Notes from the Nursery – Summer 2023

A Letter from the Nursery - Summer 2023

Sayde calls us boujee for using shade cloth in the nursery to provide our plants a happier environment. Boujee is a slang term for the act of living a fancy, sophisticated lifestyle usually above your means. If you know me, you certainly know I’m not fancy or sophisticated . . . or even boujee, but that shade cloth sure works great! I guess the shoe fits.
But what is this shade cloth and why do we use it? The nursery is an inhospitable place during the summer. There are no shade trees and if you have ever walked into a greenhouse in the summer, you’ll know that it can get so hot that it can take your breath away. These large pieces of heavy-duty cloth are a knitted or woven netting that blocks some sunlight but still lets some through. The more dense the knitting or weave, the less light passes through. We have used different types for different crops, but it is always for the same purpose, to lower light levels and decrease temperatures for our young plants. If you have ever been to Yew Dell on a hot summer day and walked from the sun into the shade of the American beech trees that line the walkway between the Walled Garden and Martha Lee’s Kitchen, you have felt the temperature drop tremendously! That is what we are going for in the nursery but without the trees.

Our newest project with shade cloth is placing a 60% shade on our 30’x96’ greenhouse. We have been using this house to grow annuals and perennials only in late winter and spring but with the new shade in the summer, we will be transitioning it to a year-round house for growing shade perennials. A nursery and greenhouse operation may look like a bunch of gravel, metal, and plastic but it truly is a living environment that we are continually tweaking to get the most and best use out of. Want to learn more about the nursery, shade cloth, and how we make the magic happen? Join us in August for a behind the scenes look with our Horticulture Staff.

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