By Richard Larkin, Horticulturist
Winter in the Gardens
The holidays are over, and the halls of the Mansion, after having been decorated with swags, poinsettias and many beautiful floral arrangements for several weeks, have been returned to their peaceful stature. This year, as in the past, we were blessed with greenery donated by one of our neighbors, the Stone Gates Retirement Community in Greenville.
The Mansion and Gardens are now closed for the season and won’t reopen until May 1. Until then, we will be busy with restoration projects. Whether at the Mansion or in the gardens, the planning, care and renewal process continues year-round.
Over the next few months the maintenance we will be performing will include the removal of debris and fallen trees from our woodlands, particularly along the perimeter road. The mature Norway spruce trees will receive special attention because of the excessive stress they suffered during the summer heat and drought. Come early spring we will start replacing the arborvitae, Cephlotaxus and white pines that were injured by the herbicide Imprelis two years ago. Although most have survived, their new growth is distorted and the change in color is severe enough to warrant their replacement.
Visitors to the Gardens should expect to be surprised in the spring; we will have yellow cannas and some new varieties of salvia in the garden. In the meantime, get out your seed catalogs, peruse your favorite gardening magazines, collect your ideas and may your own planning for the next growing season be fruitful.