Wednesday, August 31, 2016

THE BEST OF OUR AUGUST 2016 Perennial Garden in the middle of a Deciduous Forest

Welcome to our full sun perennial garden, situated on a mountain in the middle of a deciduous forest.  August, 2016 has been bright in colors of red, purple, gold and other vivid shades: Red Salvia with Dusty Miller, Gloriosa Daisies, False Sunflowers,  Purple Coneflowers and wild asters.

Butterflies on Queen of the Meadow, also Crepe Myrtle with Butterfly Bush and Purple Cone Flower.

"Grow Flowers...That is what I do on Cherry Mountain when not growing poems."
 --     Nancy Simpson

Monday, June 13, 2016

Poet Nancy Simpson Shares Her 2016 Full Sun Perennial Garden in a Forest, on a Mountain

 The Clay County Historical Arts Council, Hayesville, NC, sponsored a tour of Gardens on June 11, 2016 from 10:00 to 4:00. They promised:  

Fairies, Sprites, Gnomes, Elves, Painters, Musicians, Sculptors, Poetry and Song will enliven 6 lovely gardens through which you could wander at your leisure. Could also enjoy delicate savories and classical guitar at  High Tea, Copper Door Garden Patio.  All proceeds were said to go towards CCHAC programming and support for the Old Jail Museum.
The event was enjoyed by all who attended. 

Early on, my full sun perennial garden in the middle of a forest on a Clay County mountain, was considered for the tour they were calling “Art in the Mountain.” I was told my garden was exactly what they were looking for, however because I live on a county road that is not maintained by NC DOT, they decided it was best not to add my garden to the tour. I fully understood but was left broken-hearted.  Those who know me, know the long and disheartening struggle I have had to get NC DOT to reclaim Old Cherry Mountain Trail and maintain this beloved old county road made by the Cherokee long ago.  We have submitted petitions for road  maintenance many times but were turned down each time because DOT is powerful and answerable to no one. As it turns out, I have maintained my road since the 1960s with only a little help. Last year, together three households  paid $40,000 dollars to have the road repaired. I know we are not the only citizens of this county who cannot get road maintenance from DOT. NC DOT has preferred to send our allotted money to Asheville or Charlotte rather than help our local citizens. I must get over this. I know. I must. And I do have my ways to compensate for their short sightedness. Working in my full sun perennial garden is my best way to overcome my DOT disappointment.
(Flowers from my garden enjoyed on June 11, 2016 )


The Art’s Council ‘s List of gardens visited.

2016 Clay County Garden Tour: Garden Descriptions 
Each garden  featured different artists sharing their work, music, poetry readings, and will host a variety of woodland creatures: fairies, sprites, gnomes, elves, and possibly a troll or two. Here is list of gardens that were featured. 
A- Clay County Native Botanic Garden:
This lovely new garden below our Old Jail Museum on US 64 business in downtown Hayesville features unique and beautiful area plantings chosen for their usefulness to early settlers and their beauty and ability to attract different species of birds and butterflies throughout the year. Listen to the sounds of Towns Creek along its boarder and possibly see hidden fairies, elves and other woodland creatures along the way. Sponsored by the CCHAC with a grant from Blue Ridge National Heritage Area, and created by talented area volunteers. Guide: Beth Love 
B- Mountain Valley Park, Downtown:
This lovely “Pocket Park” created and maintained by the Clay County Master Gardeners 5 years ago is located behind the The Copper Door restaurant and Square One, across from the square in Hayesville. It features an array of florals and unusual perennial plants and a colorful mural designed and painted by the HHS art students.
Guide: Susan Patterson 
C- Slaton Garden, Downtown:
Purchased by Wendy and Joe Slaton in 2004, this property at 122 Church Street, 
downtown Hayesville, was once an old service station with a just a few black walnut trees. Working with Linda Milt, Wendy developed a xeriscape landscape plan which uses slow-growing, drought-tolerant plants to conserve water, and to establish a waste-efficient garden with a variety of seasonal colors. Darlene Dickerson did the plantings and walks in 2012.
Guides: Wendy and Joe Slaton 
D- Country Garden, 232 Barlow Fields
Three years ago May and Bill Atkinson transformed 232 Barlow Fields from a garage and gravel basic house into a picturesque home with country gardens and an inviting entrance. They cut back woods to create a large garden, added a multitude of flowers and plants, and totally redesigned the curb appeal to this delightful subdivision directly across from the entrance to Fires Creek.
Guide: May Atkinson 
E- Clay County Schools Agricultural Program Gardens 
205 Yellow Jacket Drive, opposite the Clay County Department of Education Building 
Visit the gardens the Hayesville students have designed and built under the direction of the program instructor, Chris Roberts. Incorporating agri-science and instilling a love for plants and farming, this program has built several raised vegetable beds, a strawberry patch, student-grafted apple trees, a 3rd grade cabbage patch, and they have quail eggs in the incubator.
Guide: Chris Roberts 
F- Daylily Acres, 1440 Bob Penland Road 
Enjoy this gorgeous garden with more than 500 varieties of day lilies, some costing more than $100/plant. Joan and Clay Joppie began this garden in 2000 and it has continued to grow in size and color. Visitors who purchased tickets in advance will receive 2 free day lilies on their tour. 
Guides: Joan and Clay Joppie 
The Copper Door Restaurant: High Tea Garden Patio 
2 Sullivan Street, Downtown Hayesville 
Garden Tour Sponsors: 
The Copper Door 
Following the Muse
Shelagh Whitney, Advantage Realty
Hayesville Pro Hardware
Signs Fast
The Dreaming Dandelion –Reiki 

