Brunswick County Botanical Gardens is in the midst of a grand revitalization, thanks to the vision of Chair, Maryann Horgan and a host of energetic MGs. The Gardens are located in the county office complex in Bolivia. They had been neglected for several years to the point the water feature no longer worked, irrigation systems had been turned off and destroyed in some cases, and most of the plants had no identifying labels and were in a state of decline.
Maryann and her Botanical Garden Committee saw the potential and went right to work developing a plan. When completed, the Gardens will become a source of public pride. School groups will delight in exploring the Fairy Garden and the planned Children’s Garden with a Hobbit Hole and Hobbit House. Homeowner groups, Garden Clubs and professional landscapers will attend guided tours and learn new ideas for using plants that grow well in coastal North Carolina. Visitors of all ages will enjoy the serenity of a Japanese Garden where a bubbling waterfall meanders through the landscape and ends in a tranquil pool beside the outdoor classroom area.
Prioritizing the work was critical. Irrigation systems are being redesigned to accommodate current and future plantings. The new water feature is spectacular! The 2015 Master Gardener graduates will tackle a Rain Garden and an entryway Welcome Garden. An Edible Landscape area was added in 2016. Each specialty garden area is overseen by a MG Team. A Southern Living Garden beneath an ancient sprawling Live Oak tree features gardenias, camellias, and hydrangeas. Under the direction of Fred Mina, new planking was installed on the walkway and outdoor classroom using a weather shield planking. The Botanical Garden Committee provides consistency and an avenue for MG’s to express their wishes for ongoing expansion and maintenance of the Gardens.
The Brunswick County Master Gardener Volunteer Association (BCMGVA) generates funding for maintaining the Gardens through traditional plant sales in Spring and an online plant sale in Fall. Classes are offered for “A Day in the Yard” taught by MGs. The new “House Calls” program encourages donations earmarked for maintaining the Botanical Gardens.
A major goal is to have all the plants identified so it becomes a true CPP ( Certified Plant Professional) garden where professional landscapers test their knowledge and the general public can learn about a variety of plant life that could grace their personal landscapes.
Shawn, Horticultural Assistant and curator for the Botanical Gardens oversees general maintenance. BCMGVA is a small organization and it is incredible how much they have accomplished by embracing the goal of taking pride in the Botanical Gardens to further their own education and improve MG outreach opportunities with Brunswick communities.
Article originally written by Mary Dixon