Gardeners Roll Call: Monday, February 13, 2017

Posted by on February 13, 2017


Spring-like all week! I could get use to this!


Tuesday, 0.1 in

Wednesday, 0.2 in

Sunday, 0.1 in



I miss my morning walks with Elizabeth Galecke, but thew, today I clocked 13,493 steps, so I have the 10k covered. I miss more the conversation most.

I couldn’t wait to get to work today. Two of my garden areas 17-21 and 34 were getting a fence moved. The landscape crew did a fantastic job doing so. Now I have a fresh space to work with. Right now, I’m envisioning removing the spirea and replacing with a native that would provide more benefit to the wildlife. After I raked it out, I added several shovel full of topsoil to fill where the old fence posts were.

Over at the Goat, I added the short form sweetflag, Acorus calamus. Wendy was no longer using in one of her gardens. The acorus is replacing the creeping jenny,  Lysimachia nummularia ‘Aurea’ which will take over. In my own garden, Helen’s Haven, I’ve eradicated it. Good riddance!

More Goat goings on, I dispursed the chrysanthemum that edged the walk to be evenly spread under the Henry Lauder’s Walking Stick, Corylus avellana ‘Contorta’.

Watered around the Spa garden. Wendy also shared with me an Autumn fern. I added it here, behind the fountain pot. This helped cover the back side of the fountain some. I want to get two more, so the backside is fully covered.

Stopped by Lowes to pick up knee pads. My knees are fine, but I was looking a little Pig Pen-like. My knees were caked in mud. This way I can look more presentable between jobs.

Went over to SiteOne to introduce myself. I met Mandy. Looked at the plants, but didn’t see anything I liked much.

I also managed to do a container job for a client. Below is the mock up. Delivered container garden to the client. All in all, it was a very good day.

Mock up of a client container


At our weekly meeting, I asked if I could remove the spirea in 34. It’s a shame they are getting ready to bloom, but I’m ready to get new plants in so they will be established before the heat of the summer.  The florist will probably be able to use them, too. If I’m lucky, I’ll bring a fist full home to put in a vase.

Room 34: Today, I got into my first emergency. I was gardening in 34 and someone was checking in at 3:00. Luckily or maybe not, I removed the three spirea and had mulch ready to go in. When housekeeping called to say the garden wasn’t ready for guest, I jumped to attention! I got over there very quickly, raked, laid the mulch, swept, and then Greg and I had a conversation about adding some quick cuteness to make it feel cozy. I suggested to put back the spirea in a place better suited for the new design. He thought it was OK without them, and to just add a bench. I did. I filled the empty space some, but I need to get some plants put in by next week. The rock in the back is third best. Before it wasn’t visible. Now it is. I’m on the hunt for cooler looking rock. And just like that, I found a good stash.


Room 34 Before

Inn Room 34: Above is the courtyard for Inn Room 34. The areas that needed attention: The back fence was originally places to give distinction between the courtyard and the rooms behind it. That resulted in those rooms not seeing the source of running water, only hearing it. Imagine the frustration! The platings behind the fence will ill-sited. Guest complained that the rooms were dark, and the planting view entering the block of rooms into In Rooms 17-24, made no sense, thus, they were removed as well. (Note my fine weeding & mulching job <3 )


Inn rooms 17-21 revamp

The planting were fine based on the fence placement, but once removed, the dynamics changed.

The Carolina Jasmine, Gelsemium sempervirens, also needed a new home.

Inn Room 34, continued: The fence sections above was then used to provide a terminal end for Inn Rooms 17-24. The above shrubs were removed, and the fence section added.

Room 34 courtyard viewed from 17-24

Now, I needed plants for the redesign. Another problem I had was the fountain itself. It didn’t have a natural-looking waterfall. This seems to be a common problem in designing something to replicate a mountain scene. Ideally, the back of the waterfall, would be coming from a mountain scene, not a fence section or wall. Yet, the desire to have such a space overrides the logic of the flow.

Plant shopping!!!! Yes, I’m paid to do this!!! I drove the company van to Piedmont Carolinia to pick up plants. So far I’m adding one Sweetshrub, Calycanthus raulstonii ‘Hartlage Wine’ and four Itea virginica ‘Little Henry’. Ryan and I also dug up three large Christmas ferns,  Polystichum acrostichoides,  from the “dump” area.

I knew I wanted a conifer to go behind the waterfall, but was respectful of the need to add more natives. This edict wasn’t absolute, but I truly wanted to respect it since I’m of the same mindset. I pondered, and pondered some more. Then I realized that this series of three conifers on the other side of the pond, to the right of the entrance didn’t match. A light bulb turn on. Why not move the one that doesn’t match and place it behind the waterfall. This way, I’m not adding another conifer, just moving them around.

room 34, three conifers alongs side

plants for room 34

Room 34 after before the spring/summer flush

The conifer softens the back side (some), the ferns were planted between the Itea virginiana to adds structure on the back side of the pond stone. The ”Hartlage Wine’ was planted between the windows. I left the bench brought in to cozy up the space before the plants arrived. The scale isn’t what’s needed, but it was all I had to work with.

