February 09, 2019

Savannah in the Springtime

walkways

Flowering Dogwoods, Live Oaks covered in Spanish Moss, and Azaleas blooming everywhere you look: If that image appeals to you, consider visiting Savannah in the springtime. Last year, in March, we hit the peak of the Azalea blooms during our visit. It was cooler than normal with highs mainly in the 60s, which was perfect for walking. And you want to do a lot of walking in Savannah, Ga., because there's so much to see.

walkway

Arranged in distinct city squares--each with its own public park--Savannah has the largest National Historic Landmark District in the United States. I hadn't realized the structure of these squares; they made for comfortable walks around the city, with plenty of park benches and greenery for resting along the way. The homes are stately and beautiful, and most have historical significance; many are marked for explanation.

house 1

house 2

house 3

house 4

house 5

juliette low house

The birthplace of Juliette Gordon Low, founder of the Girl Scouts, is now a museum and a National Historic Landmark.

juliette low plaque

flannery oconnor home

National literary treasure Flannery O'Connor's birthplace is equally modest but maintained for public tours, lecture series, and other events.

flannery oconnor plaque

forsyth park fountain

If you're familiar with the book or the movie, "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil," you know the chilling true story was set in Savannah. It's interesting to see many familiar landmarks from the movie, including Forsyth Park with its three-tiered fountain and lovely arboretum.

forsyth park plaque

forsyth park walkway

forsyth park walkway 2

forsyth park arb

forsyth park walkway 3

forsyth park azaleas

bonaventure cemetery 4

Other scenes from the movie were filmed at the historic 160-acre Bonaventure Cemetery. If touring cemeteries doesn't freak you out, it's definitely worth a visit. In addition to its historic significance, Bonaventure is a stunningly beautiful garden, filled with Flowering Dogwoods, Azaleas, and many other blooming shrubs, trees, and perennials.

bonaventure cemetery 3

flowering dogwood 1

bonaventure cemetery 1

bonaventure cemetery 2

Make sure you also spend some time at the riverfront!

georgia queen

cargo ship

Many fun and reasonably priced restaurants along the riverfront have great views of the ships passing through on the Savannah River. There are some wonderful shops and art galleries on River Street, too.

church

Oh, and the churches are gorgeous, as well.

cathedral 1

cathedral 2

cathedral

We spent quite a bit of time at the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, with its beautiful spires and stained glass.

stained glass

st. vincent statue

st vincent plaque

Flannery O'Connor attended St. Vincent's grammar school.

methodist church

Another lovely and historic church is the Gothic Revival Wesley Monumental United Methodist Church.

And then there are the plants and flowers...

flowering dogwood 2
Spanish Moss (Tillandsia usneoides) draped on Flowering Dogwood (Cornus florida)

camellia
Red Camellia (C. japonica)

spirea
Double Bridal Wreath Spirea (S. spiraea cantoniensis 'Lanceata')

azalea
Various Azalea shrubs (Rhododendron spp.)

savannah evening

Make sure you take an evening walk in downtown Savannah, too. It's truly magical when the Azaleas are in full bloom, with oblique light resting on the foliage and blooms, the sun setting, and the city lights beginning to illuminate the beautiful parks and architecture.

Yes, Savannah is a fabulous spring-break destination. [Sigh.]

January 23, 2019

Plant of the Month: Wild Geranium

geranium 1

It's Wildflower Wednesday, and I like to combine my "plant of the month" posts with Gail's meme over at Clay and Limestone. Check it out!

snow

We just got about a foot of snow from two snowstorms in close succession. Normal for us in January, but obviously this means that no wildflowers are blooming in my garden.

geranium 5

Ah, that's better! So, I decided to think spring--in this case late spring. Wild Geraniums (G. maculatum) bloom in my garden from mid-May through early June. I've covered so many "plants of the month" and wildflowers over the years, and I was surprised to find I hadn't done a post on Wild Geraniums until now.

I was even more surprised to find how few photos I have of this plant, considering it's so prevalent in the area and in my garden. It likes the conditions here--described perfectly by Illinois Wildflowers: "light shade to partial sunlight, moist to slightly dry conditions, and rich loamy soil with abundant organic matter." Yes, that pretty much describes my garden. I will have to photograph this plant more this spring!

In the photo above, you'll notice the 10 stamens surrounding the five-chambered carpel/pistil with a five-parted stigma. Each flower has five petals, which vary in color from nearly white to pink and purple--although most are light lavender.

geranium 2

Wild Geranium is native to much of Eastern North America, in USDA zones 3-8, and it tolerates a broad range of conditions, beyond its preferred habitat. Also called Cranesbill and Spotted Cranesbill, its foliage persists throughout the growing season and turns beautiful variegated shades of rust and burgundy in the autumn. The deeply lobed foliage forms a mound, which creates a pleasant groundcover. This plant can often be found growing near Smooth Solomon's Seal (Polygonatum biflorum) and other woodland and woodland-edge plants.

geranium 3

In this photo, you can see the seed capsules that form after the flowers fade. When mature, they burst to scatter seeds beyond the mother plant. It also spreads by rhizomes, although it's not aggressive.

geranium 4

Wild Geranium is listed as providing special value for native bees by the Xerces Society. I just discovered, through the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center that the seeds attract mourning doves, bobwhite quail, and white-tailed deer. How cool is that?! (Do you know the name of the insect on the flower in this photo? I think it may be a snout beetle or a weevil of some sort.)

Head on over to Gail's Wildflower Wednesday meme to learn about wildflowers that bloom around the world.