Gardeners Roll Call: Monday, August 21, 2017

Posted by on August 21, 2017


Humid, and heating up a bit, but still in the upper 80s, low 90s



Friday 0.2 in.



Busy day at Fearrington Village. Mondays are the day I can use the company van, so I choose Mondays to do any plant pick up when I need a lot or the distance is long. I drove to near Greensboro to pick up a replacement tree. A couple, three weeks ago, I picked up eight American Fringe tree, Chionanthus virginicus, and it turned out one was something else. I’m still trying to identify it.

The Piedmont Farmers Market is right near the wholesale nursery, so I stopped by there to pick up a few more plants for the Admin Nest. This location is tricky to design, but then it occurred to me I can add more pollinator plants that wouldn’t need to be viewed from the street, but specifically places so  R.B. could view them out his office window.

I found a ‘Miss Huff’ lantana, three ‘Black & Blue’ salvias, three white flowering milkweed, Asclepias incarnata, and three Rudbeckia hirta. Why is this so difficult to design? From the street view, the space is round, like a nest. On the left side is mostly shade, and the right side gets more sun. The left side is dominated by a Japanese cedar, Cryptomeria japonica. The right is dominated by a Rose of Sharon ‘Diana’, Hibiscus syriacus. The back French doors are flanked with a Abelia x grandiflora ‘Rose Creek’.  Even thought it isn’t native, I do love tis plant. The long stems are great in arrangements. The front of both side include blueberry bushes, Vaccinium spp., black-eyed Susans, Rudbeckia fulgida var. sullivantii ‘ Goldsturm‘, purple coneflower, Echinacea purpurea and sweet box shrubs, Sarcococca ruscifolia. There was a lot of space behind the Rose of Sharon in full sun. I figured I could plant the new pollinator plants behind the right-side tree and they wouldn’t be view from the street, but rather from inside the Admin Building. I considered this a moment of genius 😉

The weather that afternoon was unpredictable, and they were calling for rain all day Tuesday. So. I decided to plant and move plants that I would have otherwise done on Tuesday.

Removed four Viburnums from Park Inn Rooms 21-26 courtyard. They were not thriving. Two went to the entrance Park Inn Room 36. In their place, I added four boxwood ‘Highlander’, Buxus sempervirens. Traded out the American fringe tree for the mystery planting.


So much for the rain produced ALL DAY today. So what did I do? Watered.

After our weekly meeting, all the gardeners, including Zac our new dedicated culinary gardener for the kitchen, and Greg met about making improvements to the Glass Green House.  Wendy took the lead on all that needs to be done to make it function better. I took the lead on changing the aesthetics. R.B. was that Glass House to look presentable. More than presentable, in fact, but a worthy part for the public to view. That’s where I come in. I have lots of wonderful ideas to make that space rock! I assured all the gardeners it would still be a working Glass House, but we would improve the visitor’s experience.

Gave my bulb order to Donna for this spring’s planting. I went over a little on my budget, but Donna had a few dollars to spare, so I think I’ll be OK.


My day IN. Getting caught up on some writing assignments and projects around the house, including trying to get the dog pee out of the hardwood floors. Have you had any experience trying any of these methods?

Touched up the paint in the Family Room.

Last night, my girls were left in the Chicken Run overnight. We have never done this before, and now I know why. At 1:30 in the morning, Lily got us up (yes, she is a night owl) to say something was scarring the chickens. David went out and he could see several pairs of eyes on the back side of the run, but couldn’t get the girls in the coop. He stayed up for a couple of hours chasing the predators away, but they just kept coming back. The poor girls were scared to death. The goods news, after inspecting the run, it doesn’t look there was any penetration.

My nose itches all the time now. It’s been at least six months. Does this mean someone is talking about me ? I hope it isn’t all bad.

I was able to meet deadlines for the Weekend Garden fall issue (published 2x a year) and for Triangle Gardener, with whom I have contributed since the first issue, maybe 10 years ago.

I’m still trying to hide the mystery tree. I got this message from Mark Weathington, Director of the JCRA.

I’m not convinced that isn’t the southern (Florida) form of Chionanthus virginicus which you find in the trade relatively rarely. It has narrower, more glossy leaves and doesn’t look like what most of us know as C. virginicus. I think it’s perfectly hardy though. We had one of these come in for Gala many years ago. Tim swore up and down that it wasn’t Chionanthus.

