Saturday, August 29, 2020

Kay Foard

Kay on a visit to Longwood Gardens
The Foard family lost their matriarch earlier this week. And many of us at Valley View Farms feel that Kay was the matriarch of the Valley View Farms' family as well. Kay had style; she would stop in to see what might be new in our patio and pottery departments or choose some flowering perennials for her patio border.
Billy and Kay hosted our plant department party for years

She and Billy had container gardens all around their home. Not a big houseplant fan, Kay did grow some herbs in her home. I was in charge of watering one year while they vacationed. I never saw the rosemary in the front window. It didn't make it. I lost all credibility as a plant 'expert' that year.
Kay and Billy

Kay always had a smile. She'd ask about our families and had kind words for everyone around her. My friends and family became her friends, as she was open to new people and adventures in her life every day.
Kay, Julie, Jan, Mary, Susie, and Janet making wreaths 
Kay and Susie assembling wreaths

She had several loves in her life, husband, Billy, children Lisa and her partner Lisa, Andy, and Stuart and his wife Debra, and her four grandchildren, Kaylin, Will, Jackson, and Mason. Kay also loved her horses. She rode daily for many years. Of course, she adored her dogs. At one point, four labs rested on the Foard's front porch in Phoenix, MD. Kay was such a giver too. She would walk my large German Shepherd on weekends in the spring when she knew I would be getting home late from work. Tucker loved her.
Kay and Andy at the O's game!
Berta, Nancy, Kay, and daughter Lisa 
Kay and her grandsons Mason and Jackson (a few years ago)

Kay loved to spend time with friends and took many day trips, attended book club meetings, and shared many a bottle of wine and conversation with them. The two of us shared books and talked about topics far removed from the garden center business. Kay was intelligent and very well-read, keeping up with world events and local happenings in her country town.

Jan and Kay at Winterthur Garden Festival

Thinking of Kay makes me think of Billy too. How I miss them. Checking in on Billy's garden, and having a beer on the front porch viewing their beautiful property is a memory to be ever-cherished. Thank you, and everyone in the Foard family for your love of people and love of life. It is a beautiful legacy that has been passed by your remarkable parents. May they rest in peace.
View of the property from the pond
Pre-renovation Foard farmhouse

Saturday, August 8, 2020

Gardening Has Not Been Canceled

Gardening here in Maryland has taken on new life. I've been lucky enough to work through this pandemic, but have spent much more time at home in late afternoons and evenings. Plants are flourishing; tomatoes are too abundant to use immediately after harvest.  Luckily, they're plum tomatoes, so I'll freeze them for use later. 

Two weeks before the harvest

 Summertime, as usual here in Maryland, flips between drought and tropical storm-induced heavy rains. A friend who lives in Southern Maryland has had 11 inches or more of rain this past week! Her fruit trees have floated up into her pasture, roots and all. Still, with all of its challenges, gardening gives us a nice break from the news of the day and allows us to nurture nature on our own terms. 

Walking through the garden center today, I've made plans for more planting. The vegetable garden gets a restart. I consider this season 3 in the garden. The first round in March-April was for peas, cole crops, and lettuce. Season 2---tomatoes, peppers, watermelon, and zucchini. Season 3 will include broccoli, lettuce, and beets in my own garden, planted in pots around the patio. 

Spinach, Swiss Chard and Lettuces

Great time to plant herbs too!

Coneflowers, hardy hibiscus, sedum, ornamental grasses, asters, and mums are a few things that can be planted and give the garden color for another couple of months. Rudbeckia, heliopsis, the aforementioned coneflowers, and coreopsis all feature daisy-shaped flowers with seed centers that birds will love long after the plants finish blooming. 

Hardy hibiscus blooms are dinner plate size
Ornamental grasses

Sedum a few weeks before color


Captivating coneflowers

Black-eyed Susans


Pond plants are blooming too. Lotus, waterlilies, and cannas add color to the water garden. The Koi bring delight to everyone. Watching kids feed the koi with enthusiasm is a highlight at the big pond daily at 12:30. 

David topping off the ponds

Water gardens

During storms and times that it is just too hot outside, we move inside with houseplants. Decorating with plants is fun; choosing the right pot to go with our plant and inside spaces brings a bit of nature inside. 

The dracaena is on its way to a new home

Gardening was not canceled this year. We've met many new gardeners. Please use our resources, including signage, handouts, and knowledgeable people, many who are passionate gardeners themselves. 

Keep calm and garden on!