Home, Garden & Nature

May

Tuesday May 17  10:00-12:00

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Restoration and Renovation of "Playmore" (Home Tour)

In 1879, Charlestonian Samuel Prioleau Ravenel and his wife Margareta retained Francis Poindexter, a furniture maker and woodcarver with extensive knowledge of the woods of western North Carolina, to construct Highlands' first summer house.  The estimated cost of construction was $3,500.50 for the handsome imposing two-story weatherboarded frame Italianate-style house.  The wide center hall, the living room, game room and dining room are all sheathed in pre-blight chestnut which has remained unpainted and aged to a rich warm color over the past 143 years.  the floors in these room are laid with alternating boards of white ash and black walnut.  The grand stairway was the first in Highlands.

Check in at CLE office at 9:30am       Limit 20

Presenters:  John Mitchener and Heath Massey, previously recognized by the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation for the renovation of their former Ansley Park home in Atlanta, purchased the 135-acre property in 2020 and are thoughtfully restoring and renovating this historic house and outbuildings.

Wednesday May 18  9:00-12:00

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Interpretive Hike:  Spring Wildflowers at Panthertown

Panthertown Valley is one of the most beautiful and special of places in Southern Appalachia, with many great views, waterfalls, and distinct ecosystems.  Join Trip Leader Adam Bigelow for a slow, easy walk along the trail to Salt Rock overlook, where we will see many beautiful trees, shrubs, and wildflowers including Pink Lady Slipper Orchids.

Save the date:  In the event of severe weather, the backup date is Thursday May 19th

Check in at the CLE office at 9:00 am             Limit 20

Guide:  Adam Bigelow is a Horticulturist and the owner of Bigelow's Botanical Excursions, an Ecotourism business offering guided, interpretive walks with a focus on he native Wildflowers and Plants of the Southern Appalachian bioregion.  Adam has been studying and working with plants for over twenty years, and is the Garden Manager for the Cullowhee Community Garden, a donation based organic community garden supported by the Jackson County Health Department.

Tuesday May 24  9:00-12:00

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Birding 101:  In the Field

If you desire slowing down enough to notice the wonders of the world that surround you, birding is an excellent hobby.  This outing will get you started on your journey into the world of birds by supplying you with the necessary knowledge and tools to observe our feathered friends.  Learn how to use binoculars, which field guide to bring along and best birding apps.  Binoculars will be provided.

Location:  TBD (Meet at CLE at 9:00am)     Limit 8

Guide:  Brock Hutchins has been president of the Highlands Audubon Society for several years.  he has been a passionate bird watcher and Audubon Society member for 30 years.

Wednesday May 25  10:00-12:00

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The Placemakers Academy of Garden Design:  A Three Part Series in Home Landscape Design
Part 1:  Set Yourself Up for Garden Success!

Do you envision beautiful gardens and wonder how to bring them to life?  This course will guide you toward developing the ability to observe, map, and analyze a site like a professional landscape designer, which, of course starts with a foundation in botany, horticulture, and soil science.  By the end of the part 1 of this series, you will have the expertise to choose the right plant for the right place and the ability to co-create with nature and employ regenerative design techniques.  (See part 3 Course Description on page 10.)

Location:  CLE Lecture Hall           Minimum:  8

Presenter:  Mary Palmer Dargan RLA, APLD.  With over 45 years in experience designing home environments from coast to coast, Mary Palmer has honed her unique design philosophy.  Her process and eco-awareness, with deep roots in her English and Celtic heritage.

Assistant instructor:  Arielle McIntyre PDC, APD is inspired by the intersection of art, ritual, food, and regenerative garden design.  Since 2019, Arelle has been shadowing Mary Palmer learning and designing curriculum around her design process from a beginner's perspective.

June

Wednesday June 1   10:00-12:00

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The Placemakers Academy of Garden Design:  A Three Part Series in Home Landscape Design
Part 2:  Bring Your Garden Design to Life!

This course will give you the context of western garden history and classical design principles, and a 'Master Plan' to share, including a raw, built, living map, and plant list.  By the end of Part 2 of this series, you will have the knowledge and tools to implement and bring your design to life!

