Ron and Martha Greene of 502 Market St. have earned September’s Yard of the Month honors from the Four Seasons Garden Club.
Ron and Martha Greene have really enjoyed the house and garden they purchased from Sue Arledge in August 2004. The mature garden was a bonus when the Greenes decided to purchase the home. Although neither of them were experienced gardeners when they bought the home, Martha studied at the Clemson extension to earn her master gardener certification.
Over time and by sharing plants and knowledge with friends and other garden enthusiasts, especially in the Four Seasons Garden Club, they have learned a lot about which plants work well in Cheraw. Through numerous iterations, they have made the current garden their own.
Gardening is a constant learning experience. Some things worked out very well for them and other things get reworked after a period of time. It is the natural evolution of a garden. They feel one of the best decisions they ever made was to buy a truckload of cotton seed meal compost from the gin outside Wadesboro, North Carolina. Their rich black soil still continues to produce lush flowers after many years. About once a year, they top-dress the beds with hardwood mulch from Wadesboro.
As in any garden, there are always many jobs to be done. Martha works on the flower beds and studies which plant areas need rework. Ron tackles outdoor living projects for the garden. Although they will take big breaks from the garden, they always enjoy returning to Cheraw so each day they can enjoy just sitting and drinking their coffee while looking at the different views of the garden from one of many sitting areas they have integrated into the garden.
They have divided their place into four gardens or rooms. The front garden in the southeast corner is the English garden, the parking area is accented with a courtyard and the back garden has a strong Japanese influence because of Jerry Arledge’s interests.
As you drive down Market Street, you can’t help but notice their wrought iron gate that is always brightened with colorful seasonal flowers. To top it off, colorful moss rose or portulaca crowns the brick columns. It’s the perfect plant for a sunny and difficult-to-water spot. This is also a memorable spot in front when masses of daffodils bloom in the spring underneath their Market Street tree.
Inside the gate on the left is a large raised berm accented with iris, dahlias and black-eyed Susans or rudbeckia with the small flowers that bloom in the late summer. The berm feature helps all these plants to show their glory. The wrought iron and brick across the front of the lot is accented with climbing and/or rambling roses. These varieties are New Dawn and the very showy Joseph’s Coat.
The right side of the front garden is accented with lots of mature azaleas. The Greenes have been adding lots of camellias to the shady areas throughout the place.
The English garden on the Huger Street side is filled with perennials. Featured are spring blooming astilbes, forget-me-knots, May Daisy, a heuchera or coral bell “caramel” with a big showy bronze leaf and a delicate airy bloom scape, toad lilies that will bloom in the fall and coneflower Sunset. There are several types of ginger lilies which include a variety where the blooms are down low and the leaves have a thin whitish edge. A very charming plant is the Roguchi clematis with tiny leaves and blue flowers still blooming after all the summer heat.
Another feature that really accents the pierced brick along the garden’s edge are some bright, deep-red crepe myrtles called Red Rocket. It’s a rich color to accent all the greenery in the garden as well as the Greenes’ soft light green house.
Rambling roses on the brick in the back are a white Madame Alfred Carriere and Peggy Martin. The latter is especially interesting. A reporter found this rose blooming after the floods in New Orleans. It survived being underwater for an extended period of time and then flourished; it was a special house-warming gift to the Greenes from that reporter, their sister-in-law.
Both of these roses are virtually thornless, you can grab onto the stem anywhere. The bright and showy honeysuckle Major Wheeler climbs with the roses and accents them. At the base of the roses and the shady areas in the back are accented with lots of hostas and variegated Solomon’s seal.
The back garden features a large koi pond accented with elephant ears, lotus, water lilies and water iris, and a large showy silvery palm. There is a stream (fed by a well) that goes under a red curving bridge and flows into the pond. A low and mature Japanese maple with lush curving branches accents this area. The flower beds are all accented with a fine dainty mondo grass, it accentuates the curves of the beds. The Greenes selected a wide variety of plants that capitalize on the Torii gate and pergola built by the previous owner to capture a Japanese garden theme.
Special plants in the back are the Gloriosa Lily (also called Rothschild, Flame Lily or climbing lily); it is quite showy and does need something to climb on. There are pink and white whirling butterflies and stokesia. There are several lilies including the 6-foot tall and fragrant Stargazer Orientpet lilies, Anastasia and Silk Road and spicy Chinese trumpet lilies such as Regale. Featured irises are Siberian, Japanese, Louisiana and the reblooming bearded iris.
Shrubbery that they enjoy in the back are Lady in Red hydrangeas among other hydrangeas. Hellabores, pitcher plants and gardenias accent other shady areas. Martha loves the vibrant color of Red Ruffles azaleas and well as her Encore azaleas. She enjoys Bridal Wreath spirea for using in arrangements. For pure show in the spring they enjoy the Snowball viburnum. They also have a “Burning Bush” that turns vibrant orange in the fall. Ron really enjoyed dahlias when he lived in England and they always raise some for their showy blossoms.
In the winter, when the garden is dormant, or even covered in snow, the pink and white flowers of the lemon-scented winter daphne perfume the courtyard, and very early spring bulbs such as crocuses start to peep up in the lawn and beds.
Cheryl Postlewait is a member of the the Four Seasons Garden Club.