Oct 012017

For a complete list of honorees from past years, go to the bottom of this post.

The 2017 honorees were named at the Fall Rally on Saturday, September 30:


James Patrick Morgan

Many of you will remember that Pat Morgan spent 11 years on the Watauga County School Board. You may not know about his other volunteer activities for school kids, both before his multiple elections to the school board and after his retirement. He feels a dedication to the nurturing of school children that has marked his entire life.

imagePat grew up in Raleigh, graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill in the Class of 1962. He spent four years in the US Navy, attended the Ole Miss School of Law, and then spent three years in Hazard, Kentucky, working with the Christian Service Ministry and the old Office of Economic Opportunity. In 1973, he and Mary Sue moved to Boone. Pat went to work with Dr. Jim Jackson in Community and Regional Services at ASU before moving full-time into the political science department where he taught until his retirement in 2003.

In the spring of 1974, Pat organized Watauga County’s first Spring Festival — the justifiably famous Spring Festival — held on the ASU campus in Varsity and Broome-Kirk gyms. That festival brought together community and church groups, university clubs, and local non-profits for two fun days of grilled meats, sugared sweets, displays, demonstrations, and a running stage show of local young talent. The Spring Festival ran for over a decade and was an inspired vehicle for bringing together the entire community. Many of us miss it and fear we’ll never see its like again!

Back in 1976 — over 40 years ago — Pat began going to Mabel Elementary School each week to read to the kindergarten class. Soon he included time for the first and second grades at Mabel, and after about ten years, he added reading time for K through 2nd graders at Cove Creek Elementary and then also at Bethel Elementary. That’s not just a lot of reading. That’s a lot of driving! This fall Pat is beginning his 41st year as a volunteer reader. According to Mary Sue, Thursdays and Fridays are his favorite days of the week.

In 2004, Pat and Mary Sue went to the Watauga County Public Library’s Friends of the Library Board with a new idea. Because so much of the county is rural, there were many families who were unable to bring their children to the library during the summer months. Pat wondered aloud, what if volunteers brought books to the children? The idea took off and has been successful now for 14 years. This summer just ended, 18 volunteers made four deliveries each to 53 young readers. That’s the spirit that Pat Morgan embodies. Just a year ago in the fall of 2016, the Friends of the North Carolina Public Libraries awarded the Frannie Ashburn Volunteer of the Year Award to Pat Morgan for his dedication to supporting young readers in Watauga County.

Pat, we are so very pleased to honor you among the 2017 inductees into our “Hall of Fame”!


Christine Agnes Behrend

Chris Behrend, our current Director of Operations and a key player in why the Watauga Democrats win local elections, was born in Green Bay, Wisconsin, the eldest of ten children. She grew up working on the family dairy farm outside of Oshkosh. As the eldest of ten (and according to her son), she has always taken care of her younger siblings, which — as it turned out — was good training for managing, training, and nurturing our young staffers through the 2016 election cycle and forward through the upcoming 2018 cycle. As a single mother Chris worked to earn a degree in accounting and then worked in the health insurance industry for more than 15 years. She then pursued her Masters degree in psychology to become a counselor in 1996, working and volunteering at Green Bay’s Crisis Center for several years, handling family crises and suicide prevention calls.

imageIn 2005 Chris moved to Boone to be closer to her son and grandchildren. From 2006 to her retirement in 2015 Chris worked at New River Behavioral Healthcare in both Wilkesboro and Boone as a substance abuse counselor. Over the past 12 years while living in North Carolina, Chris has done a great deal of volunteer work, helping people prepare their taxes, delivering meals-on-wheels, and becoming a dependable, dedicated, and indispensable volunteer and then staffer for the Watauga Democrats.

Chris did data management and phonebanking for both the Sue Counts campaign and the Watauga Democratic Party’s coordinated campaign in 2014, and by 2015 she was named Director of Data for the Party, handling much of the VoteBuilder work that we depend on for identifying, contacting, and persuading swing voters in our county. By early in 2016, she was promoted to Director of Operations as well as Data, and in that role she managed all the operations at Party headquarters and cracked the “velvet whip” over a corps of talented and committed young staff members. You all know that in that 2016 elections, we lost some but we also won some big ones in this county, and we would not have won what we won without the hard work and dedication of Christine Behrend. Since the 2016 election, Chris has been a key component in our training outreach to neighboring “red” counties. With her leadership, Watauga County will continue to export our “blue spirit” to other progressives yearning to live free.

Chris, we are so very pleased to honor you among the 2017 inductees into our “Hall of Fame”!


Percilla Sue Counts

Sue Counts has dedicated herself to lifelong service, not only to Watauga County but to our entire region.

imageSue was born and raised about 100 miles from here in Sandlick, Dickenson County, Virginia – her family being the first white settlers in that part of Appalachia. She learned what service and sacrifice meant at an early age when her father, who landed at Omaha Beach and was taken prisoner of war at the Battle of the Bulge, took his own life soon after returning home.

Sue loved education and voraciously approached the task of learning more. She worked hard at her studies and became the first person in her family to go to college, taking advantage of the GI Bill’s benefits for “war orphans.” Sue attended Virginia Tech, where she attained bachelor and master degrees, and met the father to her two children at a time when the school’s ratio of male to female students was 50 to 1!

After spending more than a decade beginning her career further north Sue returned to the mountains of her youth, finding herself in our town of Boone that would become her adopted home. Sue’s first role in town was lecturing on foods and nutrition at ASU, and after a series of government jobs accepted her first position in Cooperative Extension coordinating the Southern Appalachian Leadership Initiative on Cancer, forming coalitions to educate and assist women to receive cancer screenings. Before long, she was promoted to Watauga County Extension Director where she assisted local agriculture in transitioning from tobacco to crops like organic fruits and vegetables and founded Blue Ridge Women in Agriculture.

In both 2014 and 2016, Sue was recruited to run a spirited campaign to take back House District 93 from Jonathan Jordan. Connecting with students and relying on long-lived relationships with the agricultural community, Sue was a top-tier challenger in both elections even while coming up short in the end.

Sue’s infectious optimism, energy, and desire to serve for the betterment of her community have informed an entire generation of young (and old) political leaders who have engaged in the tumult of Watauga County politics. Her grace under pressure and humble approach to the teamwork required of a successful campaign are the standard by which all future candidates will be judged.

Sue, we are so very pleased to honor you among the 2017 inductees into our “Hall of Fame”!


Grace Elizabeth McEntee

Before Grace McEntee became our most dedicated, consistent, capable, and indispensable volunteer in our annual (and now epic) plant sale, she spent decades as a dedicated, consistent, capable, and indispensable teacher of literature and writing at Appalachian State University. It might be said that Grace retired from teaching last year to spend more time with our plants.

imageThe spirit of volunteerism is strong in Grace. She has been a volunteer reading tutor at Mabel Elementary School, and she has consistently helped our Field Team with voter registration and get out the vote efforts. She acts her values and she lives her values. She has made a point of investing in companies that match her conservation and social justice values, and she is an avid supporter of local farmers and businesses. The universal consensus about Grace goes like this: She’s the neighbor who will care for your dog or drive you to a doctor’s appointment or do anything else that needs doing. In short, she is the embodiment of what our Democratic Party has historically aspired to be.