Location:  CLE Lecture Hall           Minimum:  8

Presenter:  Mary Palmer Dargan RLA, APLD.  With over 45 years in experience designing home environments from coast to coast, Mary Palmer has honed her unique design philosophy.  Her process and eco-awareness, with deep roots in her English and Celtic heritage.

Assistant instructor:  Arielle McIntyre PDC, APD is inspired by the intersection of art, ritual, food, and regenerative garden design.  Since 2019, Arelle has been shadowing Mary Palmer learning and designing curriculum around her design process from a beginner's perspective.

Monday June 6  10:30-1:30

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Hike:  The Ecology of Satulah

Join Botanist Gary Wein on a 1-mile easy hike to the summit of Satulah Mountain.  We will hike to the summit with time to discuss the natural heritage and geology of this iconic mountain that shares the Highlands skyline.  Bring a lunch, wear appropriate clothing and shoes, and come prepared for rain.

Meet at the CLE office at 10:15am      Limit 20

Tour Leader:  Gary Wein received his Ph.D. in botany from Rutgers University.  he is the Executive Director of the Highlands land Trust.

Wednesday June 8   10:00-2:00

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The Placemakers Academy of Garden Design:  A Three Part Series in Home Landscape Design
Part 3:  Gardens on the Hoof!

Applying the principles of design in real time with garden tours and engaging discussions of how to choose the right plant for the right place, you will walk away with knowledge and tools to implement your design from site preparation, sourcing materials, and using a plant matrix to choose plants at the nursery.  Boxed lunch will be provided.

Location:  Out on location. Meet at CLE at 10:00am, depart for gardens at 10:15am.           Minimum:  8

Presenter:  Mary Palmer Dargan RLA, APLD.  With over 45 years in experience designing home environments from coast to coast, Mary Palmer has honed her unique design philosophy.  Her process and eco-awareness, with deep roots in her English and Celtic heritage.

Assistant instructor:  Arielle McIntyre PDC, APD is inspired by the intersection of art, ritual, food, and regenerative garden design.  Since 2019, Arelle has been shadowing Mary Palmer learning and designing curriculum around her design process from a beginner's perspective.

Thursday June 9  9:30-12:30

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Hiking in the Footsteps of William Bartram on the Bartram Trail

Armed with an understanding of William Bartram's legacy from Dorinda Dallmeyer, this three mile hike on the Bartram Trail will start at Osage Overlook west of Highlands.  Hikers will see the headwaters of overflow Creek, remnant old growth forest, and experience an array of spring songbirds and wildflowers.  It will include a talk on Bartram's time in the mountains of western North Carolina.

Meet at CLE Office at 9:30am

Presenter:  Brent Martin is as the full-time director of the Blue Ridge Bartram Trail Conservancy.  he has served as the Southern Appalachian Regional Director for the Wilderness Society, Executive Director of Georgia Forestwatch, Associate Director of the Land Trust for the Little Tennesse, and Executive Director of the Armuchee Alliance.  He has an M.A. and ABD in History from Georgia State University and worked for several years on dissertation on historical land use patterns in the northwest Georgia mountains.  he is a recipient of the Southern Environmental Law Center's Southern Environmental Leadership Award.

Friday June 10  2:00-4:00

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Thornton's Crossing:  Home & Garden Tour

Thornton's Crossing is Highlands oldest non-indigenous house.  Built in the 1700's by ancestors of Teri Bond, it was meticulously moved from its original home in Green County, Georgia to Highlands where it now stands. Teri and her husband Mose engaged Tommy Chambers to help with restoration.  The home has been totally vetted for authenticity, but no not be added to national Registry of Historic Homes because it is older than the town of Highlands itself.

Location:  Private Residence                      Limit:15

Presenter:  Teri and Mose Bond are graciously opening their home and garden.

Thursday June 16  1:30-5:00

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The Magic of Falconry:  A Hands-on Experience

Falconry is an ancient interaction and working relationship between man and animal.  It has been practiced in some form in nearly every corner of the globe for centuries.  This is a unique, up close and personal "hands on" experience with a bird of prey.  you will accompany a licensed falconer and learn about the ancient sport of falconry.  Then you will have the opportunity to handle the raptor and experience the exhilaration of having this magnificent bird perch on your gloved fist.  It will be a truly unforgettable experience.

