Tag Archives: environment

Nurse Plants in Your Landscape?

11 May

At Cedar House Inn we utilize permaculture and sustainable principles throughout the property. Onecomfreynanking09 example is that we forego using synthetic fertilizers on the fruit and berry bushes planted on our swales (see related swale post). Instead we use nurse plants.

A nurse plant is a companion plant that can provide food for humans and animals while also providing benefits to surrounding plants. Examples on our property include nitrogen-fixing plants and dynamic accumulators.

Plants need nitrogen to help grow and flourish, hence, it is a key ingredient in many commercial fertilizers. Rather than using synthetic fertilizers made from petroleum and other laboratory derived ingredients, we choose a more natural method on our property.

On our swales we have many kinds of fruit and berry trees and bushes. Interspersed with our nanking cherries, aronias, and blueberries, you’ll find nitrogen-fixing plants like autumn olive and goumi berries. Both of these plants provide nitrogen to the surrounding plants and also provide edible berries for people and wildlife.

We have also planted dynamic accumulator plants like comfrey. Comfrey (see picture) is a perennial nurse plant with a very deep tap-root. The root mines minerals deep in the ground and brings those minerals and nutrients to the surface for nearby plants to use. Comfrey leaves are also used to make compost tea. The tea is made by cutting the leaves and placing them in a 5 gallon bucket with water to steep for several weeks. The nutrient rich water can be poured on vegetables in the garden or other plants as fertilizer. It smells like rotting flesh, so be careful where you brew it.

Comfrey can also be eaten like spinach but needs to be cooked since the leaves are a little rough. Some say you should not eat too much because it may be harmful to the liver in large quantities. Opinions differ on comfrey for human consumption but it has been used as a medicinal for many years. Chickens also love to eat it.

Another nurse plant that helps improve the nitrogen content of  garden soil is the siberian pea shrub. While we haven’t used that particular plant, we have planted pole beans (a legume) around trees to act as a nitrogen fixer for the trees. Come harvest time there were beans for us to eat.

There are other nurse plants that we haven’t used but would love to try in the future.

Work with nature instead of working against nature. Instead of reaching for a bag of your favorite commercial fertilizer or a can of insecticide next time you’re at the local garden center, choose some nurse plants. You will benefit from a healthier and more sustainable eco-friendly landscape.

Botanist Gathering 5/8-10 in Dahlonega

9 Apr
Come stay with us and attend the annual Georgia Botanical Society’s Spring WildflowerCypripedium acaule Pilgrimage in Dahlonega May 8-10.
The 2015 pilgrimage marks the 46th year of the annual celebration of Georgia’s rich assortment of native flora, some of the most diverse in the nation. During the three-day event, botanists both amateur and professional will fan out in several “field trips” from Dahlonega to explore a variety of mountain habitats — from stream banks crowded with mountain laurel and rhododendron to blue-shrouded vistas of high altitude granite outcrops.
Most of the habitats are north of Dahlonega within the 750,000-acre Chattahoochee National Forest, Georgia’s largest public land preserve. A few are at altitudes nearly 4,000 feet.
Some field trips will be to destinations with familiar names — Woody Gap, Lake Winfield Scott and Jarrard Gap, Sosebee Cove and Dawson Forest. Others will be to lesser-known spots, such as a hike to the beautiful Raven Cliff Falls.
In addition to enjoying some of Georgia’s most breathtaking natural scenery, participants expect to see a profusion of blooming wildflowers that are botanical highlights of the central mountains during early May — pink lady’s slipper; small and large yellow lady’s slipper; several mid-season trillium species, including the painted trillium; nodding mandarin; May-apple and wood betony.
The pilgrimage’s Friday and Saturday evening events include a social with book signings and a talk about the geology and natural communities of the Dahlonega region.
The Georgia Botanical Society sponsors a wildflower pilgrimage every spring to a different and interesting part of the state. Last year’s event was headquartered in Waycross and focused on the Okefenokee Swamp. “The Pilgrimage is one of Georgia Botanical Society’s most popular offerings,” said Heather Brasell, Vice President and coordinator of this year‘s pilgrimage event.
For more information visit: http://www.gabotsoc.org/?page_id=23

HemlockFest is Coming in November 2014

8 Oct

HemlockFest, hosted by the Lumpkin Coalition, is an annual festival held the first full weekend in November. The Festival andHemlockFest2014_poster-672x1024 the proceeds from the festival are used to increase public awareness of Eastern and Carolina hemlock tree problems and to provide financial support for Area Colleges and Universities in their efforts to save the Hemlocks.

