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Unlike the rest of his family, Noel is a quiet man, but one of his friends compared him to E. F. Hutton, "When he talks, people stop and listen!" Noel will give several workshops on various aspects of growing daylilies on Saturday mornings during the sale season. He frequently speaks at garden clubs across North Carolina.
Even English degrees can be useful to a busy farm: Molly writes all directions for planting and caring for plants and copy for the web site. She can be found in the air conditioned office at the farm during bloom season. She's the lady who runs the computer, takes the money, and gives all the orders.
Erin interviewed to write and produce for the gardening segment of the Martha Stewart television show the day the Imclone scandal hit the press. Initially, the small trading error was thought to be a minor infraction and multiple interviews followed as well as the request to submit sample segments. The daylily ribbons of her past and newletters from the National Orchid Society, all but forgotten memories, rushed to the forefront of her mind. Through the interview process and numerous communications with Noel and his friends (now playfully referred to as members of the plant mafia) what initially had served as merely excellent resume fodder evolved into a serious quest to know more about growing plants. She moved to Garner January 1, 2002 to begin, in earnest, her life as a farmer.
Her first year as a farmer was started with seeds and in a partnership with a UNC classmate growing adorable vegetables, microgreens and herbs for the local upscale culinary market. The two enlisted great physical support from city dwellers across the country creating a virtual urban farm camp--for instance the owner of a prominent nightclub in Berlin was enthusiastic to use a rototiller. The duo even heated their crude greenhouse with crock pots filled with rotted leaves that they then used as the primary media to their potting mix.
Erin no longer grows veggies or heats her greenhouse with multiple crock pots, but she does continue to immerse herself in agriculture by visiting the JC Raulston arboretum as much as possible, taking courses at NCSU, learning to graft, and becoming lead salesperson for the family business. It became official last summer when co-owner of Terra Nova gave her the sticker "official hortiholic!"