The best way to tell for sure is to look at the buds. Each of the bud scales should be keeled (like the keel of a boat). When looked at head (point) on, they will appear almost square. I can’t tell from this pic for sure but they look right.
A few Florida nurseries used to grow this but I can’t remember which. Maybe Superior Trees?

Life is too short for boring plants.

Mark Weathington
JC Raulston Arboretum
NC State University
Department of Horticultural Science

We are now looking for a special place for are new find!

Picked lots of figs!


What a great day!!! After I killed the weeds between the bricks on the paths with a mixture of vinegar, citric, and dish soap, Zac and I went to a new to both of us fruit grower. Rabbit Ridge is located in Coats, NC. It’s about an hour from Fearrington Village, and probably the same from Raleigh. We loved it. Zac picked up a Texas fig already started as an espalier. In no time, he had it planted in a culinary bed. It looks awesome.

At 1:45, Zac and  I met with Theresa, the General Manager, and Colin, our celebrity chef. The purpose was to discuss better managing harvest times to match needs. All good. Zac is all over creating these culinary beds. I see great things!

Then Greg and I met over the new teak furniture we bought for many of my Park Inn Rooms. Some of the pieces will be stained, and the rest will be oiled with Linseed oil. Tomorrow, I’ll head to Lowe’s to pick up supplies. I’d rather wait for a low humidity day to start, and probably will.

My Thursday summer ritual has become knocking off work and heading over to the Roost for a wood-fired pizza. OMG, they are so, so good. I chose Thursdays to do this instead of Friday, b/c Fridays are very, very busy. And on Thursday, it’s more plausible to tell my family, oh, I have to work late tonight 😉 In the meantime, I’m writing this update.

I decided to wait a day to water; and unless it rains tonight, I will be very busy tomorrow!


Water, water, water nowhere. So guess what? I watered. One of the reasons I like like taking Wednesday for my four-day week, so I am in on Fridays. I want to make sure, given the rain predictions, I don’t want my newly planted babies to not have water to carry them through the weekend.

Today, I also had the chance to pick up stains for a few pieces of teak furniture we received for the Park Inn Room and other areas of Fearrington Village. These pieces are so chic! Once they were placed, I realized I needed to add some other elements to make the spaces complete. More later.


Honored again to be a guest on Mike Raley’s Weekend Gardener Show, WPTF 680.

Then it was an afternoon of errands. Not my favorite thing to do. Fresh Market, Farmers Market, Red Box, bank, Staples, Trader Joe’s. I came home to water the hanging garden on the back porch and some of the new transplants.

While at the Farmers Market, I stopped by Archer Lodge to visit with John and Diva, plus to pick up some plants. Spoiler coming–I told John that I was now working over at Fearrington. “So it’s you,” he said. “A women stopped by this week to buy plants b/c she had visited Fearrington, and there was a new gardener there making major improvements in her area.” She further said, “She has inspired me to get out and garden more!” To say the least, that was nice to hear!


Spend about three hours at my North Raleigh client’s garden. Our time was spent mostly dividing iris. She has quite the collection! To learn how to divide iris, click here.

Wasn’t able to visit with Beth today; she was busy. This is a good thing! For her and me. I got some much needed quality time in the garden instead. Working both Saturday and Sunday, even just for three hours made it such that  I had no time to myself or in the garden. This is very important to me. I didn’t get as much done as I would have liked, but I’m plugging along.

When Patrick trimmed the hedges and edged, I told him to cut where it is suppose to be cut, not where there is grass. That way, I can have my crisp clean edges, and then go in and hand remove the zoysia that has overgrown. I started on that removal this afternoon. I have about another hour on this task to go. Maybe Wednesday.

Watered the phlox new plantings in the back edge of the garden. I forgot to, or just got time, yesterday to do so. All done know.

Added eight Solidago ‘Fireworks’ along the edge of the magnolia on the South side. This is a good pollinator plants for migrating and soon the be hibernating wildlife.

Added a thick layer of pinestraw around the blueberry bushes, and gave them a big drink of water. I’m not happy with how they look. I think I neglected them too much during this dry spell. I’m also not sure they have enough mulch. Also added Holly Tone for acid-loving plants. I’ve lost two, but I won’t replace until these start looking better, and will probably do so next year.

Dug a hole for the cedar post Ruben gave me. I’m using it to support the muscadine grapes. They needed to be cut back severely and a better support. More on that soon.

Above, in the spot of the hole digger, is where the the cedar post went, and the massive grape vine was trimmed and trained on the post.


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