I was lucky enough to go on a spring tour of the gardens at the N.C. Governor’s Mansion.Â This was a free event with knowledgeable docents leading groups around the grounds.Â And the gardens were quite a treat!Â They’re fanciful and beautiful, yet practical.Â Everything is beautifully laid out.Â There’s rose gardens and lawns and everything is perfectly trimmed and maintained.Â (True fact: The labor is provided by prison inmates.)Â There’s a koi pond and even play equipment for Governor Purdue’s grandchildren when they visit.Â Beehives were recently added that are expected to produce six gallons of honey per year.Â One of the most colorful spots on the grounds was the staging area where hundreds of plants were still in nursery containers waiting to be placed in their proper spot.
The very best part of the gardens to me, though, was the vegetable gardens.Â There is a very large vegetable garden producing food and herbs that are used in the kitchen of the Governor’s Mansion, with the excess donated to Urban Ministries.Â It’s the most beautiful vegetable garden I’ve ever seen and the variety is quite impressive. Not only are there plenty of the expected tomatoes, cucumbers, and peppers, but there’s rattlesnake beans, muscadine grapes, mushrooms, and artichokes. Vegetable crops are grown in the spring, summer, and fall.Â The head gardener was on hand to share information, advice, and samples of sugar snap beans and strawberries.
I left there inspired to work harder on my own gardens and grounds.Â But there are a few things I need.Â For one, I could use some pleasant helpers.Â When my kids work on our grounds, they don’t act as eager and nice about it as the prisoners at the governor’s place do.Â Secondly, I could use some of those bees to fly over here in my direction to help me out with my plants.Â And finally, I wonder if any of those armed security guys could help me out with these squirrels.
That’s Life in Raleigh.