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Wow-What-is-it

Winter Garden & The VERY First Plant Books

In five inches of snow, with hand warming chemical packs in my pocket, I saw 90 different varieties of witch hazel sparkle.  The Missouri Botanical Garden staff horticulturist Sara Murphy cares for this huge planting.  They were in full flower, in the snow, in February in St. Louis. Sara knows how to make them look… Read More

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Kill the Confederate Myths: 5 Better Vines for Southern Shade

When we started building Riverbanks Botanical Garden, 20+ years ago, we had to deal with a Pennsylvanian’s idea of southern architecture. The building, walls and walkways of some grandiose vision of antebellum structures that only ever existed in bad movies.  It reminded me that, as a teen, I loved Aunti Mame as much as any… Read More

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Supple Jack

Stalking Supple Jack on the Salkehatchie

Some guys go duck hunting on Christmas.  Some people go to movies.  Momma and I went in search of an elusive vine: Supple Jack.  To be honest, the vine isn’t rare, but its home is in blackwater swamps.  Special places, also home to cotton mouths and deep holes hidden in black water, but in winter,… Read More

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Tom Writes About Hay Day

Beech Island, South Carolina. The City of two untruths. There’s no beach, and there’s no island. There is a third untruth, but I’m ahead of myself. Jenks and I went to see our friend and neighbor Mark, on Friday morning. His Thanksgiving was as perfect as ours. Mark grows and bales a beautiful, healthy hay,… Read More

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Conjunction Junction; A Lady who Loves Her Function….

A young family who’s trying to mix modern needs into the garden of a historic Mediterranean Revival home. An 86-year-old gentleman, from the wrong side of the tracks, who enlisted in the US Navy at 16 having lied about his age. The person who organized fundraising events and presentations for the New Orleans Botanical Garden…. Read More

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Persimon

Persimmon Trees in Gardens

Speaking with an elderly friend today, I asked about how to get around some issues of growing persimmon trees.  He launched into a long story about an abandoned grove he recalled in south Georgia with a long aside about  his old friend who’d discovered the grove in full fruit.  At one point he said, “It… Read More

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The last Crinum of the summer.

What’s Better Than Egg Souffle in Marrakesh? Mexicans at Waffle House and the Last Flowers of Frost

Gardening puts me in the middle of two very different groups of people: those with lots of cash who pepper their conversation with French and those with lots of bills, who speak Spanglish while we work.  A late afternoon call from a client of the first group, then a text from worker of the second… Read More

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Garden Visiting in the Upstate of South Carolina

After a few intense weeks with hands in the dirt, focused on getting new crinum planted and on getting lots of fall leaf crop and spring flower seeds in the ground, I took a little road trip up to the red hills, around Rock Hill, Great Falls, Jenkinsville and Charlotte. Here are 20 pics from… Read More

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Just a Few Pics from the Day

[Not a valid template] Some days, I’m just too tired to write.  The morning started with driving, helping out the tree crew who’s working on the tree/hedge line of the pasture and getting fruit trees set up for a fire sale this weekend.  Isaac made that look spiffy while Knox bush-hogged. Fire wood cutting, bulb… Read More

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A Farm Cycle too Brief; Beyond Our Understanding

Our farm crew is changing drastically.   New interns joined on while two guys who’ve been part of it since they were early teens moved on.  Jacob and Tyler, seemingly, suddenly men, moved on to career jobs. In 20 years of managing interns, there have been bad times.  But not this bad.  Young Tyler, settling… Read More

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