Top Menu

Archive | Deep-Rooted Wisdom: Stories and Skills from Generations of Gardeners

IMG_5888 2

Virus Prevention on a Lily Farm. It’s a Community Thing.

Imagine endless rows of fields of corn on a modern farm.  Now let the rows turn into endless pink flowers.  Sounds pretty right?  On our little farm, which specializes in one type of lily, we could grow that way.  But like the small farms that sustained and built this country, here, diversity is key.  Diversity… Read More

Continue Reading 5
Screen Shot 2020-07-08 at 5.45.57 PM

Axis Point A Story of Garden Design from Concept to Installation by Sam Thorp Engler

It all started with a new house and an empty yard. A clean slate if you will. A canvas that would soon prove to introduce a dream garden that ultimately ties this lonely brick home into a fluent mixture of architecture and landscape.  A mid century-modern masterpiece. I have had the pleasure of working on… Read More

Continue Reading 14
Pat, Jenks, Bob Fuller, Jim Porter, Rhett Anders

25 Years Ago Riverbanks Botanical Garden Opened — I Was Mad in the Photo!

Which mean 27 years ago, I left my adopted home of Seattle to move back to Columbia, South Carolina.  It was culture shock to be sure!  Columbia was still pretty much a small town with a lot of Bible Belt ways.  An amazing group of people established a vision, political support to establish a new… Read More

Continue Reading 2
DSCN4802.JPG

Stone Cold

I sat down at the bar at Hunter Gather alone.  People talk there. One time, I was telling some  guy a story. He stopped me mid story and said, “You’re that guy who gets up at 4:30 makes gardens all day, then eats lentils and goes to bed.” How do you respond to that? I… Read More

Continue Reading 6
Back then it was really isolated. No phone, a generator for power, Daddy's little cabin had a flush toilet, but we used a hose out back for a shower. 

Southern Peat Bogs, Old Men and A New Farm Ethic

On a hot October Saturday, family had gathered to bury my youngest cousin. It was on the funeral home front porch that first cousin twice removed, Bill, started a conversation. Sitting in a rocking chair, a tiny plate of deviled eggs in his football player lap, I guessed he was about 75.  He was almost… Read More

Continue Reading 4
mume

Holding Our Breath…..A Tree of Winter Flowers

   Fat buds of Prunus mume wait for the warmer days of winter. Starting around the turn of the year, I eagerly wait for both buds and warmth. Every cold gray day, the bulging buds stand out, puffed up like they’re holding their breath along with me. We’re all waiting.     Then one lovely day the sun… Read More

Continue Reading 0
IMG_3546

Overly Enthusiastic Children and Vines

Pay attention, indulge, wait and be delighted. This month my buddy’s pre-teen boy is into magic. He’s been through Egyptian mythology, dinosaurs and bigfoot.  His dad’s endless patience amazes me. The magic show commences with an elaborate introduction,     “On the death-day of the great Houdini, I honor the risk he took to share magic… Read More

Continue Reading 0
Plant glads and hyacinth bean seeds in late July for fall.

It’ll Be Fine By Fall

Gardening, painting, sculpting. Those things have something in common– they all start with imagination of something you’ll bring to fruition. A vision. Sometimes these really hot days make me have visions.  Stiffling hot. Swooningly hot. I chop some crinum down to the ground; it’ll be fine by fall, I think to myself. I weed, pulling… Read More

Continue Reading 0
Earthform urn with a craborchard stone block surround.

Earthforming a Rustic Urn

The circular patio holds a 1,000 pound urn. We made it.  It’s a seating bench, a place to rest a drink or plate and it is an urn for a Japanese Apricot tree.   The earth-formed texture, (as well as patio texture) come from our farm’s clay, roots and thick weave burlap.  In the sides, there… Read More

Continue Reading 0
Deodora counter

Deodora Countertops from Storm Damage

When the saw mill guy untarped our deodora lumber, the fragrance made every man there stop, enjoy and forget about the heavy work ahead. I thought of my little deodora, how I dream of watching it grow, providing privacy and shade. I don’t think of it’s death. I dream of the teenage years, it’ll need… Read More

Continue Reading 3