Ready to start your grill and stretch out for the long, summer-starting holiday weekend?
Too bad your yard still looks like April Fool’s Day.
A Saturday or Sunday road trip to Hendersonville – an easy and easy-on-your-eye two-hour drive to the Foothills – can help fix this. This weekend is the Garden Jubilee in that historic downtown. The annual event has been going on for more than two decades and is one of the largest gardening shows in Western North Carolina. Estimated attendance over the two days is about 100,000.
Main Street will be closed to traffic and lined with roughly 200 vendors. Regional and local nurseries will be selling thousands of plants – annuals, perennials, herbs, vegetables and more – along the eight-block stretch. Worked in among them are artisans selling garden art, handmade lawn furniture and garden tools, planters, wind chimes and bird houses (in addition to those who make and sell the expected jewelry, soaps and pottery).
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Some garden shoppers bring wagons and carts, gradually filling them along the way. You can leave your purchases at the hospitality tent in front of the historic Henderson County Courthouse, between First and Second Avenues, if you want to browse some more.
With the growers right there, you can get the low-down on how to plant your purchases when you get home.
And the tips don’t stop there. National reps from major lawn/garden companies will also be setting up: firms like Miracle-Gro, Ortho, Roundup, Hot Shot and the rival seed sellers Scotts and Pennington. Got a weed, blight, fungus, insect or other outdoor issue? Take a photo of your problem (or put a piece of it in a bag) and bring it here for a free diagnosis.
By the way, expect these major yard merchants to be handing out free samples.
There’s also free advice from Bill Slack, the landscape/gardening specialist with Southern Living magazine. He will be hosting gardening workshops at the Lowe’s Expo at the visitor center. Both days, Slack will be speaking on “Creating a Gorgeous Landscape... What’s the Secret,” “A Stroll Through the Garden – Pathways and Patios” and “Your Backyard – From Ho-Hum to Eye-Popping.” His talks will be at 11 a.m., 1 and 3 p.m. Saturday; 1 and 3 p.m. Sunday.
Hendersonville is just off I-26; you can easily connect the divided highways – I-85 South to U.S. 74 Bypass West – to get there. If the weather’s nice, consider a detour – U.S. 64 between Hendersonville and Rutherfordton (linking to U.S. 74 Bypass). You’ll cross a beautiful stretch of the Blue Ridge and have the chance to stop at Chimney Rock State Park (www.chimneyrockpark.com) and Lake Lure (www.lake-lure.com).
At the park, you may be able to see some unusual yard maintenance that has been going on near the upper parking lot since mid-May: Behind the wire fence, 15 goats were hired to remove “a dense monoculture of non-native invasive species that out-compete native plants and contribute to hazards like erosion and landslide.”
Their project will last only a few weeks longer: Kudzu is one of their favorite meals.
Bordsen is the Observer’s travel editor.
Garden Jubilee Festival
HOURS: 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. DETAILS: www.historichendersonville.org/garden-jubilee-schedule.pdf.