Her spirit of helpfulness and selflessness stretches internationally. After Mexico mandated the teaching of English in the primary grades in their public schools, Grace was recruited to become a tutor and mentor to public school teachers in Mexico through many summers, helping them master teaching-of-English and research techniques.

Many of us remember reading her first-person account of the historic “Women’s March on Washington” the day after Trump’s Inauguration. She was there marching for the many of us who couldn’t be there, and she wrote about that experience with — shall I say it? — grace.

But just ask Pam Williamson about Grace’s contribution to the annual Plant Sale — but if you ask, be prepared to sit and listen for awhile. Grace does everything that needs doing and does it with skill and quiet grace (there’s that word again!). She helps plan the entire sale. She starts seeds … and winters over plants that need a little more time to develop … and transplants specimens out of the ground and into pots … and she spends hours grooming and tending. The annual Community Plant Sale has become more than just our biggest fundraiser. It’s become a tourist attraction, and Grace is one of the guiding spirits most responsible for that.

Grace, we are so very pleased to honor you among the 2017 inductees into our “Hall of Fame”!


Lonnie Ray Webster

Lonnie’s dear and lovely wife Ada says of him: “He has always looked for the best in everyone and his favorite saying is ‘most people are honest most of the time,’ and this has always worked for him in trusting people to do the right thing.”

imageLonnie began his career with IBM as a customer service engineer and later went to work with Eastman Kodak. After he retired from Kodak he became for a while a locally sought-after landscape designer, and those of you who have seen the garden that he and Ada maintain in Blowing Rock know that he has a love of plants — especially our wonderful mountain natives — and a creative eye for garden design. But something else at Kodak may have rubbed off on him, because after retirement, he picked up the camera and discovered a whole new creative life in photography — which is , after all, another form of landscaping. He’s a member of the North Carolina Professional Photographers and The National Press Photographers Association. He has been published in National Geographic, Our State magazine and in many other publications including the Watauga Democrat and the High Country Press, where his coverage of local events enlivens the local news and provides in-depth documentation of everything from parades to contentious meetings of the Board of Elections.

He’s photographed historic events, community gatherings, landscapes around the world, and the people who inhabit those landscapes. He’s photographed President Barack Obama, and he’s supplied professional photography for most of our recent Democratic candidates for office. Lonnie has written on his own website, “I believe in immersing myself in other cultures to expand my own horizon and understand my own culture. I have traveled to Croatia, Cuba, Central America, Italy, Canada, and Alaska to capture amazing vistas, wonderful architecture, and enchanting faces.” Lonnie and Ada love train travel, and he likes to say, “a train going anywhere is worth riding.” For years now, Lonnie has been the more-or-less official photographer for the Watauga County Democratic Party, recording all of our local events. Thank God he finds our faces “enchanting” too!

Here’s a laudable and amazing fact: Lonnie and Ada will have been happily married — as of tomorrow, October 1 — for 52 wonderful years.

Lonnie, we are so very pleased to honor you among the 2017 inductees into our “Hall of Fame”!


Watauga Democratic Party Hall of Fame

2011 Inductees

Frances “Jean” Williamson

Everett Leo Mast

Russell Austin “Rusty” Henson

Eula Mae Coffey Fox

D. Glenn Hodges


2012 Inductees

Jesse Allan Presnell

Wade Franklin Wilmoth

Alvis Lee Corum

Margaret “Pinky” Bledsoe Hayden-Carpenter

Iva Dean Wilson Winkler


2013 Inductees

Loretta Clawson

Pam Williamson

Jerry Williamson

Marsha Walpole

Susan Phipps


2014 Inductees

Charlie Wallin

James Marvin Deal

Stella Anderson

Emily Bish

Ian O’Keefe


2015 Inductees

Cullie Max Tarleton

Benjamin Stephenson Goss

Linda Kathleen Campbell

Marjory Estelle Holder

Len Doughton Hagaman


2016 Inductees

Betty Carol Barker Howe

Donna Snyder Duke

Ruth J. Laughlin

Alice Phoebe Naylor

Harvard Glenn Ayers


Sep 052017

imageNorth Carolina Democratic Party Chair Wayne Goodwin will be the featured speaker at the Watauga County Democratic Party’s Fall Rally on Saturday, September 30. The rally is hosted by the ASU chapter of the College Democrats.

Wayne Goodwin served four terms in the North Carolina House before being elected the Commissioner of Insurance in 2008. He was reelected in 2012. After being defeated for reelection in 2016, Goodwin ran for the chairmanship of the North Carolina Democratic Party and won on the first ballot with 92% of the vote.

Goodwin has been recognized for his populist, consumer protection-oriented stances and an approachable leadership style that has brought bipartisan support during his years of public service, especially as the state’s 10th Insurance Commissioner. Between January 2009 and January 2016 Commissioner Goodwin saved North Carolina consumers — individuals, families and businesses — more than $2.4 billion resulting from his decisions on rate cuts, refunds, rebates, and restitution.

As Insurance Commissioner Goodwin made national and statewide news when North Carolina, regularly in the top six or seven states before and during his administration, had improved even more to become the one state in all the United States with the lowest automobile insurance premiums.

The WataugaDems Fall Rally will kick off with a barbecue dinner (with vegetarian option) at 5:30 p.m. in the Main Dining Hall at Appalachian State University. Free parking in the Rivers Street parking deck will be available, with easy and direct access to the rally site via the skyway over Rivers Street.

imageThe Fall Rally will also feature musical entertainment by the Sisters of Perpetual Sarcasm and new inductees into the WataugaDems “Hall of Fame.” The party will also be auctioning off “Precinct Gift Baskets” and other goods and services offered by Democratic office-holders.

Tickets to the Fall Rally are $10 each and are available from any party officer or at the door.

Aug 232017

imageBOONE, 23 August 2017 — The following statement was issued by the ASU College Democrats and the Watauga County Democratic Party Field Team:

On Monday night, a banner reading “A New Dawn is Breaking, Rise and Get Active, Identity Evropa” was hung on the Rivers Street bridge on the Appalachian State University campus, with the goal of establishing a presence for the white supremacist organization, Identity Evropa.

The Watauga County Democratic Party and Appalachian State University’s College Democrats reject and oppose any and all white supremacist ideologies. We stand in solidarity with marginalized students at Appalachian State University, especially students of color.

We are ready and willing to coordinate with campus and community groups to send the message to white supremacist organizations that they are not welcome on Appalachian State’s campus or in the greater Watauga County community.


