Laurel Branch – October 2013

Laurel Branch – October 2013

Dear Friends,

Happy October and we hope this finds you all dong well. Here are a few things going on at Kalmia.

New Overlook

Kalmia Gardens is excited to announce that the overlook at the east end of the Gardens has been rebuilt. The rebuilding of the overlook was Ben McLeland’s Eagle Scout Project. Ben, a member of BSA Troop 532, teamed up with Bill Segars for the design work and Lowe’s for materials, and he received a generous donation from Nan Lawton to fund the project. The new overlook is cantilevered over the bluff and has benches that can accommodate up to fifteen people.  It is the perfect place for those needing a break from hiking or wanting to sit and enjoy one of the most peaceful spots in the Garden. Kalmia Gardens would like to thank those folks previously mentioned, Ben’s fellow Scouts who helped with labor, the people who donated power tools, and all who enjoy and help take care of Kalmia Gardens.

Old Overlook

New Overlook

Kalmia Gardens Holds First Ever 5K

On September 7th Kalmia Gardens held its first annual 5K run/walk. The event was a huge success with 151 registered runners/walkers and a few loyal pets making up the pack of Garden supporters. The course began on Carolina Avenue in front of the Garden’s second gate, and ended just inside the Garden’s third gate after going through multiple neighborhoods and surviving Chris’s big, surprise hill towards the end of the race. Many runners found it a very challenging course and said they would be back next year to attack Chris’s hill. To find a list of the participants and their times, follow this link:

We would also like to thank our wonderful sponsors whose support was instrumental in making the Run for the Gardens such a great event. Our generous sponsors were Sonoco, Hartsville Fuel Company, Fitness World, Stanley Byrd, Lakeview Spirits, Jackson Family Practice, Burry Bookstore, Carolina Printing, Pepsi, Bi-Lo, Shugs, Hill & Jordan LLC CPA’s, and Sign Zone.

Kalmia 5K

Kalmia 5K

Kalmia 5K

Our very own Chris Pierce (Kalmia 5K)

To view more photos follow this link to our Facebook page.


Dan’s Interesting Plant

This plant makes the most important non-alcoholic beverage in the world, and over three million tons are grown annually. It is a shrub, grown for a hot drink made from its leaves. It is appreciated for its stimulant properties and health benefits, and as the center of social rituals in Japan as well as Britain. It is an evergreen shrub, which can grow up to 17 m high. In cultivation, it is usually kept below 2 m high by pruning, the leaves are bright green, shiny, often with a hairy underside, the flowers are slightly scented, occurring singly or in clusters of two to four, while the fruits are brownish-green containing one to four spherical or flattened seeds. In China it has been used as a medicinal infusion and for chewing for over 4,000 years.

Camellia sinensis (tea)

Two varieties are recognized; Camellia sinensis var. sinensis (Chinese tea) and C. sinensis var. assamica (Assam tea, Indian tea). For centuries it was thought that black and green teas came from different plants. In fact they come from the same species, but black tea is fermented. The origin of tea is not very clear. Camellia sinensis var. sinensis is most likely native to western Yunnan, while C. sinensis var. assamica is native to the warmer parts of Assam (India), Burma, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam and southern China. ‘Wild’ tea plants can be found growing in forests, but these may be relics of past cultivation. It is not clear whether a truly ‘wild’ Camellia sinensis plant still exists. Camellia sinensis has been considered an invasive pest species in a nature reserve in Tanzania. There are also reports of it spreading into Madagascan forests where it may have detrimental effects on the regeneration of native forests which are important lemur habitats. It also “travels” in our Garden and volunte need to be pulled.

What’s blooming at Kalmia

Abelia (Abelia grandiflora)

Aster (Aster pilosus)

Beautyberry (Callicarpa americana)

Beech (Fagus grandiflora)

Begonia, Winged (Begoniaceae sp.)

Black Gum (Nyssa sylvatica)

Butterfly Bush (Buddleja davidii)

Camellia (Camellia japonica)

Chinese Flame Tree (Koelreuteria bipinnata)

Chrysanthemum (Asteraceae sp.)

Cleyera (Ternstroemia japonica)

Crepe Myrtle (Lagerstremia indica)

Dayflower (Commelina sp.)

Dogwood (Cornus florida)

Eleagnus, Thorny (Elaeagnus pungens)

Goldenrod (Solidago sp.)

Hearts-a-bustin’ (Euonymus americana)

Lantana (Lantana sp.)

Maples (Acer sp.)

Pomegranate (Punica granatum)

Rose of Sharon (Hibiscus syriacus)

Sage, Mexican (Salvia sp.)

Sage, Pineapple (Salvia rutilans)

Sasanqua (Camellia sasanqua)

Sassafras (Sassafras albidum)

Sourwood (Oxydendrum arboreum)

Sparkleberry (Vaccinium arboreum)

Sunflower, swamp (Helianthus sp.)

Sweet Gum (Liquidambar styraciflua)

Tea (Camellia sinensis)

Tea Olive (Osmanthus fragrans)

Tulip poplar (Liriodendron tulipifera)

Virginia creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolium)

Viburnum, Possumhaw (Viburnum nudum)


Upcoming Events:


December 8th 3-5 p.m. Christmas Open House (Free)

December Trip- Brookgreen Gardens Night of a Thousand candles -TBA


February 18th Green Gardener Class (101) Starts

March 15th Oyster Roast, Hart House front lawn

April 4th Symposium with Jenks Farmer

April 5th Duck Cup/Earth Day

May 1st Open Registration Week In The Wild

September 6th Kalmia 5K 8 a.m.

October TBA Wine & Cheese Under the Stars

About the Author

Norah Wofford

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