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.
Spring ephemerals are some of the first plants to flower in the early spring long before most trees leaf out. They tend not to like the heat and will quickly disappear if temperatures get above 80 degrees. Spring ephemerals leaf out, bloom, go to seed, spread themselves about and then enter dormancy; they don't really die. All this happens in a two-month period, making them some of the most efficient of the flowering plants. That is what makes these plants so very special.
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