Tuesday, May 20, 2014
As the summer months approach, families are planning vacations. Many already have taken advantage of cooler weather, like my sister-in-law who recently enjoyed two weeks in Paris. Her side trip to Giverny in the old Normandy province located 50 miles from Paris gave her an opportunity to visit the gardens of Claude Monet – a founder of French impressionist painting. The gardens were not as beautiful as his paintings of gardens, but they started me thinking about all of the beautiful gardens we have in our city, state and country. I have several to recommend that are good not only for adults but for children, as well.
Here are some of my favorites:
• The wonderful Greeneway paths. A visit to the Living History Park is always interesting, and if you haven’t strolled through the Wade Hampton Veterans Park on both sides of Georgia Avenue, you should make it a priority. In 1992, American Legion Post No. 71 and its member Thomas Greene (namesake of the Greeneway and former mayor) initiated renovations to the park. It has 11 or more monuments dedicated to local heroes of America’s conflicts, as well as flags of all U.S. military services and the various U.S. flags that have flown over the course of our nation’s history. In 2013, a tree was planted and a marker placed in the park by members of the Carolina Hills Garden Club in honor of Gordon Farmer.
• A visit to Summerville, known as “The Hill” section of Augusta. You can park the car and walk through the neighborhood of well-preserved homes both large and small with beautiful gardens visible from the street. While you are on that side of the river, you might want to visit Pendleton King Park at 1600 Troupe St., where hydrangeas, other flowers and trees make it worth the trip. The park also features a Bark Park for the family dog, playgrounds, rental facilities and cross country trails and wetlands.
• A trip to Riverbanks Zoo and Gardens, 500 Wildlife Parkway, Columbia. It has twice been awarded the Governor’s Cup for South Carolina’s Most Outstanding Tourist Attraction. Riverbanks is the premiere family choice for education and recreation in the Southeast.
• A trip to Brookgreen Gardens, 1931 Brookgreen Garden Drive, Murrells Inlet. This garden is considered one of the top 10 public gardens in the U.S. While the gardens are famous for their sculpture collection, they have many things to offer. Children love the Enchanted Storybook Forest and its interactive playhouses. My personal favorite is the 48-foot pontoon boat ride along historic rice fields filled with alligators, waterfowl and osprey.
• Lastly, the Red Butte Garden at the University of Utah. Many of us who travel do so to visit family. Two of my grandchildren live in Salt Lake City and, knowing my love for flowers, they took me to visit this garden located at 300 Wakara Way, Salt Lake City, Utah. Some of the plant materials are a little different from things we grow on the east coast, but much was the same. The design of the gardens was outstanding both from a child’s and an adult’s point of view.
When planning your summer activities, don’t forget to throw in a garden or two. Remember, the love of the land and the joy of gardening can be handed down from generation to generation.
Send pictures and information on your favorite garden adventures this summer to bolandL42@me.com.