It’s high spring, with the trees almost leafed out. We still have native azalea and some dogwoods, and the wildflowers just keep coming. It was so beautiful on the way in to work today that I got thinking, as I often do, how grateful I am to be able to live here, where other people come to vacation.
As a newsflash, the DNR announced today that trout season has been eliminated in Georgia, and that streams will be open year-round.
We visited the Mennonite Market in Delano, Tennessee yesterday – they have their famous strawberries now – and stopped on the way back at Goforth Creek. As you can see from the photo, there was plenty of water in it, even though it hadn’t rained for a couple of days. It’s a beautiful, easy walk up the creek, and this is a great time of year to do it. If you need directions, see the day trips on the “Blue Ridge Experience” tab. (I’ve finally had time to add my most requested day trips and activities.
The North Georgia Master Gardeners are having their plant sale Saturday, May 9, from 8:00 AM to 1:00 PM at the United Community Bank Pavilion. This is probably the best place to buy things like native azaleas and wildflowers at a reasonable price. Plus, Master Gardeners will be on site to offer advice on planting and care.
We’ve all been more aware lately that we’re losing our native plants. The National Wild Turkey Federation estimates that we are losing 6,000 acres of wildlife habitat a day – yes, that’s per day – and entymologists are beginning to fear that the ecosystem will eventually collapse because the insects upon which the whole food chain depends won’t have enough to eat. (Plants throw up chemical defenses against insects. Unless the insects have co-evolved over thousands of years with the plant, they have not had a chance to evolve a way to overcome these defenses. This is one reason why invasive species outcompete native plants. The aliens have no natural predators.) If you can landscape with some native plants, you’ll be helping preserve our mountain ecology, as well as having a particularly beautiful yard. We’re in the mountains. Give me a flame azalea every day over the pink cultivar you see in suburban yards in Atlanta.
The Polk County Ramp Festival was last weekend, and I missed it due to a small domestic emergency. But the Union County Ramp Festival is coming up on May 9th, starting at 10:00. I haven’t been to this event before – I think it’s fairly new – but I understand that ramps and trout are the featured menu items. The Union County Farmer’s Market is just to the east of the Home Depot. Look for the sign on the left as you pass the Home Depot (if you’re coming from Blue Ridge) and turn left.
There’s a new walking trail just open in Blue Ridge, the Jane & William Whaley Mineral Springs Walking Trail. It’s .58 miles over 13 acres, located at the intersection of Church Street and Mineral Springs Road. You can take Church Street from downtown, but the easiest way to find it is probably to go down Aska Road and turn right on Mineral Springs, just past the Ace Hardware and just before you get to the dump. While we have lots of rugged mountain trails, we don’t have many smooth, level walking paths that are suitable for older or less active people, so the trail is a welcome addition.
Resident architect Rick LaRosa presented the City Council with some interesting proposals the other day, including closing Depot Street between East and West Main (directly in front of the Depot). This would allow the park to serve as a true pedestrian mall and gathering place. He also proposed moving the parking on Roberts Way to the side of the street with the tracks, leaving more room to walk in front of the businesses. Another good idea was to make the public restrooms by the depot two-story, so they could be entered from East Main. One idea I don’t think is so hot is to eliminate the barbecue pits and move the children’s playground to the area of the barbecue pits. I don’t know why, but everyone wants to move anything they don’t think is important to the State Farmer’s Market, where no one will ever come. In my opinion, the Labor Day Barbecue needs to stay in the park, where it’s always been.