Gardeners Roll Call: Monday, December 25, 2017

Posted by on December 25, 2017

WHAT!?!? It’s Christmas? Where did 2017 go?



Yes!!! Wednesday, 0.50 in. It seemed like more than that! Fearrington got 2 ins.



There was no commuting for me this morning! I woke in Park Inn Room 34, a Grand Suite, I might add. My 24 hour writer’s retreat had to come to an end. It was one of the most amazing experiences. It made me even more proud to be working here. I look at the gardens under my care with a new set of eyes. For some strange reason, the night’s stay give me a sense of ownership. I want all the more to make the gardens be as best as they can possibly be!

Shhh, I do know the difference between right and wrong, and I worked on my Park Inn Room gardens, even 34, I noticed there were no housekeepers today. I didn’t see a ont, and no one cleaned my room. I stared for longer than I should have, wondering what would happen if I just went back in and took my place in the lovely, fluffy bed. What’s the harm right? I stopped out of my trance and went on with my duties.

Park Inn Room 34 was planted up with pansies and species tulips, as it happens, ‘Helena’. I think it’s an omen. I moved two of the three ‘Henry Garnet’ Sweetspires. I mulched more, picked up magnolia leaves, watered, mulched more, and cleaned out pond. I really should be staying there tonight. The courtyard has never looked so good!

I had some time left to add more mulch to the East Lawn Garden Bed. I’m putting in a thick layer of leaves and debris and then plan to cover with shredded hardwood mulch. This garden has been neglected for I don’t know how long, but a few years at least. My goal is to revive the soil, add more plantings for a backdrop and privacy, and add a powerful punch at the edge to be scene from the restaurant.


Remove leaves in Park Inn Room 33, mulch, and add bulbs. Cleared out a swath of English ivy in the East Lawn Garden and mulch the back half. Will finish the rest when I return in the new year.


R.B.’s Christmas breakfast. I didn’t want to miss it, so I went in today, and will take tomorrow off. What a fine event it was! Loads of fun, and the food was delicious! I even brought left overs home for the kids.

Since today was a good soaker with two inches of rain, I was able to do some writing, and did this piece on my stay at Fearrington as a writer’s retreat.

The gardeners had individual chats with our boss, Greg Fitch, about our year and going forward. It was very productive. I like having this chance to talk with Greg professionally.

To finish out the day, I made a Lowes run. I picked up a Corona Tools trough for Wendy,plus paint chips. Donna and I are keen to paint our office sometime in January or February. Wendy will have the strongest opinion as to the color, so we will just let her choose.

I also picked up a humidifier for Zac to use in the micro-greens germination room. This should help.

For me, I needed another Zero G hose for Park Inn Room 32, a scratcher, and several two-pound birdseed cakes.


My day IN!

My efforts continue to be apart of the house cleanup and errands, of course.

Pick up taxes from accountant. Finally!

Take unused and loved furniture-tpye stuff to the Raleigh Swap, located within the City’s Yard Waste Center.


Last day at work until January 1, 2018! At 2:00 PM today, my Christmas vacation began! What a wonderful feeling!

Met with R.B., Theresa, and Greg about ideas for the East Lawn Garden bed to bring in more privacy.

I managed to get a truck load of mulch down in the Penny Beds, another Peninsula Bed, and most of Park Inn Room 32. As a special treat, well planned by forgetting my lunch, I got the meat chili with corn bread for lunch.


WPTF Weekend Gardener. It was a good show this morning. On today including was Nelsa Cox owner of The Garden Hut, Rufus L. Edmisten, Roy Lewis, Master Gardener. And of course, Mike Raley was at the controls. Mike welcomed my 16 year son, Aster to check out the studio and while we were in the mic room, Aster sat with the producer going over highlights about her job. He found it very interesting. I was glad for the opportunity.

Borrowed the truck to pick up 12 more pinestraw from Campbell Road Nursery. They are typical closed between Christmas and New Year, and often for a few weeks afterwards. I wanted I had enough to finish my task over my break.

I also took a bed over to the Raleigh Swap Shop before I filled the trusty Ford 150 with mulch.

Used the truck again to pick up the first of several loads of composted leaf mulch from the City of Raleigh. They will be closed Christmas day, of course, but also on Tuesday. It’s still buy one get one free. Last month when I stopped by, it was also on sale. Only then the difference was that the mulch was 1/2 off. This time, I paid the full price and returned for the free one. This isn’t my favorite way. It means you have to get the truck unloaded before you can pick up the next. To make it go faster, I put large black nursery pots in the cab. I was able to get the containers off quickly, and make it back in time to pick up another load. It’s still on the truck.

Now that most of the leaves are down, it is time to put down mulch. The perimeter of the garden has pinestraw. The interior beds uses composted leaf mulch. Back in the day, Every garden bed was thickened annually with four-inches of this black gold. As the years progressed, I started using pinestraw. The first patch was the back 40 (feet). That is a the tippy top of the garden. It was getting harder and harder to push the wheelbarrel up the hill. I’m still getting the benefit of compost because I compost in place. After my fall cutbacks, I cut up the debris in smaller pieces and then put to bed with pinestraw. Since the gardens was so improved over that previous 15 years before I started this, I only need to maintain. The earth worms good work with compost is complete.

The next year, I used pinestraw behind the magnolia on the North side. Then under the magnolia on the south side. Now the entire perimeter, back side (east), left side (North), and Right side (South). The composted leaf mulch goes in the front (West) parterre, the West side of the path through the Red Bed, the River Bed. In the back, the Mixed Border is the only bed receiving composted leaf mulch now.

I don’t have to return to work for 10 days. Yet, halfway through today, I wondered if I had enough time to do all that I wanted to do! I have two main priorities: Clean the house top to bottom, including washing walls and pictures. and put the garden to bed for the winter. At this point it mostly only needs mulching.

I’ll admit, today, I felt tired. It was 3:00 when I returned home. I was going to have a hot cup of tea and read for the rest of the day. But no. And I’m really glad I did. I started some more cutbacks, adding bulbs, and mulching the four L shaped parterres. Hopefully, I can get to the center one first thing in the morning. Since I want Christmas to be a work-free zone, I may press myself to get a bunch done in the front tomorrow. I probably have enough mulch for it. In any even, I can do a final raking and lay in the visible areas. Then finish the pinestraw around the front perimeter.


My last trip to the Raleigh Flea Market for the year. And by year. By that I really mean through the next warm spring day when the bulk of vendors returns.

I bit the bullet and had my cracked screened fixed. I was put out actually. I’ve own iPhones for seven years. I’ve never had a cracked screen. Supposedly, the larger screens, like my 6s Plus.Well, I’ve had this phone for two years with no problem; but now I’ve had two cracked screens in two months.

I went in November first. Still stunned I had a cracked screen, I said I want the works. And still, I drop it, and only on my desk, and the screen cracked. I began to questions if I even got the screen saver. Anyhoo, they are putting a new screen on at cost. It was a decent compromise.

Put one of the two loads of mulch down. Finished up the center parterre, the Rive Bed, and the Pollinator bed.

Cut back the grapevines.

Cut back the raspberries.

Laid pinestraw in the blueberry bed.

Raked grass.

The goal was to do as much in the front as needed, so on Christmas day, before all the family gathered at 2:00, I would work in the back. I didn’t want people to think that I even garden on Christmas Day! But I will.


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