110 Degrees of Botanical

The car thermometer read 110, but we were not going to let a little Georgia heat get in our way of exploring this afternoon.  I have been driving by signs for Savannah Botanical Gardens on Eisenhower Drive since May and decided today was the day to check it out.  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe sun was high ( not so easy to photograph in a garden) and I am challenged with my new mirror-less Olympus OM-D.  (Why are my cameras always so much smarter than me!)

This garden is managed and maintained by the Savannah Area Council of Garden Clubs.  Keeping these gardens looking so good is no small feat in this heat. (Couldn’t resist the rhyme)  There are 21 areas to explore. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA I was beginning to despair of seeing roses growing around my new home in Savannah, but not only did I see roses (oh, they do suffer in this heat)OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA but I found a pamphlet from the Savannah Rose Society.  Perhaps I will get some roses in my garden after all!  The pamphlet says the SRS is dedicated to helping you grow roses!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Just as I was beginning to think I could not take any more of the blazing sun, I turned to a shade path, and saw this lovely creature.  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIf the furry friend could sit quietly and enjoy the serenity, I guessed I could too!

I am still learning my way through the long list of Southern plants I’ve never grown or even KNOWN!  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis amazing plant, both beautiful and fragrant is unknown to me – dear readers do you know it?OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Some of my favorite blog writers are writing about the waning days of Summer and the hints of Autumn.  Not so in Savannah, where the sun is strong, the temperatures scream SUMMER and the plants show no sign of fading yet. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA So, it was a wonderful day to see a garden, despite the heat.  The strong sun and heat have already influenced my garden style.  If you’ve read my blog for some time, you may have seen my classic iron urns on stands that always stood at my front door.  They came here to Savannah with me, but the usual boxwood or geranium plantings don’t look right.  So I went wild and added some tropical color and a real punch to the front yard.  I wonder what the neighbors think? OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA They may be brash, but I think they hold up to the strong sun, and they are screaming, HOT HOT HOT!  110 degrees of botanical bliss!

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Savannah Streets

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Owens-Thomas House

One benefit of moving to a new city is the possibility of discovering new places and people on any given day.  I’ve been discovering more places than people, but I want to show you what I discovered on our way to visit to the Owens-Thomas House.  We got a late start and felt hungry so as we passed this little spot, we decided to stop and grab a sandwich.

Clary's

Clary’s

I don’t know if it would qualify for that T.V. show, Diners, Drive-ins and Dives, but Clary’s had a happy clientage and my grilled cheese on rye was perfect.  I spotted this beautiful home IMG_1593on the walk back to the car, and had to drag dear husband away to discover what else this pretty street in Savannah had to offer.  Many of the homes date to the Civil War era and you wonder who lived in these homes, and how they weathered the crisis and the desperate years leading up to Sherman’s march on Savannah.IMG_1598 Fortunately there have been attempts to restore and protect the historic district over the many years and we are all the better for it.  There are some very green thumbs living on this charming street off Abercorn.IMG_1612  Like many cities, there are doorways, alleys and gates that offer glimpses to the city gardens. IMG_1601 I will be curious to see what  happens in this side yard!  IMG_1610Though I live on the coastal side of Savannah where most of the building has been done in the last 40 years, I think that there should be references in your home to the history of the area.  That is why I was wondering “what were they thinking?” when we bought our home and spotted this light pole right in the front yard.   It is black iron, but….P7210003We just had some fencing put up in the back yard so that we could sit outside with the dogs safely inside and the alligators hopefully far away in a lagoon on the other side!   IMG_1647  Of course, the iron workIMG_1603 in historic Savannah is beautiful but it would not do on most new homes.  Yet, I like the reference to the ironIMG_1600 and it fits here much better than the white picket fence from our Connecticut home could have.  The light post may have a black wrought iron look, but there is so much else wrong with it – do you agree?  And hopefully the fence for our back yard is right.

