Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Garvan Woodland Gardens


Garvan Woodland Gardens is located about six miles from Hot Springs National Park in Hot Springs, Arkansas.  The garden was started by Verna Cook Garvan in the 1920s.  After her death, she left the garden to the Department of Landscape Architecture of the University of Arkansas.

The gardens are simply breathtaking.  They cover 210 acres and contain waterfalls, picturesque bridges, gorgeous overlooks, and a Japanese garden.  It's a perfect place for nature lovers.

The gardens are open February through November from 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM and in December from noon to 9:00 PM.  Admission is $10.00 per adult and $5.00 per child.

Wednesday, October 6, 2021

Filoli Gardens


Filoli Gardens, located about 30 miles south of San Francisco in Woodside, California, covers 654 acres.  It is the site of a 36,000 square foot Georgian house and a 16 acre English Renaissance garden, which is a series of enclosed spaces within brick walls.  Visitors will see well-manicured gardens with clipped hedges and classic reflecting pools.  Other gardens include a Bonsai collection, magnolias, an olive orchard, and a rose garden.

 A little history of the gardens:  Filoli was built between 1915 and 1917 for William Bowers Bourne II, owner of a very successful gold mine and President of Spring Valley Water Company.  Following Bourne's death, the estate was sold to William Roth, who in 1975 donated it to the National Trust for Historic Presevation.

Filoli has served as the set for many Hollywood films.  You may have seen the mansion on the opening credits for the show, Dynasty.

There are several tours you can take, including one of the mansion.  If you can,I would recommend doing it.  You can also take a 2-hour nature hike.  A word of caution about that - some parts are strenuous, so you should be in good health to do it.

The gardens are open Tuesday through Saturday from 10:00 AM to 3:30 PM.  Admission is $15.00 for adults and $5.00 for children.

Wednesday, August 4, 2021

The Ruth Bancroft Garden


The Ruth Bancroft Garden, located in Walnut Creek, California, features nearly three acres of succulents, pathways, and garden beds.  Visitors will see a lot of aloe, agave, yucca, and cacti as they walk along the gravel pathways.

The garden was begun in the 1950s as a private collection within Bancroft Farm, a 400 acre property belonging to publisher, Hubert Howe Bancroft.  In 1989, it became the first garden in the United States preserved by the Garden Conservancy.  It has been open to the public since 1992.

The garden is open daily from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM.  Admission is $10.00 for adults and $7.00 for children.

Tuesday, July 6, 2021

Getty Museum Gardens


The Getty Museum Gardens are located in the Brentwood area of Los Angeles, California.  The property covers 24 acres, and features a 134,000 square foot Central Garden.  In this garden, a tree-lined walkway crosses over a stream  which eventually leads to a round pool.  In the pool, is a stunning maze of azaleas.  It's really quite a sight to see.

 In addition to the Central Garden, visitors can also see a cactus garden with spectacular views of the mountains, the Pacific Ocean, and Los Angeles.
The gardens are open Tuesday through Sunday from 10:00 AM to 5:30 PM.  Admission is free, but parking is $15.00.

Wednesday, June 2, 2021

Cypress Gardens


Cypress Gardens is located in Monck's Corner, South Carolina. (This is different from the Cypress Gardens in Florida.) It was created in 1927 by Benjamin R. Kittredge. Today, it is a 163 acre garden that contains three miles of foot paths. Visitors can also view the gardens from flat bottom boats. It's really a lovely place. The black swamp water reflects flowering dogwoods, daffodils, and azaleas beautifully.  Also on the grounds, is a greenhouse filled with butterflies (there is a display of the lifecycle of them), birds, a pond, and an arthropod exhibit.

For those who like trivia, Cypress Gardens was the site used for filming several movies, including Cold Mountain (2003), Swamp Thing (1982), The Notebook (2004), and The Patriot (2000).