Aug 092017

imageWASHINGTON, D.C. — An Appalachian State University student is coming to the end of a nine-week internship program with the Washington, D.C. office of U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FLa).

Walt Grayson, 21, is a political science senior from Charlotte and started his internship with Nelson on June 2. Grayson served as deputy director of canvassing for the Watauga County Democratic Party during the 2016 campaign cycle. Grayson said he became interested in the inter-workings of the legislative process after interning last summer with the Domnick Cunningham and Whalen law firm in Florida.

Throughout his internship, Grayson’s responsibilities have included attending Nelson’s committees and floor speeches — Finance, Commerce, Aging and Armed Services — conducting legislative research on nominations and bills, shadowing Defense and Foreign Policy aides and Commerce, Finance, and Banking aides and handling constituent correspondence.

“One of my more memorable experiences while on Capitol Hill was participating in an activity with the office’s interns to name a piece of legislation being proposed,” Grayson said. “Each intern proposed names and ideas, and a final name was democratically selected. The title I created — “The Student Loan Relief Act” — was chosen and Senate Bill 1521 was introduced on July 10.”

Grayson said he was present during some historical events such as the Senate Intelligence Committee hearings on Russian involvement in the 2016 election, where Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions and former FBI Director James Comey testified, passage of the Russia and Iran sanctions bill and the various efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

“While working in the Senate I was pleasantly surprised at the amount of work being done and the level of productivity in Congress,” Grayson said. “I was also pleasantly surprised with the level of bipartisanship and camaraderie amongst senators and on committees.”

Aug 062017

imageN.C. Governor Roy Cooper visited Boone on Friday, Aug. 4 to tour the historic Appalachian Theatre, located on King Street in downtown Boone. A large crowd of supporters turned out to welcome him.

John Cooper, chair of the theatre’s board of trustees, led the tour along with officers of the Appalachian Theatre. The non-profit organization recently completed the first phase of its renovation, which included refurbishing the historic façade and installing an exact replica of the original marquee, both of which have been restored to their 1938 glory.

Outside under the marquee, the Governor made remarks about the importance of vibrant downtowns and their importance to the state’s economy.  He explained why innovative public-private partnerships such as the Appalachian Theatre enhance communities, build local businesses, and create dynamic tourism destinations.

In a surprise presentation, Gov. Cooper inducted both John and Faye Cooper into the state’s highest civilian honor, the Order of the Long Leaf Pine.

Jul 112017

imageYou are invited to join the Caldwell County Democratic Party for an afternoon of live Folk, Irish, and Blues music on Saturday, July 29th from 2-6 PM at the American Legion Hall at 401 Main St. in Lenoir! BBQ and beer will also be available!


Jun 162017

imageThe Watauga County Democratic Party’s famous Kazoo Band will perform again this year in the Boone July Fourth Parade celebration. The Kazoo Band has been offering virtually the only live music in the parade for many years, performing patriotic and traditional pieces of Americana. Kazoo Band leader Marjory Holder will have kazoos enough for everyone who wants to join the band. No training or musical ability is required. If you can hum, you can play the kazoo.

The Boone July Fourth parade will step off at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, July 4, from the Watauga County Human Services parking lot on West King Street. All riders must be on the float by 10:30 a.m. The parade will conclude at Legends parking lot on Hardin Street, though the float will return riders to the Human Services parking lot after the parade.

Kazoo Band members are urged to wear their Watauga Democratic Party T-shirts or any combination of red, white, and blue. A sun hat and sun screen is also recommended. There will be water available on the float.


Jun 132017

imageReprinted from the High Country Press:

The Watauga County Annual Community Plant Sale took place last Saturday at the former Aunt Pymm’s Table Antiques location on Old U.S. Highway 421 S. in Boone. All proceeds from the sale benefited the Watauga County Democratic Party.

Each year hundreds of people attend the sale that is operated by dozens of volunteers. Pam Williamson, one of the sale’s organizers, said that somewhere between 10,000 and 15,000 plants were sold and an estimated $25,000 was raised.

“It was huge,” Williamson said. “We were left with nothing but a couple of pots of asparagus.”

Just a few of this year’s “Featured Plants” included American Tupelos; heritage Nicotiana; Outhouse Hollyhocks; rare and specialty grafted Japanese Maples; Old Timey Snowball Bushes; Rain lilies; Old Spice Sweet Peas; Peruvian Daffodils; American Beauty Berries; Balsam; Hopi Dye Sunflowers; vegetable plants for container growing; and much more.

The sale also featured “Outdoor Garden rooms,” with vintage or modern garden furniture and accessories for sale as well as container gardens and herb baskets.


May 012017

What you see below is but a fraction of what we will have for sale. This listing is separated into several different sections below: “Garden Flowers,” “Fruit,” “Vegetables and Herbs,” “Trees and Shrubs,” “Dwarf Asiatic Lilies,” “Tall Asiatic Lilies,” “Dwarf Oriental Lilies,” “Tall Oriental Lilies,” and “Dahlias.” Some plants will be in very limited supply. We’ll also have a large number of designer container plantings, miniature gardens, “broken pot” gardens, and garden accessories. Bird Houses — made by us! — will be the special featured items this year.

Garden Flowers


A Job’s Tears necklace

Job’s Tears (Coix lacryma-jobi) — A member of the grass family and tropical in origin, so use this very unique grain in a container as an annual or plant it beside your pond and watch for the grain to form. (In the southernmost United States — zones 9 and 10 — Job’s Tears have naturalized in some places, but that’s not going to happen in our mountain environment.) The grain that Job’s Tears produces — and which gives us its common name — are large, white, hard pearls (“tears”) that are often used to make jewelry and (especially) to make rosaries in Asian countries (which this most unusual plant comes from). The cultivated variety of Job’s Tears is an edible grain crop in much of Asia and is often sold in Asian markets as “Chinese pearl barley,” though it’s not a barley at all. The seeds of Job’s Tears are notoriously difficult to germinate, so you should at least praise us for our diligence in getting our small supply up and ready for the 2017 Plant Sale. It is by far the rarest and oddest thing you’ll encounter all summer! It’s a beautiful ornamental grass that would love to spend the summer beside your water feature (in as much sun as you can find for it). And you can use it to recite your prayers for less global warming while you’re at it.


imageCleome “Clio Magenta” (Cleome x hybrida) — A traditional cottage garden flower from the Victorian age, but this hybrid has no thorns (yay!) and is more manageable in size, compared to your great-grandmother’s Cleome — topping out at 18 – 36 beautiful inches (rather than 5 or 6 feet). The flowers are also highly fragrant, something else your great-grandmother might find amazing about this Cleome. Cleome is native to Paraguay, Argentina, Uruguay, and Southern Brazil, so it does best with lots of sunshine and will appreciate hot, dry conditions (global warming is this flower’s best friend!). Its tight, upright, shortish habit makes it perfect for container plantings or for massing in your perennial borders for a pop of color. Cleome is often called “spider plant” because each flower’s long stamens resemble a very long-legged spider. “Clio Magenta” is a sterile hybrid, so it will not seed in your garden for a billion little Cleome seedlings next spring. When it’s gone, it’s really gone. And did I forget to mention that it’s deer resistant.


