What a great day. We started with a trip to the Raleigh farmer's market, our first this year. Not many plant sellers were there yet, but several of our favorites were. The best thing was seeing the two guys from Messenbrink! Over the winter we heard that Messenbrink had gone under because of the drought, and I was crushed.
Well, the guys confirmed that Messenbrink did go out of business, but they're still at the farmer's market, working independently now. They said they missed being part of Messenbrink, a large wholesale nursery with excellent stock. I noticed that their booth is about half the size now, with handwritten tags, and plain pots instead of the nice octagonal ones Messenbrink used. But who cares about the pots! Their selection, while small, was all nice, interesting plants. And we get what matters most to me: personal advice from people who love plants, know a lot about them, and remember us when we come back.
We bought several things from the ex-Messenbrink guys (I forgot to ask them what their new business name is) and several from another one of my favorites, Archer Farms. Let's see, we bought white and purple verbena, a heuchera in a vibrant kind of mauve color, a rose campion, and a hardy amaryllis to replace the one the voles ate. That was from Archer Farms, and he thoughtfully had one in full bloom so you could see the colors, and the rest had unopened buds so you can plant it and enjoy the full bloom cycle.
We also bought a couple of shade plants whose names I can't remember, and we saw a fern we really liked, but decided to wait until next time to get it. We want to put it around the water barrel to hide the concrete blocks, and we don't want to plant anything there until the leak situation is resolved.
On the way out we stopped at the concrete lawn ornament place across the street. The place where I got the moai last year. This time I knew exactly what I wanted: a penguin statue. I had seen it last year and had regretted not buying it ever since. Well we got it and set it up in the vegetable garden and I think it looks nice!
We stopped for lunch at Nosh, got home about 1 and got down to serious work on the bank along the driveway. We had added nice soil to that whole bed three years ago, and in the meantime, erosion has done its thing. The top of the bank only has a couple inches of good soil, and at the bottom the bed is overflowing. Literally in fact; the little plastic borders had all fallen over from the weight of the excess soil. In short, the bed was a mess.
First we dug up the excess soil from the bottom of the bank and tossed it up to the top. Then we replaced the plastic borders. Then covered the whole bed with mulch. This took longer than the other beds because we couldn't just dump it out and spread it with a rake. There are so many plants in there that we had to place the mulch by the handful, and then carefully uncover any plants that got covered up. Then we scraped & swept up all the crud, straw and etc that had collected on the driveway. It was a lot of work, and worth it I think: the driveway looks a thousand times better.
So that was our exciting day in the yard. It felt great to get so much done. We celebrated with meaty goodness from the Q Shack (I had the chili and a side of bacony green beans, Georg had the ribeye sandwich and creamed spinach). Now we're chilling and watching a DVD of soundies.