Meet at CLE office at 1:30pm                Limit:15

Presenter:   Peter Kipp-duPont has been training birds of prey since he was 12 years old and is celebrating 52 years as a falconer in 2022.  He became a licensed master Falconer in 1981 as well as one of the first Raptor Rehabilitators in Western NC.

Monday June 20  9:00-12:00

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EcoTour:  Wildflowers and Plants of Whiteside Mountain

Join trip leader Adam Bigelow on this slow paced but exciting walk up to the overlooks of Whiteside Mountain.  Even if you've walked here before, it will feel brand new seeing this area through the eyes of a naturalist.  Whiteside is home to many rare and special plants, including Clammy Locust which only grows on the Plateau.  Save the date:  Be prepared to hike in light rain.  In the event of severe weather, the backup date is Wednesday June 22nd.

Check in at CLE office at 9:00am, carpool to the trail-head          Limit: 20

Guide:  Adam Bigelow is a Horticulturist and the owner of Bigelow's Botanical Excursions, an Ecotourism business offering guided, interpretive walks with a focus on the native Wildflowers and Plants of the Southern Appalachian bioregion.  Adam has been studying and working with plants for over twenty years, and is the Garden Manager for the Cullowhee Community Garden, a donation based organic community garden supported by the Jackson County Health Department.

Wednesday June 22  2:00-4:00

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Big Bearpen:  Home & Gardens Tour

On Big Bearpen Road there are two homes separated by a spring fed well house.  One is an early 1930's Joe Webb cabin which has been restored by Ruthie and Berry Edwards.  The other is a fifteen-year-old home in vernacular style, designed by Norman Askins for Stephanie and Bill Reeves.  You are invited to view both homes and gardens and walk by the water feature in between.

Location:  Private Residence, meet at CLE at 1:30.

Presenters:  Stephanie Reeves, homeowner of one of the homes featured on this tour and avid gardener.  Stephanie and her husband Bill knew that they wanted a space with visual impact as well as function, a place that their family could enjoy year-round.  With the help of Atlanta based landscape designer, Alex Smith, their grand vision came to life.

July

Tuesday July 12  9:00-1:00

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Foraging for Wild Foods and Medicines in Southern Appalachia

This class will present an overview of the famous and not-so-famous foraged goods from our region and a typical year's calendar of all things wild.  We will explore the ethics and history of foraging and consider the 20 best wild edible plants and mushrooms.

Attendees will enjoy a lunch prepared by MRLC.

Location:  The Mountain Retreat & Learning Center, meet at CLE at 9:00am, carpool to MRLC      Limit: 15

Presenter:  Joey Kyle has lived and worked at The Mountain Retreat and Learning Center in Highlands for 5 years as their farm co-manager.  he sells wild greens at the farmers market in town and is a licensed wild mushroom and plant identification, mushroom cultivation, and organic farming techniques.  The farm (Many hands Peace Farm) has hosted several Forest to Table Dinners featuring wild mushrooms and produce grown on the farm.  

Tuesday July 19  2:00-4:00
 

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The Sensory Appeal of Native Plants

Join Senior Horticulturist Gregg Tepper as he explores the unique and intriguing ways in which native plants appeal to each of our senses:  Sight, Smell, sound, Touch and Taste.  Learn fascinating facts, hear entertaining true stories, and see outstanding photographs of the wildflowers we love of the forest and field.

Location:  CLE Lecture Hall

Presenter:  Gregg Tepper is the Senior Horticulturist at the historic Laurel Hill and West Laurel Hill Cemeteries in Philadelphia, PA.  His passion for plants and over thirty years of experience guides the Horticulture team in maintaining the historic plantings, creating various display gardens and managing the plant collection.  His interests include native plants, conducting various outreach programs and furthering the enviable living collection of plants he manages.

Monday July 25  9:00-12:00

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EcoTour:  Summer Wildflowers

Mid to Late July is the peak of Summer Wildflowers in Souther Appalachia.  Join trip leader Adam Bigelow for a close look at some of the most beautiful blooms the Summertime has to offer.  While the location is still to be determined, we will choose a place that is accessible to many, relatively easy to walk, and is loaded with Summer Flowers.