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Irresistably Drawn to Incredible Places

On a Summer day are you drawn to gardens and  places where you can stroll or sit,  stare or daydream?  Would you journey to Europe to visit incredible garden places?  DSC_0167 Maybe you would like to stay at home in your own garden, but for a few moments, come along to an incredible place….Come with me to visit to a favorite garden, one I could never tire of and if I could fly there this very afternoon, I would.   Come along…

Play this song, if you like. Trip to Paris, Cliveden May 2008 232

Trip to Paris, Cliveden May 2008 230 Let’s wander to…..  Sissinghurst,

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where the spirits of Vita Sackville-West and  husband Harold still abide and their gardens surrounding Sissinghurst Castle  remain true.  images_5 DownloadedFile

The famous Lutyens bench beckons, in all seasons.

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images_6Sit for a moment, or pick up a tool and dig into the hallowed ground where these famous authors/gardeners perfected an art.!Trip to Paris, Cliveden May 2008 244 Sissinghurst is written about all the time, by every sort of author, but you’ll want to see it for yourself.  DownloadedFile

Trip to Paris, Cliveden May 2008 216Each wall borders a path that leads you to another enchanted place.  One garden room opens to another.   Sissinghurst is an ocean away, and feels a century removed.

But imagine you are there, walking in the sun and between the shadows.

Imagine summer in a garden,images_3

this special garden….Sissinghurst.

I wrote this post to join in with Anita at Castles, Crowns and Cottages;  she is hosting a most spectacular journey of the imagination.  Anita is a favorite blogger, poet and philosopher.  If you have a moment, drop by and she will point the way to some fascinating journeys with her fellow bloggers! I will return to Savannah after this brief wander of the imagination through a British garden.  Back to the watery splendor of this coastal city and her magnificent skies!

Sunset Park, Skidaway Island

Sunset Park, Skidaway Island

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Cruising Coastal Georgia

We embarked on a sunset cruise around Skidaway and Wilmington Islands last night.

Skidaway Island

Skidaway Island

Coastal Georgia is perhaps the richest marshland in the United States.  All that oxygen and nutrient richness made me feel healthier just cruising around.  We saw dolphins flipping hellos and manatees diving in the air!  We saw Paula Deen’s house – “Hey Paula!” IMG_1351My take on Paula?  My impression is that she has a really big heart and she knows her way around the kitchen.  She made some mistakes and made her confession.  Now get back to the kitchen, Paula, and make it yummy but make it healthier.  We haven’t tried her restaurant , The Lady and her Sons.  But she helped to bring tourists to Savannah because of her cooking, and that has been a good thing for this city.  The sense is that Hugh Acheson will do the same.  Can’t wait to visit  his just opened restaurant in Savannah,  The Florence.

The Florence

The Florence

We are reserved with 8 friends for next week; I’ll let you know how that goes!  But back to the water -

This was about as perfect a night IMG_1393as you get and my love of Savannah skies deepened as the colors saturated and stamped the evening a “10!”  IMG_1413I am saving the best photo of the night – I can’t give you everything, dear readers!  But rest assured that if you come to this part of the coast, you will be amazed at the beauty from out on the water.

Boys were fishing as we approached the dock at dusk.IMG_1430  Reminding us of the simple pleasures that continue from generation to generation….

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Seeing Savannah Sites

Trying to get up to speed on our new city is taking time, but it is time well spent.  If we have house guests, we want to have fun places and interesting sites to show them.  One way to get a well-rounded view of Savannah is to take one of the trolley tours. IMG_0247 You will hopefully get a beautiful day and a well versed guide!  Savannah is an intimate city and very easy to see on foot, but on your first day, you might want to get a general overall impression from the comfort and charm of a trolley bus, and then take it from there, exploring on foot.  Today dear husband and I set out to visit the Telfair Museum.

