GardenSmart :: EPISODES :: 2008 show46
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Show #46/1407
Charleston Garden Festival


Paul Mulkey
PAUL HAS CREATED WHAT HE CALLS A TYPICAL CHARLESTON GARDEN. This is a garden that would typically be found beyond the piazza. The theme is Charleston Green and Paul has utilized the famous Charleston green paint which is 2 parts black, one part green. One will find it on cannons, Charleston battery benches and many other structures. Symmetry is important in a Charleston garden. One wants the garden to line up with the piazza. The garden rooms typically will lead to another room. The use of bluestone and brick walkways form the pathways. The sound of water is important as is lots of flowers. People in Charleston have spent and do spend a lot time in their gardens. Their gardens are an extension of their house. It's here they socialize and entertain.

Click here for more info

Kari Whitley
JOE NEXT MEETS KARI WHITLEY. Kari has degrees in horticulture and plant pathology. She likes taking the plant geek thing then playing with design. Kari uses mostly natives with low water uses that fit the site. A favorite is Spiranthese odorara 'March Ladies Tresses.' It is a native Orchid with the common name Ladies Tresses. The flower spirals around the stalk like a spiral staircase. Underneath she has Tricyrtis latifolia 'Toad lily.' Toad Lily is not native but great for southern gardens. Kari has also incorporated Taxodium distichum 'Bald cypress,' as well as Myrica carolinensis 'Wax Myrtle' and Hierochloe odorata 'Sweetgrass.' These are all good tough plants for the area.

Click here for more info

J.R. Kramer
HE WANTED A MODERN INTERPRETATION OF A TRADITIONAL CHARLESTON GARDEN, focusing on the sustainability factor. He's incorporated native plants in a formal manner, to show that we can use these plants, take them out of a naturalistic setting, line them up and really show that they can be utilized in a traditional as well as a more modern garden.

Click here for more info

Vertical Gardening System
We were recently contacted by one of our viewers, HEATHER , WHO WAS EXCITED ABOUT HER VERTICAL GARDENING SYSTEM. She has placed it on her deck thus is making the most of a small space. Small spaces are becoming more commonplace with lots smaller today and gardening space shrinking. Thus we need to take advantage of spaces like this on our decks and vertical gardening is becoming more attractive.
Shop Smart Organics


Click here for more info

Katie Wood
Joe notices HER DISPLAY GARDEN IS A SMALL SPACE YET IT FEELS LIKE HE IS IN A FOREST. Katy wanted to design a garden that was lush and green. But she wanted nothing but green texture. Katy used many interesting plants. The Bambusa 'Golden Goddess' bamboo is a clump former and the backdrop for the rest of the plants, many of which are Palms and Ferns. Katie has chosen a 'Cycad' and a 'Dioon merolae,' which is a female Diion with a cone that is very unusual. The ferns, specifically the 'Maidenhair' and the 'Sword' were very prolific in earlier times.

Click here for more info

Jeff Jackson
JEFF'S EXHIBIT IS LONG AND REPRESENTS A TIME LINE. The first part represents what settlers coming to South Carolina would have encountered on the coast when landing. Thick vegetation, Saw palmetto, sand, Cedars, all types of plants that would have been growing right on the coastline. Joe notices that there is something missing. There is no stone. The South Carolina coast has very little natural stone.

Click here for more info

 


LINKS/CONTACTS:

Hydro Tower

Charleston Garden Festival

The Inn At Middleton Place

Paul Mulkey - The Tree Clinic


Kari Whitley - Scout Horticultural Consulting


J. R. Kramer - Remark Landscape


Katie Wood - Katy Wood Landscape Design


Jeff Jackson - Lowcountry Roots


Garden Smart Plant List



Complete transcript of the show.