Phlox “Sugar Stars” (Phlox drumondii) — An annual flower perfect for your cutting garden! This plant’s abundant, highly fragrant blooms are an enchanting shade of silvery violet with pretty dark purple streaks. Perfect for sunny borders, and it will make it through dry spells with flying colors. (See a color photo here.)

Phlox “Cherry Caramel” (Phlox drumondii) — Another annual phlox that will add an unusual splash of color to your sunny border and is perfect for cutting and vase-loading all summer long. Very fragrant blooms in an unusual range of colors, from creamy buff outer petals (“caramel”) to the deep cherry inner core. They do not stop blooming all summer. In fact, the more you cut them, the more they bloom. (Does that make them masochists?) (See a color photo on our Facebook page.)

image“Royal Ensign” Morning Glory (Convolvulus tricolor) — They call this a “dwarf morning glory.” It is most unusual for the Convolvulus genus because it is not a climber. It’s a bushy, mounding, flowering annual perfect for spilling over the sides of containers or for brightening up your perennial border. Let’s focus on those blooms, shall we? The two-inch trumpet-shaped blossoms are tri-colored, with deep blue in the large petals (rare cobalt blue) and a yellow throat, those two colors separated and highlighted by a white collar that provides a stunning contrast. This flower has been cultivated since the 17th century, but it’s totally new to the Watauga County Annual Community Plant Sale. Better get some while the getting is good!





image“Bella” Flowering Maple (Abutilon x hybridum) — Also known as Chinese bellflower, but we prefer the genus name Abutilon to the wholly misleading common name of “flowering maple,” since this annual flower has almost nothing in common with a maple tree (other than the shape of its leaves). “Bella” blooms in a wide variety of charming colors: pale pink, pink, rose/mauve, coral/apricot, pale yellow, white/near white. The blooms themselves are large and resemble somewhat the generous blooms of Hibiscus. “Bella” is a superior container plant, and some enterprising gardeners we know bring their Abutilon containers in during the winter and place them in a sunny window, and then take them back out again, come spring. You may do that too, if you please (and assuming you have a sunny window during the mountain winter), or you can plant your “Bellas” in the front of your perennial border for an enchanting, but charmingly ephemeral, splash of color.




image“Cerise Queen” Yarrow (Achillea millefolium) — Cherry-pink mounds of blooms on compact plants is the hallmark of this variety of yarrow. It desires a sunny spot and can withstand drought like a camel and even thrives in poor soil. Did you know that the genus name — Achillea — comes from the Greek thug Achilles, who dragged poor Hector around the walls of Troy? Achilles got shot in the heel by an arrow, and his wound was treated with a plant — yarrow, supposedly. And hence the salve “Wounded Warrior,” one ingredient of which is supposed to be yarrow. (Ain’t mythology grand! Ain’t pharmacology grander?) This is a perennial garden bloomer and will spread, so you’ll have some to share with the neighbors in a couple of years. It makes a great cut flower and will prolong its bloom if you do cut it regularly. It’s deer resistant too, fragrant, and is also used as a dried flower.



“Queen Sophia” Marigold (Tagetes patula) — One of the annual, specialty Marigolds we’re featuring this year. Features dark orange petals rimmed in golden yellow. Wow! Leaves and flowers are edible, and you also get all the other beneficial by-products of having marigolds among your vegetables — a natural pest repellant. (See the photo here.)

“Cottage Red” Marigold (Tagetes patula) — Another outstanding annual. This red-flowered Marigold has yellow margins around the edges of the petals, making it a stand-out in any sunny spot. It will bloom for you until frost next November! (See the photo here.)

“Choca Mocho” Cosmos (Cosmos atrosanguineus) — This species (like the Marigolds above) is native to Mexico and is said to be extinct in the wild. A wonderful cutting flower with maroon-to-dark-chocolate flower heads that will stand out in your perennial beds. Another of our special annuals. (See the photo here.)

imageSweet Four O’Clock (Mirabilis longiflora) — Four O’Clocks are natives to the American Southwest and Mexico, where they’re perennial (or reseeding annuals), but for our colder climate, you should treat these as unusual and attractive annuals. They produce a profusion of trumpet-shaped flowers (up to 4 1/2 inches long … wow!) that are exotically fragrant. The flowers are famous for opening only when the clock strikes four — or, in other words, in the middle of the hot afternoon, when their fragrance will sit heavy on the humid summer air and intoxicate you into doing something foolish (like turning off the TV and going outside). Like Thomas Jefferson, who was sent seeds of Sweet Four O’Clock in 1812 and grew them at Monticello (and you know what Thomas Jefferson got up to at four o’clock on some afternoons!). Caution: If you have skin sensitivity, don’t be handling this plant. All parts of it are toxic, and picking the flowers may cause dermatitis in sensitive individuals.



“Silver Edge” Siberian Iris (Iris sibirica) — Siberians bloom after beaded irises, and their sword-like foliage makes a nice bit of texture all summer long in your perennial beds. “Silver Edge” sports exactly what you’d expect — a delicate silver lining around the edges of the light-purple petals. Simply stunning. Because Siberians are resistant to juglone, the toxic emission from walnut tree roots, they grow very nicely under walnuts, and they are deer resistant. Attractive to hummingbirds. Will thrive in a sunny spot but can tolerate some shade. (See a photo here.)

image“Sarah Bernhardt” Peony (Paeonia lactiflora) — Much like the famous stage actress whose name they honor, these are bosomy, double-flowered peonies totally “in the pink.” Even after they bloom out, their glossy green foliage provides a compelling backdrop for other flowering perennials and a nice tropical texture for your high-summer garden. The blossoms are famously fragrant, just like Miss Bernhardt after her bath in sweet-scented oils. Peonies are known as “investment plants” for a good reason: they persist year after year, and grow greater and more dramatic, just like a good stage actress. Plant them in any border, along a driveway, near water — they provide their own spotlight and never fail to enchant. A note on staking: Most of the great-flowered peonies require some support because as they age their huge flowers grow heavier and heavier. We recommend a “grow-through” grid that will allow the developing buds to ascend and then prevent their flopping in a rain. The heavy foliage will hide the grow-through. And don’t freak out about the little ants crawling over the buds, They actually serve a vital purpose and help the buds to open. Deer resistant.

