I recently had an opportunity to document the Southern Living photo shoot of one of Raleigh’s most interesting residential landscapes. The Southern Living article about the moss garden at the Urquhart residence on Marlowe Drive will come out in about a year – we’ll return to that incredible piece of landscaping, and promote the article, closer to the publication date. In the meantime, I wanted to introduce Raleigh Nature readers to David Spain, Richard Urquhart’s son-in-law, who has cared for the property since Urquhart’s passing in 2008. David follows Raleigh Nature and has been very encouraging of my efforts to portray the Lassiter Mill section of Crabtree Creek, which adjoins the Urquhart property. This post shares some of his photography and offers a sneak peek at the moss garden, which senior writer Steve Bender at Southern Living describes as the finest he’s ever seen.
The landscape of the Urquhart residence is unique in several respects, and David Spain is keenly aware of the ecological and geological wonders of the place. The property slopes down steeply to the deep stretch of Crabtree Creek just northwest of the dam. There is a rich stand of mountain laurel on the slope, and above the moss garden and water park of large pools, waterfalls, and huge rocks. The rocks were unearthed by creek erosion out of the slope, and the Urquhart family has pried them out, hauled them up the hill, and used them to create a magnificent setting for the plants and water.
David puts into Crabtree in his canoe about as often as I THINK about doing it – which is pretty often- and gets some great pictures, which he has shared and consented to have on the site. Enjoy some great sights of Raleigh Nature courtesy of David Spain, whose hard work and dedication is maintaining one of the most interesting and valuable residential natural areas in central Raleigh.
What a brave poplar tree! David can walk the creekside and offer endless lore and history about the area. His contributions and friendship have been a big reward for my work on Raleigh Nature. Below is his picture of the Urquhart front yard. I’ll share my own photography of the site when it’s time to celebrate the Southern Living shoot, which was arranged by local super-gardener Helen Yoest, whose acquaintance I made at the shoot. Her Metro feature on the Urquhart garden is a great introduction to the site, and it will be fun to see how Southern Living shows off the garden and David’s meticulous work with the moss.
A related fun tidbit: I received a while back the photo below, which depicts what the senders states are gears from Lassiter Mill. He asked for advice about who might be interested or what might be done with them. I thought I would post the picture and give my contacts at the Raleigh History Museum and Yates Mill Park a heads-up. Any ideas?