This is a worthwhile and entertaining event!

Hemlockfest happens November 7th,8th and 9th east of Dahlonega, Georgia at Starbridge and features many great live music events.

Shenanigans’ and Bourbon Street Grill provide great food while you listen to the live music (our son always helps with the cooking). Terrapin provides the beer (we loved the Wake and Bake they had last year).

Educational exhibits and cool art to purchase (we purchase something every year). Visit the silent auction tent with some great products (we offer a BOGO night for the inn every year).

Multi day and single day tickets are available on the website shown below.

On site festival camping is available if you purchase a 3 day pass or you can stay with us at the inn if we have something available. As of the day of this post (October 8th) we have both yurts and a room available (2 night minimum).

If you care about the environment and like live music this event should be on your list to attend. We try to make it Sunday when our guests check out.

For more information on tickets and other information about the festival and music events visit http://www.hemlockfest.org

Cedar House Inn Awarded TripAdvisors GreenLeader™ Status

3 May

Cedar House Inn has been awarded the Gold level GreenLeader into the new TripAdvisor® GreenLeaders™ program, which helps travelers plan greener trips by identifying environmentally-friendly accommodationsgreenleader_en-17354-2 across the U.S.

TripAdvisor GreenLeaders have met a set of environmental standards developed for TripAdvisor by a leading environmental consulting firm, with input from expert partners. The more green practices a hotel has in place, the higher its GreenLeader level, which is shown on the property’s listing on the TripAdvisor site.

Travelers can now search for accommodations that have a GreenLeaders status on the TripAdvisor site, and view a detailed list of environmentally-friendly practices that they can expect at each location.

“TripAdvisor GreenLeaders are leading the hospitality industry in making efforts to improve their environmental footprint,” said Jenny Rushmore, director of responsible travel at TripAdvisor. “We greatly applaud these accommodations and are pleased to share their eco-friendly practices with our online audience of more than 200 million travelers.”

The TripAdvisor GreenLeaders program was developed in partnership with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s ENERGY STAR® program, the U.S. Green Building Council, and the United Nations Environment Programme. For more information, please visit http://www.tripadvisor.com/GreenLeaders.

Annual Trail Fest 3/22-3/24

8 Jan

Come stay with us and attend the 3rd Annual Dahlonega Trail Fest 2013 March 22-24 called Spring on Springer.

The vernal equinox marks the first day of spring. In 2013, the equinox occurs on March 20, right in the middle of the NOrthBOund Thru Hiker kickoff season at Springer Mountain, the southern terminus of the Appalachian Trail. The third annual Spring on Springer Dahlonega TrailFest will celebrate Dahlonega’s designation as an AT Trail Community by the Appalachian Trail Conservancy and Dahlonega’s position as the southern gateway to the Appalachian Trail. It will be held on March 22-24 on the cusp of the first day of spring in Dahlonega, Georgia.

The Trail Fest will include camping, speakers, films, music, shuttles to Springer Mountain and Amicalola Falls, equipment vendors, and workshops on such topics as safety, camping techniques, and equipment.

Fun trail related activities such as a 5k trail run, canoeing/kayaking, guided hikes, and local tours.

2012 featured speakers/authors included: Warren Doyle, record holding 16 time thru hiker; Gene Espy, second person to ever thru hike the AT in 1951; Paralee Dawson, section hiker and author; Sandra Friend, author of over 15 hiking guidebooks; and Johnny Molloy, author of over 38 hiking guidebooks.

Films will include: Flip Flop Flippin, a film by Scott “Squatch” Herriott

The Trail Fest will be a fun filled weekend celebrating Dahlonega’s Trail Community designation, the importance of the Appalachian Trail to Dahlonega and Lumpkin County, the significance of Dahlonega to the many users of the AT, and all aspects of responsible use of the north Georgia forests for recreation.

