Thanks to the recent Ministries Fair we now have two more volunteers tending our grounds, David Caldwell and Charles Daechner. They join our newest summer gardening/ watering volunteers: Roberta Harrington, Ann Whichard, Laura Farley, Suzanne Lea and Cyndra Gasperini. In total we have eighteen parishioners working each month to celebrate the glory of God by tending these holy grounds. Welcome to all!
Because we don’t often get to see each other at church, I wanted to share with everyone what has been happening throughout the gardens and grounds at St. Paul’s this past summer. It’s a lot of information, so hold on to your hats.
The Garth continues to shine with beautiful seasonal blooms, a charming fountain and inviting places to rest. The dedicated volunteers (Louise Clement, Barbara Moye, Gwen Hilburn, and Ann Whichard) who maintain the area have provided St. Paul’s with a picture-perfect entrance to the church with flower filled urns and beautiful miniature gardenias on either side of the Houston bench. The group pinches flowers, pulls weeds, and waters the flower pots weekly to maintain that manicured look we all enjoy. They also weed the hill beside the wheelchair ramp and above the large sasanqua wall planter near the steps. They have even been known to dust the columbarium name plates.
The MMA Garden
The MMA garden has been glorious this summer. It’s simply full of blooms, butterflies and hummingbirds. Edith Rand continues to guide us in the care of the perennial plants in that garden. The water irrigation system has made such a difference in this garden. Many thanks to Jean Kenny, Laura Farley and Skip Rand for aiding Edith to make certain the many MMA plants flourish.
The Meditation Garden
The Meditation Garden plants including the new miniature white sasanquas along the fence are now on a drip irrigation system that waters them 3x a week. This area was deliberately designed by Cheryl Taft, our landscape architect, to be self-sustainable requiring minimal care. The only remaining challenge in the garden is not the plants, but the water fountain. It has suffered all summer from the tree (really an overgrown Ligustrum) droppings that clog the small fountain motor and drain. Charles Daechner, our new grounds member, has experience with fountains and is going to attempt some new tactics this fall to address the fountain intake problems. Until the clogging problems are resolved it will remain turned off. Fingers crossed Charles can find a solution for us.
It’s been over three years since the new Canterbury lawn was sodded. The Bermuda grass in front of the Canterbury House has struggled to take hold but seems to finally be doing better. Due to the weekly watering schedule, the west side of the chapel lawn and the south east front chapel lawn actually look lush these days. For the past year the grass around Canterbury House and the Chapel has been regularly fed and treated by Brad Brooks, an experienced grounds keeper. Our many water warriors (William Smith, Bob Shaw, Kaki MacLeod, Cyndra Gasperini) have worked tirelessly to keep the grass alive and thriving. It really does appear much healthier this year than last thanks to their efforts.
The bushes planted last year on the west side of the chapel are thriving this year. The old azaleas on the east side seem to have bounced back and the sasanquas at the front of the chapel are all happy plants. Charles Daechner recently trimmed back the wild tendrils on all of the chapel sasanquas. Now they are more uniform and will produce stronger blooms this fall and winter. Our tree arborbist, Jason Jasinski, reports the cherry tree above the columbarium has shown improvement this summer. Our grass waterers plus newbies, Roberta Harrington and Suzanne Lea, have helped nurse this whole area along, Since the two new holly trees in front of the chapel are on a separate drip irrigation system, watering around the chapel has recently been a much more pleasant experience.
As fall slowly approaches and our grounds needs less attention we hope our volunteers will hang in a little longer and
- keep watering and weeding our plants thru October, and
- consider volunteering in the MMA garden late fall when we begin to clean the debris and winterize all the perennial plants and bushes. Please let Edith Rand know if you can help with that process.
WAC, our landscape company, will provide pine straw replenishment and trim the hedges at some point this fall. Louise Clement has kindly volunteered this year to help guide the landscape crew when trimming our campus bushes. Our hope is that this will prevent recurrences of the bad haircuts we have experienced in the past.
In the spring (late March) we have been invited to host a new event with the EYC that involves planting annuals and preparing the gardens for spring- so stay tuned.
- Many thanks to our Junior Warden, Beth Ulffers, and husband, Chris, who monthly spend their Saturdays roaming the church grounds trying to help out wherever they see a need.
- A shout out to our church staff, especially Dianne Jenkins and John Lee, for their unwavering support every step of the way as we work to improve and maintain our church grounds.
- A sincere and heartfelt thanks to each of you for volunteering your time to tend the grounds at St. Paul’s. Your love of working with the soil and flora with your parish family has lifted the spirits of all who visit our sacred space. Visitors, as well as parishioners, frequently express their appreciation for the beauty and spirituality they experience when on our grounds.
Sorry for the length of this letter, but as you can see, it’s been a very busy summer. Please do not hesitate to call or let someone know if there is something more you think we can do to improve our grounds. It takes a village-
Wishing each of you a blessed fall-
With continued gratitude for your service-