Telfair Academy

Telfair Academy

It is a wonderful place with much to recommend.  Not in the least that it overlooks a lovely Savannah square!  IMG_0246Almost anywhere you are in the historic district, you will find a square beckoning – Sit here!  Relax!  Watch the people!  Listen to the music (so often a musician will be there playing for your pleasure)!  There are three components and buildings to visit that are part of the Telfair organization.  When I know more, I will pass it on, but for a glimpse inside an old Savannah mansion, start at the Telfair Academy.  Right now, the exhibit on the third floor is

New York Accents: The New York Influence on Telfair’s Collections
JUNE 7, 2013 – JULY 6, 2014

I hope to share more with you in future blogs – all in good time.  Because as you know, I’ve now got a small place to plant and weed!  It takes time – more time well spent!  My little plot now has a few tomato plants and a pepper and some herbs. IMG_0215 I planted sunflowers on Monday evening, and they were germinated by tonight!  I’ve used landscape cloth to keep the weeds down, and covered with the mulch used predominantly here – pine needles. IMG_1293  Wish me luck, as it is starting to get HOT here in Georgia.  Oh, another reason to visit Georgia in June?  The farm stands that pop up are AMAZING!  Juicy peaches, rich, ripe tomatoes, sweet corn and boiled peanuts!!IMG_0250

 

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Georgian Gardening

I’ve been in the antiques business for the last 15 years, so I know about Georgian furniture and styles.  I’ve been in the gardening world for more decades than I care to admit, though I don’t know anything about Georgian gardening!

But now it begins!  I’ve signed up for a plot in the community garden. IMG_1266 Gardening in coastal Georgia will be a challenge, and I am going to learn a lot from observing my neighbors.  I opted to rent a plot in the ORGANIC section, rather than the CONVENTIONAL section.  Last week while taking a stroll through the gardens, I spotted a plastic spray bottle of SEVIN in one of the plots.  What!  You may argue with me, and that is fair, but if you don’t want it sprinkled or sprayed on your oatmeal, dont spray it on my vegetables and flowers!  What will kill a bee, butterfly or insect can’t be good for you either.  Face it!  I am going to show you some organic plots, and you will see holes and bites, but you will also see very beautiful and edible plants!IMG_1262

I spotted one gardener growing dahlias!  Be still my heart!  IMG_1261 IMG_1260I might dig up a couple of tubers that I already planted in the yard, which are struggling without enough light.  They might be happier in the sunny garden plot.  Some gardeners are putting their plots to bed for the hottest months, and they will resume planting in September.  IMG_1257But I just can’t wait that long!  This is what our plot looked like this morning, after some very wonderful volunteers cleared it.  IMG_1245Monday morning I have arranged for 2 yards of compost to be delivered and then it begins!  Dear husband is joining me on this venture.  He is in charge of water and irrigation.  IMG_1248And weeds!  On the way out we spotted an attractive plot in the conventional section. IMG_1268 I hope to achieve as much in the organic section.  Organic gardeners, wish me luck!  This year, no ground hogs and deer to contend with!  But see what else is lurking outside the electric fence of this wonderful community garden!IMG_1270

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DINING ON DRAYTON

This blog is primarily about all things garden, but there are times I take a different route to get to the heart of the garden.  Our dining experience last evening is a case in point. We drove into the heart of Savannah.  Always a treat to drive past the great old homes,IMG_1200 but dear husband was hungry, so there was not enough time for good photography!  700 Drayton Restaurant is AMAZING!IMG_1227  Right across from Forsyth ParkIMG_1220IMG_1221 in a fabulous old mansion which has been restored to a hotel, this restaurant delivers on every score!  IMG_1207We began the evening with champagne cocktails.  IMG_1210Can you see that sugared hibiscus at the bottom of the glass?    A little something from the garden?   Would you sugar a hibiscus for your champagne cocktail?  Why not?