For information and details, check the Trail Fest website at www.dahlonegatrailfest.org

Hemlockfest 11/4-6 Musical Line Up Announced

12 Aug

For the seventh annual HemlockFest, the Lumpkin Coalition has again assembled an array of the area’s most awesome talents. Headliners for this year’s event—which returns to Starbridge Sanctuary near Dahlonega this November 4th, 5th and 6th—include Colonel Bruce Hampton and the Pharaoh Gummitt, Saint Francis, and the Lefty Williams Band.

Sunday’s line-up will be highlighted by Steel String Session and their brand of cosmic blues rockabilly bluegrass.

Dahlonega’s own prized talents will abound this year, with Home Grown Revival, Emerald Rose, and the Pick & Bow Band returning as crowd favorites. Carly Gibson, a singer/songwriter prodigy from Lumpkin County who completed programs at the prestigious GRAMMY Camp in Los Angeles, will be a new local addition.

This year’s bill includes other first-time HemlockFest performers, including Caroline Aiken, often cited as one of the cornerstones of the Decatur folk movement; and The Reese Boyd Project, which is fronted by a 10-year-old prodigy guitarist. Insonnia, Mean Mary, BlueBilly Grit, and 710 South will also make their HemlockFest debuts. More returning HemlockFest performers include Veronika Jackson, Women of Heart, and Barry Bailey. Unifire Theatre will appear once again with their stunning fire arts show.

HemlockFest is an unparalleled musical experience in a peaceful and beautiful setting just outside of Dahlonega. This all-ages, eco-friendly event features three days of live music, primitive camping, educational exhibits, arts and crafts vendors, a kid’s nature village, rustic living demonstrations, great food, and free canoeing. Both day and weekend passes will be available, and admission is free for kids (ages 15 and under with a supervising adult ticket holder).

HemlockFest proceeds aid efforts to minimize the impact of the non-native hemlock woolly adelgid parasite, which is devastating the hemlock trees of North Georgia at an alarming rate. HemlockFest has affected the raising of more than $100,000 to support predator beetle rearing labs at area colleges and universities. This effort to introduce predator beetles, which feed on hemlock woolly adelgids and are a safe and effective biological control, may help to save our native forests and preserve our quality-of-life.

Visit the website at http://www.hemlockfest.org or call the Hemlock Hotline at (706) 867-5157 for more information about HemlockFest, the hemlock crisis, or to volunteer. The Lumpkin Coalition, sponsor of the festival, is a 100% volunteer non-profit 501(c)3 charitable organization formed to facilitate projects that benefit North Georgia, Lumpkin County, its residents and visitors. The Lumpkin Coalition is dedicated to preserving quality of life for all those who share it. To this end, it supports the preservation of a clean and healthy environment, responsible living, and responsible growth.

Paper & Plastic Bag Tax Is A Great Idea

3 Jun

On tonight’s ABC World News they featured a story about the use of paper and plastic shopping bags in grocery stores. The public has been slow to adopt the usage of reusable shopping bags. You have seen them. They are made of cloth or heavy plastic.

I have mentioned on previous blog posts that I am frustrated that when I go shopping with my wife she seems to be the only one using reusable bags. The other mindless shoppers are using the free throw away plastic or paper bags.

On tonight’s news they mentioned that some major cities are thinking about imposing a tax on each throw away plastic or paper bag used. San Francisco has already outlawed plastic bags. Other cities like Washington, DC are looking at a 20 cent per bag tax. The poor are crying foul saying they cannot afford the tax. At Trader Joe’s last week we bought a reusable bag for about a dollar. Reusable bags are affordable so the poor need to think of another reason.

In Ireland the ABC News story went on to say that they have imposed a 33 cent a bag tax on all bags. Nine out of ten consumers in Ireland now bring reusable bags when they go shopping. Hitting the pocketbook changes consumer behavior in Ireland. Would such a tax work in the USA. I would be willing to give it a try.

I hope Americans think about the consequences of their buying habits but I know that is wishful thinking on my part.

Bring on the bag tax and lets get rid of those awful plastic and paper bags that create pollution in their manufacturing (plastic) not to mention the number of trees that must be cut down for us to use a throw away paper bag.

Go out and purchase some reusable bags next time you shop and keep them in your car so that they can be used for your next grocery shopping trip.

Next time the check out person says paper or plastic say neither, I brought my own reusable bags.


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