Sunday March 22, 2009 Puttering in Helen’s Haven

Happy Spring!  Raleigh has fine springs.  Some years they last a week.  Other years, they last 3 months.  Sometimes spring comes in February; sometimes winter comes back in April.  We take what we can get, when we can get it.


A walk around Helen’s Haven excites me.  There are new leaf buds, new leaves, flower buds. The Redbuds are saying, hello; the flowering apricot flowers are saying goodbye.  The dogwood bracts are ready to bust.  The forsythia flowers are joined by their new foliage, and the daffodils are laughing in the lawn.

I see Robins, jays, bluebirds, cardinals, towhees, thrashers, chickadees, hawks, wrens, mourning doves, cedar waxwings, finches, sparrows, and titmice.

The week seems to have just flown by.  Here is some of the fun going on in Helen’s Haven:

  • A TV station will be taping Helen’s Haven for a story on organic gardening.  The producer wanted to tape on Friday, but I said give me a few days to tidy up.  “Oh” he said, “I thought your garden was always in shape.”  To which I replied, “I’m not talking about my garden.”
  • Some of the box I moved last year were listing.  I popped and reset several.  Now that I gained a few days to tidy up, I thougth it best to spend some of that time on the garden.   Since I moved the box last fall, they now needed to be trimmed uniformly.  A nice haircut will help a lot.  “Patrick, I need you” I typed in an e-mail to him.  Once again, he will give me an assist. We all need a Patrick.  Mine is Patrick Barkley with  Elysian Fields Outdoor Services –  I don’t have a straight eye.  Whenever I need help with trimming that needs to be exact, like my box hedge, I call Patrick.  He will come Monday morning to help me.
  • Removed dead Prunus mume ‘Dawn’.  Not sure what got it, but it bit the dust.
  • I went with my hort group to Orchid Trail in Moorsville, NC on Friday followed by a trip to Camellia Forest in Chapel Hill, NC.  It was a full and wonderful day.  I’ll post about both later this week.
  • I spent part of Sunday planting my goodies from Camellia Forest.   Having moved to their new location since I was tere last, it was interesting to see their progress. I liked their set up – still low key, which is best of all.  I also picked up some finds for kk who has been looking for certain cultivars.   Also planted other goodies I picked up while shopping for clients at various wholesalers.
  • Planted Erysimum ‘Fragrant Sunshine’, Dianthus ‘Firewitch’, Epimedium, Dwarf Japanese Garden Juniper, Creeping wirevine, Rhodea Japonica ‘Asian Valley’, Prunus Mume ‘Bridal Veil’, a Cameillia Forest introduction, Mahona x confusa.  I also picked up a Camellia transnokoensis, but it’s only a year old so I will wait to plant after last threat of frost.
  • Severely prunned the red stemmed dogwood.
  • Cut back dead growth in the herb garden, including fennel, rosemary, tansey, orgeno, salvias, lavendar, society garlic and a bunch more.
  • Added a fresh layer of pine soil conditioner in the herb garde, which is what I use here as a mulch.
  • Planted lettuces.
  • Helped Lily plant her cabbage.  Growing cabbage in the 3rd grade is a time honored tradition.  Lily told a classmate that she will ask me for tips.  Her friend told her that would be cheating.  So, mums the word.  You’re on your own, chica.
  • Never to forget my bird buddies, I filled the bird feeders,  cleaned out the birdbaths and filled with fresh water.
  • Ran the fountain for the first time in a while.  As soon as the water was running, birds arrived to have a drink a bath.  A beautiful sight.

The weather was cool, but nice this weekend.  Spring is one my four favorite seasons!



  1. Les said

    You will have to let us know if we can see the TV spot on-line.

  2. I might Les, I want to see how bad I do first;~}. I called my buddy Joe Lamp’l of the HGTV and DIY fame for tips. If it goes well, it will be because of his advice.

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