Monthly Archives: August 2015

My Quest To Be A Better Gardener

I haven’t posted a lot on my blog site lately because I am taking a gardening class to become a Master Gardener. I hope to be a better gardener once I am finished. Perhaps I can avoid making mistakes monetarily or physically in the garden. I know that over the years I have experimented by planting things that did not survive because they were not tolerant of the conditions in the southern part of the country where I live. Planting disease resistant plant varieties best suited for South Carolina which are hardy and drought-tolerant will make gardening a more satisfying experience.

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Crepe myrtles and Knock Out roses do very well in the south and should be a feature in every southern garden. You can find them in a lot of different colors. Crepes are usually pink, white or red but occasionally you will see a lavender variety. Some people are guilty of crepe “murder” which is very harsh pruning, almost down to the nub. It takes the plants a long time to recover from this type of pruning and they never achieve a natural look again so drastic pruning should be avoided. Knock Out roses come in red, pink or yellow.

So far I have studied basic plant botany and physiology, soil science, entomology(the study of insects), and plant pathology(the study of plant diseases). I am learning to identify a wide variety of plants by looking at their leaves. I am looking forward to learning about landscaping, perennials, pesticides and vegetable gardening. I still have a long way to go but am looking forward to growing myself in the knowledge of plants.

It is amazing to think that God made a vast variety of plants each with uniquely different  features. God’s creation includes interesting plants, insects and microscopic creatures that we are not aware exist in the world around us. We can help beautify our little part of the world by growing plants suited for our region, improving the growing conditions of the soil, and keeping our plants healthy and free from pests or disease.

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A Few Newly Adopted Babies

To a plant lover, tender new plants are just like babies.  We are excited when we see new signs of life. We nurture and care for them, watching them closely as they grow.

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A Thanksgiving cactus and one that looks like a tail.

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The one on the right is a jade plant.

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These are hens and chicks.

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These are bluish gray succulents of various types.

My handyman brought me some plant seedlings yesterday. His wife grows succulent plants of every imaginable variety. We have a common love of plants and have begun sharing starters with one another. I shared an aloe plant with her a few weeks ago.  She sent back to me several plants in a bag.  I have identified a Thanksgiving cactus starter, hens and chicks as well as a jade plant baby in the collection.

I love cacti and all types of succulents because they require little care, infrequent watering and do really well in the hot South Carolina climate.

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List of Gardens -“Just for Fun”

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The Bok Tower in Lake Wales, Florida.

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The Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco, California.

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The mission at Carmel-By-The-Sea, California.

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The Japanese Tea Garden in San Francisco.

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The Conservatory of Flowers in San Francisco.

I thought it would be fun to list the gardens I have visited over the years.  I would be interested to know of others that you have visited as well.

Starting in Florida…..In Miami there is Vizcaya Estate and Gardens as well as the Orchid Garden and Parrot Jungle.  In Fort Myers one can find  the home and gardens of Thomas Edison. The Ernest Hemingway house and garden is in Key West.  Cypress Gardens was in Winter Haven but has become Legoland.  Silver Springs is in the town of the same name.  The Bok Tower Gardens are in Lake Wales. The Disney Institute has a gardening center which offers classes at Disneyworld in Orlando. Lakeland has Hollis Garden.  St. Augustine has the Fountain of Youth and surrounding gardens.

In Georgia….Callaway Gardens are in Pine Mountain.  The Augusta National Golf courses grounds and gardens are a must see in Augusta.  Savannah has many public and private gardens to see by taking walking or driving tours. The Little White House was a summer home and hot tub rehabilitation facility for FDR in Warm Springs.

In South Carolina….Charleston is home to many beautiful homes with gardens including Magnolia Gardens, Middleton Place, Dreyton Hall and Boone Hall Plantation. There is a garden at Charles Towne Landing.  Another Cypress Garden is located in Moncks Corner where one can paddle a boat through a swamp filled with alligators. Brookgreen Gardens are at Myrtle Beach.  Columbia has the fabulous Riverbanks zoo and garden. The Park Seed Co. has an outstanding garden in Greenwood. There is an asian tea garden on Furman University’s campus. Sumter has the beautiful Swan Lake Garden. There is a very interesting garden known as Pearl Friar’s Topiary Garden in Bishopville.  Glencairn Garden is a wonderful attraction in my home town of Rock Hill.

In North Carolina……Charlotte has Wing Haven. Winston-Salem has Old Salem and the Reynolda House and Gardens. Asheville has the Biltmore Estate and Gardens. The Carl Sandburg estate and gardens are in Hendersonville.  New Bern has Tryon Palace and Gardens.The Elizabethan Gardens are near the coast at Manteo. Durham has the Duke Botanical Gardens. Chapel Hill has an arboretum and Gastonia has Stowe Botanical Gardens and Conservatory.

In Virginia…..one can behold small-scale colonial backyard  gardens in Williamsburg. Thomas Jefferson’s home, expansive vegetable and flower gardens are in Charlottesville. The Greenbriar is a fabulous resort and garden in White Sulfur Springs.

In Washington, DC…..  one must see the White House and famous Rose Garden. The U. S. Botanical Garden has an outstanding array of plants both in the outdoor gardens and inside in the conservatory.

In New York…..I have visited the botanical garden at Niagara Falls.  I have also toured the home and gardens at Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Hyde Park.

In Massachusetts…..I have been to Nathanial Hawthorne’s House of Seven Gables and Garden in Salem. Louisa May Alcott’s home and garden known as Orchard House, are in Concord.  The Mount, is Edith Wharton’s elegant home with gardens in Lenox.

In Rhode Island……I have visited The Breakers, the grandiose Vanderbilt mansion and grounds in Newport.

In New Jersey……Ringwood Manor, expansive grounds and formal garden are in Ringwood.

In California…..I have been to San Francisco and have seen The Japanese Tea Garden, The Conservatory of Flowers and the Palace of Fine Arts.  In Carmel-By-The-Sea, there is a wonderful walled in garden next to a stuccoed spanish-style Roman Catholic mission church. It has its own resident western quail that wanders throughout the tropical native plants.

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