Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 59

G Seeing Red

Text and photos by Elizabeth Hunter

Mountain
Garden

THE COLOR DRAWS THE EYE, AS WELL AS THE BUTTERFLIES
AND THE HUMMINGBIRDS.

AT THE BEGINNING of last summer I
bought a pair of flexible plastic buckets. I chose red ones to make them
easy to spot no matter where I'd left
them. But one day when I noticed a
pipevine swallowtail hovering
around the bucket I was weeding
into, I realized that red is a standout
color for more than me.
My organic garden always
attracts lots of butterflies, but last
year's cool, soggy spring and early
summer delayed their usual population explosion. A July 25 journal
entry notes that "in the last three
days, we have begun seeing noticeably more butterflies, specifically
swallowtails and silver spotted skippers, on the butterfly bush and bee
balm."
Most years, the bee balm's peak
bloom perfectly dovetails with the
swallowtail tsunami; on the hottest
summer days it throbs to the fevered
beat of hundreds of swallowtail
wings. In 2013, though, the peaks
were off register, like a badly printed
color photograph in a newspaper. By
the time the swallowtails hit their
stride, the bee balm was in severe
decline. Not that the swallowtails
cared. They have taught me to
refrain from deadheading bee balm
until the last red pipette disappears.
I never wear red, but it's my
neighbor Meg's favorite color, and it
was she who brought me to an

Flowering quince provides a welcome splash of color in early spring.

appreciation of it in the garden. I still
tease her about the year we ordered
seeds together and her list included
six different varieties of red zinnias.
On the color wheel, red and green
are complementary colors; that's
why, in a green landscape, red pops.
(Lemon yellow also pops, though I
don't know why.) What pops draws
the eye. Most of the red in my yard is
bee balm, all of which originated

from a handful of its lateral roots
passed on by a friend. Bee balm is in
the mint family, and easily grown.
Because it's long-lasting and so popular with butterflies and bees, and
because it lights up parts of my yard
that go green in midsummer, I use it
all over the place - and rip it out with
a heavy hand when it gets unruly.
You have to. Left to its own devices,
it would take over the world.

deciduous shrubs, members of the rose
family native to eastern Asia. "These
Quinces are strong growers and should be
given plenty of room," my book says. "As
they are rather coarse they should be in the
background of a small garden, rather than
in too prominent a place. All the varieties
are valuable for cutting in the winter and

forcing into bloom in water in the house."
Their deep green foliage makes them attractive long after the flowers have disappeared.
Less attractive are their sharp spines; giving
them room is good advice. Coarse they may
be, but in late winter and early spring they
help snowdrops and daffodils usher in a new
gardening year.

FLOWERING QUINCE

I remember Flowering Quince (aka Japanese
Quince) from my New England childhood
and was glad to find neighbors here who
could offer me starts of it. They called it
"Japonica." My "National Garden Book,"
published in 1947, confirms that we are referencing the same plant. Its genus,
Chaenomeles, includes three species of

JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2014 | 59



Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014

Cover
Table of Contents
Letters/Worth a Click
From the Editor
Creature Feature
From the Farm
Great Home Buys
Digital Help Guide
Mountain Report
The Hike
Festivals & Events
Mountain Curios: Racing Lawn Mowers
Mountain Curios: Stamping Out Squirrel Sex!
Mountain Curios: A Library as Big as a Breadbox?
Mountain Curios: Mill from 1794 Still Turns!
Mountain Curios: Indian Mounds in Downtown!
Travel Guide 2014: A Year of Great Festivals!
The Blue Ridge Parkway Photoessay
Travel Guide 2014: A Foodie's Dream Journey
Travel Guide 2014: The Retro Pilgrimage
Wilderness Institute in the Smokies
Mountain Garden
Cabin in the Woods: Royal Oaks Retreat
Guest Column
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - Intro
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - Cover
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - Cover2
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - Table of Contents
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 4
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - Letters/Worth a Click
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - From the Editor
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - Creature Feature
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - From the Farm
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 9
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - Great Home Buys
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 11
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 12
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - Digital Help Guide
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - Mountain Report
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 15
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - The Hike
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 17
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - Festivals & Events
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 19
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 20
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 21
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 22
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - Mountain Curios: Racing Lawn Mowers
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - Mountain Curios: Stamping Out Squirrel Sex!
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - Mountain Curios: A Library as Big as a Breadbox?
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - Mountain Curios: Mill from 1794 Still Turns!
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - Mountain Curios: Indian Mounds in Downtown!
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - Travel Guide 2014: A Year of Great Festivals!
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 29
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 30
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 31
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 32
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 33
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - The Blue Ridge Parkway Photoessay
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 35
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 36
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 37
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - Travel Guide 2014: A Foodie's Dream Journey
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 39
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 40
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 41
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 42
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 43
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 44
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 45
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 46
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 47
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - Travel Guide 2014: The Retro Pilgrimage
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 49
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 50
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 51
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 52
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 53
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - Wilderness Institute in the Smokies
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 55
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 56
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 57
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 58
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - Mountain Garden
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 60
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 61
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - Cabin in the Woods: Royal Oaks Retreat
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 63
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 64
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 65
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - Guest Column
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - Cover3
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - Cover4
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