The Landscape of Lake Lure
Ashley Miles, Ruppert Nurseries
Lake Lure, North Carolina – famous for movies such as Dirty Dancing and The Last of the Mohicans, but ultimately famous for being a relaxing vacation destination. A reputation that lured my family to its remote and rocky shores towards the end of August. We loaded up our hound dog, packed our water shoes and after a seven-hour car ride from Maryland, we found ourselves tucked away in the Blue Ridge Mountains and centered around the lovely, Lake Lure, North Carolina.
Quiet, relaxing, and fun are the top three words that come to mind when describing my family’s recent vacation to Lake Lure. The water was only a few steps away the scenic deck of our lake house. Splashing around in the lake was refreshing and a warmly welcomed change of pace. The area hosted an array of activities such as boat tours, hiking, botanical gardens, rock “mining” for the little ones, and day trips to nearby cities. The amenities were entertaining, but the mountains were the real playground for a plant enthusiast like me.
I loved seeing the trees that we grow at Ruppert Nurseries in their wild, woodland, form. Tulip Poplar was everywhere that we looked! From the lakeside to the trails and everywhere in between; Tulip Poplar was flourishing. If a parcel of land was not occupied by a house or a road, it was completely taken over by the diverse and thriving wildlife. The forest was thick with American Linden, Amelanchier, Aesculus, Hemlock and Native Flowering Dogwood. The area even allowed us to spot a tree that makes most tree lovers beam from ear to ear. We saw multiple mature, Sourwood trees or formally known as Oxydendrum arboreum. We could not believe our eyes! There they were; happily growing in the cooler weather and atop the rocky mountainsides.
(Pictured left to right: Amelanchier, American Linden, Hemlock with Tulip Poplar and Sourwood)
I also really enjoyed seeing the plants that I don’t get to see every day. Mature Blackjack Oak, Chestnut Oak, Black Locust, and Hydrangeas were also staples of the Lake Lure landscape. Hydrangeas seemed to be the unofficial mascot and I was not complaining! Both wild, native Hydrangeas and selectively breed, landscaping Hydrangeas adorned every home and every hiking path. We even saw a few critters that surprised us too!
(Pictured from left to right: Black Locust, Blackjack Oak, Chestnut Oak and Lizard Friend)
My family and I loved the area so much, that it got me thinking… How can I recreate this adventure at home? Looking around the farm at Ruppert, I could see my vison coming to life! Rows of Tulip Poplar, Amelanchier, American Linden and Hemlock called my name. I can see Honeylocust, Red Oak, Burr Oak and Swamp White Oak reminding me of the Black Locust and different oaks that I saw in the mountains. But the Hydrangeas growing at Ruppert were the icing on the cake. The Hydrangeas made me feel like I was once again immersed in the wildly refreshing, and unbelievable landscape of Lake Lure.
Much love and appreciation for my better half, James Guernieri, for hiking the trails that I couldn’t, taking many of these pictures and for sharing in our enjoyment of the outdoors.
Ashley Miles, CPH