Special Tour Scheduled for Upcoming Weekend

If you live in the Upstate, you might be interested in this weekend’s special tour coordinated by Durant Ashmore, local nurseryman and landscape designer. The tour begins at historic Christ Church, where Durant is working with members to restore and revitalize the grounds, and then continues in nearby neighborhoods. Please respond to Durant at durantashmore@aol.com if you plan to join the Saturday tour.

Christ Church, Greenville

Christ Church, Greenville

Here is the scoop from Durant:

On May 17, I’m conducting a tour of gardens I have designed and installed in the Augusta Rd. and McDaniel Ave. areas of downtown Greenville. This is going to be a hands-on guided tour. Demonstrations on design techniques, pruning and any other facet of landscape gardening so desired will be discussed.

The garden tour will begin with a sign-in at 9:00 on May 17 at Christ Church, 10 N. Church St. We will meet in the main parking lot, which is located on W. Washington St., near the Washington St. and Church St. intersection. The cost of the tour is $10.00, which includes a catered lunch. Please RSVP (durantashmore@alol.com) if you plan to attend so proper lunch arrangements can be made.

The sanctuary for Christ Church was built in 1854. It is one of the few truly historic buildings left standing in the city. As such, Christ Church provides one of the few opportunities for an historic landscape design that captures the spirit of those times. Native and traditional plants were used in the formal style which characterized that era. The grounds at Christ Church cover 13 acres. Of course, the cemetery, parking lots and buildings occupy most of those acres. Even so, there are numerous courtyards, nooks and crannies at Christ Church that offer a variety of landscape styles and designs. After about an hour on the church grounds, we will drive to McDaniel Ave. and begin touring various gardens in that area. You will be able to talk to the owners of these gardens and find out how and why they create and manage their differing gardens.

At 12:00, lunch will be served on the grounds of the Mrs. Marian Kittredge residence, 19 Sirrine Dr. This is a one acre site that was originally landscaped in the 60s, and has recently been refurbished. After lunch, the tour will resume and should be over by about 2:00.

Also, the next day, Sunday, May 18,there will be an open house at my wholesale nursery, 220 McKittrick Br. Rd., Fountain Inn, SC. Propagation, pruning, growing techniques, etc. will be discussed at that time. The tour of the nursery will be guided, and will begin at 2:00 and last until about 4:00. Afterwards, if you want to take a guided tour along the nature trails in the bottomland bordering the Reedy River, you are welcome to do that as well.

There is no cost involved with the nursery tour, and you don’t have to attend the garden tour in order to tour the nursery. You are welcome to do both, or either.

At the nursery, you will see trial and display gardens that have been reworked for the third time in their 15 year existence. These gardens are designed to test the suitability of plants before they are propagated, grown out and then foisted upon the public at large. Everyone wants the latest and newest of plants available, but if they are not proven to be hardy and durable, they are worthless. Because of the recent rains, the nature trails along the Reedy may be wet. The bottomland is now flooded and has become a duck pond. The primary reason for that is because there is a very active beaver population now at work. If it is dry enough, we will be able to walk to and observe the beaver dam.

The ecology of the bottomland has fluctuated over the years. That’s due to the world’s greatest engineer. Beavers create, alter and change eco-systems. One thing about the bottomland – the wetter it is, the more wildlife activity there is. The middle of the afternoon is the least likely time to see wildlife, but, if we are lucky, deer, raccoons, possums and rabbits may be at viewed. On rare occasions, otters are at play in the river. Herons, ducks, geese, woodpeckers and hawks will probably be observed, no matter what. Please be sure to wear comfortable clothes and walking shoes for each event. If you plan to tour the nature trails, boots may be in order.

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