Monday, March 19, 2012

Saturday Morning at Hendersonville's Curb Market

One of my favorite stops on Saturday mornings is the Curb Market on North Church Street in Hendersonville. I love the history and tradition it embodies, the wonderful locally grown and created things you can find there, but most of all I enjoy the people.

Louise Hill with her nest collection
It's always a treat to visit with Louise Hill, who has a wealth of local natural history knowledge and lore. At her stand I always find many things that delight me, and they change with the season.

Right now Louise has some spring wildflowers for sale and nests made by wrens, cardinals, robins and titmice, among others. They would make a wonderful addition to your Spring decor...

She also showed me a nest that a Carolina wren had made in a hanging basket. There were a couple of eggs inside, but they weren't viable and the parent wrens left them behind. The wren's habit of nesting near people is one of the things I find so endearing about them, although their screeching isn't a pleasant sound. Louise also showed me an intact skin shed by a large black snake, and said that non-poisonous snakes lay eggs, while poisonous ones give birth to live young. It was news to me...

Mary Jones
Then it was on to the stand where every Spring I buy black pussy willows (salix Gracilistylus 'Melanostachys') from Mary Jones. It was a quest for this item in particular that brought me to the Market on Saturday, so I was glad she still had some.

I would love to grow black pussy willows, and pink or red ones for that matter, to create long-lasting flower arrangements, like the one that's been on my computer table for at least four years. It looks as fresh as the day I bought it, and you'd never know that I've also used it as a prop in many a home staging project.

Black pussy willow
Members of the willow family root very easily, and I stuck Mary's branches in water to enjoy and see what develops. When I researched the shrub I learned that it grows 6-10 feet high and spreads aggressively to about 6 feet wide by both roots and suckers, but can be pruned drastically to control its wandering. If the stems do root, I'll have to research the plant further to be certain we have a good place to put it.

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