CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Alison, Bill, Harry, Karen, Kay, and all of the others at TerraSalis, we will miss you.
The garden center is closing after 26 years of providing the state with interesting plants, lovely garden accessories, and a wealth of gardening knowledge and advice. This past week has been bittersweet for customers; the retail operation has been bustling with business as people try to get one last bit of beauty from the Malden shop.
Many folks told stories of bringing their children to the center's expansive demonstration gardens. Others hugged staffers, who have become trusted garden confidants through the years. Some admitted they felt guilty taking advantage of the deep, closing-the-door discounts, as TerraSalis was like family to them.
It all began in 1985 under the astute guidance of the late Mary Price Ratrie and has continued under the strong direction of many other garden experts -- Carter Giltinan comes to mind. Bill Mills has been the most recent leader, and the depth of his creativity, knowledge, wit and wisdom, available on a daily basis, will be missed. Bill will still be creating lovely gardens across the state, and TerraSalis will continue to offer classes -- the Field Guide Series -- and they will continue to design and install landscapes.
I was fortunate to serve on a committee with TerraSalis founder Mrs. Ratrie years ago. I told her daughters recently that I was sitting in a meeting with her, hiding my gardener's dirt-stained, scratched hands from the cadre of well-scrubbed businessmen and women around the table. Mrs. Ratrie glanced over at my torn nails and put one of her hands next to it, similarly stained by years working in the soil, and said, "I think I'm going to like you."
Like so many others, I will miss just walking around, smelling, touching, seeing the interesting specimens at TerraSalis.
I guess I'll just have to walk around my yard now, touching, smelling and seeing the interesting specimens that have made their way from Malden to my home over the past 20-plus years.
A note about Asian beetles
After writing about the Asian beetles recently, I received a note from Dave Herbert of Ripley on his methods of controlling the pesky little critters:
"There is a very short open window for external spraying, and it is usually around the first two weeks in October, or if you see them swarming earlier, which I have not. I use Evercide Permethrin (10 percent solution) on the external portions of the house where a beetle might enter -- and they can get in your home through very small openings. If one observes closely, they shall see that they are attracted to white, and most activity shall be seen on the south and southwestern areas of the house.
"For the inside of the house I spray Equate brand bedding spray that is designed for lice extermination. It comes in a 5-ounce can, and may be purchased at Walmart. It is simply Permethrin in a small spray can. One can usually lasts me for two years.