I have the happy job of speaking to garden clubs throughout the south. This past Tuesday, I was fortunate to able to speak to the Pines Garden Club in Fayetteville, NC. I had never been to Fayetteville before, but grew up in a military family, in the military town of Norfolk, VA, so immediately I felt I would “know” the city, and I did.
I’ve never made a secret of loving to be with garden club ladies. Their chatter is comforting and I think garden club food is yummy. The warmth and hospitality of being invited into a host home to speak on a gardening topic is just down right fun and truly a cherry on the top of the many hat-wearing gardening jobs I do. My trip to Fayetteville was no different. Better actually.
These ladies made me feel so welcomed and said they loved my talk (no doubt, that was just their southern charm talking.) They also arranged for me to see some gardens and treated me to lunch (thank you!)
WOW, it really doesn’t get any better than that. We made a future date so I could return to see these and other gardens during their peak season, allowing me to shoot them for scouting purposes. This way, if all works out, more folks than me, will be able to enjoy a “visit” Fayetteville, if only via gardening magazines.
Today’s post is about one aspect of what I saw there; a perfect a follow-up of Tuesday’s post Is this grass really greener?
There were many things about this beautiful city the struck me, but one in particular, was that the Fayetteville area was warm-season grass territory.
Fayetteville is zone 8; Raleigh is zone 7b. What a difference a half a zone makes. I’m told by the ladies at the garden club, Fayetteville is just too hot in the summer for fescue.
As a young women of 32 when I moved to Raleigh, I remember studying a map of grasses best suited for our region. There was a line drawn right through Raleigh. Our area was referred to as a “transitional zone.” To an optimists, this means both grasses do well here; to a pessimist, this means neither grass does well here. Even so, year round, cool-season, green grass became to transitional of choice. Even to the extent when new developments are built and conveniences drawn, year-round green grass prevails and are mandated. I know of no development that actually mandates warm seasoned grasses, but their might be one. I can only assume this is not the case, or they would have been a popular news story during the drought on 2007.
Fayetteville’s grass choices were mainly zoysia, centipedegrass, and Bermuda. As such, yellow, straw-colored grasses were the norm – and they were BEAUTIFUL!
No doubt, these nice ladies thought I was nuts to go so ga-ga over their grass. Rightfully so, everyone in town had winter dormant grass, it was the norm. I looked at these lawns and realized they provided an interesting contrast to the green shrubs and trees. But as they ladies pointed out, the warm seasoned grasses give them 4 seasons. They know they are in winter.
When I renovated Helen’s Haven, I went back and forth between my grass choices. Environmentally, I knew the warm-seasoned grasses were the better choice; and yet I went with fescue. My justification was that I would let it go dormant in the summer, and I do. Why did I end up with fescue even though I love the look of yellow grass in the winter – all the warm seasoned grasses “run.” My choice had nothing to do with the color green. But to put in zosia grass would required me to also put in edging to keep it out of my various garden beds. I wimped out. Now after seeing these beautiful gardens in Fayetteville, I write that I wimped out with great regret.