Gardeners Roll Call: Monday, October 23, 2017

Posted by on October 23, 2017

THE WEEK A chilly fall-like week! Morning temps in the 40s.


Monday, rain today brought with it a cold front. Low 44ºF. 0.25 inch.



Started the new Roost bed. It required a pick axe. I was able to get down about an inch and a half that way. Welding that thing proved to much for the girl, so I went to Lowes to get a hand-held mattock. I haven’t tried it yet, but since it’s something I can use on my knees, I’m hopeful.

I swung the pick axe until the rain chased me away. Well, when I say chased, it was s glorious walk back to me desk. It felt wonderful on my face.

Donna took the meticulous notes from Thursday’s Pizza and Lighting Check Walk-around. She told the crew that she was going to tie up the computer for about three hours as she pecked away, one finger at a time. And since it was raining and couldn’t get out to do my work, I volunteered to type it if she dictated it to me. We spent less then an hour and that included taking her notes and putting them into action items.

Got the van to Campbell Road Nursery. Last week we had van problems, but I did manage to borrow a van and get one look more pansy plants. We needed about tow more loads, picking up 30ish at a time, depending on what other plants needed picking up. I was at exactly 0.9 mile from the nursery when I got a flat tire. Ugh!!!

I called AAA. They said it would about 45 minutes. Turned out to be 1.5 hours, and after the change, it was over two hours, and by then Campbell Road was closed.


It felt like a bust yesterday, so I did another day or Helen heroics! When this girl gets determined to catch up, there is not stopping her.

A good part of the day was finalizing the Silo Beds design.

In digging, I found fire ants on both sides, so they were treated immediately.

Part of the plan included moving two arborvitae, probably an ‘Emerald Green’, from containers at the Fearrington House Restaurant to the Silo Beds. I replace those with dwarf native hollies, Ilex glabra ‘Shamrock’. They will be perfect if they make it. They were very, VERY root bound. Probably wouldn’t have lasted long in those containers anyway.

Zac and I had picked two white form  beauty berry, Callicarpa americana ‘Alba’, but decided they would look very nice at the silo beds.

The design took a while to come together. It always does when you try to fix something. It was like when I was trying to turn my Perennial Boarder into a Mixed Border. I finally had to pop everything from the ground, well, 90% of it any, and replace it with the new additions. Best deciding I every made. It was the same with the Silos Beds. It wasn’t until I turned away from needing to get another of something at was on one side to match the other, when the plant selection that was there was not the best for the beds anyway. Does that make sense? So I started popping plants and using what I could where I could, but otherwise just redoing it. It worked. Now I need to add the edging, which will be the shore juniper, Juniperus conferta ‘Golden Pacific’. Traditionally in the edging spots have been annuals, but as I’m renovating the areas I’m taking care of, I’m moving away from annuals as the mainstay and putting in evergreen plants and then only accenting with annuals, not making them the main act. I’ve not been about to find any, so I called Southern States in Carrboro where I bought mine to see if she could order more. I did. We’ll see if Stacha can find them. I  weeded, left room for the front plantings, the shore junipers, but added the pansies (mixed blotch) and snapdragons (a rosy pink.)

Contacted Nancy Goodwin at Montrose about picking up more of her pyramid boxwood, Buxus sempervirens ‘Pyramidalis’. Nancy’s original cuttings came from J.C. Raulston. Originally, J.C. through it was ‘Graham Blandy’ but this one turned out to be even more narrow in shape. I have one in my collection, well bother the ‘Pyramidalis’ and ‘Graham Blandy’ so I will put them side by side now that I know the back story. I love the back that these boxwood have J.C.’s linage.
When I got back, I immediately put them along fence along the the South-side of the Park Inn Room. I still have a ways to go, but I think the design is coming along nicely! Once planted I added fresh mulch. These annuals will be hit by frost, and when they do, an new annual planting will take place.

Watering containers at The Barn and Fearrington House entrance.

I still had time in my 12-hour day, so I decided to weed and mulch one of the garden as you enter the Fearrington House Restaurant.

I’ve taken over this bed, so now I can play with the design. I do love the dark green and light bark together. I’d like to see something up front, but it would be nice to keep the green and white effect going. Since this garden is viewed from about 30 feet, white would have a great impact in being showy.


My day IN!

Planted a few things; trying to get everything the ground.

My husband, David, and I had a date at the fair. We were there from about 11:00 to 3:00. The time flew by. No rides for us, and without the kids (they go on their own now) we just went to see the gardens, animals, and eat from one end to the other.

We must be getting old. We can’t eat as much, and that Blooming Onion  was only so-so. What happen to the day when I thought I had died and gone to Heaven?

The boiled peanuts were PERFECT!

The Wisconsin Cheese stick were as good as every, but we couldn’t finish them. Our tummies have shrunk!

The cheese and Cheetos roasted corn wasn’t as cracked up as it was built up. Don’t get me wrong, I ate the whole thing. David was even interested in a taste of it. When I go back Saturday to water, I have to get a regular buttered roasted corn.

Farmer Bob entered a Fearrington Belted Cow!

It was David’s first time on the Flyer. It was installed last year, and I took it. Super cool. He really liked it.

When we got home, this was the view from our driveway.

I wanted to plant two boxwoods in the pollinator bed. (The entire garden is a pollinator garden, but this one sections is dedicated.) I needed to make room. The African basil at the very front of the gate did terrific this year. Too bad I didn’t take a picture. Ha! It was done flowering and would be lost in the first frost anyway, so I composted it. What the heck, while I was there, I cut beck everything that wasn’t still blooming or have seed.

It looks good. It was packed this summer. Honestly, you couldn’t see in there, but I know it was full of life.


Another wonderfully, busy day.