“Edulis Superba” Peony (Paeonia lactiflora) — “Edulis Superba” is every bit as venerable as “Sarah Bernhardt.” It’s been a feature of cottage gardens since 1824, but it features a “hotter pink” than “Sarah Bernhardt.” (It’s maybe like the stage actress started moonlighting as a saloon torch-singer.) Wonderfully fragrant, a marvelous cut flower, its glossy green foliage is beautiful all year long. It’s considered one of the most robust peonies. Don’t plant your peonies too deep. They prefer to be rather shallowly buried and will develop a pronounced crown. Deer resistant. (See a photo of “Edulis Superba” here.)

imageIndian Hyacinth (Camassia esculenta) — This is a late-spring flowering, perennial bulb, native to the American Northwest. The Lewis and Clark expedition noticed the Nez Perce Indians roasting and eating the bulbs, and since they were hungry too, the Lewis and Clark expedition ate their weight in them. They also managed to bring back a few for President Thomas Jefferson to inspect and plant at Monticello. They will thrive best with siting in good sun (though we’ve had a patch growing for years in mostly shade). Their natural habitat was open prairie. The bulbs produce dramatic, rich, dark purple blue flowers with startling yellow stamens. They will naturalize into the landscape, if left undisturbed.




image“Camellia” Balsam (Impatiens balsamina) — Yes, this is a form of Impatiens, but an older and more neglected form. These were called “Lady Slippers” in the Victorian and Edwardian ages, and then they fell into under-use in gardens. We’re bringing them back with two different varieties (see the next listing below). Beautiful rose-shaped blooms in many colors: pink, lavender, red, rose, and white. Short bushy plants have large bright green leaves. Very easy to grow. A must for fans of Victorian cottage gardens. You can extend the flowering season of balsam by dead-heading or snipping back the main stem after it blooms. Balsam is a near cousin of our native Jewelweed or Touch-Me-Nots and will bloom about mid-summer.

“Peppermint Stick” Balsam (Impatiens balsamina) — Very much like the “Camellia” Balsam above, except the blooms are distinctively spotted red and white. (See a photo here.)


image“Hot Cakes” Stock (Matthiola incana) — Stock is another of those Victorian cottage garden faves that have become under-utilized today. They are known for their excellent fragrance and were often used for “hand posies” that delicate ladies might carry around with them and inhale when presented with a disagreeable odor. (Victorian streets were not known for their pleasant fragrance. Neither were some Victorian men!) Sometimes called “Gillyflowers,” Stock is a classic annual garden flower, ideal for containers but also well suited for sunny spots among your vegetables and in your perennial borders. Good for cutting, as it will continue to bloom forever if you keep cutting it.



imageDenver Daisy (Rudbeckia hirta) — This is a hybrid black-eyed Susan, short-lived compared to regular black-eyed Susans. It really should be considered a “persistent annual” in our mountains. But what an annual! Flowers for months on end, on a compact, bushy plant. An outstanding cut flower. Deer resistant. Bred from the native Rudbeckia hirta species, crossed with R. “Prairie Sun,” expressly for the 150th anniversary of the founding of the city of Denver. In 2008, Denver gave away “Denver Daisy” seed in schools, banks, and other offices all over the city. “Denver Daisy” sports enormous 6- to 8-inch blooms with outstretched petals of purest yellow. At the base of each petal is a dab or two of dark red, creating a halo around the chocolate-brown cone. Stunning in cutflower bouquets and a huge draw in the garden (butterflies and bees, not to forget the songbirds who’ll feast on the dried seeds in late fall and early winter). A must-have for the sunny border.



“Outhouse” Hollyhocks (Alcea rosea) — Back by popular demand in 2017! Grown from seed, these classic, tall, single-flowered hollyhocks will become the instant stars of any perennial border. Outhouse hollyhocks come in mixed colors, from pink, white, red and burgundy, and are the classic Victorian ladies, with big blossoms decorating the tall, taller and stout stalks. They were traditionally grown next to outdoor privies, not because they had a fragrance to counteract human realities (because they have little to no fragrance) but because they took the mind off what was about to be encountered within those precincts. (See a photo here.)

“Dwarf Queeny” Hollyhocks (Alcea rosea) — Compact form, 2-3 feet high, ideal for bedding use, small enough to grow in pots! Huge, fully double blooms held all along the stems. Contains the full range of hollyhock colors: purple, red, rose, pink, salmon, yellow and white. (See a photo here.)

imageCupid’s Dart (Catananche caerulea) — True blue flowers are often difficult to come by in the perennial garden, but these relatives of daisies fill the bill! Good as cut flowers or dried, these lovely perennials will form non-invasive clumps in your perennial beds. Native to the Mediterranean region, the flower was supposedly used by the ancient Greeks as a key ingredient in a love potion, hence the common name “Cupid’s dart.” There was actually a hint of threat in that name, since anyone infected with the juice of this flower could not resist a would-be lover’s advances. (We will not say anything if you want to experiment using the plant in your own ad hoc love potion, but we recommend that you choose your victim carefully, as the Church frowns on divorce.)




image“Hot Papaya” Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea) — Plant breeders have gone a little bit nuts producing new varieties of our native coneflower, and “Hot Papaya” may be the most daring yet. This dazzling new cultivar was developed by a hybridizer in The Netherlands. These magnificent blooms are the first ever orange-red double coneflowers. The color stays true and doesn’t fade. The fragrant flowers are borne on strong stems and are excellent for cutting. Attracts butterflies to a wide range of landscape settings. Spent blooms will provide browse for over-wintering finches, and the seed heads can add to winter interest in your garden.




“Mystery Rose” Chinese Forget-Me-Not (Cynoglossum amabile) — Attractive to bees, butterflies, and birds, “Mystery Rose” is an annual that will grow in sun or part shade. These old-fashioned cottage garden plants are extra tall (to 3 feet) and bear long spikes of delicate flowers in a comforting soft mysterious shades of pink. Excellent for cutting. It is said to reseed, so it may well be a “persistent annual,” but you never know for sure with our mountain winters. (See a photo here.)

“Star of Fire” Masterwort (Astrantia major) — Volumes of dark purple-red pincushion flowers with burgundy bracts, rise on dark purple stems, with a backdrop of rich green leaves; great on streambanks or in a moist border (it will resent drying out); cut back after flowering for a second flush. Wants full sun to part shade (it’s usually described as a “woodland” perennial). Excellent cut flowers. Attractive to butterflies. (See a photo here.)

imagePrzewalski’s Leopardplant (Ligularia przewalskii) — Site this exotic perennial from northern China very carefully: It wants to be always in moist soil (Number One!) and it prefers shade (Number Two). It will grow in sun, as long as the soil is always moist, but the huge, showy leaves — one of its glorious features for any cottage garden — will tend to wilt in the afternoon sun. This is one of the stand-out plants for foliage texture. Deeply cut, large leaves form a large but compact mound over time; it has sometimes been called “Elephant Ears” (which is just wrong, getting it confused with Colocasia) and sometimes “Dragon Wings,” which is much more appropriate when I think about the many dragons I have known on Game of Thrones. But it’s not just foliage that makes this perennial a must-have for the garden! It puts up long spikes of bright yellow flowers, like other Ligularia species. Clumps may be divided in early spring every three or four years, and you’ll have specimens to share with friends or donate to the Watauga County Annual Community Plant Sale.




imageZinnia, Benary’s Giant Purple — Rich violet purple double flowers composed of many overlapping petals. Sturdy and long stemmed, perfect for bouquets. This Zinnia just doesn’t stop. The hotter it gets (hello, global warming!), the more it grows and blooms. Keep it dead-headed, and you’ll have big cuttable blossoms all summer long and right up until frost. This is one amazing annual that every perennial border needs, just for bragging rights.

