Highspire Gardening FAQs
In What "Zone" is Highspire located?
6B - although I have some microclimates where I can keep plants up to 7B.
What are the soil conditions at Highspire?
Very sandy. Highspire is located at the foot of Warm Springs Ridge and benefits from eons of erosion from the mountain. The benefit is the soil is very well drained, the drawback is that moisture retention requires amendment with peat moss and water crystals.
When do you start planting each year? / What are your freeze dates?
Official dates are April 30 for the last Spring frost date and October 5 is the official First Frost.
If the winter is mild, as in El Niño years, I can plant year-round. In other years, the ground freezes solid from late December to early March, so I take a break.
How's the weather around here?
Our average temperatures are:
January 45 20
July 90 70
We receive on average 37 inches of Rain and 37 inches of Snow each year.
Our average relative humidity is 69%.
How many bulbs do you plant each year?
Between 2,500 and 4,000.
How old are your English boxwoods?
From photos and a botanist examination, they are estimated at around 85 years old.
How often and when do you cut back your Mums?
I cut back twice each season - first at the beginning of the season (at clean-up) and second - absolutely no later than July 15. Grandmom told Mommy and Mommy told me! It works!
Where did you get your obelisk?
It is my design and was crafted by a local West Virginia blacksmith. The armillary on the top was given to me by my Grandmother.
Who Designed the Gardens?
Mommy started gardening at Highspire when our family purchased the property in 1977. She laid out and started the South garden beds (beside the Courtyard and lower driveway). I designed and built the "Reflection" garden and started design for the North Bed in Fall 1997. Work continued on the North Bed and wrapped around to the Front Bed in Spring 1998.
The other garden projects have included:
Front Bed - Spring 1998 to Fall 2001
Terrace - January to March 2000
Courtyard - Spring 2002 to Summer 2003
Parterre - Fall 2003 to August 2006
Summerhouse-September 2005 to May 2007
Do you do all the Gardening?
Pretty much. On most weekends, the mud-covered gal riding the tractor is me. For major projects, Todd’s assistance has been vital over the years.
Can I rent Highspire for my wedding / special event?
Highspire is a private residence and is not available for hire.
What is your favorite flower?
Whatever is on sale at Home Depot!
Do you grow anything from seed?
Yes, I built my own light boxes which I fire up in mid to late February each year. My seed variety changes each year, but usually includes hollyhocks, morning glories and petunias. I have also cross-polinated some daylilies with interesting results!