Well be cutting some trees, restoring Grotto

Published 4:23 pm Tuesday, November 10, 2009

To the Editor:

Hello everyone, Julie and I wanted to take a moment and communicate to you our plans to remove some trees on our property on the north side of the Pacolet River across from the walking oval at Harmon Field.

For the past several years a number of our beautiful older trees have either fallen or broken off during both winter ice and summer wind storms.

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We discussed what was happening with John Vining and learned the older trees are unfortunately coming to the end of their life cycle. Pictures of High Watch Gate from 1952 when ours was the only house on the hill show a decidedly thinner canopy allowing light into the under-story.

It is our intention to restore the Gate to this manageable condition and give the younger trees a healthier chance at growing more fully with robust shapes.

Over the last two months we have been interviewing companies and individuals and have selected someone who we believe will be able to help us achieve our goals while maintaining the propertys integrity understanding full well our position above Harmon Field.

At the same time and while equipment is on site we will be restoring and continuing to build the St. Anthony Grotto on the Pacolet which some may remember was vandalized and almost completely destroyed two years ago.

We determined then (with the support of many of you) that the hate-filled destruction would not deter us from continuing to create the Grotto as a place for peaceful veneration, contemplation and reflection for members of the Catholic Faith and guests from other faiths who make their way into the Grotto Garden by crossing the Pacolet River.

Our plans include plantings of rare white day lilies, fig trees, blueberry bushes and native species that will join the now five-year-old olive tree that somehow survived the attack when literally everything else was destroyed.

The restored Grotto Garden will include natural rock features, boxwoods, various cascading white roses and a large collection of unique day lilies selected from various sources as well as heirloom plantings donated from private gardens in and around Tryon Valhalla in honor of their donors deceased family members.

All in all we are putting the destructive hate of two years ago behind us and are excited about moving forward. But as excited as we are, we are also pragmatic knowing word of our commitment to this project will not reach everyone immediately.

The Garden will not come to fruition overnight and in the meantime; for some, the work will be cause for alarm and consternation.

We hope by spelling out our plans publicly here we are able to get word to as many as possible exactly what is happening, why and what to expect when its completed. We hope each of you will take a moment in the coming months to follow our progress and we invite you to get your feet wet, cross the river and poke around sometime. Its a beautiful place for a Garden and we hope you will enjoy it.

Kipp and Julie McIntyre