Fearrington Village

Interior Inn Rooms: Watered. Once inside, looked through each window to see what the guests see.

The Goat: Finished the shaping of the variegated liriope, Liriope muscari ‘Variegata’, near the Goat. Mulched.

Dove Coat: Finished pulling the reverted dwarf mondo grass. Ophiopogon japonicus ‘Nanus’. Mulched.

Admin Bldg: Finished mulching right side. Mulched, all of the beds, but still need one more load. My loads consist of 16, 2-3 gallon nursery pots full of pine bark chips. It’s easy to do, just time consuming. But what mulch isn’t? 😉 The rewards always win!


I’ll be forever grateful to Greg Fitch for allowing me to work only Monday through Thursday. Fridays are now my Bee Better day. This work usually flows into Saturday and Sunday, but that’s OK. Bud usually works both days, and is out the door by 5:30 AM. Lily and Aster sleep in, and frankly, are too grumpy in the morning to amount to much quality time. Thus, if they need me, it’s usually not until the afternoon or evening. This schedule is working out very well for me.

The only problem in paradise, is that even on Fridays, I’m too achy to walk with Elizabeth Galecke. I’m getting all the steps in need in a day, and then some; but I sorely miss the conversation.

Bee Better: Our subscription to iStock runs out on March 6th. I need to make sure I download the number of pics that remain, so I am taking full advantage of my my allowance allows.

Work a little more on the Davidson presentation. It’s almost done. Just refining at this point.

Met with a Cary client about putting in a Bee Better garden.

Met with GG for a drink at Standard Foods. Over a couple of drinks and hearing of a friend who hurt her kneed with little friends or family to aid her, we made a pack to be there for each other, and more importantly, to take our pets. We both agree it won’t be our current Pepper or Sir Rupert; most likely the our next ones if we are lucky enough to live that long. We know all too well, no one but she or I will love our dogs like we do.


Spoke about Plants with Benefits at Atlantic Avenue Orchid and Garden Center. Not many people showed up, and I’m rethinking taking the time to do these kinds of talks in the future.

Best part of the day was attending Zoe and Andy Pietrus’ third annual oyster roast. My friends back home use to hold an annual feast; it too was something I looked forward to each year. Then oysters became hard to find, so they stopped doing it. Andy seems to have found a fine source here in Raleigh. We had three varieties: Stump Sound, Engelhard, and farm raised.

The variety were all new to me. The Stump Sound oysters were very salty, which I like any. As we were told, they have the taste of the ocean. Very yummy, but you did have to pace yourself. Adding lemon naturalized the salt some, but then the flavor of the oyster was lost.

The second variety was from Englehard, NC on the Pamlico sound, were most people’s favorite. Mine too. They had a very good oyster flavor. Meaty texture. Very good. These oysters were a little smaller too, and cooked for the same about of time as the larger Stump Sound oysters, so that might have toughened them up some. Either way, they were the winner!

I was pleasantly surprised with the farm raised. If I wasn’t told, I would have never guessed. They were delicious.

Oyster Roast

I’m guessing I had three dozen. I just can’t help myself. Good thing there were plenty!

And guess what? This is really funny…I’m a fidgety person. I rarely stand still. Even while I was eating the oysters, I could feel my feet moving, left to right. When my set app showed up, I clocked 109k steps. That’s a lot of oysters!!!

Warm weather is back; not enough gardening to do. 🙁 Spring will be here soon enough, and the workload will increase. I should just sit and enjoy this quiet time.

It turns out there was more for me to do in the garden than I thought! Or maybe, I’m still refining the reduction in maintenance. One way I’m doing that is pooling plants. For example, the area where I put the hellebores Beth gave me, were doing fine mostly, but over the three year period (I can’t believe it has been that long), I had a few not make it. Seven in all. I was going to ask Beth for more when I realized, I would just transfer others from around the garden. These were ones that I added for some greenery in the winter. Now I just look at the leaves as a maintenance challenge. Along the soccer field, these are easy to care for, but within the Mixed Border, not so much. So now all my holes are full and I have new real estate for something new.

I also decided the craniums and various perennials I had edging the soccer field were to tall and busy. This year, I’m going for just hellebores and Verbena ‘Homestead Purple’ along the edge.

A lot of the crinums are going to my friend, GG, and others were planted in the River Bed and in a sunny spot on the north side. I’ll bet there were 45 in all. Big ones too!


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