Summer Break: Windansea Waves, Asheville Flowers, and a Brand New Bromeliad

Photos by Tim King, Ryan Benoit and Chantal Gordon

Hi — hello — we’ve missed you! Can you believe we’re already halfway into July? Ryan and I have been scarce, posting-wise, due to travel: back-to-back trips that have that thrown us into somewhat of a bicoastal tizzy.

First there was Charleston. Then, a few days after Ryan returned to California, I headed out to Asheville, NC, for my second ten-day MFA residency at Warren Wilson College. The campus, so snowy and poised last January, is now outrageously green. Red oak and sugar maples in leafy splendor, and plenty of Queen Anne’s lace blooming ivory by the roadside. (I also ate the catfish po’ boy of the century. Which you’ll find at the wonderful HomeGrown on Merrimon Avenue.)

Luckily, there’s been at least one of us home to take care of the garden. And all sorts of fun things have been happening inside it — from our first tomato plant in years to summer chores to a couple of glasses of anniversary wine, drunk on a stump.

In the photos below, you’ll see what the yard has been up to — plus some nature shots from my time in the mountains.

What’s on your list for July?

—TH

Asheville to La Jolla on The Horticult

Ryan prepped the garden for a Sunday funday on Fourth of July weekend.

Asheville to La Jolla on The Horticult

During a rare stretch of downtime, I wandered around Warren Wilson’s student-run farm, which extends across 275 acres. The livestock (cattle, chickens, pigs) are pasture-raised.

Asheville to La Jolla on The Horticult

Lounging in our garden: Ryan, on the left, is forced to relax (!) and enjoy our space. These chairs have apparently become the shirts-optional corner. Photo by Tim King.

Asheville to La Jolla on The Horticult

On campus, two espaliered pear trees add eye candy to a study nook.

Asheville to La Jolla on The Horticult

Time to make some cocktails. Photo by Tim King.

Asheville to La Jolla on The Horticult

Asheville to La Jolla on The Horticult

A vodka lemonade mint punch was on the menu. Stay tuned for our recipe! Photo by Tim King.

Asheville to La Jolla on The Horticult

Below the pears, balloon flowers sprawl.

Asheville to La Jolla on The Horticult

Mesembryanthemum crystallinum, or common ice plant, is native to Africa and invasive here in California.

Asheville to La Jolla on The Horticult

The groundcover Sedum rupestre ‘Angelina’ and purple geraniums ingratiate themselves with the stone hardscaping.

Asheville to La Jolla on The Horticult

The infamous “Windansea womp” awaits! Tuck your head if you dare to ride this notorious beach break at Windansea Beach in La Jolla, California.

Asheville to La Jolla on The Horticult

Meanwhile in NC, ridiculously picturesque views of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Asheville to La Jolla on The Horticult

Our friend John gets womped. Photo by Teal Zeisler.

Asheville to La Jolla on The Horticult

The walk from the dorms to campus was blotted with an abundance of Queen Anne’s lace.

Asheville to La Jolla on The Horticult

Ryan and the Windansea sunset. Photo by Tim King.

Asheville to La Jolla on The Horticult

Asheville to La Jolla on The Horticult

Inside our yard, the summer garden chore list is growing: irrigation system modifications, transplanting, furniture maintenance…

Asheville to La Jolla on The Horticult

The charming pink flowers of an oak leaf hydrangea (left) brighten the school’s hilly landscape.

Asheville to La Jolla on The Horticult

Our new inverted tomato planter needed watering everyday. We’re still figuring out how to hide that unfortunate skirt.

Asheville to La Jolla on The Horticult

Gooseneck loosestrife (Lysimachia clethroides) floods the walkways all over campus.

Asheville to La Jolla on The Horticult

Back at our place, Ryan was busy planting this year’s Aechmea fasciata bromeliad. A staple in our vertical shade garden, this plant provides at least four months of bright color; small purple flowers will eventually unfurl within the pink bloom.

Asheville to La Jolla on The Horticult

A green little corner for studying (or napping between lectures).

Asheville to La Jolla on The Horticult

Home at last! I returned on the day of our sixth anniversary, celebrated outdoors over a bottle of 2008 rioja.

Asheville to La Jolla on The Horticult