A weekend in paradise: arrival and the Celo Inn

In April 2018 both myself and Joe Hollis were invited as speakers at The Potential of Perennials for Food System Resilience Symposium in Stans,  Switzerland. I also had the opportunity to spend a great day botanising at two of Zurich’s Botanical Gardens with Joe, see http://www.edimentals.com/blog/?p=17040

Joe said to me at the time that I should come visit if I was ever in the US. I already knew at that time I was invited by Sam Thayer and Melissa Price to the Midwest Wild Harvest Festival at the end of September this year, but Joe’s place seemed a long trek south, so I forgot the idea. Then this spring, I was asked if I would be interested to do a talk at the Atlanta Botanical Garden….and I managed to change my travel plans to do this…and looking at the map I noticed it wasn’t too far from Joe’s Mountain Gardens (aka as Paradise)! So I contacted him and he replied: “Good to hear from you and that is great news!  I am very much looking forward to showing you around my garden and adjacent National Forest land, there is a lot to see”.

So it came to past that I arrived in Asheville, North Carolina on 21st September 2019 and picked up a hire car as Joe’s place was an hour or more up in the Black Mountains subrange of the Appalachians. Four hours later I arrived at my hotel, the Celo Inn (as for why it took so long see the album captions).  It turns out that the Celo community is one of the oldest intentiona communities in the world (1937), based on ideals of cooperation between residents and care for the natural environment….and it turns out that a neighbour and old colleague back in Trondheim actually went to school here…small world!

The pictures below show the approach road to Mountain Gardens from the Celo Inn (only a 5-10 min, drive away) and my first look into the garden!

Entering the garden for the first time I spy what is probably the native North American devil’s walking stick Aralia spinosa in full flower. Does this species flower much later than Japanese Aralia elata? My A. elata had finished flowering at home.

The following morning I walked around the grounds of the Celo Inn on a warm sunny day with monarch and swallowtail butterflies on the ornamental Asters. The owners had quite extensive vegetable beds and the ripe chilis bore witness that the summers were hot even up here in the mountains.

A type of swallowtail butterfly at the Celo Inn

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