Friday, March 30, 2012

Busting out!

March scooped us up from behind with a blast of warm weather that has kept us scurrying around for the last few weeks. All kinds of plants are blooming early – we figure at least three weeks sooner than normal. Everything needs water every day.

Early bird customers expect we have kept pace with the weather. With our excellent staff we’ve done the best we could and the good news is that we are farther ahead this year then we've ever been. 

The river has behaved itself, even though rainfall totals were above average in March. The warm winter didn’t provide a snow melt from Greenbrier and Pocohantas counties that often create floods this time of year.

P.S. We're officially open today! We look forward to helping you redecorate your gardens this year.

Creeping phlox!
This photo of blooming lilacs was taken last week.
How is your garden growing?

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Tennessee Spirea

With this new blog, we intend to highlight tried-and-true plants that keep growing on past the hype-and- shine of all the new branded plants. A few of the new and exciting plants will find their praises sung here, but we're on the lookout for the backbone plants that keep giving back long after your initial efforts.

We call this Tennessee Spirea. It hitched a ride with us when we moved from central Tennessee in the mid '70s. A simple sucker dug from a friend’s front yard, the tiny rooted sprig survived the trip and flourished. Many such suckers have come from the base and give us the first burst of flowering shrubs of the season. I have not been able to identify the species but that doesn’t seem to bother the exuberance of this shrub's presence.

It’s a great plant for bringing in dormant branches in late winter to force, and it seems always to find its way into Easter flower arrangements.

Easily 6 to 7’ tall, the biggest problem is keeping it within bounds. A good shearing in early summer gives it plenty of time to bud up for the following spring. It likes full sun and average soil with no need to fertilize after the original planting. Tennessee Spirea is what’s growing on.

~ Torula

Friday, March 9, 2012

A Mighty Oak Falls

A mighty oak has fallen on our farm, one of the Twin Oaks
that crowded the road and scared drivers of big dump trucks.
It dropped perfectly into the pasture and erected a massive rootball
hard on the edge of the road. The blue drum shows the scale of the 40" trunk.

The highway department came to clear the debris. The massive root system now rests just to the side. They delivered 8 tons of gravel to fill the cavity. Three of us have spent many hours and 9 chainsaw tank loads cutting it up and we still haven't gotten into the biggest part of the trunk.

A bonus on the windfall of firewood is 60 shitake logs. The great white oak died of lopsidedness. The road side was rootless and tightly ringed while the pasture side was heavily fertilized for 90 years by the cattle who will miss its generous shade. Neighbors will miss its arboreal enclosure of our road.