Fall is a great time to plant and a great time to plan ahead. With this in mind, garden shows and garden festivals are wonderful places to discover new gardening ideas. And the Charleston Garden Festival is one of the best. Plus, fall is a wonderful time to visit Charleston, South Carolina.
Nancy Abercrombie is the Executive Director of the Charleston Garden Festival and welcomes Garden Smart. Nancy provides detail about the area. Charleston has a long and interesting history and an especially interesting horticultural background. Accordingly, The Charleston Garden Festival is held at Middleton Place which was established in 1741 making it the oldest landscape garden in America. The Charleston Horticultural Society, which presents the Charleston Garden Festival, was founded in 1830 with members like John Audubon and John Poinsett.
Nancy became involved in the Festival many years ago when her mother asked her to volunteer. She was the only one under 15 volunteering at the time but, even then, they were working hard to inspire young gardeners to take part in gardening. Young or old the Charleston Garden Festival still strives to motivate gardeners, to present new ideas and to advance the cause of gardening.
Garden Smart has visited many garden shows and festivals but most all have been indoors. This is outside because they feel the designers should have the opportunity to showcase their work, plants and designs in an outside environment allowing gardeners the opportunity to view everything in a more natural environment.
Each year they have a new theme. This year it's Charleston Green, What's Old Is New. Each of the landscape designers adhere to that theme. It always amazes and surprises Nancy that the different designers will have a different take on the theme. But they're always wonderful. Charleston has many amazing local landscape designers and architects who work and plan their Festival design, whether it's growing plants or building structures, for an entire year. It then takes about 7 days to install these gardens but once done it looks like they've been here for years.
Paul Mulkey is the designer and creator of the first garden we visit. Paul has his own radio show and is known as Super Garden Hero. PAUL HAS CREATED WHAT HE CALLS A TYPICAL CHARLESTON GARDEN. This is a garden that would typically be found beyond the piazza. The theme is Charleston Green and Paul has utilized the famous Charleston green paint which is 2 parts black, one part green. One will find it on cannons, Charleston battery benches and many other structures. Symmetry is important in a Charleston garden. One wants the garden to line up with the piazza. The garden rooms typically will lead to another room. The use of bluestone and brick walkways form the pathways. The sound of water is important as is lots of flowers. People in Charleston have spent and do spend a lot time in their gardens. Their gardens are an extension of their house. It's here they socialize and entertain. In times past they didn't have air conditioning so outdoors was an important space. It provided cool relief.
Joe feels the plant selection in this garden is simple yet feels cool. That, of course, is by design. Paul shows several examples. The Rosa 'Knockout' is an amazing rose, it provides 9-10 months of flowers. Although fairly new Paul is trying to use it to get roses back in the garden. He's also used a new variety of azalea, Azalea x 'Hardy Gardenia' which blooms both spring and fall. The flower looks like a Gardenia, however the lack of fragrance gives it away. Muhlenbergia filipes 'Sweet Grass' is an important plant for the low country. It has big, beautiful plumes and thrives in poor soil.
Joe notices a piece of art. Paul found it, drilled a hole through it, plumbed it with a very inexpensive pump, made a small pedestal out of 4 pieces of stone, placed it on a millstone, added a pile of river rocks and it is an amazing recirculating birdbath. The birds love the sound of moving water.
Paul has taken a chimney pot and turned it into a great plant stand. He's added an inexpensive Asparagus densiflorus and it makes a really nice statement. Paul believes that one can find many different things at antique shops or junk shops and they can make great additions to your garden.
Joe likes the gate. A wrought iron gate marks most of the Charleston gardens. This gate was white when Paul found it. He painted it Charleston green, took a blow torch, heated it up and gave it an old crackled look. Next to the gate is an old table. It cost about $15 at a junk shop. Put a plant on it and it makes an amazing addition to the garden. A Charleston garden is something that slowly evolves. Think about it, if a garden were truly 100 years old it would have slowly evolved thereby incorporating different, unusual pieces. Paul wanted to convey the sense that one is in a Charleston garden, thus these pieces fit perfectly. The rumor is that in times past, Charleston was too proud to whitewash, yet too poor to paint. So most of the Charleston gardens were put together over the years, often with handed down objects. Paul has done a great job of creating a garden that truly feels old, yet is stunningly beautiful.
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JOE NEXT MEETS KARI WHITLEY. Kari has degrees in horticulture and plant pathology. She likes taking the plant geek thing then playing with design. Kari uses mostly natives with low water uses that fit the site. A favorite is Spiranthese odorara 'March Ladies Tresses.' It is a native Orchid with the common name Ladies Tresses. The flower spirals around the stalk like a spiral staircase. Underneath she has Tricyrtis latifolia 'Toad lily.' Toad Lily is not native but great for southern gardens. Kari has also incorporated Taxodium distichum 'Bald cypress,' as well as Myrica carolinensis 'Wax Myrtle' and Hierochloe odorata 'Sweetgrass.' These are all good tough plants for the area.