Sunday, May 1, 2016


On April 20, 2016 Nancy Simpson and other poets celebrated National Poetry Month at Coffee with the Poets, Moss Memorial Library in Hayesville (sponsored by NC Writers Network West.)
Brenda Kay Ledford was also a featured poet. Both poets read springtime poems.This program was started by Glenda Beall during her tenure as Program Coordinator.(Photos taken by Lynn Hamilton Rutherford.)


LIVING ABOVE THE FROST LINE CELEBRATES SPRING IN THE MOUNTAINS with a look at our full sun perennial garden. Gardening with Mom--all the family including Tim and Gail, Jeremy and Yan,  Lynn.


Tuesday, March 29, 2016


...A New Poetry Collection Coming from 
Main Street Rag Publishers

Here’s what others are saying about Helen Losse's new poetry collection forthcoming from Main Street Rag Publishing:

If books of poetry were considered fitting contributions, Helen Losse's Every Tender Reed, would be among the most heartfelt gifts in a church offering plate. With a keen eye for craft, Losse takes readers on a personal pilgrimage—pondering everything from the beauty of God's creations to what it might feel like to “be consumed” in pursuit of spiritual purity. Written with fierce tenderness and the courage it takes to write poems both honest and true, this fine collection is a must read. —Terri Kirby Erickson, author of A Lake of Light and Clouds.

Helen Losse's Every Tender Reed resonates with a tone of loving memory and forgiveness---a promise for the good life, the verses raising blinds on the dark to brighten songs born to all the world's beauty. Grace becomes a natural outgrowth of Imagination's repose. Red clover soft-lights the people; all of us are the ever-present tender reeds.

—Shelby Stephenson, North Carolina Poet Laureate.

Losse’s Every Tender Reed is penance in poetry—honoring the reader as much as the Creator. This volume, for the most part, is a serene journey with the author as she walks the Path toward the enlightenment of self-knowledge. —Patricia Gomes, Poet Laureate, City of New Bedford, MA.

Every Tender Reed will sell for $14, but you can get it now for $8 by placing an advance discount order at the Main Street Rag Online Bookstore.
Here’s a link directly to my author’s page:

Friday, March 18, 2016


Deep in the Southern Appalachian Mountains on the evening of March 16, 2016, NCWN West poets and writers gathered at John C. Campbell Folk School in Brasstown,NC for their monthly public reading. Featured writers were poet Glenda Barrett of Hiawassee, Georgia  and fiction writer Bob Groves of Brasstown.  Others attending were the school students, especially those taking a weekly writing course and other classes, along with a number of local writers who often visit the school. Lucy Cole Gratton is the NCWN West Coordinator for this event. A highlight of the evening was seeing and visiting with our long time writing friend Darnell Arnoult, the visiting writing instructor. 

Glenda Barrett

John C. Campbell Folk School located in Brasstown, NC

Poet and Author Maren O Mitchell and Nancy Simpson below.

Poet Joan Howard

Poet and Fiction author, Darnell Arnoult