Author: Will Balk, Jr.

The Lazy Gardener’s Resolutions

Like many another scion of Celtic forebears, I celebrate the arrival of the Winter Solstice; like many another gardener, I rejoice in the coming of the coldest, darkest days of the year. To be sure, I complain about the cold, lament the lack of sunlight, and crave the warm sunny days of summer still to come. I, too, succumb to the impulse to start fresh, begin the New Year with great intentions . . . all of which I fully intend to begin once the spring warmth arrives.

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Beyond the Mower

If you can get beyond the two-and-a-half inch high expanse of meticulously maintained lawn; if you can think more widely than St. Augustine, Bermuda, or Zoysia; if you can avoid being distracted by that substance still illegal in our state, although beloved by many; then open your mind to the vast family of grasses – especially native ones – suitable for use in the garden and in the landscape.

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It’s Fig Season!

Most of the gardens in my life – the private gardens, the gardens of friends and relatives – have a history associated with them. Sometimes the home has some historical significance; sometimes the garden itself has been designed and worked and maintained for generations of gardeners; and sometimes the garden simply carries with it the long memory of gardening traditions in the deep South.

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Summer’s Bounty

Gardens here in the South Carolina coastal plain can make for quite a challenge for the gardener. While much of the world rejoices at summer’s garden bounty, here we find that the exuberant display of spring and much of our delicious late-spring produce begin to fade as the intense heat and frequent rains end much of the show and bring disease and destruction into the garden.

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Gardener’s Lament

My thumbs are brown these days, it seems; I’m in a rut, dithering, rather than taking the bull by the horns and doing what needs to be done. Much of it is having to constantly face further evidence of the damage in the gardens from the winter-spring weather every time I go out to the garden, suddenly finding planters with beloved Blood Lilies – they used to be named Haemanthus multiflorus, but now are Scadoxus multiflorus – still not arising from “’dormant” bulbs. Or one of the rare and special dogwoods, Cornus kousa “Rosy Teacups,” failing to send out leaves or flowers – or anything!

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Not Just Another Drive-By

This time of year, if you are driving into the little town of Allendale not too far inland from Beaufort, you might be surprised at the abundant blue, pink, and white flowers growing wild along the railroad tracks for about a quarter mile from the town’s main stop light. There are hundreds and hundreds of them, appearing every spring to brighten an otherwise industrial setting.

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Trickling the Faucets

I’€™m still discovering damage to the garden from the serious cold spells and nasty freezes of the last weeks, in both the farmstead garden inland and in the garden on the water in Beaufort County. After all the earlier damage I had found, each new discovery stabs at the heart just a little deeper and makes the dreary cold we always get in February frightening to contemplate.

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What’s Happening

october, 2021

DEBBI COVINGTON: My Fabulous Cooking Show

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