The gardens are open daily from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM. Cost of admission for adults is $10.00, and for children, $5.00.  A guided boat ride would cost an additional $5.00, but you have the option of an self-guided tour for no additional cost. 

Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Magnolia Plantation and Gardens

Magnolia Plantation and Gardens is a 400-acre property that was founded in 1678 by the Drayton family. It is Charleston's most visited plantation, and it's easy to see why.  There's a lot there! It's home to America's oldest garden - The Barbados Tropical Garden. Other gardens on the property include a Biblical garden, a topiary garden, a maze of camellias, and a swamp garden that spans 60 acres. Bald Eagles, egrets, otters, and of course, alligators, can be seen in the swamp garden. Visitors can enjoy a variety of bog plants, ornamental grasses, and wildflowers. 

Additional attractions include a petting zoo, Old African American Cabin, and a conservatory.

The gardens are open daily from 8:30 AM to 5:30 PM. The cost of admission for adults is $15.00, and for children, $10.00. There is an additional cost for the plantation house tour, nature boat tour, and the Audubon Swamp Garden. All-inclusive tickets are available, but those are rather costly - $47.00 for adults, $43.00 for children.

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Bellingrath Gardens


Bellingrath Gardens is a 65-acre garden and mansion located in Theodore, Alabama, a town on the outskirts of Mobile, Alabama.  They were first opened to the public in 1932.  The gardens include an Oriental garden, a Mermaid pool, a bridal garden, and a river pavilion where guests can take a river cruise down the Fowl River on a boat called the Southern Belle.  Beautiful flowerbeds adorn the gardens throughout the year. These include azaleas, roses, tulips, snapdragons, begonias, and marigolds.

If you happen to visit around Christmas, be sure to see the phenomenal display of over three million lights, known as the Magic Christmas in Lights.  It truly is magical!

The gardens are open daily from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM.  During the Christmas light show, they're open until 9:00 PM.  Admission for the gardens, home, and cruise tour is $29.00 for adults at $19.00 for children.  Gardens only is $12.50 for adults and $7.00 for children.  

Thursday, March 18, 2021

Spring Gardening Tips


I know it's not quite Spring yet, but it'll be here before you know it, so I thought I'd share some ideas to help you get ready.

1. Spring is a great time to find out the Ph of your soil.  You can get a Ph testing kit from your local garden center.  If you know your Ph, it'll make it easier to know which plants to choose for your soil, or what additives you might need to grow the plants you desire.

2. If you haven't already done so, remove the dead growth of perennials and grasses.  I usually do this in the fall, but there are several gardeners who prefer to wait until the spring.

3. Apply a general fertilizer to prepare the soil for the planting you'll be doing.

4. Get rid of any weeds that might be starting to grow.  I know where I live, it's been a really mild winter, so I was out there weeding in January!

5.  Spring is a good time to mulch.  The soil is usually moist, so mulch will help trap that moisture and make it nice for your plants.  Be generous with your mulch.  I'd say 1 1/2 to 2 inches deep is good.

6.  If you didn't divide clumps of perennials in the fall, do it in the spring.

7. Lastly, edge your garden borders.  Make sure grass isn't growing into it, and if you're using stone borders, make sure they look neat and tidy.

Wednesday, February 3, 2021

Charles Towne Landing Gardens


Charles Towne Landing Gardens are located in Charleston, South Carolina. This is the original site of Charleston, where settlers first landed. It is now a state park that contains a zoo, freshwater lagoon, 80 acres of English park gardens, trails, and a 1670 Experimental Crop Garden.

The zoo is home to the animals the original settlers encountered, including pumas, bison, alligators, black bears, otters, bobcats, and wolves. The Experimental Crop Garden (which is what will be growing in the above picture later in the season), includes indigo, rice, sugar cane, and cotton.

There's another interesting thing to see on the grounds:  The Adventure - a life-size replica of a typical trading ship docked on Old Town Creek.

 The park is open daily from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM.