Posts tagged ‘Master Gardener’

March 30, 2012

Friday Fieldtrip::Springtime in the South

by heatherkp

I have a lot going on behind the scenes and I’m not quite ready to share as I mentioned in a previous post BUT…I want to share some of what I’ve been doing!  I recently decided to apply to volunteer at Brookgreen Gardens and last Tuesday I was “interviewed” and “oriented” to become a part of that team.  I am so excited, as a Master Gardener in both Maryland and Georgia I’ve been itching to get my hands in the dirt here and begin to learn more about the coastal plants I’m not familiar with.  The Master Gardener program in SC is run through Clemson and I missed the cut off for the first class of the year so while I’m waiting and deciding if I want to continue as a Master Gardener here I opted to jump into the Brookgreen opportunity!  This place is one of my favorite public gardens, anywhere, ever!

Here is the daily display of the flowers in bloom.  This is not a comprehensive display but it represents alot of what’s blooming on any given day.  It’s the sneak peak of goodies to be seen and smelled.

This bottle tree is in the education center garden which includes edible crops such as rice, corn, medicinal herbs, greens and other seasonal crops.  I love the Southern tradition of bottle trees in the garden, they are said to catch evil spirits as they get caught the colorful bottles after being entranced.

Look at all these blooming beauties!  Azaleas, Delphinium, Larkspur, Poppies and many other springtime favorites were in bloom.  With the warm winter and spring we are having, the daffodils were almost done blooming but there were some incredible combinations of flowers not typically in bloom together.  March is typically a “dangerous” month in low country gardens that border marshy areas, snakes and alligators are coming out of hibernation and I was startled by one in an unexpected spot as I was trying to get some shots.  I’ll be learning a lot more about where they like to hang out and I’ll be using extreme caution!  I am typically a pretty fearless gardener but I have a healthy respect for these potentially deadly creatures.  Avoidance will be my main tactic, along with long pants, closed toe shoes and gloves when reaching into hidden areas.

I am thrilled to just be able to go soak in the beauty and contribute to sharing that with all the visitors who come there.  I’m sure you will be hearing and seeing more of my Brookgreen experience over the months to come.  If you ever get to Myrtle Beach or Charleston, it’s worth the little extra drive to visit this garden which also includes a comprehensive sculpture collection and a lot of plantation history.

February 2, 2011

Wednesday Wellness::Eat Well

by heatherkp

Eat lots of organic and local produce!

I don’t want to lecture anyone here so if you don’t want to hear it just look at the pretty pictures and move on, but I promise I won’t get preachy!  The truth is though, we can all eat a little better right? We can try to eat less sugar, more whole grains, more produce and we can be be more aware about how far the foods we eat are traveling and how much they are processed.

Norman's Farm Market

Norman's Farm Market

When I became a Master Gardener back in 2003 I began to grow more of my own veggies and joined my first CSA.  Since then I’ve continued to grow some of my own produce and I’ve become an avid supporter of local farmers.  In the last several years I’ve been quite involved in local programs that encourage people to learn and grow some of their own food.  Here in Maryland a program was launched called Grow It Eat It to help educate Maryland residents on sustainable food growing practices.  Your local extension office probably has a lot of free information available to you via classes, plant clinics, free downloads etc…check them out!

Norman's Farm Market CSA

Norman's Farm Market CSA

I believe strongly in using and supporting Organic practices (even though I have a working knowledge of IPM) especially when growing any kind of produce.  There is a lot of controversy out there about weather Organic is more nutritious, better for the land etc.  I generally go with what seems right and logical to me.  It doesn’t seem right to be pumping a bunch of chemicals into our agricultural system, it damages other connected environments and we can’t isolate the negative effects so it just seems right to abandon that method for safer practices.

Red Wiggler Farm CSA

Red Wiggler Farm CSA (lettuce varieties)

Right now is generally the time that CSA’s are signing up customers for the upcoming growing season.  If you have never tried a CSA you might want to think about doing so this year!  It’s a great way to meet local people you have something in common with, get to know a local farmer and support a local small business!  And most importantly for your health, it’s a great way to eat more healthy by having regular access to local (perhaps organic) and varied produce.

To find a local CSA, farmers market or Co-Op visit the Local Harvest website.  I like to encourage you to eat well by eating more produce that is produced well!