As we do on many Thursdays, I checked in with our gardening expert Alison Arnold. 

Q: You were talking earlier that it’s usually November when people notice their holly trees don't have berries but that now is the time to look into why this might be happening…. Tell me more about that?

A: Yes and we are talking about the native American holly and yes.. so when the question comes up about why a holly doesn’t have berries its important to rule out the most obvious question -  is the plant flowering at all?

  Our friends from Pan Harmonia are in the studio today with Dick Kowal to discuss this weekend's season finale concert at Asheville's First Presbyterian Church. It's music for flute, bassoon, harpsichord and percussion!

An event Tuesday 5/17 at Innovation Brewing Company in Sylva will highlight green entrepreneurs.  The Conservation Fund's Natural Capital Investment Fund (NCIF) is hosting the spotlight for businesses who they've helped to succeed.  NCIF helps startups that are good stewards of the environment with loans.  The invitation-only event will feature speakers from the host Innovation Brewing Company, Bailey Mountain Bike Park, Flymen Fishing Company, Blue Firefly Inn, and Gypsy Queen Cuisines. 

Jeremy Loeb/WCQS

Local best-selling author Sara Gruen isn't shy about standing up for what she believes in.  The author of novels like "Water for Elephants" and "At the Water's Edge" has often donated in support of animal advocacy groups and rescues.  Now she's standing against North Carolina's controversial House Bill 2 and in support of independent bookstores.  When award-winning writer Sherman Alexie canceled his May 18 Asheville appearance in protest of HB2, Gruen and others organized to fill the slot with an anti-HB2 fundraiser that instead would

The Department of Energy has certified two homes in Catawba County as the first Net Zero Energy Ready Homes in North Carolina.  Rob Howard is Director of Construction for Habitat For Humanity Catawba Valley in Hickory, NC.  He spoke with WCQS's Davin Eldridge.

Via press release:

  Dick Kowal spoke this afternoon with Dr. Brian Kellum, Dr. David Wilkin and Anilia Hornsby from Musicworks! Asheville. The El Sistema-inspired program at Hall Fletcher elementary school in Asheville is holding a benefit concert featuring performances by The Savannah Children's Choir, the Asheville Youth Choir, as well as the Musicworks! students. The concert is at Asheville's First Baptist Church on Friday, May 13th at 7pm.

Why Most WNC Towns Remain Silent About HB2

May 10, 2016

Last month, the Asheville City Council unanimously adopted a resolution opposing North Carolina’s controversial House Bill 2, along with numerous other municipalities, both big and small. Yet, despite the ever-growing controversy surrounding the bill, some North Carolina towns just aren’t taking a position on the matter. In fact, it seems that House Bill 2 isn’t even on their radar. So, WCQS reached out to the mayors of some of these towns to find out why.

Stephen Houseworth photography

  Listen this week for two opportunities to hear the Asheville Symphony Orchestra's April 16th concert. We will bring you this blockbuster concert by the ASO with conductor Daniel Meyer on Tuesday morning at 10 and again Thursday evening at 8.  The primary work on the program is Giuseppe Verdi's Messa da requiem, written in 1874. This huge piece, running over an hour, is scored for full orchestra, chorus, and four soloists. In the April performance the Symphony is joined by the Asheville Symphony Chorus led by Michael Lancaster.

Jeremy Loeb/WCQS

Graduates of UNC Asheville will hear from a pioneering voice in local journalism during Saturday morning's commencement address.  Virgil Smith is the former publisher of the Asheville Citizen-Times, and worked at its parent Gannett Company for 24 years.  He was also a member of the UNCA Board of Trustees.  He was the first black publisher of a mainstream newspaper in North Carolina.  He's now retired and living in Atlanta.  Smith sat down with WCQS’s Jeremy Loeb in advance of his speech for a conversation that touched on his speech, diversity in the newsroom, and how the news industry adapt

Irene Young

Listen this afternoon for the next Friday @2 when guitarist and multi-instrumentalist Robin Bullock will be our guest, performing live in our studio.  Robin will play his third homecoming concert a the Black Mountain Center for the arts this weekend, and will give us a preview when he plays just for us on Friday @2.

The 42nd LEAF Festival is May 12 thru 15, and the theme is "World Fusion with Cuban Spice." Executive Director Jennifer Pickering and communications director Cortina Caldwell stopped by to talk with Dick Kowal about the festival and the other activities of LEAF.

  The Asheville Choral Society presents a program titled "The Music of the Living" Saturday evening at Central United Methodist Church. Artistic Director Melodie Galloway talked to Dick Kowal about the upcoming concert.

Adding to a growing number of artists to weigh in on North Carolina's controversial House Bill 2, pop singer Beyoncé posted a statement on her website denouncing the law.  The statement highlights the work of gay rights group Equality NC and suggests ways of helping the group.  The singer made a stop in Raleigh on Tuesday.  Speculation had swirled as to whether she would cancel the show or make some kind of statement.

North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory's office says it's appealing a judge's decision refusing to dismiss a lawsuit by the news media that says the administration fails to comply with the state's open records law.

The Charlotte Observer reported the governor's office filed a request Monday to prevent news media attorneys from taking statements from witnesses while an appeal is prepared.

The Blue Ridge Orchestra plays the final concerts of its season this weekend in Asheville, Saturday night at Biltmore United Methodist Church and Sunday afternoon at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Asheville. On the program, Beethoven's Egmont Overture and the Double Concerto for violin and cello by Brahms. Soloists are violinist Kathryn Gardner and cellist Franklin Keel.  

Chuck Taft, conductor, dropped by to speak with Dick Kowal about the music.