Check in at CLE office at 9:00am                          Limit: 20

Guide:  Adam Bigelow is a Horticulturist and the owner of Bigelow's Botanical Excursions, an Ecotourism business offering guided, interpretive walks with a focus on the native Wildflowers and Plants of the Southern Appalachian bioregion.  Adam has been studying and working with plants for over twenty years, and is the Garden Manager for the Cullowhee Community Garden, a donation based organic community garden supported by the Jackson County Health Department.

August

Tuesday August 9  9:00-3:00

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Apiary Tour & Honey Tasting

Learn, taste & enjoy all things honeybee related with the Killer Bees Honey beekeeper.  Come experience our mountain-top sanctuary and the millions of bees who call it home (or hive)!

TOUR HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Discuss the life of a hive, its Queen and the fierce loyalty of her female subjects.

  • Inspect a hive up close and personal with the beekeeper in a protective bee suit.

  • Hold a frame full of bees and experience the thrill of seeing the Queen!

  • Savor honey from the Killer Bees apiary, paired expertly with different foods for a light lunch (with champagne!)

  • Learn how to evaluate the properties of fine artisanal honey varietals.

  • Pour a souvenir bottle of honey straight from the hives.

Registration is required and closes 2 weeks prior to the tour.  Meet at Bear Tracks Travel Center, Lake Toxaway at 9:45 am.  Transportaion is provided from Bear Tracks via van.  Back to Bear Tracks at 2:00pm.​

Guides:  Sean Collinsworth - The Beekeeper 

Sean has been raising bees since he was 12 yrs old.  From 1 hive in Chicago suburb, to 90 hives most recently in the Western NC mountains, Sean is the only American to be certified in the Sensory Analysis of Honey with the Italian Registry of Honey Sensory Experts and educated at UC Davis.

Denise Altay - The Queen Bee

Denise has a background in non-profit finance and worked in NYC for 30 years with the nation's largest community development intermediary.  Denise had no interest or understanding of bees until her husband (the beekeeper) placed 3 beehives in their backyard.  she quickly became obsessed with all things bee related.

Wednesday August 10  9:00-3:00

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Boat Tour of Lake Jocassee

Lake Jocassee has been described as a "mini-Lake Taho."  Notable for its undeveloped shoreline and clean water, it sits in the middle of Jocassee Gorges, which are part of the Southern Blue Ridge Escarpment known to the Indians as the "Blue Wall."  the 7,565-acre lake is fed by four mountain streams amidst many waterfalls which are accessible only by boat.  The late tour puts in at Devil's Fork State Park and lasts three hours.  An experienced guide will lead the outing.  In addition to observing the lake's natural beauty, the tour allows for stops to swim, relax on the shore or even take a short hike into the shady woods nearby.  Each pontoon tour boat accommodates 12 people.  We can add a second tour boat if necessary.

Box lunches and beverages will be served at the end of the tour.  Hats, sunglasses, sunscreen and water are highly recommended.

Meet at CLE at 9:00am, depart at 9:15am.  Travel to Devil's Fork State park by van provided.  Return to CLE at 3:00pm

Thursday August 11  10:00-12:00

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Floral Design:  Arrangement Workshop

Celebrate summer with a hands-on flower arranging workshop with floral designer, Wimberly Fair.  particpants will be provided with all of the tools and materials needed along with instruction for creating a beautiful arrangement comprised of locally grown flowers and greenery.  We hope you can join us for a fun morning learning about local blooms and celebrating their beauty in your own arrangement?

A minimum of 10 participants is required for this class to take place, tell a friend!

Location:  Peggy Crosby Center Porch

Presenter:  Wimberly Fair is a floral designer and event planner based in Charleston, SC.  Creator of imaginative table scrapes and artful bouquets, her designs have been on the cover of Charleston Weddings, Garden & Gun, and Style Me Pretty.  She found her way to flowers 10 years ago and is happiest sharing her love for florals and design in workshop settings, where everyone is free to play and create together.  We hope you can join us for a fun morning learning about local blooms and celebrating their beauty in your own arrangement!

