A tour of Morgan Creek Vineyards was a great way for Chilton County Master Gardeners to spend a hot summer day on Friday, June 29th. The family-owned winery located in Harpersville, Alabama specializes in muscadine and fruit wines that range from dry to sweet. Charles Brammer, Jr, son of owners Charles Brammer, Sr and Mary Brammer, explained the process of making wine from harvest through bottling. He told us of the few insect problems and how they are controlled. Although they purchase most fruit from large growers they do have muscadine vines and blueberries on the property. Following our tour our gracious hostesses served samples of eleven wines — dry, semi-sweet sweet and fruit.
After the tasting several members went to Trisha Williams’ with their sack lunches and toured her garden. Trisha and her husband, Jackie, have a beautiful backyard with many large old trees, flower beds full of daylilies and other perennials, raised beds full of asparagus, and a vegetable garden with pole beans, squash, cucumbers, tomatoes, and much more. Thank you, Trisha, for providing us with a cool porch, ice tea, and your Heavenly Cake dessert after our tours!
Birmingham Fern Society members, Ken and Alicia Hall, led a tour of the Birmingham Botanical Gardens’ Fern Glade for a group of Chilton County Master Gardeners on May 14. One area of the glade is devoted to native Alabama ferns and other areas showcase ferns from various places. We learned about many varieties of ferns and how they multiply by spores or stolons. Ken collects spores and fronds from certain varieties and sends them to a nursery in Texas for propagation. He and Alicia told us how they create micro climates for ferns that need special growing condition. They also showed us through the fern nursery where plants are grown for the gardens as well as for the BBG Plant sale and the Fern Society sale. Thank you Ken and Alicia for sharing a wealth of information!
Members attending were Susan Cleckler, Elizabeth York, Trisha Williams, Joyce Lawson, Harriett Jackson, and Sondra Henley. Photos by Trisha Williams and Susan Cleckler.
After a tour of Wright’s Nursery in Plantersville our group of Master Gardeners appreciate the process and work that go into getting bedding plants, herbs and tender perennials to market. Heather Wright shared the steps involved starting from a seed to a plant ready for our gardens. She showed us the trays and the machinery used in the process and walked us through several greenhouses. We saw all sizes of plants, from those that had just germinated to larger ones almost ready to sell. We were astounded that they produce 22,000 hanging baskets of plants and untold numbers of bedding plants annually.
Wrights Nursery plants are branded Alabama Grown and can be purchased at independent nurseries around Central and North Alabama.
Photos by Trisha Williams, Susan Cleckler, and Sondra Henley.
John Manion, Director of the Kaul Wildflower Garden at the Birmingham Botanicals Gardens, led a guided tour of the gardens for several Chilton County Master Gardeners on April 20. He told us of the history and construction of the Kaul Wildflower Garden and shared great information on native plants and stories that go with many of them. He has started an area of eight plants that are only found in the wild at the Bibb County Glades. We learned the difference between the Bigleaf Magnolia and the Ashe Magnolia, two native deciduous magnolias. Some of the native plants we learned about included Indian pink, trillium, May apples, ferns, yellow root, bluebells, Mt. Laurel, climbing hydrangea and many more. Our group also visited many other areas of the Birmingham Botanical Gardens and enjoyed lunch on the terrace. Many thanks go to Sue Webb for planning this tour and for providing the delicious chicken salad sandwiches. Attending were Catherine Williams, Essie Edel, Harriett Jackson, Sue Webb, Sondra Henley, Dianne Clapp, Trisha Williams, and Bonnie and Bill Hairrell. Photos and article by Trisha Williams.
In early April Chilton County Master Gardeners had the pleasure of a guided tour of June Mays’ garden in Mt. Brook. June is a retired landscape designer, author and speaker. Her garden starts in the parking area and covers every part of her property. From the driveway our eyes followed the line of the driveway to an arbor covered with Lady Banks roses. Gravel pathways meander throughout the property and lead to special features such as a small water feature, a bench to enjoy the garden, or the potting shed. There was even a muscadine arbor and two raised vegetable beds. June has included many native plants such a blood root, sweet shrub, partridge berry, Oak Leaf Hydrangea, and May apples. We could tell that she is a plant lover from the variety of plants she has included, many that are unusual cultivars. We enjoyed hearing her say that she had moved plants because they did not do well where she first planted them–seems that all gardeners do that! She also told us of her garden challenges that included the recent loss of a large shade tree. She was in the process of recreating that area of the garden. The shade was gone and and many plants were damaged. We really enjoyed our visit with June Mays and her garden. Photos and article by Trisha Williams
A group of Chilton County Master Gardeners along with a few friends recently visited Jim Scott’s Garden on Lake Martin. The garden is a labyrinth of garden rooms that lead from one to another. There are surprises everywhere you look including little bug sculptures and a cat named Seraphina. There is lots of moss and natural elements as well as sculpture, structures, scenic overlooks, seating and dining areas. Water falls tumble down rock stream beds that are richly lined with ferns, oak leaf hydrangeas and more. We enjoyed seeing clematis scrambling over other plants. The variety of plants is amazing and you see blueberry and fig trees planted among ornamentals. Hosta, Louisiana iris, ferns and snowball bush were especially beautiful during our mid April visit.