Where to begin? On workshops, waterfalls, and wet unhappy seedlings!

One week ago today - actually, at this very time - I was just beginning my tomato workshop at the Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden in Belmont NC. It is so odd - and somewhat disorienting - to reflect back on all that Sue and I experienced between then...and now. It was a truly enjoyable week with so many chapters. 

About Belmont

 Speaking at Daniel Stowe Botanical Gardens

Speaking at Daniel Stowe Botanical Gardens

We've enjoyed our visits to DSBG for years, always fitting it in to my tomato talking invites to Gastonia and/or Mt. Holly. It was such a pleasure to share my tomato stories with a wonderful audience, so well supported by my host, Jim Hoffman. After the talk, Sue and I perused the garden, with the orchid house a particular highlight. 

 Susan and epiphytes in the Stowe Orchid House

Susan and epiphytes in the Stowe Orchid House

After that, we lunched at a superb Belmont eatery, The String Bean, checked into our favorite Mt. Holly B and B, Robin's Nest, and were treated to a nice dinner with some former neighbors.

About Hendersonville - and Ella - and cats!

We had a few days set aside for exploration between my Belmont and Asheville (Mother Earth news Fair) events, and chose a wonderful airbnb, Ella's, in Hendersonville. Ella was quite remarkable in so many ways - we had great chats about movies, life - and cats (of which she had 8). We loved our dinner at West First pizza (superb), and waterfall walks at DuPont Forest and the Pisgah National Forest - and a glass of my favorite beer at Oskar Blues in Brevard. So many waterfalls....and tiny wildflowers beginning to emerge!

 Top of a waterfall in DuPont Forest

Top of a waterfall in DuPont Forest

 Looking Glass Falls in the Pisgah National Forest

Looking Glass Falls in the Pisgah National Forest

 Susan surrounded by empties (not hers!) at Oskar Blues in Brevard

Susan surrounded by empties (not hers!) at Oskar Blues in Brevard

About Asheville and the Fair

This was my third Mother Earth News Fair - second in Asheville (last fall took place in Seven Springs PA). I had the GRIT stage on Saturday, and was so impressed at all of those who braved the cold (42 degrees) and wind (30 mph plus gusts) to hear me talk primarily about our Dwarf Tomato breeding project. Dinner, at close by Sierra Nevada, was really good - and really needed!

On the way to Asheville, on Friday, we stopped for lunch at the Well Bred bakery in Weaverville.  All I can say is, "wow!" That evening we were treated to a wonderful dinner at Salsas by my Storey editor, Carleen.

 Goodies - an understatements! - at the Well Bred bakery in Weaverville

Goodies - an understatements! - at the Well Bred bakery in Weaverville

On Sunday, the weather warmed and calmed, and we took a nice walk through the NC Arboretum near by. It was just so incredibly therapeutic - we walked next to a gently flowing stream, saw more wildflowers, and enjoyed the beautiful gardens. Returning to the fair, I was delighted with a full tent for my late afternoon talk on tomato culture and stories. 

 Tulips and more at the NC Arboretum in Asheville

Tulips and more at the NC Arboretum in Asheville

 My wonderful Sunday afternoon audience beginning to gather

My wonderful Sunday afternoon audience beginning to gather

Home again

We stopped on our Monday drive home in Black Mountain (Sue is addicted to the yarn shop there), and arrived home with sufficient light for me to move all of my veggie seedlings back out into the driveway. They looked quite unhappy from their week in the chilly darkness - but at least they are alive....if left outdoors, it would have been curtains for them with the frosts experienced here in our absence.

We had a nice surprise awaiting us - Sue's brother in law, Ed (whose wonderful dog Merry we've been enjoying for over two months), made a superb dinner...with an authentic, Florida made, Key Lime Pie for dessert. It is so nice to be welcomed home by kindness, and family.

And so - I wonder if my plants will look happier once the rain ends, the sun returns, and the weather warms again. Every year it is something....yet, every year things work out. 

Up next is a trip to Charlottesville to speak to the Master Gardeners group on Thursday evening. Soon to be on the road again! Just a short trip, though - on Friday, and over the weekend, my thoughts will turn to getting my garden planted.  At last!