Pink Spring Blossoms

Where I live in coastal Georgia, March is the month when our azaleas and some flowering trees show off their brilliant colors. Some of the beds in my yard are filled with azaleas I planted about 30 years ago. Every spring they still delight me with their beautiful blooms.

Many of the blooms are gone now and after our first April shower this morning, a lot of the remaining flowers now lay on the ground. I’ll have to wait another year for the pink blooms to return.

Adventure in Bonaventure

When a friend of mine asked me if I’d like to join the Tybee Island Garden Club on an outing to Bonaventure Cemetery in Savannah, Georgia to learn about camellias I didn’t have to think twice about saying yes. They couldn’t have picked a more perfect day to go. It was cool but not too  cold on the sunny Saturday morning in January we spent going through the cemetery.

Bonaventure Cemetery is located on a beautiful bluff above the Wilmington River. Once a plantation, the land became a private cemetery in 1846. In 1907 the cemetery was made public. The cemetery covers about 100 acres of land with many interesting gravestones, monuments and tombs in a gorgeous setting with stately live oak trees, dogwoods, azaleas, camellias and other beautifully maintained vegetation. Today many visitors to Savannah make Bonaventure a must see stop during their stay.

Our guide was Doug Webb of the Bonaventure Historical Society. We learned that many of the camellias in the cemetery are historic, older varieties that are not easily found in nurseries these days. Doug is very knowledgeable about the camellias and spends one day a week at the cemetery with other volunteers planting, fertilizing, watering, and propagating the camellias.

As we went through the cemetery he pointed out the different varieties of camellias, talked about how they air layer the plants, and kept us entertained us with stories about the history of the property. We are very grateful to Doug for sharing his expertise with us.

One of the most visited graves in Bonaventure Cemetery is that of little Gracie Watson. Gracie was born in New England in 1883. Her family moved to Savannah when her father became manager of  the Pulaski Hotel in downtown Savannah. Sadly, in 1889, when she was six years old, Gracie developed pneumonia and died. Her parents hired sculptor John Walz to carve a monument of their daughter. Her parents moved back to New England and are both buried there. Little Gracie is all alone in Bonaventure.

There are stories that Gracie’s spirit is still around. There have even been sightings of Gracie’s ghost.

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Gracie Watson in Bonaventure Cemetery
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Gracie Watson at Bonaventure Cemetery in Savannah, GA
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Little Gracie Watson Grave at Bonaventure Cemetery
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Little Gracie Watson

There is so much to see in Bonaventure it’s hard to capture it all. We went there to learn about camellias but we saw so much more.

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One of the many ancient live oaks in Bonaventure Cemetery
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An angel in Bonaventure Cemetery

More information about the cemetery can be found at Bonaventure Cemetery. There are tour companies that offer guided tours or you can pick up a map at the visitor’s center and explore on your own. A good time of year to visit is in the spring when the azaleas and dogwoods are blooming.

Late Summer in the Garden

Most of the flower beds around our house are planted with drought tolerant plants that can survive the summer heat here in coastal Georgia. On the summers we take off on an RV trip I don’t have to worry too much about these established plants back home.

When we are home for the summer, I like to plant a butterfly garden. This year I added new milkweed, a butterfly bush, zinnias, black eyed susans, purple coneflower, and Mexican Sunflower to attract the hummingbirds and butterflies. With all these blooms I enjoy having cut flowers from the garden.

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Black Eyed Susans
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Cut Flowers from the garden

In addition to my flowers I had a small crop of basil, jalapeño peppers and cherry tomatoes. The peppers are still producing but the tomatoes and basil are gone.

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Bounty from my little garden

Earlier in the summer we weren’t getting very many butterflies but lately the Gulf Fritillarys and Swallowtails have been visiting the garden regularly.

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Gulf Fritillary on Mexican Sunflower
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Swallowtail

Inspired by Ingrid’s Wandering Wednesday photo prompt – garden

June in the Butterfly Garden

My butterfly garden is full of colorful blooms and the butterflies are starting to take notice.

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Butterfly on Mexican Sunflower
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Monarch on Milkweed
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Zinnias
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Mexican Sunflower
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Purple Coneflower
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Black Eyed Susan

The birds continue to come by daily.

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Male Painted Bunting
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Tufted Titmouse
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Ruby Throated Hummingbird
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The cardinals search for dropped seeds on the ground beneath the bird feeder

Happy Summer!

Linked to Ingrid’s Wandering Wednesday – Flowers

This week in my Butterfly Garden

I’ve been digging in the dirt a lot lately trying to get my butterfly garden in shape after flooding from Hurricane Irma killed most of the plants last fall.

A few of the new plants are starting to bloom. The zinnias I planted from seed this winter are bursting with color.

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Zinnia
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Zinnias

The new milkweed plants attracted their first Monarch of the season this week.

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First Monarch sighting of 2018

The hummingbirds and Painted Buntings have been stopping by the feeders.

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Painted Bunting

This lizard was trying to drink the hummingbird nectar.

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Lizard looking for a snack on one of my hummingbird feeders

Happy spring!