Monday, May 19, 2014

Blumenpfluckenzeit-Turnipseed Farm

The Merry Weather Garden Club enjoyed a real treat touring Turnipseed Farm in Fayetteville on Wednesday, May 14, 2014.  Gail Coffee hosted the program and was delightful as she shared memories of when she was younger and slipped into Turnipseed and enjoyed the garden oasis that is located alongside one of the state busiest thoroughfares.

The garden club was met by Steve Stinchcomb, owner and artist, whose grandfather, named Turnipseed, acquired the land and farmed it after World War II. Many club members remembered when there was nothing but a dirt road leading out of Fayetteville and Turnipseed farm produced vegetables for the local stores. Many remembered the acres of day lilies as the farm later changed produce directions.

Ten acres are left of the original farm and in 1979 the farm changed to flowers from garden produce. Stinchcomb pointed out the first tree he planted, a gingko, which provides shade around the lake. He planted Japanese maples but early on was remembered as the first to have irrigation with people stopping by to view the sprinklers.

Today the lake is surrounded by trees, bald cypress, dogwoods plus shrubs because now Stinchcomb says his goal is to “work in the shade!”

As Fayetteville traffic worsened his next project was to build a four foot berm along the highway that he topped with a wooden fence and climbing greenery.  Secret doors to the highway have a secondary purpose.  High school graduates line up to have photographs taken in the scenic garden and Stinchcomb had placed a 2014 on the doorway for that year’s graduates’ photographs.

Stinchcomb pointed out the three tenets of garden design: start with the structure-buildings and paths; then plan the foliage-trees and shrubs; and last, add the flowers. Club members wandered the gardens enjoying arbors, paths, trellises, birdhouses, bat house, pigeon house before arriving at the potting shed, art studio, and greenhouses. Two swans were nesting on a four foot pine needle mound that was scenically surrounded by blooming oak leaf hydrangeas.

Down footed paths were beds of false indigo, or baptesia, silver bells, spirea, bottle brush buckeye, mountain laurel, iron weed, Joe Pie weed, euphorbia, yellowwood trees, all interspersed with thousands of played out spring bulbs.   Peonies, salvia, native azaleas, zinnias, and cosmos added color to the beds of New Dawn, Zephyr, and WC  or Van Fleet roses.

One area at his property edge contained invasive bamboo which he pointed out is two of the five varieties of the over 500 varieties of bamboo the pandas can eat.  He sells the bamboo to the zoo.

The club thoroughly enjoyed seeing his paintings in the studio.  He does many portraits-never working from a photograph but with the live model. He also paints birddogs in action and attends trials for their owners. His scenic garden is used by many for photography with maternity pictures the current top popular choice followed by graduation and family pictures.

The ladies adjourned to the nearby Broadway Diner for lunch and a special Mother’s Day game where they brought pictures of their mothers and members matched them to their daughters.  A fun game that brought back nice reflected memories.

In club business, the club will again donate several hundred dollars for maintenance of the islands around court square. Coffee asked that the club to be on the lookout for a quick growing shade tree(s) for the animal shelter as the myrtles planted there were mowed down and the summer sun and heat preclude the dogs having time outside without some shade. The June meeting will be hosted by Sallie Mabon, Helen Claussen, Diana Norris, and Mary Anne Harman.