Keri has incorporated a caldron into the space. It was made by a man in Walterboro, South Carolina where he makes them by hand at his foundry, one at a time. It's an old syrup kettle like old farms would have used. In this garden it's used as a fire pit.
Joe's favorite feature is the outdoor shower. It is made from locally harvested Cypress and doesn't need to be treated yet it will age to a nice silver color. It's held together with pegs, there are no nails in this piece. The outdoor shower has a lot of great design features. The slats on the side swivel whichever way is needed or depending on ones level of modesty. They importantly increase airflow. Kari wanted to make the outdoor shower a focal point, rather than something hidden underneath a deck. On the top is a beautiful green roof. Here Kari is playing off the green roof idea which is becoming more popular on large buildings. She made it into an aesthetic piece for the garden. It should never need to be watered because Kari has used all drought tolerant plants.
Kari's intent was to make going green elegant and inviting, so she created a very soothing garden with all local materials. It is very well done. Thanks Keri.
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J.R. Kramer is another up and coming landscape architect in Charleston. Although he has been in the business awhile he and his wife have recently started their own firm. Their company is Remark Landscape and they focus on sustainable landscape architecture. J. R.'s design is different but interesting. HE WANTED A MODERN INTERPRETATION OF A TRADITIONAL CHARLESTON GARDEN, focusing on the sustainability factor. He's incorporated native plants in a formal manner, to show that we can use these plants, take them out of a naturalistic setting, line them up and really show that they can be utilized in a traditional as well as a more modern garden.
In this garden J.R. has used starkness and contrasted that with plant material. The idea is to use simple rows, then group the plants together to create texture, then combine that with the colors of the glass, the vegetation, then the framing of the Pine trees. All this in a very simple manner. The Pine trees give the sense of enclosure, yet it's open. The Pine trees are Pinus palustris 'Longleaf pine' and are part of the eco system found throughout the southeast. About 99% of that eco system has been lost. J.R. has also incorporated mirrors which add depth and richness to the garden. As one walks through a Longleaf pine garden you get glimpses of the leaves and the light bouncing back and forth. The mirrors add a lot.
The flooring is Turfstone paver. Typically plants would be growing here but he wanted to take sustainability further and in this instance is using recycled glass which is a pervious material. Water will easily go into the ground. Rain will infiltrate it, fertilizing isn't necessary, it doesn't need mowing, it is energy efficient. And, all the glass is from a local company.
J.R. has an unusual chair that was the hit of the show. It adds color, another modern element and is made with recycled material. All the plants are native to the area. J.R's done a great job, very unusual and attractive.
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We were recently contacted by one of our viewers, HEATHER , WHO WAS EXCITED ABOUT HER VERTICAL GARDENING SYSTEM. She has placed it on her deck thus is making the most of a small space. Small spaces are becoming more commonplace with lots smaller today and gardening space shrinking. Thus we need to take advantage of spaces like this on our decks and vertical gardening is becoming more attractive.
This vertical growing system uses a small space by incorporating multiple layers which allow one to plant different kinds of plants from ornamentals to veggies, all in one area. Importantly, this is accessible and easy for kids to help maintain. This vertical growing system came through the mail and was easy to put together. The containers were assembled on top of the reservoir that holds the water for the plants which is then connected to the drip irrigation system. There is a pump at the bottom that pushes the water up and out through the tubes at the top which feeds the plants and trickles all the way down. The containers were filled with coconut husk. Soil would have worked but coconut husk retains a lot more water. It is very compact, thus nice for shipping but more importantly when wet it really expands, holding a lot of moisture. It's a great application for a container. Heather says her son loves it because the blocks were originally small but with water increased dramatically in size.
They then started the planting process. They wanted the top layer to be pretty so they planted colorful plants like Petunia hybridia and Coleus. The Coleus has really taken off. In the next layer they planted herbs, then on the third and forth levels planted tomatoes and squash. As all gardeners know we have some successes and some failures. In this case they decided they needed a bigger area to grow squash because it didn't grow very well. Joe suggests that next time they try a dwarf squash variety. Rather than giving up on squash in this setting, instead find a smaller variety. That should make the difference. For more info on this growing tower click on this link.
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Joe next visits with Katy Wood. Katy is a landscape designer, went to Clemson University, and has been designing beautiful gardens and landscapes for others with her own firm for about 5 years.
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Joe notices HER DISPLAY GARDEN IS A SMALL SPACE YET IT FEELS LIKE HE IS IN A FOREST. Katy wanted to design a garden that was lush and green. But she wanted nothing but green texture. Katy used many interesting plants. The Bambusa 'Golden Goddess' bamboo is a clump former and the backdrop for the rest of the plants, many of which are Palms and Ferns. Katie has chosen a 'Cycad' and a 'Dioon merolae,' which is a female Diion with a cone that is very unusual. The ferns, specifically the 'Maidenhair' and the 'Sword' were very prolific in earlier times.
