I am Catherine Bollinger, an avid life-long gardener, amateur naturalist, and professional writer for over four decades, earning my living as a technical writer and editor in North Carolina during those years. Now I do a bit of freelance writing and editing, and give occasional lectures to groups interested in aspects of piedmont gardening. Along the way, I’ve earned three degrees from Duke University: BA, MEM, and MALS.

I have gardened in the Piedmont region of North Carolina for 50 years. I grow everything I can, and never tire of talking (or writing) about plants, which is why I started this blog. Welcome to my green world.

If you would like to quote from my copyrighted blog entries, reproduce a photograph, or contact me about a writing/editing assignment or speaking engagement, please send an e-mail to: piedmontgardener AT gmail DOT com.

For additional photos and gardening/ecology information, follow me on Twitter. If you are on iNaturalist, you can follow me there, where my handle is piedmontgardener. I also regularly contribute articles to the magazine of the North Carolina Botanical Garden, Conservation Gardener, a benefit of membership. You can read all the back issues of this publication in their online archive here.

Please Note:  As much as I’d like to answer every gardening question you have, that would be a full-time job all by itself. Although I welcome your comments about entries in this blog, I cannot answer specific individual questions. Thanks for your understanding.

  1. #1 by Marcia E Herman on January 11, 2012 - 9:31 pm

    Hello Catherine,

    I was happy to find your lovely blog via my tick work. We share a love of gardening and writing. I thought you and your followers might be interested in a small book I will be publishing very soon on herbal teas from local plants, “Sipping My Garden.” It is beautifully illustrated by a friend out west and Emma Skurlink.

    The gardening catalogs are pouring in and I am always looking for new plants to grow that can be used to make tisanes. Thanks so much, Marcia

    • #2 by piedmontgardener on January 12, 2012 - 5:46 am

      Hi, Marcia.

      Good luck with your book project. Happy gardening!

  2. #3 by Marcia E Herman on July 25, 2012 - 2:02 pm

    Note about canning low acid tomatoes: I have always heard one needs to be careful. Without researching it right now, I wonder if you know what the latest is about this? I believe I remember that adding a little vinegar can make it safe. We generally can “regular” tomatoes and save the heirlooms for fresh eating. They are so delicious. I start all of mine from seed. This year I had Bella Rosa, Chocolate Stripe, Potato Top, Kelloggs, and several others. What a year for tomatoes, with all this rain!

    I enjoy everyone’s writing.

    • #4 by piedmontgardener on July 25, 2012 - 3:45 pm

      Hi, Marcia.

      I disavow all knowledge of canning, having forsaken the practice over 30 years ago. I’ve been freezing my excess tomatoes for decades. I find the flavors remain more true, and I don’t have to turn my kitchen into a sauna.

      Thanks for stopping by.

  3. #5 by gnatseyeview on February 12, 2013 - 12:16 pm

    I live in the Piedmont as well, and love my little “kitchen window” garden. The Piedmont is a great place for growing all sorts of plants, but veges are my favorite.

    • #6 by piedmontgardener on February 12, 2013 - 4:16 pm

      Welcome, Nat! I agree that the Piedmont provides ideal growing conditions for many plants. While I share your love of veggies, I find that the native plants of our region also provide much enjoyment. Happy gardening!

  4. #7 by Terry Blatchley on March 22, 2013 - 5:26 pm

    Hey Cathy, I enjoyed working with you today. Thanks for sharing your vast knowledge!

    • #8 by piedmontgardener on March 22, 2013 - 5:32 pm

      Hi, Terry!

      I’m always happy to talk shop with a fellow plant lover. Thanks for stopping by my blog!

  5. #9 by Jan rogers on January 18, 2015 - 4:03 pm

    Love your blog! I’m new to the area and am learning so much. I am a beekeeper and am wondering if you are too or if you’ve ever entertained the idea of keeping bees.

    Thanks for the blog!

    • #10 by piedmontgardener on January 18, 2015 - 5:08 pm

      Welcome, Jan. I have never found the time to add beekeeping to my already infinite gardening to-do list, but I love having hives nearby. In past years, a friend kept his hives on our property. And now, my next-door-neighbor is keeping hives. My yard/garden is blessed with abundant bees — both honeybees from nearby hives, and a number of species of native bees. Having hives nearby insures nearly 100% fruit set on my fruits and veggies — a win-win for all. Thanks for stopping by!

  6. #11 by Carolyn Patricia Allen on October 28, 2019 - 12:06 pm

    Hello: I just found your site and am enjoying it. I’m a Stanly County Master Gardener who enjoys native plants; that’s how I found your site. It’ll give me plenty to read during my afternoon breaks. Thanks for taking the time to write. I’m looking forward to reading several of your articles.

    • #12 by piedmontgardener on November 10, 2019 - 9:09 am

      Welcome, Carolyn! It’s always wonderful to “meet” another native plant lover. My posts all are associated with key words, in the hopes that using the search box here will take you to what you seek.

      Happy gardening to you, and thanks for stopping by!

  7. #13 by Emily Smith on December 17, 2020 - 9:44 am

    I love your tips and would be interested in any workshop you’d offer in the spring.

    • #14 by piedmontgardener on December 17, 2020 - 10:59 am

      Thanks, Emily! I’ll add you to the mailing list. Here’s hoping COVID abatement will permit us to gather for classes this spring!

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