The herb and flower gardens at the Bright Morning Inn have been delighting our guests for years. Partly it’s the climate. Davis, WV, the highest incorporated town in the state, is known for it’s cool summer temperatures, and flowers love it. We’re also a wet spot, as the clouds moving east dump their moisture on the Allegheneys as they head toward the Shenandoah Valley.
So cool temps and lots of rain mean flowers bloom their heads off, which is great for the Inn. We love picking huge bouquets, starting with peonies and lupine in the spring, and moving through the daisy-like flowers of summer: the shastas, coneflowers, rudbeckias, etc.
Most people who view the inn’s gardens think they’re fantastic, but what they don’t know is how much MORE fabulous they could be, if they were properly organized and edited.
Enter Ken Morgolius, a cross country skier, vintage bicycle enthusiast, and, oh, yes, landscape architect from Charlottesville. For whatever personal reasons, Ken volunteered (yes, volunteered — for free!) to renovate the Inn’s gardens and help them achieve their full potential.
The process started last summer, when he pulled out mounds of sage (beautiful flowering sage!!), dug out the thick mats of daylilies, liriope and shastas (yes, those, the ones with the big pure white flowers!) and threw them in a compost heap. Then he moved a few things around and left. Needless to say, tongues were wagging in town, as the Inn’s garden seemed positively…raped…and the owner of the Inn (me) didn’t seem to care!
The truth is, I trust him, and know that whatever he starts he will finish in the best possible way. This fall he came back, with a Subaru full of plants, and went to work. Most of the new plants he brought aren’t the usual ones, many are unknown to me. And the usual ones, well, he brought the unusual varieties, like the green (yes, lime green!) coneflowers. And there are whimsical touches, like now there’s a strawberry groundcover growing around the rhubarb (berries for picking, right here in the herb bed!). He put the new plants in, mulched them carefully and took off for home, with hardly time for a thankyou.
I’m still not sure where this garden is headed, but it is fascinating to watch such an artist at work. Next summer, when the rain comes, and the plants wake up and stretch to the sky, we will think about all that Ken has done. And when we pick our extraordinary bouquets we’ll realize how ho-hum the old garden really really was, and how lucky we are to have had him.