The distinctively-colored leaves of the Hydrangeas
aspera ‘Plum Passion.’
By Bob Gilbert
Currently, there is a trend among gardeners to lean toward adding only native plants to their collections and landscapes. Of course, this is not a bad idea, but it can be considered limiting. I once was at a garden club meeting and someone said to me “I am new at gardening, do not know much except that I am only going to grow native plants.” These thoughts are re-enforced daily by roadside examples of invasiveness, Kudzu, Japanese Honeysuckle, Privet, Nandina and others. These plants were introduced a long time ago and had not been thoroughly tested and evaluated. And, some of these nonnatives brought with them insects and diseases that have no natural controls in their new locations. (more…)
By Carrie Ziglar
I love brunch!!! I love everything about it including both the preparation and entertaining aspect plus the wonderful food traditions that accompany it. Eggs Benedict, one of my favorite things to fix and eat was a staple in our home at holidays and special occasions. After moving to Savannah, one beautiful Sunday morning on River Street I ordered Eggs Benedict without reading the menu well. When the waiter delivered my dish, I was surprised to see that the usual Canadian bacon had been replaced by a scrumptious crab cake. I converted and have never looked back. Now, whenever I prepare this dish, it is fresh crab cakes for me all the time! (more…)
by Shon Cameron
As we say goodbye to April and its showers… we head into May’s vast assortment of lovely leafing trees along with multitudes of blossoms here at Smith Gilbert Gardens. If you haven’t visited SGG recently, this is as close to a perfect time as you will find here. Weather conditions are most pleasant and with all there is to see, now is the time for you to be here! The vegetable garden has been planted; our orchid and begonia collections are on full display having been moved from their winter quarters. Our Koi are actively celebrating the warmer weather swimming like languid clouds through the clear water. (more…)
Black Throated Green Warbler
by Pat Pepper
April 20 was my first Backyard Birding class at SGG for 2013. I was delighted to meet Judith, one of SGG’s volunteers. My husband was also present. He is not the avid birder I am, but he is a good spotter.
Judith had birded before but told me she was a little rusty, so we started from the beginning. During the first hour of the class, we watched a Power Point presentation of the birds we were most likely to see in the gardens. The second hour we scouted out the feeders and the gardens. It was a fantastic hour in the gardens! (more…)
By Bob Gilbert
There is nothing prettier than large drifts of daffodils, a signal that spring is just right around the corner. In North Carolina many highway intersections have been heavily planted with a mixture of daffodils and daylilies. That is a perfection combination. As the daffodil leaves start to turn yellow after blooming the daylilies are just getting tall enough to hide the yellowing leaves. Also daylily leaves produce some shade when the bulbs are dormant resulting in cooler soil. Daffodil leaves should never be cut off until they are completely brown as they create energy for next year blooms. Another poor idea is tying daffodil leaves into bundles. This suppresses energy production. Thus daylily/daffodil plantings are ideal.
But this is not altogether a happy story. In theory when daffodils are planted they should multiply and keep multiplying for years. This is referred to as naturalization. However that does not always happen for a multitude of reasons. One cause of naturalization failure is that the fancy hybrids-cultivars are not bred to naturalize but have been selected for bloom size and color. A friend explained that they do not have the ‘genetic guts’ to survive. Orchid growers use pollination techniques to create new and exciting plants. Very few of these new cultivars could survive in the wild where the parents came from. They were not bred for naturalization. Other examples are roses and rhododendrons. (more…)
Tung Oil Tree
by Shon Cameron
Alert! If flowers are your favorite… now is the time to come see Smith-Gilbert. As March transitions into April, the Garden is exploding with brilliant colors. Our beautiful deciduous magnolias and bright daffodils are leading the way into spring. Come see firsthand the difference a month can make in the garden world!
This month’s staff pick comes with a word of caution. However, don’t let that dissuade you from adding this tree to your landscape. As with many worthy, but lesser known plants this is the tale of a majestic tree that is often over looked even here at the Garden. May I introduce you to the Tung Oil Tree. For those scientifically inclined, the Latin name is Aleurites fordii and it is part of the Euphorbia Family (Euphorbiaceae). Our incredible specimen resides on the slope just above the bee hives. Perhaps that’s why sometimes it’s overlooked. (more…)
Is social media a big part of your life? Then you should follow us on Facebook, and now is a good time to start. At this phase of the year spring ephemerals appear and disappear within a few weeks. By following us on Facebook you won’t miss any of our beautiful spring flowering plants.
If you find you love being at the Gardens, please consider becoming a member or joining us as a volunteer. As a participant in the American Horticultural Society’s reciprocal program, belonging to Smith-Gilbert Gardens entitles you to free admission to over 200 other American parks and gardens. (more…)
By Carrie Ziglar
This time of year strawberries are sweet and abundant. As summer makes her presence felt, Georgia peaches will be in our hands. Of course, shortcake is memorably paired with strawberries and peaches make great cobbler. However, if you want a different way to appreciate these delectable fruits, the tasty choice is the much loved Pound Cake. Many cooks have their own favorite recipe for this classic. For me, I love to look at alternate recipes and see how they compare to the method I learned from my aunt and mother. Although I have tried various combinations and suggestions over the years, I’ve not found anything to replace my beloved ‘Mamma’s Pound Cake’. Based on my experiments, tweaking, and personal touches, I haven’t found anything better than what I inherited decades ago. This cake with its distinctive almond flavor pairs beautifully with either of those favorite spring and summer fruits, strawberries and peaches. Forget processed toppings as flavor is best with sweetened whipped cream or a good quality vanilla ice cream. If you are able to enjoy this dessert privately, feel free to omit eating utensils too! (more…)
Red Shouldered Hawk
by Pat Pepper
On Saturday, March 16, I was birding the gardens looking for any early spring migrants. The pine warblers were singing in many spots in the gardens, but they have been here all winter. I had decided I would write about the pine warbler as I was going back to my car, which was parked in the back lot. I was on the gravel path between the Bonsai Garden and the Vegetable Garden when I heard the cry of a Red-shouldered hawk.
I looked up and found him in an oak tree between the Bonsai Garden and the Hiram-Butler House. He was calling and pecking at some moss or lichen on a branch. An American Crow made a few perfunctory dives at him but then flew away. I then heard another Red-shouldered hawk calling just north of the one in the oak. (more…)
By Stefanie Haerynck
Spring fever at the gardens! We are starting up our Garden Stories series, which will take place every 3rd Wednesday of the month at 10:30am. A garden-related topic will be highlighted and depending on the theme there will be a combination of stories, art or craft, rhymes, dance and organized play. The Garden Stories series is geared towards children aged 3-6 and their caregiver.
The fee is $7 per child which includes an activity fee. Adults pay regular admission; additional participating children are $5 each. (more…)