Blount County Wildflower Society
The Blount County Wildflower Society has had a very busy year! Our group’s monthly meetings usually include interesting speakers or field trips. In some months we schedule additional activities. Our Vice-President, Dr. Mike Rushing, has done an excellent job of planning programs for our organization, and the group has grown as a result.
On September 19th BCWS members traveled to Georgia Perimeter College Native Plant Garden in Decatur, Georgia. This garden is situated on four acres of flood plain. There are easy walking trails through a woodland area alongside a creek. The garden is home to over 4000 species of native, rare, and endangered plants indigenous to the Southeast.
George Sanko, CEO, led an informative tour of the “Ferns of the World Garden.” This garden is said to be the 13th largest collection of temperate zone ferns in the USA and among the top 40 collections in the world. Their native fern collection is one of the top ten in the Southeast.
Native plants are available for purchase during special plant sales in spring and fall. During the sales, Wednesdays are set aside for “Walks and Talks.” Plant experts come to the garden to give special seminars and workshops on designated Wednesdays, and guided tours are offered afterwards.
Our tour of the garden was followed by lunch at the Decatur Farmer’s Market, a huge establishment housing vendors offering a vast assortment of foodstuffs and goods from all over the world. The café is buffet style and has all sorts of food from many countries. Some of us tried exotic dishes while the meat-and-potato people managed to stick with their usual fare!
October took our group to Birmingham and Mountain Brook, where we toured three gardens, all beautiful and well-designed and each one perfectly unique. Our first stop was at June Mays’s garden on Country Club Road. June is a graduate of the English Gardening School in London and a member of the AWS and the BCWS. Her skills and talents are demonstrated in a garden design that makes an asset of a steeply sloped lot, utilizing the entire site for attractive combinations of plants and well-integrated hardscaping. Although June’s home is located on a well-traveled road, her design creates a garden that is quiet and intimate. June’s incorporation of interesting pieces of art into her garden design is an added delight.
The second garden was the smallest, but was just as lovely and interesting. Weesie Smith’s Forest Park garden is charming. It is obvious when viewing the home from the street that it is inhabited by a gardener. The small, sloping front yard is covered with a lawn of silvery dichondra. An arbor is home to a native clematis and a non-native cousin. There are trillium and tree peony beds. Weesie has created a little jewel!
Our third tour was of Louise Wrinkle’s beautifully designed four-acre garden that features a free-flowing stream. The landscaping plan includes a lawn of mondo grass that allows ferns to emerge through the blades here and there. The lovely old home and its lush garden are perfectly blended. Louise and Landscape Designer Norman Kent Johnson led a tour of the garden and described how the garden has evolved over the years. The garden has formal and informal areas and attractive hardscaping, including a gorgeous stone garden shed. The landscape is enhanced by stately, long-established trees that provide shady sites for the wonderful expanses of ferns and native plants.
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