Verbascum, “Wedding Candles” — Verbascum, with their characteristic tall spires of blooms, like a drier rather than a wetter situation. Perfect for rock gardens or other sites with very good drainage. They want sun, of course. See a photo here.

Verbascum, “Southern Charm” — Southern Charm’s color is said to be “sophisticated,” meaning surprisingly unconventional — each little bloom on the tall bloom-spikes features dusty rose or apricot, with fuzzy, purple eyes. A collector’s must! See a photo here.

Lupine, Russell Mix — Produces a wide range of beautiful colors. See a photo here.

Geranium (Pelargonium), “Brocade Cherry Night” — These are hothouse Geraniums, so you’ll need to treat them as annuals in your garden. (True Geraniums are a different species altogether — actually Geranium. The Pelargoniums resemble them in leaf shape, but that’s about it. All the Pelargoniums have a strong fragrance when the leaves are crushed, a feature totally absent from true Geraniums.) Striking foliage with large semi-double blooms of cherry pink makes Geranium Brocade Cherry Night an AAS Winner in 2016. See a photo here.

imageStrawflower, Tall Double Mix (Helichrysum bracteatum) — The popular everlasting flower. To dry, pick flowers when lower 2-4 rows of petals are just beginning to open. Remove foliage, bunch loosely, and hang upside down in a warm, airy place.

“Tom Thumb” Dwarf Solomon’s Seal (Polygonatum humile) — So much more versatile for the cottage garden than the full-sized Solomon’s Seal. Treat this dwarf as a most charming and unexpected ground cover for shade areas. An extremely hardy perennial for our mountain climate. Beautiful in the woodland garden, combining well with ferns and Hosta of all kinds. Deer resistant. Native to Japan.

“Silver Edge” Siberian Iris (Iris sibirica) –Dusky mid-blue petals with a fabulous silver edge — that’s the bloom — above strap-like foliage. The silver edge makes this Siberian iris stand out in the garden like no other. Thrives in damp areas where it will achieve its maximum potential. This is an award-winning variety much prized by iris connoisseurs. Deer resistantSee photo here.


image“Empress of India” Nasturtium (Tropaeolum majus) — How many wonderful garden flowers owe their names to Queen Victoria? This one certainly does, as Victoria was the first monarch of Great Britain to achieve the honorary title of “Empress of India” (bless her heart!). So this is an old, Victorian variety of Nasturtium which produces opulent ruby-crimson, single flowers against dark compact leaves. Superb for hanging baskets and mixed plantings in kitchen gardens. Flowers are totally edible and will add crimson “zing” to any salad. Perfect as companion plants for cabbage, cucumbers, and herbs. Helps in repelling whitefly and cabbage caterpillars. These annuals are native to South America, but the Watauga Annual Community Plant Sale is very friendly to immigrants!

Cosmos “Fizzy Rose Picotee” (C. bipinnatus) — We had to order these new and wonderful Cosmos seeds from England.  Semi-double, rosy-white flowers with an eye-catching ruby edging. Just too cool! See a photo here.

“Sweet William” Dianthus (D. barbatus) — The one, the only, the classic cutting flower for any and every perennial border. It’s called “sweet” for a good reason — the heavenly fragrance! Variety of colors are possible. See a photo here.

image“Hulk” Aster (Callistephus chinensis) — Yeah, you’re not even gonna believe these enormous flowers from outer space! Somebody apparently got a regular Aster angry, we reckon, and “The Hulk” emerged. This unusual aster cousin gives the illusion of green with green bracts (which are not petals actually) surrounding a yellow and white central disk. There could not be a more ideal garden flower for cutting (plus it’ll scare away any mice in your house and possibly your mother-in-law). Each blossom is commonly 4 – 4 1/2 inches wide. This is an annual, so give it some space and a spotlight to wow your friends (not to mention your mother-in-law).




imageBoneset (Eupatorium perfoliatum) — One of our great Eastern native wildflowers, very under-utilized in gardens. There are two theories about the common name “boneset” — one, that it was commonly thought to aid the healing of broken bones, and two, that it was used as a diaphoretic in the treatment of an 18th century influenza called “break bone fever.” Take your pick, but proceed with caution if you’re planning to self-medicate with Boneset, because all parts of the plant are toxic to humans. Still, the white blooms of native Boneset will set off any garden room with a splash of light. The species name, perfoliatum, refers to the identifying feature that the leaves on the stem appear to be pierced through by the stem, like shishes on a kebab. Boneset grows naturally in moist environments but will actually tolerate dry shade, given enough time to establish itself. Not a mile from the Williamson house, Boneset is growing and blooming profusely down on the South Fork of the New River.



imageHeucherella “Buttered Rum” (H. ) — If Mr. Heuchera (a.k.a. Coral Bells) got together with Miss Tiarella (a.k.a. Foamflower), got married and had a child, we would call it “Heucherella.” In fact they did get together (in a botanical laboratory, but even so), and the cross-breeding has produced a wonderful addition to any woodland or shade garden. This particular Heucherella is just so yummy — “Buttered Rum” is an evocative name to describe the rich, creamy, gold-to-rosy-red, maple-leaf-shaped foliage. Scrumptious! Attractive to butterflies and tolerant of dry shade. White flower spikes (very much like Heuchera blooms) will shoot up from the mound of foliage in early summer and will attract hummingbirds.

Indian Pink (Spigellia marilandica) — Our all-time favorite East Coast native wildflower. We’ve offered these hard-to-find perennials for the last several Community Plant Sales, and we’ve taken a solemn vow never to leave them out of our annual frolics. See a photo here.




Strawberries — “Cavendish,” and trays of mixed varieties

Blueberries — “Blueray”

Raspberries — “Latham” red raspberries; “Anne” yellow raspberries; “Bristol” black raspberries

Blackberries — “Triple Crown” thornless blackberries

American Plum (Prunus americana) — A thicket-forming shrub or small tree with short trunk, many spreading branches, broad crown, showy large white flowers, and red plums. American plum is a small, understory tree with fragrant, white flowers in showy, flat-topped clusters occuring before the leaves in spring. The fruit that follows ripens to a shiny, bright red in August or September. The short, crooked trunk – with scaly, black bark – supports a graceful, open crown. Fall foliage ranges from electric red to pale yellow. The plums are eaten fresh and used in jellies and preserves, and are also consumed by many kinds of birds.


