By NancyLee Honey Marsh
Photography by Christian Lee
“Gardens are not made by singing
‘Oh how beautiful,’ and sitting in the shade.”
Magical and enchanting, gardens provide many exciting hours of pleasure. Whether it’s of our own creation or the enjoyment of others’ gardens, for those of us who love flowers, they enhance our lives and give us many seasons of memorable delights. Especially in springtime, gardens have a way of drawing people from their homes teaching them the wonders of nature and enriching their spirits.
Even though she calls herself a “fair weather gardener,” Deena Culp joined The Beaufort Garden Club in 2006. Now its president, she smiled saying, “I enjoy the club so much because we have 29 working members who love to garden and participate in all our projects. I love our April plant sale, when we all bring plants to exchange. I left with four plants to offer and returned home with 12... way more than I could use!”
Deena’s previous home in North Carolina was surrounded by hydrangeas, and, “Our home here in Beaufort needed landscaping, so it gave me the chance to get my hands back in the dirt...when the spirit moves me!” she said. “Our 83-year-old garden club offers so many opportunities, and makes us feel it’s a new day with lots of things to do. We have amazing speakers and many on-going beautification projects for the community. We maintain the National Cemetery in Beaufort year round, so we constantly try new and different plants to keep it beautiful.”
Deena and her husband Bill traveled over 7,000 miles last summer in their RV visiting 18 states, giving them the opportunity to see many different kinds of gardens. “Another activity I love in the club is learning flower arrangements. We enhance homes on the tour by creating special arrangements, and it offers the opportunity for all of us who are learning to exercise our creativity,” Deena said.
Master Gardener and club member Sandra Educate also embraces the education gardening offers. “Gardening is different, of course in every area of the United States, depending mainly on the over all climate,” said Sandra, originally from Illinois. “I specifically wanted to move to an area where I could garden more than three months! Some plants, which flourish beautifully in cooler weather, can not make it in the Lowcountry because of the heat and humidity,” she added.
Sandra finds seed planting very rewarding and said, “Gardening satisfies my love of beautiful things.” To introduce people to “the beauty of gardening,” Sandra, who gives 800 hours a year to her club, created “Lunch and Learn.” The informative one-hour rendezvous provides gardening tips followed by a question/answer discussion. “Located in the Port Royal Farmers’ Market, the gatherings are a great way to meet other gardeners and learn the specifics of a lovely garden,” said Sandra.
Oregon-born Holly Karnath added, “I always loved gardening, and remember many happy hours with my mother in our garden. I kept seeing articles in the paper about gardening here, and decided The Beaufort Garden Club would be a good way to learn more.” Now first vice president of the club, Holly chaired the popular “Garden a Day” tour for three years. This year the complimentary tour is June 8-12 and will highlight beautiful gardens at five homes. “We've learned to appreciate just how much work a garden requires, and what a challenge it is to find beautiful plants and flowers to withstand our heat and humidity and still flourish. It’s a wonderful experience to plant something, help it grow and see what it will look like. Our club feels it’s important to continually give back to the community, and it’s so enjoyable because we all love this way of beautifying our land. The key to a lovely garden is remembering it is like a child. If you give it food, water, love and nurture it, it will give back years of pleasure,” Holly said.