Flowering Bridge: A Decade Behind Us…A Brand New Year Ahead!

By Linda Reandeau

Planning to Celebrate Our Tenth Anniversary – We officially dedicated the Lake Lure Flowering Bridge on October 19, 2013, and this year we are so excited to mark our tenth anniversary. Our slogan A Gateway to Somewhere Beautiful has been drawing our communities together ever since. A Tenth Anniversary Committee is already hard at work planning celebratory events, educational activities for all ages, and choosing commemorative merchandise for sale. As the year progresses and activities are finalized, updates will be available in The Mountain Breeze, the LLFB website and monthly newsletter. Cheers to ten years!

Fulfilling our Mission – While our gardens have undergone many changes in the last ten years, our fundamental mission to educate people about gardening and its health and environmental benefits hasn’t changed. Our 2023 Educational Class Schedule has been developed with that mission in mind. Throughout the growing season, classes are offered each month. Usually lasting about an hour with time for Q&A, classes are open to the public and are free of charge (in some cases, a materials fee may be required). Please see box for this year’s Class Schedule, including our Seasonal Features.

Our first plants were in installed in April 2013.

Building Toward the Future – Tied to our tenth anniversary, our Education Center project is well underway. Interior/exterior specifications and the floor plan are being finalized. Obtaining necessary building permits will begin once we have received the formal architectural rendering of the proposed building.

Visiting This Winter – You might think there’s not much to see in the gardens during winter. Think again! Many plants have their own special appeal during winter. Some herbs such as rosemary, thyme and oregano are evergreen and can be used throughout the winter. Walk by our Herb Garden and you might experience some hunger pangs for a big pot of soup!

Herbs maintain their delicious scent even in winter.

Often, a plant’s branch structure is more interesting in winter when the leaves have died back. Ornamental and native grasses may look brown and unsightly now, but they provide food, shelter and support for pollinators and birds. For that reason, we wait until spring to cut these plants back and because the foliage helps to insulate the crown of the plant. Look for our many varieties of grasses when you visit.

Look for our Harry Lauder Walking Stick tree and its weird, twisted branches in the Whimsical Garden.

While winter flowers may not be as plentiful as in summer, look closely for some of these plants when you visit. In the Franklin Tree Garden, look for the Winterhazel and its sweet-smelling yellow blooms later this winter. Some plants boast colorful berries that also provide food for wildlife. The ever-popular Hellebores plant can be seen in several of our gardens. This plant is a favorite for home gardens as well.

Don’t miss the Edgeworthia in the Fragrance Garden. Its flowers bloom through winter providing a magnificent gardenia-like fragrance.

When you visit the LLFB this winter, we think you’ll find much interest as you enjoy the cold, crisp air and quietness of the gardens. But just remember, there’s lots going on underneath the frozen ground; you’ll see a miracle come spring!

Our winter seasonal feature, Pretty Pansy Pots, are on display January 10 – February 28.

Coming Soon: The Whipple Azalea Garden –Following some dead tree removal and cleanup, a new garden space is being created. Named for A. P. Whipple, former biology professor at Taylor University in Upland, Indiana, it will feature 30 native azaleas from his collections all grown from seed or tissue cultures from plants from all over the southern United States. Our mountain environment provides the perfect growing conditions for these plants.

Native azaleas are deciduous plants blooming once during the growing season followed by airy green foliage. They have an extended flowering display with abundant blooms starting in spring and continuing to September. By comparison, reblooming azaleas, called Encore Azaleas, bloom multiple times during a growing season and remain evergreen.

Rhododendron austrinum, commonly called Florida Flame Azalea, is a favorite in our area.

While at Taylor University, Whipple developed ways to use tissue cultures to propagate specific azaleas, grow azaleas by seed, and created The Taylor University Azalea Garden. His work was significant because the pH of the Indiana soil isn’t ideal for growing these acid-loving plants. Yet he found a way for them to grow and thrive in the heart of corn and soybean country.

We thank the Black Mountain Beautification Committee for arranging for us to receive these plants.

Photo Credits: Alice Garrard

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Education Class Schedule

March 28 – Seed Starting and Propagating Plants

May 23 – Drip Irrigation

July 25 – Sun Printing on Fabrics

August 22 – Harvesting and Preserving Herbs

September 26 – Winterize Your Garden

October 24 – Making Seasonal Wreaths

Special Educational Events

April 22 – Earth Day Celebration, with children’s activities from 10 am – 1 pm

June 24 – Pollinator Week Celebration, with children’s activities from 10 am – 1 pm

Seasonal Features

January 10 – February 28 – Pretty Pansy Pots

March 2 – April 11 – Daffy Ducks

April 11 – May 30 – Bridge Full of Butterflies and Baskets

June 6 – September 5 – Fairy Gardens

October 10 – November 2 – Pumpkin People

November – December – Holidays in the Garden

Visit lakelurefloweringbridge.org or email us at info@lakelurefloweringbridge.org for more information.

Winter Garden

I planted flowers to watch them grow

But now the ground lies white with snow.

I said “Daddy, they’ll freeze, the snow’s so deep.”

“No, my child, they’re just asleep.

Be patient now until the robins sing.

You’ll see a miracle come spring.”

-excerpt written by Jeannie Lewis, LLFB Volunteer

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