Brunswick County Botanical Gardens is in the midst of a grand revitalization, thanks to the Extension Brunswick County Master Gardener Volunteers. 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.
Gayle Pfeiffer, Botanical Garden Committee Chair, and her 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 Children’s Garden. 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 the 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 tackled the Rain Garden and an entryway Welcome Garden. An Edible Landscape area was added in 2016. The Pollinator Garden was planted in the Spring 2018. 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 Extension 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 Lennon, 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.