When stepping back and looking at the garden Joe notices that nothing is in bloom. That, of course, is by design. Katie collaborated with Barbara Sanderson who is an amazing glass blower from Seattle. Katie knew she wanted color in the garden and has utilized the glass for that color. It's been the highlight of this garden. Katie has installed lights which shine through the glass. She used low voltage lighting that will clip into existing landscape lights or stand on their own. They make it easy for the do-it-yourselfer and add a nice element to any garden.
Katie has also added little rocks that almost appear to be dinosaur eggs. Katie thinks any kind of natural stone brings a beautiful element to a landscape and add a nice organic element as well. Nice job Katie. Very different but great looking.
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The next exhibit is the work of Jeff Jackson, a landscape designer. Jeff grew up in Charleston and has been a practicing landscape designer for over 25 years. JEFF'S EXHIBIT IS LONG AND REPRESENTS A TIME LINE. The first part represents what settlers coming to South Carolina would have encountered on the coast when landing. Thick vegetation, Saw palmetto, sand, Cedars, all types of plants that would have been growing right on the coastline. Joe notices that there is something missing. There is no stone. The South Carolina coast has very little natural stone. So for building, the early settlers would take the shells that they found in abundance and incorporate that into a building material. It was called tabby.
In the early days Charleston was the 4th largest city in America. There would often be as many as 300 ships anchored in the Charleston harbor. This means a lot of things were coming off those ships and that included a lot of non-native plants. Charlestonians used the non-natives that were gathered from around the world to build their gardens, emulating the palatial gardens of Europe. They looked beautiful but there was and is a problem with that plan. Those plants require more water, more pruning, more maintenance in general. They weren't suited for the conditions in coastal South Carolina. This area of Jeff's garden represents that era.
The next part of the garden represents new, recently developed, exotic plants. The Rosa 'Knockout,' the Gardenia jasminoides and Dwarf Laurel Pedlum are all exotic plants and not really suited to South Carolina.
As we move through the time line we look at the next exhibit. This represents what Jeff thinks we should be doing. Here he's used more native plants that are from the southeast and South Carolina. These require less water and provide more adaptability. Here he's used a lot of historical materials and water plus he had fun with artwork. The artwork was used to throw color into the garden. It does that, meaning he did not have to worry about blooms. For water he's used little, tiny, low profile, cast stone basins to provide a little reflection without having a really expensive, high maintenance water feature. It's cooling. Many people use lawns to cool an area. Jeff has, instead, used Dycondra which is a weed to many. Jeff has used it as a ground cover and it maintains the openness in the garden. For a mulch he has used a gravel mixture. It's a lot easier to use a mixture than a single type of gravel because when it needs to be freshened up just about anything can be used. Gravel doesn't break down, it's permeable which helps prevent runoff. It allows the water to percolate into the soil instead of running off into gutters, drains and streams.
There is one more stop in this exhibit. Although it's at the end of the exhibit it looks just like the beginning. This is pure nature. Again, all plants native to South Carolina. Everything is hardy, low maintenance, lower water requirements. It contains things like Dwarf Palmetto and Wax Myrtle which should become staples in today's landscape. These aren't plants that will need to be babied, they will sustain themselves and look beautiful. The grasses are an example, as is the andropogon gerardii and the Cypress. They all look great. The Longleaf Pines which, if the forest were allowed to revert to nature, would be what would survive. Joe knows this is the garden of the future and, most likely, the not too distant future. Joe thanks Jeff for the practical, but helpful lesson.
What's old is new again. That was the theme of the Charleston Garden Festival and it couldn't be more important or more timely. Each of the garden designers had their own interpretation on the theme but all had an important message to tell. Joe feels the most important message was the use of native plants. With time and resources at a premium native plants certainly make sense. The designers had very clever uses of natural and sustainable resources and recycled products. Who can forget the outdoor shower? Weather-resistant wood that doesn't require any special treatment, there wasn't a nail in the entire structure. Then, the contemporary garden, the crushed glass underfoot, a great recycled product that looked great, allowed drainage and reduced runoff. That's a great idea. Fall is in the air, it's a great time to be thinking about gardening next year. Plenty of new ideas and plenty to think about over the winter.
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LINKS/CONTACTS:

Hydro Tower

Charleston Garden Festival

The Inn At Middleton Place

Paul Mulkey - The Tree Clinic


Kari Whitley - Scout Horticultural Consulting


J. R. Kramer - Remark Landscape


Katie Wood - Katy Wood Landscape Design


Jeff Jackson - Lowcountry Roots


Garden Smart Plant List




   
 
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