My husband and I usually drive when we vacation or travel on business. We rely on people we meet on the way to steer us to worthwhile local gardens. Unfortunately, sometimes the raving referral doesn’t live up to the garden experience. Once in awhile, we stumble onto a good garden to tour by ourselves. This hardly ever happens in the real world.
Now there is a companion to take along on our, and your, travels. The Visitor’s Guide To American Gardens by Jo Ellen Meyers Sharp highlights Garden Walks, Garden Talks, and Garden Events in all 50 states plus entries for Canadian, European and English gardens.
How I wish there had been a copy available when we were driving through Tennessee. I would love to see the Cheekwood Botanical Garden & Museum of Art in Nashville. Not only did I not know about this garden estate formerly owned by the Cheek family (who developed Maxwell House Coffee) I had no idea what I was missing as we swung around Nashville.
Not all the gardens in this book are large estates or botanical gardens. There are smallish gems, too. One of my favorites, Hatcher Garden and Woodland Preserve in Spartanburg, South Carolina, is in the book. So is Brookgreen Gardens in Murrell’s Inlet, South Carolina, the sculpture garden hosting the traveling Birds in Art exhibit in January.
There are 17 gardens listed in Ohio. I grew up in Ohio and I am embarrassed to say I have never been to one of these gardens. How sad is that? I’ll bet the next time I visit “home” I will make a point of seeing at least one.
The author, Jo Ellen Myers Sharp, is a freelance magazine and newspaper writer who writes and gardens from Indianapolis, Indiana. She is a regional director for the Garden Writers Association. I was pleased to receive her book from her representative. This book is a perfect take-along to cities or as you drive the countrysides. For you techno-savvy types, there are even Smartphone-scannable QR codes that link to every garden’s website. How cool is that? Christmas giving just got easier for gardeners and travelers on your Santa list. You can find The Visitor’s Guide to American Gardens at bookstores, online retailers and most botanical gardens.
By Kate Karam for Monrovia
Photograph courtesy of Monrovia
As landscapes are getting smaller and gardeners have less time to care for them, these naturally smaller plants are taking a larger role. They look great year round, come in all kinds of shapes, forms, and colors, many are water-wise once established, and most thrive in extreme climates. However, the real reason we love them is the way they provide strong structure and play well with floriferous bounty during the growing season, becoming stars in their own right during the winter. If you live in zones 4 - 8 you have the largest range of choices, but there's something amazing for just about every zone!
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