At Work in the Gardens
When we purchased Abbington Green in the fall of 2014, it became clear that Nick was planning on having me be in charge of taking care of the gardens. So I set aside 2 weeks of vacation in May last year to work on them.
Although we did a lot of gardening in Florida, it was more just maintaining and weeding our grounds since everything grows so fast there. Here in North Carolina, when things started to come up I had to decide what to add, keep or move.
The previous owner, Valerie had done an amazing job laying out the gardens by design and what plants she used. I didn't want to take away from the English style gardens that she created, but I wanted to add some of my own personal choices to the grounds.
My mother always had a large vegetable garden along with many varieties of flowers on her large property. When I was young, I helped her with her vegetable gardens growing up, mostly by just picking them when they were ripe.
At the Inn, we had to decide where to put the vegetables and which ones we wanted to grow here at Abbington Green. Our friends, Ken and Ivy helped with picking out what annuals we should plant along with some perennials that would come up every year. They suggested growing a variety of berries that we could use for jams for our breakfasts.
We decided to plant blueberries, blackberries, raspberries and black raspberries. For vegetables we planted, lettuce, spinach, carrots, cucumbers, asparagus, tomatoes, radishes, and green peppers.
During those 2 weeks last May, I spent most of the day outside working in the gardens. Our guests would compliment me on how good everything looked-even going as far as to compare our gardens to the amazing gardens of the Biltmore Estate....but a smaller version.
A few guests even gave me pointers and tips on how to do a few things. My biggest fear was what and when to prune and when and what to fertilize. It was a trial and error learning experience for sure. Some plants did better than others and I kept that in mind when choosing what to plant again this year.
It is a large property, and having a full time job doesn't give me a lot of free time for the gardens. I took off another 2 weeks to work in the garden this May. I was feeling much more confident this year in what I wanted and needed to do.
I like to kid with Nick and our guests that gardening could almost be a full time position here.
Having just finished the majority of things to do this year, I can honestly say, I enjoy working in the gardens while on vacation and on my days off. I love that we support the local wildlife in the area with our gardens, and am proud that we are a designated Certified Wildlife Habitat. We have many varieties of birds, butterflies, rabbits and hummingbirds that live in and visit our gardens.
We are a TripAdvisor GreenLeader, and we don't use pesticides and make it a point to garden our property organically.
It's really not work when you enjoy what you are doing. I wish I could spend more time in the gardens of Abbington Green. Retirement is approaching, though, and then you can be sure to catch me outside most of the time.