Vegetables and Herbs


Asparagus, “Purple Passion”

Peas, “Tom Thumb”

Peas, “Desiree Dwarf Blauwschokkers”

Bronze Fennel

Carrots, “Parisian”

Tomatoes, heirloom varieties


Arugula, “Roquette”

Beans, “Mascott” green bean

Beans, “Purple Teepee” dwarf

Beans, “Red Runner”

Lettuce, “Harris Blend”

Lettuce, “Red Wing”

Lettuce, “Siamese Dragon Stir Fry”

Lettuce, “Rocky Top”

Lettuce, “Heirloom Cutting Blend”

Swiss Chard

Kale “Dwarf Siberian”






Heal-All (Prunella vulgaris)

Feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium)

Chocolate Mint

Trees & Shrubs

“Tangerine Dream” Flame Azalea (Rhododendron calendulaceum) — The early French botanist Andre Michaux, who botanized in North America in the late 1700s (including around these parts), discovered and first named this plant, describing it as new to science. The vernacular name, “flame” azalea, derives from not only the fiery color of the flowers but also the expanded, unopened buds, which suggest the flame of a candle. One of the most spectacular flowering shrubs of the Appalachian Mountains. A deciduous shrub up to 10 feet high and 15 feet wide with clusters of large yellow to orange flowers, this unusually colored azalea lights up woodland or wayside like a bush afire.

image“Henry’s Garnet” Itea, Virginia Sweetspire (Itea virginica) — Virginia sweetspire is an erect, rounded, broad-spreading, deciduous shrub with arching branches. Typically grows 3-4′ (less frequently to 5′) tall with a similar spread. Features fragrant, tiny white flowers borne in cylindrical, drooping racemes (3-6″ long) which cover the shrub with bloom in late spring to early summer. One of the best-performing blooming shrubs for any garden and a native to Eastern U.S. The Williamsons’ Itea is growing in considerable shade but never fails to bloom profusely.

Snowball Viburnum (Viburnum opulus) — One of the greatest large-growing shrubs for any landscape. Snowball Viburnum produces large white pompoms of flowers in spring that slowly fade to gentle shades of pink with age. These flowers are sterile and do not form the bright red fruits typical of the species. In autumn its soft green maple-leaf like leaves flush red orange and also purple. This fall coloring adds another reason to love this shrub. This heirloom cultivar was being grown in its native Europe early in the 16th century, and obviously made the crossing to North America with the earliest European settlers.

PeeGee Hydrangea (Hydrangea paniculata grandiflora) — Another “must have” for any perennial garden, but give this shrub plenty of space. “Grandiflora” is a fast-growing shrub that can reach 25 feet tall, but it’s very tolerant of heavy pruning. Large, sometimes giant white flower heads reaching 6 to 18 inches, will turn pinkish with age. Blooms on current season’s wood. They are splendid as fresh cut flowers  or even greater (in some minds) as a dried flower. Hydrangea paniculata is one of the most cold-hardy species and will make an incredible show at the end of summer, when everything else has faded away.

imageMock Orange (Philadelphus) — You simply cannot beat mock orange for beauty of flower and the incredible fragrance of its blossoms in spring! It’s under-utilized in our mountains, and there’s no excuse for that neglect. Extremely hardy and immune to the harshest Boone winter. Fast-growing and very adaptable. It can tolerate some shade but will bloom best in sun. Mock Orange will produce its beautiful white blossoms, with that orange vanilla scent, on last year’s wood, so never prune this shrub until after it blooms.

“Miss Kim” Lilac  (Syringa pubescens subsp. patula) –Hardy, yet performs in southern regions, with excellent powdery mildew resistance. Great for border accent or mass planting. Deciduous. This lilac species hales from Korea and is sought after for its large, highly fragrant blossoms in spring. Blooms later than other common types, so it’s less susceptible to our late mtn frosts. Compact and upright in habit, prefers average, medium, well-drained soil in full sun. Tolerates light shade, but best bloom is in full sun. 4-7′ tall with a similar spread. Lavender to ice blue, sweetly fragrant, single flowers are arranged in dense, terminal clusters.

image“Nannyberry” Viburnum (Viburnum lentago) NEW FOR THE 2017 SALE — Native to the U.S. Northeast and Midwest, this Viburnum is a large shrub or small tree that can grow to 30 feet as a single stem tree. (As a multiple-stemmed shrub, you can expect a max height of about 18 feet.) Nannyberry is actually one of the largest of the Viburnums. It is admired for its compact habit, its lustrous foliage which insects rarely disfigure, its beautiful and abundant flowers, its handsome edible fruit and its brilliant autumnal color. It readily adapts itself to cultivation, and is one of the best of the small trees of eastern America for the decoration of parks and gardens in all regions of extreme winter cold. (Can you spell “B.O.O.N.E.”?) The common name “Nannyberry” derives from an observation made by early settlers, that nanny goats loved the fall fruits but billy goats wouldn’t touch them. (All you goat-herders keep that in mind!)

imageButton Bush (Cephalanthus occidentalis) NEW FOR THE 2017 SALE — One of our native species, under-utilized in American gardens. It’s actually a member of the coffee family of trees (not kidding!). Button bush will max out at around 12 feet high, so it’s perfect for home gardens. It’s often sought out for rain gardens, as it likes wet feet. Flowers are showy (they look like a golf ball turned into a white pin cushion) and are very fragrant. The eventual fruits are very striking, providing winter interest. It’s said to be adaptable to every kind of soil and to sun or part shade, but it won’t tolerate drought or too much dryness. Keep it well watered until it gets established or site it on the edge of your pond. The fragrant flower heads are very attractive to bees and butterflies. Flower heads mature into hard spherical ball-like fruits. The glossy green foliage will give any water feature a lush, tropical air.

imageSweetshrub, a.k.a. “Carolina Allspice,” “Bubbybush,” “Sweet Bubby,” etc. (Calycanthus floridus) NEW FOR THE 2017 SALE — One of the most common native shrubs in the uplands of the eastern U.S., always found around old homesites in these mountains. As its many common names suggest, it was always valued for the sweet fragrance of its mahogany-colored blooms, which in full sun can achieve the fragrance of a ripe cantaloupe. Sweetshrubs are often planted near entrances, or other outdoor living areas, to take full advantage of the fragrance. Calycanthus tends to grow broader than it is tall, especially if it’s sited in full sun. The broad spread is partly due to a suckering habit that can be controlled by yearly pruning. With sweetshrub you also get spectacular fall foliage color, with the leaves turning a brilliant golden yellow.



imageBlack Tupelo (Nyssa sylvatica) NEW FOR THE 2017 SALE — The common name “Tupelo” comes from the Native American Creek language, meaning “swamp tree,” and it was common in the Eastern U.S. in moist woods and along water. But the Williamson Black Tupelo is sited in some of the driest part of their garden, so Black Tupelo is obviously very adaptable. The Williamson Black Tupelo has also been carefully pruned into an “umbrella” shape, proving that it’s also tolerant of human meddling. It’s a small tree by any standard and belongs in more home landscapes. We prize it for its glossy green, tropical-looking foliage. It does flower, but the flowers are tiny and inconspicuous. The resultant fruit is said to be a very important food source for robins. If you have a deer problem, protect your sapling during the first year, as deer are particularly attracted to young foliage. One of the last trees to leaf out in spring, and one of the most beautiful in autumn.


