Thursday, September 12, 2013 8 comments

Summer, we hardly knew ye

Sometimes it rained so hard we couldn't see the waterfall

Wait a minute! Wasn't it just a couple of days ago we were visiting Christopher C and his fabulous Mom, Bulbarella, enjoying their wildflower gardens and stunning rhododendrons?

Drop dead gorgeous Rhodys in the Carrie gardens outside Clyde

Biltmore in May

Then wasn't it yesterday we spent Memorial Day checking out the winners of the first Biltmore International Rose Trials? It certainly seems like yesterday. So how come the calender now says September 12th? And what happened to June, July and August?

Looking back, our summer was literally washed away. We had over 30 inches of rain in July alone, and spent most of August looking out the window at dark skies and watching the veggie garden drown.

And of course, a sea of blackspot washed over the roses.

Ironweed (a member of the aster family) and Joe Pye
But now we've actually had a week with sunny skies! So I've been out exploring, appreciating the early fall beauties that are strutting their stuff right this minute. I am loving the Joe Pyes, sunflowers, phlox, dahlias and a plant I've never seen before, Ironweed.

Summer may have evaporated, but I'm going to savor every minute of this September show. Because I am certainly not ready for mums, pumpkins and black cats.

A field of sunflowers near Highlands
Red Bleeding Heart (Clerodendrum thomsoniae)

Sedum looking like refreshing cones of strawberry ice cream

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail and buddleia

Female Eastern Tiger Swallowtail and phlox

Green-headed coneflowers (I think) growing along our trail

Monday, September 2, 2013 8 comments

And now, a word from your sponsor...

As many of you know, The Dirt Diaries website features an area where you can sign up to get an e-mail notification every time a new article goes live. Although I can easily see how many folks have signed up as “Followers”, I have no idea how many receive my postings in their e-mail inbox.

So those readers will not have seen the shiny new widget on the site announcing that my iBook, The Dirt Diaries, is available right now for $4.99 in the iTunes bookstore. Here is the link:

I’ve been working on creating the book for the last seven months using the amazing software called iBooks Author. The result is a compilation of my articles and photographs from the past several years, along with some of my favorite Dirt Diaries postings.

Unfortunately, at the moment, you must have an iPad to be able to download the book. Later this fall when the new Apple OS system becomes available, anyone with an Apple computer, Touch or iPhone will be able to purchase it.

I’m posting a few screenshots from the book to give you an idea what it is all about. Here’s how the description reads in the iTunes store:

Bears, Yogi Berra, bats with five-foot wingspans, wildflowers that look like a skeleton’s fingers – not the usual topics found in garden books. But then The Dirt Diaries isn’t your everyday tome about gardening. International award winning writer and rosarian emeritus Lynn Hunt presents the best of her best on gardens and gardening, featuring know-how and nonsense, instructive insight and flights of fancy.

You’ll learn how to build your own nature trail and protect yourself from the bite of a sea dragon. You’ll meet the world’s most accomplished rose hybridizers and chickens that like habanero peppers. You’ll visit historic rose Edens like Mottisfont Abbey in England and take an unfortunate trip to the National “Buttfly” Garden.

And, of course, tales abound about the Queen of Flowers and her glamorous garden sidekicks.

And here are snippets from a couple of the reviews :

Move Over Eleanor Perenyi and Diane Ackerman.  There’s a new ‘read-me-just-for-the-pleasure-of-it’ garden writer in town.  Her name is Lynn Hunt and ‘The Dirt Diaries’ is one of those rare pleasures for both armchair and active gardeners: it’s as entertaining as it is informative. 
– The Principal Undergardener

This book is a little gem with beautiful photography and engaging storytelling.
– Debbie from Kingston

I hope you’ll give it a look, and if you do decide to buy the book, I hope you’ll enjoy it as much as I enjoyed putting it all together.

The Dirt Diaries is available in nine other countries including the UK and Australia. If you are interested and your country isn’t named, let me know and I can add it to the list.


So please pardon the interruption from your regular reading pleasure.

I will be back very soon with two new postings, the first with some amazing photos of the award winning David Austin displays at Chelsea and Hampton Court.

Now I’m going to pour myself a celebratory glass of champagne!