Pruned the loropedulum in the Roost sitting area.

Weeded the Roost sitting area. As a winter project, I plant to remove all the Nandina babies.

Watered the Silo Bed that’s not on automatic cycles.

Planted pansies in Park Inn Room 32. Will add more next week.

The timing of putting in pansies at Fearrington since we have to work around the weather (pending frost), Pumpkin Fest. and guest, plus needing to get all the pansies picked up, becomes a timing challenge. It will all get done, of course. In all of my Park Inn Room beds, the annuals have been pulled, plants moved, groomed, or taken out. New plants were brought in. Your basic renovation/editing of an aged bed.  Now it’s just a matter of coordinating the time to drop them in.

Fearrington’s Pumpkin Fest brings in thousands, and there are pumpkins in all around the Roost and other areas. I will wait to plant then since new plantings are likely to get stepped on.

The seating area outside 30/31 is very inviting!

The concept drawing at the Roost extended beds.

Freshened up the Park Inn Room pots

Zac and I drove up the Entrance Beds to come up with redesign ideas.

Added Zinnias under the giant oak in the Roost siting area.

Watered the Penny Beds and the Roost Fence section.

Did a little touch-up painting.

As for Park Inn Room 34, I have spent more time here than any other garden. It’s not just that I like this courtyard a lot, but it also need a lot of rethinking. It was a slow process, but I’m almost there. Today, I added a spilled (broken) pot for a section of pansies in a awkward space. I think it turned out great. I buried the back of the pot about 1/8 deep. Sited the pot so the side so it could easily been seen when walking in. I added a mound of landscape soil in a slight serpentine shape to give the plants a better distinction. Then planted pansies. I think it looks super cute!


Transplanted white rain lilies. Last year, I transplanted several in the middle in the parterre, so this year, I’ll add them to the four surrounding beds.

Worked with Miguel to build a property demarcation edge out front. Next week, he will help me finish the tobacco fence.

Added Thompson Water Seal to the tobacco sticks before they will go up on the new fence frame structure. And each winter, on a warm day, I seal the entire fence. It’s worth it!

Watered some plants. Still hoping we will get rain Tuesday.

Racked/blew leaves.

Began adding stone edging around the maple tree. The rocks came from Fearrington storage area. In the woods, they are just there in the ground, jetting out. Zac picked up about 10. I need about 30 more; but I have time. The garden has finally come to her own, after 20 years, this month, and several edits. This is the moment I’ve been waiting for. Helen’s Haven will never be done, but now, she is mature and giving. I like that.

The areas where I added the sustainable pinestraw are looking good, but the remaining areas, that will still receive composted leaf mulch, need to be refreshed. Usually it is buy one get one free at the City of Raleigh Yard Waste Center during October and November. I need to check that out, and  will do so after I get these couple of projects done.

All tropicals are now gathered at the Garden House/Love Shack. We had a close frost call, but the temps are now rising. Still, it won’t be long, so it’s time to make changes for the season.


My sweet Pepper girl is afraid of getting shots and having her nails done. My otherwise tweeted girl in the world, growls and tries to bite. We schedule our appointments with Veronica at Hayse Barton Vet group, because she is very good with Pepper.  We had her annual exam a couple of weeks ago, but today we went in to get the shots, and I had to sedate her.

It seems impossible, and certainly to my husband, that Pepper can be a bad patient. Well, she is. I had to give her a sleeping pill before the visit. While they were able to do all they needed, her dosage will be upped for the next shot visit.


Headed back over to the NC State Fair to check on the booth. This was my last day there, I wanted to get a few foods I’ve missed, check out the BathFitter company, and the Yesteryear broom maker. I love our fair. It’s best when no rides are involved and crowds are low. Even if it was crowded, things would move along nicely, but couple in baby strollers, with mom eating roasted butter corn or Howling Cow ice-cream, things tend to slow down. Not to mention the toddler who drops his Fried Dough and bends to pick it up. Well, let’s just say, I’ve almost do body flip when this happens.

As such, I pick a slow day and time, take my time, leave the rides for kids with iron stomachs, and eat my way from one treat to another.

Continued prepping the tobacco sticks with Thompson Water Seal. I came up with the brilliant idea to put the seal in a bucket and soak each end for a couple of hours. After I soak one end, I flip the pile over to soak the other. By the time that dries and fully permeates, I start another batch. Once the ends are done, I can then just brush on the sides. With rain coming on Tuesday, I needed to be diligent about this to finish by Monday evening. Miguel will be here on Wednesday or Thursday.

And then the fun begins. We were invited to a pig pickin’ in Efland, NC, the weather was perfect, the people interesting, and the pig giving, but not forgiving; I had to loosen my Levis jean button 😉


Today we celebrate my oldest daughter’s birthday, Lara Rose, aka, Bud, short for Rosebud. The actual day was October 17th, but with work and college, it was hard to find a time. It’s a beautiful day and Bud loves steak, so we will be cooking on the grill.

First thing, I headed to Lowe’s Home Improvement for more Thompson Water Seal. I finished coating the ends of the tobacco sticks to preserve before they are installed. I can’t wait to see the finished fence. Patients, girl. It will happen next week.

Stopped by the fair one last time. Yesterday, I splurged and bought a handmade broom from XXX in Yesteryear. Each year get something wonderful. This year, in addition to the broom, I bought a red wool scarf of crafted knitted felt.

Next year, I’ll get a split oak basket. I’ve visited him often, but never felt it was the time to part with the money. I just know, next year I’ll be ready.

After Bud left, and with the down time between soaking the tobacco sticks, I just hung out the chickens, Pepper, and Sunny. The birds were joyful, the butterflies abundant, and last days of a fall garden before the frost delightful. It was a memorable day.


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