Tag Archives: native plants

Spring Beauties in your Asheville Landscape


Spring is my favorite time of the year. I’m always excited to see the new growth emerging after the winter’s rest and the cheerful colors of blooms and the lime green of new foliage.  There’s a sense of new possibilities and anticipation in the air. What a great time to start something new- hence, the beginning  of a blog by Terri Long Landscape Design. I hope that you find it interesting and useful. I look forward to your comments and questions.

Spring bulbs are one of the first harbingers of spring. Some even bloom in late winter, so with a variety of bulbs you can introduce flowers into your landscape early and for a long time. You can create or emphasize curving lines with large sweeps of flowering bulbs. Mass plantings of bulbs are a great way to add fast color to a young landscape and also provide a source for cut flowers.

We all know daffodils, tulips, crocus and grape hyacinths. Daffodils and crocus are pest resistant, so you don’t have to worry about them being damaged by squirrels, chipmunks, voles and other critters. As some of you know, I moved into a 70s neighborhood in  Asheville last year. I’ve been delighted to see the spring bulbs that were planted by previous homeowners appear and bloom. Although tulips are unreliable and short lived in the south, I’m happy to see buds emerging from the foliage and am eagerly awaiting the flowers to mature and bloom. I don’t even mind the grape hyacinths and violets in my lawn, since they add purple into a sea of green and really shouldn’t interfere with mowing. They’re not for those who like a perfect lawn, since the grape hyacinths seed themselves with abandon, even from well-maintained perennial beds.

Other bulbs that you may not have considered are Squill (Scilla), with beautiful blue or white flowers which are deer resistant, and Snowdrop (Galanthus), a white, bell shaped  flower that combines nicely with Hellebores. Both of these are good for naturalizing. For those bulbs that are prone to critter damage, you can plant them in wire cages or, better yet, plant them in PermaTill-Vole Bloc, which is made from expanded natural slate by a North Carolina company.

For native plants, look at Trout Lily and Spring Beauty, which are corms, and Crested Dwarf Iris, which are rhizomes rather than bulbs. Trout Lily and Spring Beauty are spring ephemerals, so they are visible for only a short time. The foliage of the Crested Dwarf Iris will last through the summer, except in very dry summer conditions. These natives look great in woodland and rock gardens.

The National Native Azalea Repository at the North Carolina Arboretum (www.ncarboretum.org) is an excellent place to see masses of trout lilies in the spring. Their mottled foliage resembles trout (not surprising that they are called trout lilies). Their small yellow flowers are a good reason to bend down to get a better look at their flowers and foliage, slow down and get in touch with nature.

You can see Spring Beauties at The Botanical Gardens of Asheville (www.ashevillebotanicalgardens.org), along with a multitude of common and rare native plants of our region.

Now is an excellent time to look at your landscape and see where you would like to add early spring color with bulbs. Planting bulbs is also an easy way to improve your curb appeal if you are considering putting your house on the market next spring. Take notes so that you’ll know where to plant your spring bulbs in October. Or better yet, contact me to evaluate your landscape, make suggestions, and we’ll come back and plant them for you in October. You’ll have more time to enjoy the wonders of spring and have something new to look forward to next spring.

Happy Spring!

Terri Long Landscape Design, Inc.

Enriching Your Life with Natural Beauty


Asheville, North Carolina

North Carolina Mountains Provide Design Inspiration

The scenic beauty and native plants of Western North Carolina are a continuous source of inspiration. You will see elements from local surroundings in the design for a new home for one of my clients at The Cliffs of Walnut Cove in Asheville, North Carolina. These include a dry creek bed flowing under an arched stone faced bridge leading to the front porch.

Front bridge in progress

The bridge designed by the architectural team of Christopher Rose Architects is reminiscent of the tunnels of the Blue Ridge Parkway. It’ll be like having a reminder of the parkway upon approaching their house.

The conceptual design of the architects included a dry creek bed to manage and direct the storm water runoff away from the front of the house. Although I’ve incorporated dry creek beds in other projects, this is the first opportunity I’ve had to integrate it with the architecture in this way. Rather than collecting water in catch basins and piping it away in drains resulting in a generic, sterile look, the use of the dry creek bed becomes a natural looking feature with a functional purpose and a green solution.

We were excited to be invited to go to the actual source of the native stone and be involved in selecting them. Our first stop was to a stone yard where the supplier brings in different types of stones for sale. My client was able to see many different types of stones and identify what was appealing to her. Even better than the stone yard, we were going to be able to select the stones from their natural setting.

Creek Inspiration

We then went to a creek on the way to the rock bar where we were able to hone in on the look, type and arrangement of stones that will be used for her dry creek bed. Although our constructed creek bed will be narrower and sunny, this creek will be the inspiration.

After soaking up the sounds and sights of the water, mossy rocks and identifying several wildflowers, we went on an adventurous ride up the mountain to the rock bar. I’ve been to stone yards numerous times, but that doesn’t begin to compare to actually seeing the stone in its natural setting before it is harvested. Unlike anywhere that I’ve been on hikes, the site was naturally covered in stone of all sizes and shapes. Now, when we see these stones after they’re installed, we’ll remember the trip to the rock bar and from where they came.

Rocks in natural setting

The natural boulders were delivered this week . These boulders will be used for a low boulder wall and as natural looking outcroppings on each side of the driveway entrance. The stones for the dry creek bed will be the type found in creeks and will be delivered on another day.

Boulder delivery

Native Boulders

Stay tuned for updates as the installation begins.

Trillium, Trillium and More Trillium

Trillium and Fringed Phacelia

Now’s the time to get outside in the western North  Carolina mountains and Tennesse to see one of my favorite spring wildflowerstrilliums.  These beautiful spring ephemerals get their name from their three leaves and three flower petals. They emerge early in the spring before the trees have leafed out, bloom in all of their beauty and enchantment and then disappear until next year. I’ve recently seen them in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park and will be looking for them soon along the Blue Ridge Parkway. You can also easily see trilliums and multitudes of other spring  wildflowers at the Botanical Gardens of Asheville.

Whether using the native plants or adapting their design concepts, nature provides numerous examples not only of plant combinations but also arrangements. We can take clues from the masses of white spring wildflowers blanketing the forest floor and the impact gained by massing plants, whether by color or type.


Catesby's Trillium

A single flower can also provide an element of surprise and delight when discovered. Trilliums can take as long as seven years to produce a saleable plant from seed. That’s one reason why they’re rare and expensive in the nursery trade. Illegal harvesting of these plants makes it especially important to buy them from reputable nurseries and not from tailgate markets and other temporary vendors. The Botanical Gardens of Asheville is having their spring nursery sale on May 1 and 2, where you can stock up on native plants (and hopefully, trilliums) while benefiting the Gardens too. I hope to see you there!

Please let me know your favorite places for trilliums, especially from nurseries.

Yellow Trillium

Terri Long Landscape Design, Inc.

Enriching Your Life with Natural Beauty


Asheville, North Carolina