In 2016- 2017 an HFR “Heritage Tree “program was initiated. A board member attended a meeting of the Hendersonville Tree Board and asked if HFR could use the same name used for a Hendersonville program — “Heritage Trees” in order to start a program in Flat Rock. HFR owes a debt of gratitude to Wes Burlingame – who sat on this Hendersonville board and for being the one to smile and say yes. Over the last few years in Flat Rock trees have been photographed and measured. To date in the historic district documentation has been started for the following trees: Nikko Fir, Poplar Tulip, Basswood (U.S. National Champion-American Linden), Incense-cedar, Catalpa and a Japanese Maple.  At one point in time the Incense-cedar at Saluda Cottages was recognized as a North Carolina Champion Tree. Today, sadly, she has failed. Documenting her life has been an important endeavor. HFR will continue to document trees within the historic district.

The membership and friends of HFR were asked “What would you like to do that would be fun, educational, and represent the heart of the historic district”? After the ‘Historic Garden Tour’ in 2019, many members stepped up and voiced their opinions- the consensus was to have an educational gardening group.  With the publication of the first HFR book in 2020 “Gardening Tips from Well-Seasoned Gardeners” more attention has been given to the landscapes in Flat Rock. HFR has Community Partners who are there to answer questions about plant and tree health: The lead partner is Steve Pettis – Extension Agent, Agriculture-Consumer and Commercial Horticulture – North Carolina Cooperative Extension (master gardener educational program).

HFR’s website will be expanded to offer gardening tips and information on native plants. There will be feature articles on gardening and the care of gardens—large and small- with recommendations. A small group has even discussed being able to tour gardens in areas outside of North Carolina.

A calendar of events will be posted on the website and emailed to all who sign up for this information to be sent to them directly.  Meeting minutes will be posted.

The group has met during the fall of 2020 – outdoors – and voted on the name ‘Mountain Gardeners’.  The Mission Statement for HFR is ‘To protect, preserve and promote the historic and cultural heritage of Flat Rock, NC.’ This rings true for the Mountain Gardeners – as we discover the deep roots in the district- and uncover more about those who came here-what they planted – and the gardens they created. We are tasked to care for the abundant beauty we have all around us in public and private landscapes. We hope to work in collaboration with other groups-both Master Gardeners and those new to Flat Rock who may have never donned gardening gloves before. We welcome you all.

Victoria Flanagan

Historic Flat Rock, Inc.