Laurel Branch – June 2013

Laurel Branch – June 2013

Pro Birder in May

The Gardens hosted Palmetto Pro Birder May 11 & 12 with the SC Wildlife Federation. We had a really good time and it is amazing what you see and hear when you are with birders who have great ears and eyes. Josh Arrants, our leader, is so talented when listening to calls and knowing exactly what bird is making even a chirp.

We found several nests and some of those were the great crested flycatcher, the Acadian flycatcher, the wood thrush, the red bellied woodpecker, and the red headed woodpecker. How wonderful to have an area that can host so many nests and fill the needs of so many kinds of birds. I personally was thrilled to see the red headed woodpecker not only in the Gardens, but nesting here. In my six years, I have not seen one here, and this family was at the Joslin Education center. It was thrilling!

The Gardens are so important to provide nesting sites for our neo-tropical migratory travelers and our year round birds. Our experience with Pro-Birder has given our staff new energy to continue our work in removing the invasive plants so biodiversity will remain to support not only our bird life, but all other life as well.

If you would like to participate in the Palmetto Pro Birder classes go to for information on other classes throughout the state.

great crested flycatcher

Acadian flycatcher

wood thrush

red bellied woodpecker

red headed woodpecker


Beech Island SC Trip

The Darlington County Master Gardeners had a great trip on May 23 to Beech Island, SC, a place I had not visited before. Our goal was to visit Jenks Farmer’s crinum farm called Lushlife. Visit his website,, and read his interesting articles.

We had planned or first at stop at Nurseries Caroliniana “where the unusual is usual” in North Augusta, SC.  I have known the brothers Ted and Gerald Stephens for years, but had not been to their nursery before. The group had a great time just wandering through the wide assortment of plants.

Our next stop was Redcliffe Plantation in Beech Island. This was the 1850’s home of Governor Henry Hammond and was really quite extraordinary. I have visited many historic homes in Virginia and was surprised by this great house and grounds. The stables and slave cabins were present and in fantastic condition, and there was much information available. The house was really grand in size and full of furniture and portraits left in the 1970’s by the last of the Hammond heirs. How fortunate that the family had the foresight to leave this to the State of SC as part of our parks system. There was a breeze throughout our visit and it could not have been better if planned. Everyone should visit!

Just down the lane from this grand plantation was Jenk’s parents’ house, which is a hundred years older than Redcliffe.  It is a charming, small cottage built in the 1750’s and added on to in the later 1860’s.  It boasts a quaint yard that has been cared for by Jenk’s mother for over 40 years. I found it delightful with its chickens, donkeys, yard art and just plain neighborly feel. Jenks is also very humble and enjoyable to be with.

He inspired us to grow with intent on nourishing the soil by using organics and compost teas that are aerobic and teeming with microbes. He does not have the science behind this philosophy but feels “it is the right thing to do”. I myself was excited about making this aerobic tea and plan by next spring to have it available at the Gardens. Chris and I just neet to get busy making our ‘brewer’ for the tea. I will let you know when we have tea for sale!

We dug our crinums, had snacks under the pecan trees and enjoyed the day. I cannot wait to go back to see how the Garden grows in Beech Island, SC.

Our next trip will be to Moore Botanicals in Lake City in early fall.  If you would like to join us, just let us know.

Enjoy your summer, stay cool and look after your Garden!


What’s Blooming at Kalmia

Abelia Abelia grandiflora   

Baptisia Baptisia australis   

Butterfly Bush Buddleja davidii   

Butterflyweed Asclepias tuberosa 

Chives Allium schoenoprasum   

Cleyera Ternstroemia japonica    

Coneflower, Purple Echinacea purpurea   

Coralbean Erythrina herbacea  

Daylily Hemerocallis varieties   

Dill Anethum graveolens 

Elderberry Sambucus americana 

Feverbark, Georgia Pinckneya pubens   

Gardenia Gardenia jasminoides  

Germander Teucrium chamaedrys  

Honeysuckle, Coral Lonicera sempervirens

Honeysuckle, Japanese Lonicera japonica  

Hydrangea, Japanese Blue Hydrangea macrophylla 

Hydrangea, Oakleaf Hydrangea quercifolia 

Jasmine, Confederate Tracelospermum jasminoides

Lantana Lantana species  

Lizard’s Tail Saururus cernuus

Magnolia, Southern Magnolia grandiflora 

Pomegranate Punica granatum 

Queen Annes Lace Daucus carota  

Rhododendron, Rosebay Rhododendron maximum 

Rose, Butterfly Rosa chinensis Mutabilis 

Rose, Knock Out Rosa Knock Out  

Rose, Pink Knock Out Rosa Pink Knock Out  

Rose-of-Sharon Hibiscus syriacus  

Sourwood Oxydendrum arboreum  

Thyme Thymus species  

Ti-ti Cyrilla racemosa   

Trumpet-vine Campsis radicans 

Water-lily Nymphaea odorata 

Wintergreen, Spotted Chimaphila maculata

Yarrow Achillea millefolium           

Yucca Yucca filamentosa

Butterfly weed

Butterflyweed Asclepias tuberosa


4H20 Summer Camp 

Youth Ages 8 to 14
June 12, 13, & 14, 2013- 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Registration: $60.00
Contact: Alma Harris – (843) 393-0484, Extension 115
The 4-H20 Day Camp is a fun and educational program designed to teach youth to understand, appreciate, and protect life in and around the Lake. Participants will learn about the aquatic environment, boat safety, canoeing and how a watershed works and how it affects the quality of water in the lake. The purpose of the program is to teach youth about water resources and how to protect the water environment. These skills will enable youth to make decisions that will affect the environment in which they live. Application deadline: June 8, 2013.


Week in the Wild

Week In The Wild summer nature camp will be offered at Kalmia Gardens of Coker College beginning in July.  The program is open to rising first through sixth graders and will include nature study, arts and crafts, hikes, and games.  Dates for the camps are: July 08-12, rising first and second graders; July 15-19, rising third and fourth graders; and July 22-26, rising fifth through sixth graders.  We will meet daily from 9:00 to 11:30 at the Joslin Education Center, and the cost is $70(non-refundable).  For more information call 383-8145 or email (The section for rising 1st & 2nd grade is closed.)


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