Red Bud (Cersis canadensis) NEW FOR THE 2017 SALE — Certainly one of the best of our native species for the small home garden and for providing that desirable pop of hot spring color. In our mountains, the Red Bud bloom usually follows hard on the splashing bloom of Forsythia, for a continuity of color. It blooms all along otherwise bare branches, producing a stunning effect of dead nature suddenly bursting with the blood of life. An “understory” tree in the wild and hence perfect for part shade.

Hazelnut (Corylus americana) NEW FOR THE 2017 SALE — A medium to large nut-bearing shrub which can be pruned to a tree form, if you’re ambitious and have time on your hands. The nuts are sought out by squirrels, deer, turkey, woodpeckers, pheasants, and other animals. The male catkins are a food staple of ruffed grouse throughout the winter. The nuts are edible but are smaller than the commercially cultivated Corylus maxima, commonly sold as “filberts,” but you can certainly shell and eat them, if you’re ambitious and have time on your hands. It has a tendency to sucker, producing a distinctive clump that becomes a haven for all sorts of wildlife. It needs good sun to produce an abundance of nuts.

imageBeauty Berry (Callicarpa americana) –As a folk remedy, it has been claimed that “fresh, crushed leaves of Callicarpa americana … helped keep biting insects away from animals such as horses and mules.” A chemical compound isolated from the plant, callicarpenal, was effective as a mosquito repellent. All well and good, but we grow it as an ornamental because of the striking clusters of little, brightly-colored berries that ripen and shine in the fall. The berries ripen in September through October and are a favorite among wild bird species including cardinals, mockingbirds, finches, woodpeckers, and more. Beautyberry is commonly planted in landscape designs to attract wildlife because of the food source the berries provide and the cover animals get from the shrub itself. The genus name “Callicarpa” comes from Greek meaning “beautiful fruit,” and the Greeks knew what they were talking about.

imageSpicebush (Lindera benzoin) NEW FOR THE 2017 SALE — One of our American natives that is deer resistant! As its common name suggests, it’s a wonderfully aromatic plant. Crush the young leaves in your hand, and you’ll be offering a fragrant sacrifice to the goddesses of the garden. Tiny aromatic blooms appear along the branches before the leaves appear in spring. The fruits that develop from those flowers — small, hard seeds that look like Allspice pods — were used by early European settlers as a substitute for … wait for it … Allspice (duh!). Hence, “Spicebush.” Got it? A tea can also be brewed using the aromatic leaves and twigs. Every bit of Spicebush is aromatic, and you’ll want to pinch a leaf and crush it every time you walk past. Did I forget to mention that it is the preferred food for the black and blue spicebush swallowtail butterfly larvae?





Dwarf Asiatic Lilies

"Tiny Ghost"

“Tiny Ghost”










"Tiny Sensation"

“Tiny Sensation”








"Tiny Padhye"

“Tiny Padhye”









Tall Asiatic Lilies










"Summer Breeze"

“Summer Breeze”







"Black Out"

“Black Out”








"Strawberry and Cream"

“Strawberry and Cream”








"Double Sensation"

“Double Sensation”











Dwarf Oriental Lilies (highly fragrant)

"Sunny Bonaire"

“Sunny Bonaire”










"Sunny Keys"

“Sunny Keys”









Tall Oriental Lilies (highly fragrant)












"Pink Romance"

“Pink Romance”


















































"Arabian Night"

“Arabian Night”










"Lindsay Michelle"

“Lindsay Michelle”










"Alauna-Clair Obscur"

“Alauna-Clair Obscur”































"Sunny Boy"

“Sunny Boy”










"White Perfection"

“White Perfection”





















"Grand Prix"

“Grand Prix”











Apr 142017

By Thomas Sherrill, in the Watauga Democrat:

BOONE – The Watauga County Democratic Convention was held on Saturday [April 8], with over 100 people filling the Watauga County Courthouse to elect leaders and listen to speakers.

The convention concluded with nine resolutions being adopted and approved, ranging from favoring Watauga County intervention in the Maymead asphalt plant lawsuit to welcoming a diverse population in Watauga County to imploring President Trump to release his tax returns and calls for an investigation into the Trump administration’s ties to Russia.

Matt Wasson

Matt Wasson

The keynote address was made by Matt Wasson, director of Appalachian Voices, whose speech was titled “Rolling Back the Enlightenment: Inside the Conservative War on Science.”

Wasson told a story about Kentucky mining and its effects on the local streams and how toothless legislation led to the coal mining companies providing fake reports on the effect on the local waterways.

Wasson said that he used to be non-affiliated, but is now a Democrat, “as I’ve come to the conclusion that’s there’s only one right side on this debate.”

Political Director Pam Williamson spoke about the party’s success in the recent election.

“We tweaked some things, had some really great candidates, looked at things very strategically and got all the votes we needed to win plus more,” Williamson said.

“My sister was trying to tell me that it was Wake County who put in Roy Cooper; I’m sorry, it was Watauga County who put in Roy Cooper,” she said.

Williamson also noted flipping the County Commission and winning the county for Sue Counts and Hillary Clinton and “keeping the school board in progressive hands.”

Williamson said the time for negotiation and compromise with the Republicans was over.

“Here’s my idea of compromise. Either impeach Donald Trump or haul him off in handcuffs for conspiracy against the United States of America,” Williamson said.

imageWilliamson also spoke of the plant sale, which she called their most important fundraiser and implored people to sponsor plants.

“The more people that participate, the lower the prices,” Williamson said.

Christine Behrend, director of operations and data, spoke about “exporting the Watauga model,” which would provide Democratic party training for surrounding “red counties,” which includes using data models, canvassing, field work and registering people. Behrend noted that several counties have expressed interest.

Chairwoman Diane Tilson spoke about the progressive movements Democrats have historically been involved in.

“We are Democrats. We have social security and public education because of Democrats; we have clean water and clear skies because of Democrats; we have National Parks and protected wildlife because of Democrats; we have safety nets for our children, our disabled and our elderly because of Democrats; Democrats have fought for racial equality, marriage equality, gender equality and diversity, and we will continue to fight for everyone to choose what bathroom they will use,” Tilson said.

© 2016