The menus arrived and it was hard to choose.  IMG_1209Are you always wondering when the waiter remarks that you’ve made a good choice, what he or she would say if you made a horrible choice?  “Sorry Madame, the chef really screwed that up tonight!   Care to make another choice?”  But truly, this chef is so inspired and on top of his game, I don’t think you could make a wrong choice!  And so, back to the garden…when my appetizer arrived, the scent of the arugula and herbs took me straight to a patch of fresh organic greens growing in rich Southern soil. IMG_1213 I could have left the table content after that fresh watermelon and feta delight.  But I would have missed this!  My favorite!  Scallops!  IMG_1214And beautifully prepared with a rich yet not overpowering curry flavor.  I love to prepare scallops in a simple way, but why not be inspired to bring more garden on the plate.  Well, that is the way I looked at it last night.   IMG_1208

I know we will return to this restaurant again and again!

Back to the garden tomorrow, and less of the culinary excursions.  I am trying to learn about crape myrtle. In fact, you will see white flowering crape myrtle in one of the photos above…you look through them to Forsyth Park.   Readers, do you remember a past post when I remarked on the crape myrtle growing outside the Irwin garden at NYBG?  I said I wanted one if I ever moved South, and today I found one to fit an empty spot on our new property.  Lagerstroemia ‘Tonto’.  There is great discussion here in the South on how to prune (or not to prune) your crape myrtle.  I hear they call the bad kind, crape murder!  Lest I make a mistake, I purchased a semi-dwarf variety that will not outgrow its spot, and so I will not get the crape myrtle police on my tail for crape murder.  I don’t plant to prune at all!

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Savannah Skies

You are never sure, I suppose, what a new home in a new part of the country will be like and what you will come to love or to dislike.  After a month in our new home, I have to say that I LOVE the skies over Savannah.  There are bright blue days with amazing cloud formations. IMG_0177 There are days when the sky darkens like the end of the world is near. IMG_0193 And there are days when the sky and the earth meld into colors that you weren’t expecting.IMG_0201

If you come to Savannah in June, be prepared for beautiful skies!

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MAY MOVING

 

“She took a step and didn’t want to take any more,

but she did.”

Markus Zusak

The cold of May was left behind.  Though magnolias bloomed, OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAthe raw chill seeped through the skin and threatened to freeze the heart.

Moving to Savannah was a big step.  The sun is hot here and you expect the deep cold of the North to be left behind.  Hot and so strong, so you choose colors for the garden that will stand up to it.  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA The scent of gardenia greets as you come in and go out.  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAStep by step, you wait for the warmth to spread and stay.

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Home In Savannah

 

 

 

We are now at home in Savannah, but first…

There were places, favorite places with special memories, to visit before leaving New Canaan CT,  like the Walled Garden at Waveny Park where I’ve spent every growing season for many years as a volunteer.IMG_0713

There is no place like HOME and our home on Weed Street served us well.  The crab apples bloomed for us one more time.  Dear husband says he isn’t going to miss the Winter pruning. (I don’t believe that.)

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The movers came on a beautiful Spring day, maybe one of the few of this season.  Did they write that on the truck just for us?  GO NEW PLACES!  Look at the size of the truck that we filled up!  Wasn’t it just a few short years ago (um, NO!) that I moved from my apartment with two roommates on East 87th Street to husband-to-be’s co-op on East 73rd and we wheeled all my clothes down Park Avenue on a clothing rack? Honest!  A few more  boxes and that was all it took to move me to a new place!

 

 

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We’ve made the move.  One week and the boxes seem to multiply rather than disappear.  How will I ever get this done?  In one week, we’ve had painters, landscapers, contractors, security systems types,  and more visit, so I am trying not to be too hard on myself for not having the unpacking finished.  It is busy around the new place!   How long did it take you, dear readers, the last time you had to unpack in a new home?

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I am making discoveries daily.  Gardenia grow in the ground here and  their perfume is intoxicating on the back patio.  No pine bark mulch here, instead most residents use pine needles.  There are plants that I’ve seen grow in green houses but never expected to see them growing in the ground in the Spring!

IMG_0925 IMG_0899The evenings come too soon for this first week in Georgia.  But who can complain when we end each night taking the dogs for a walk,  with a view like this to bid the day adieu.

 

 

 

 

 

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