know you spent a lot of time on it. Great job!

    1. Tina, I had the best time strolling around in gardens with you girl. And also just chatting about our families, wildlife and life in general! So great to be able to spend time with my garden Bud! As you know, the Saint had a blast as well.

      You don’t worry about blogging and spend time with your family instead! Enjoy tonight and kudos to the Jimster for meeting a great goal in life….

  4. I like your insights about the truck garden. Yes, children today are missing out, and hopefully his installation will introduce some children to the outdoors -- and remind the older set of our earliest garden memories.

    1. Pam, As soon as I saw those trucks, big smiles came upon my face! I have talked about being a tomboy kid and digging in the dirt with Tonkas for years! I totally understand what this garden represents. What ever it takes to get a child into the great outdoors is a great thing…

  5. Great post and photos and it was so nice meeting you and The Saint!

    1. Thanks Phillip! It was so much fun and I just cannot stop talking about all the wonderful people we met during this fun event. So much fun strolling amongst the beauty while getting to know others...

  6. OMG I do not know how you could pick out what to post on. Everything is so great but my favorite is the shovel/truck garden. Just fell in love with it!!!

    1. Jean, I am glad you enjoyed the Shovel Garden. Some people frown upon it. I totally get it so I loved it....

  7. What a feast of a post! In between your trip, the photos, your experiences and the temperatures we're having now in London (scorching to say the least!), this was a beautiful post from beginning to end. Thank you very much.

    Greetings from London.

    1. I am glad you enjoyed it Cuban! This was one of many I shall post on this event. This is just part one of the first day! More to come tomorrow.... Enjoy...

  8. nicely captured! i like the connections you made between the art, plantings and community at christopher's shovel henge. a special place indeed, so glad we were able to visit it.

    1. Thanks. I am not quick to judge. I ponder a bit then form an opinion. Art makes me do that. I loved the art of the town of Asheville and would love to go back again some day to explore others fun places...

  9. I so enjoyed your outlook on the gardens you saw. My oldest at one time had all the big Tonka Trucks & played in the soil. I do like that area.

    1. Lola, memories just came a flooding when i saw those trucks girl. Happy memories of a era with no stress or worry. Ah, if only we could go back to that time.... You would have found it so much fun touring these fun gardens. Something to capture your eye with every turn of the head....

  10. It's so interesting to see all the different perspectives of the gardens we toured, and I've only just begun reading the different posts! I love your description and interpretation of Christopher Mello's garden, Skeeter. I think more children need the chance to indulge their playful and imaginative side. I'm not much into modern art, either, but I really enjoyed all his creative displays.

    So nice to meet you and the Saint--who really is a Saint:). Tina looks good on that tractor!

    1. Tina was such a natural when I told her to climb up on that tractor girl. It was so great to finally meet you too Rose! I felt like I have known you for many years now following your adventures through the blog. Yes, he is a Saint indeed. I will have him out in the yard working with me this weekend. He has a 4 dayer so I shall see what all we can get done. I am going to make a list as that seems to work best for us. Hee hee.. My bunnys need to get ready for 4th of July. And we shall fit in a trip to our lake. So we will work and have fun as well. Just the way we like it... Come see us sometime girl...

  11. I really enjoyed the beautiful bottle trees in your post!

    1. I am growing more fonder of bottle trees each time I see them in other gardens. I did find a metal hanging bottle rack while in a garden center in Asheville, but the price was not right for my cheap spending. I will have a bottle tree in time though. Be sure to check out other post's from the Fling as they posted some great photos of the bottle trees. I did not snap many as I knew they would be in every posting about Christopher Mello's garden...

  12. I am delighted with your long post Skeeter. There is so much to absorb about this trip. I love seeing some of the same shots by different people as everyone has a different thought on the same subject. It was great meeting you and the Saint. Big hugs, Lisa

  13. I am sad I had to miss the fling...I so wanted to see the Biltmore and all the wonderful gardens round Asheville. Thx for this post!

  14. I echo Lisa's comment. You captured so much in this post and the photos are wonderful. You too got a photo of the heads in Christopher's garden and I never noticed them. I just saw them on another post. Since you showed the full display, I now remember taking an image, the heads must be in the photo, but I just did not notice them when I was there. Too much color and art I had my head spinning and my eyes wondering. Nice post on our Fling adventure. I am glad Tina introduced us.