It’s been an early and somewhat wet spring and while the flooding that’s come from some of the all-day downpours have been problematic, the rain has nevertheless been good for local gardens.
You never know what you’re going to get in central North Carolina, weather-wise. Summers can be extremely hot and dry, like last year, and when that happens it’s incredibly difficult to keep flowers alive. Even established plants suffer, and no amount of mulch, soaker hoses and buckets of water are really enough to appropriately hydrate the soil.
I don’t know what this year will bring, but the moderate spring rains interspersed with sunny, dry days, have certainly been welcome. My established plants have benefitted, developing healthy new foliage, and the newer plantings have gotten a good start as well with more water than I could ever provide by hand. Even the grass looks nice and though I know it will suffer in the summer heat, at least we have a little while to enjoy it at its prime.
It’s still a good idea, of course, to prepare as much as possible for the potential summer days ahead. I have resolved this year to utilize some of the aforementioned soaker hoses and perhaps buy some rain barrels to place strategically around the yard. We spread 20 yards of mulch this year so everything has a good thick layer to help the roots stay damp and cool.
In the meantime, I plan on taking advantage of some of the wonderful opportunities in the Raleigh area to enjoy a multitude of spring gardens and if you’re a gardener at heart, you should too! Some upcoming options are listed below:
May 13th – Wake Forest Garden and Art Tour ~ Enjoy wandering through five private celebrated historic gardens and five present day gardens along with a talented artist at each locale. For Garden and Art Tour Tickets (only $15) go to Ollies Cafe, Page 158 Books or Cotton Company Downtown Wake Forest or on-line at: www.brownpapertickets.com/event/2791536.
Through June 26 – Executive Mansion Garden Tours, 200 N. Blount Street. Wednesdays – adults only, Thursdays, kids only, 9:30 and 10:30 a.m. 919-807-7950
Tour D’Coop – This is a unique opportunity on Saturday, May 20, if you’re interested in backyard chickens, beehives, and gardens. It features a self-guided bike tour of coops and hives in downtown Raleigh, Cary, and Apex, as well as food offerings and a coop raffle. The tour was started in 2005 as a way for a few neighbors to show off their hens and coops, and “has grown to a one-day garden tour that encompasses 20 coops and thousands of visitors. The event raises non-perishable food and money for Urban Ministries, a Raleigh-based non-profit that provides essential services to close to 20,000 Triangle residents each year.” Visit www.tourdcoop.com for tickets and information.
JC Raulston Arboretum, open daily. This ten and a half acre garden was started by J.C. Raulston in 1975 as a laboratory for NC State students and faculty and “has grown into a nationally acclaimed garden with one of the largest and most diverse collections of landscape plants adapted for landscape use in the Southeast. Plants especially adapted to Piedmont North Carolina conditions are collected and evaluated in an effort to find superior plants for use in southern landscapes.” The Arboretum is well worth a visit any time of year, but is especially nice in the spring. jcra.ncsu.edu