Wednesday August 17  9:00-1:30

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The Placemakers Academy of Garden Design
Plant Materials for Chic Mountain Gardens

Learning new plants and using the plant matrix as a tool gives you confidence when choosing plants that thrive in mountain climates.  In this course you will build a foundation in botany, horticulture, and soil science.  After the lecture, we will carpool to Highlands Lawn & Garden Nursery where we will study plant sizes and shapes with a narrative tour.  Afterwards you will feel confident that you have the expertise to choose the right plant for the right place and the opportunity to use your plant matrix.

(Lunch will be provided)

Location:  Lecture begins at CLE Lecture Hall, group will carpool to nursery finishing with a lunch and group discussion at a location TBD.

Presenter:  Mary Palmer Dargan RLA, APLD.  With over 45 years in experience designing home environments from coast to coast, Mary Palmer has honed her unique design philosophy.  Her process and eco-awareness, with deep roots in her English and Celtic heritage.

Assistant instructor:  Arielle McIntyre PDC, APD is inspired by the intersection of art, ritual, food, and regenerative garden design.  Since 2019, Arelle has been shadowing Mary Palmer learning and designing curriculum around her design process from a beginner's perspective.

September

Wednesday August 24  9:00-12:00

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EcoTour:  Wildflowers of the Highlands Botanical Garden

How incredibly lucky we are to have access to the amazing place that is the Highlands Biological Station, including their Botanical Garden and Nature Center.  This is a great location to observe many different types of plants and flowers, and to see them used in both naturalistic and more traditional landscape settings.

Save the date:  In the event of severe weather, the backup date is Thursday August 25th.

Check in at CLE office at 9:00am                          Limit: 20

Guide:  Adam Bigelow is a Horticulturist and the owner of Bigelow's Botanical Excursions, an Ecotourism business offering guided, interpretive walks with a focus on the native Wildflowers and Plants of the Southern Appalachian bioregion.  Adam has been studying and working with plants for over twenty years, and is the Garden Manager for the Cullowhee Community Garden, a donation based organic community garden supported by the Jackson County Health Department.

Monday September 12  8:00-1:00

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Rough Run/High Falls Hike

Join us on a five-mile round trip hike to two wonderful waterfalls on the Tuckasegee River in Jackson County.  This moderate hike travels through one of the most diverse rich cove forests in the region.  Enjoy the trip with botanist Dr. Gary Wein of the Highlands-Cashiers Land Trust.  Bring your lunch, water, rain gear and wear good hiking shoes.

Meet at CLE office at 8:00am

Tour Leader:  Gary Wein received his Ph.D. in Botany from Rutgers University.  He is the Executive Director of the Highlands Land Trust.

October

Tuesday October 4   9:00-12:00

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EcoTour:  Late Summer Wildflowers and the First Hints of Fall

Just before the full flush of fall leave color arrives, nature provides one last gasp of beautiful Wildflowers to enjoy before the onset of dormancy and Winter.  We will see numerous Asters, Ironweeds, Gentians, and Goldenrods as we walk at a slow and gentle pace, learning of the plants and their stories.

Save the date:  In the event of severe weather, the backup date is Thursday October 6th.

Check in at CLE office at 9:00am                          Limit: 20

Guide:  Adam Bigelow is a Horticulturist and the owner of Bigelow's Botanical Excursions, an Ecotourism business offering guided, interpretive walks with a focus on the native Wildflowers and Plants of the Southern Appalachian bioregion.  Adam has been studying and working with plants for over twenty years, and is the Garden Manager for the Cullowhee Community Garden, a donation based organic community garden supported by the Jackson County Health Department.

Thursday October 20  5:00-7:00

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Private Bear Shadow Viewing Social Event

Don't fight the crowds at the overlook this year, this is your chance to view the Bear Shadow like never before, from the deck of a private residence offering a spectacular panorama of Whiteside Mountain and the Shadow of the Bear.  Hors d'oeuvres, wine and good company will make THE BEST bear shadow experience.  Wow your visiting friends and family with an autumn event in Highlands that they won't forget.  this event sells out every year, reserve your space now.

Location:  Private Residence (plan to carpool as parking is limited).