October 2010

Make Nature's Beauty A Vital Part Of Your Home - Lowcountry Master Gardeners Show You How

Author: Chris Rosenbach

On Saturday, October 16, The Lowcountry Master Gardener Association is hosting its third annual Tour of Master Gardens. This is your opportunity to meet the local experts and get the real dirt on local gardening. Seven private gardens, located from Sea Pines to Moss Creek, will be on tour. Tour goers may visit the gardens in any order they choose. Maps will be provided on the tickets.

Each garden is owned and lovingly cultivated by a Master Gardener. All tour gardens will be staffed by Master Gardener volunteers. Tour attendees will have the unique opportunity to view the gardens and also direct all their plant and growing questions to the gardening experts. All plants will be labeled, and viewers will be able to see what grows well in what environment. Attendees are encouraged to bring cameras, and/or paper and pencil to record their favorite items in the landscapes.

Whether you enjoy your garden with your early morning coffee or your glass of wine at sunset, you can create your own special space to attract birds, butterflies and wildlife. Many plants thrive here just like Jack’s bean stalk. However, some traditional species we expect to grow may suffer from an early demise because of the soil, climate differences and exposure to salt air found in this unique area of the country.

Often we will gravitate toward our old faithful hostas or peonies, expecting a traditional seasonal growth and display, only to be disappointed by their failure to thrive. The tour is a fabulous opportunity to witness and learn about a whole new world of possibilities. You will see many new and beautiful plants that can introduce new pleasures to your garden. The best way to learn about and identify them is to see them in their natural habitat. You will be able to ask questions: Does it like sun or shade? Should I fertilize it? When and with what? You can even inquire as to special problems you have in your garden and have Master Gardeners suggest remedies. One ticket gives you access to a bounty of information all in one day.

BUY WHAT YOU ADMIRE
Another special opportunity awaiting you on October 16 is The Lowcountry Master Gardener Association Plant Sale. If you find plants you admire during the tour, there’s a good possibility you’ll be able to buy them at the sale being held at Hilton Head Island High School. It will be open from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Go early for the best selection.

There will be an abundance of plants and gently used garden-related “White Elephant” items for sale. Master Gardeners have been growing and contributing plants from their gardens for the sale all year. Prices promise to be very reasonable.
The LMGA will also be selling a CD/DVD with photos of over 500 plant species, accompanied by a written list of the botanical and common names, all of which thrive in the Lowcountry. This is a great gift to a gardener and a wonderful source for personal reference.

In addition there will be fourteen other vendors at the sale: The Garden Gate Nursery; Grace Nursery (orchids, bromeliads and tropicals); The Green Thumb Nursery; Naturescape (native plants); Plantfolk Nursery (citrus, local plants); Sea Island Savory Herbs; Bloomin’ Seasons Design (floral arrangements); Coastal Farm Supply and Hardware (garden supplies); Driftwood Designs (nature carvings); and Woodland Houses (handmade fairy houses); George Westerfield & Tom Kurtz (tool sharpening).

Proceeds from the tour and plant sale will support the 24 educational and beautification projects sustained by the Lowcountry Master Gardener Association.

A DELICIOUS ADDITION
In addition to the tour and plant sale, The Hilton Head Garden Club and the Avid Gardeners are joining forces to bake and sell continental breakfast and dessert offerings with proceeds to benefit Memory Matters and the Boys and Girls Club. An excellent lunch will also be for sale by Barrier Island BBQ. What a great way to spend a beautiful fall day.

IF YOU GO
What: Lowcountry Master Gardener Tour and Plant Sale
When: Saturday, October 16, 2010, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Tickets: $15 advance/$20 day of event

Tickets may be purchased at the following locations:

Hilton Head
Beauty & The Beach Salon
Burke’s Pharmacy
Bruno’s Nursery
The Greenery

Bluffton
The Garden Gate Nursery
The Green Thumb Nursery
Markel’s Gift Shop
Sunshine Nursery

Beaufort
Buds & Blooms Nursery
Plant Folks Nursery

On the day of the tour, tickets will be available for $20 at Hilton Head Island High School. For more information, please contact Chris Rosenbach at (843) 681-2618.

MASTER GARDENER DEFINED

The Low Country Master Gardener Association is a non-profit volunteer organization that engages in projects and activities which promote and foster community enrichment in the areas of horticulture and ecology. Master Gardeners receive a minimum of 40 hours instruction and core training in soils, plant nutrition, basic botany, plant pathology, entomology, and all types of gardening, landscape design and several other related subjects. The organization partners with city, county and local governments as well as non-profit organizations for the beautification, education and preservation of our community.

In addition to the Lowcountry Master Gardener Association Educational Garden Tour, current area projects include: Beaufort City Buffer Demo Garden, Beaufort Farmers Market, Bluffton Boys & Girls Club, Bluffton Farmers Market, Habitat for Humanity Landscapes, Heyward House, Hilton Head High School, Hilton Head Plant Clinic, Hilton Head Public Library Memorial Garden, Hilton Head Island Welcome Sign, Honey Horn Butterfly Enclosure, Pass Along Garden, Pinckney Island Butterfly Garden, Rent a Master Gardener, Sun City Turf Love, and many more.

Learn more about the Low Country Master Gardener Association at lowcountrymga.org. For information about Master Gardener classes in your area, contact Laura Lee Rose, Beaufort County Horticulture Agent at (843) 470-3655 ext. 177.

PROPER LAKE MANAGEMENT = ADDED PROPERTY VALUE
By Wade Bales

Many of us work hard to maintain and grow the value of our home and property—quite a challenge in today’s market! On a broader scale the quality of our communities can also add to the value of our homes. While we agonize over the design of our home, decor, and landscaping, often the presence of water nearby gets overlooked. Most of us living in the Lowcountry have lakes or lagoons near our homes. Do they add value to your property?

Few can argue that for the most part having water on or near your property increases the value of your property. But if your lagoons are always covered with “green slimies” (a.k.a. algae) or other aquatic plants, your economic value may be negatively affected. We have optimal growing conditions for aquatic vegetation: temperate climate, lots of sunshine (yeah!), and plenty of nutrients from lawns, roadways, and golf courses. Not all aquatic plants are bad; in fact, they may have been planted on purpose to provide fish and wildlife habitat. Managing your waters for the right balance of plants that also maintains the aesthetic value should be your goal.

Herein lies the challenge: create added aesthetic value to your property, and thus, overall real property value, while at the same time preserving the biological integrity of your lagoon(s). To accomplish this task, a myriad of factors must be considered, all of which are dynamic- water quality, water exchange rates, fertility, lagoon hydrology…the list goes on. Managing for optimum aesthetic value can be accomplished by coupling the knowledge of water quality dynamics, biological processes, aquatic plants, federal, state, and local regulations, and thorough knowledge of environmentally sound management practices available.

Having water within sight of your home is considered added value to your property. If there are aquatic plants present, discuss this with your lake manager. Plants that you may consider an eyesore may have been planted specifically for wildlife as part of the development process. But they also could be volunteer plants that have not been controlled effectively. Knowing the difference will allow you to better market your home or help you understand how your community is managed to provide quality waters that augment your property value.

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