Last August we gathered in Waynesboro Virginia for our Regional meeting. Beautiful gardens, great food, interesting speakers, lovely weather and a silent and live auction that raised over $8000 for our regional treasury. In November, our regional officers approved $3,000 from our treasury for 2017 Reference Garden grants. Grant applications were due in early February and the winners are . . .
Gardens of the Big Bend at the UF/IFAS North Florida Research and Education Center, Quincy Florida. This is our southern-most Reference Garden and a poster child for all of us preaching that conifers CAN grow in the South. The $1000 awarded to Gardens of the Big Bend will be used to help fund the installation of a permanent irrigation system in the Jurassic Garden, the component of the Gardens of the Big Bend showcasing conifers and cycads. This particular section of the garden is not under irrigation and hand watering has proved to be less than successful. Although many conifers are drought tolerant, we all know that newly planted conifers are particularly sensitive to insufficient water and young conifers are susceptible to damage during drought. The irrigation system throughout the garden is estimated at over $16,000 while the Conifer Garden portion will cost over $1,700. The SE Region is happy to contribute to this project.
Memphis Botanic Garden was also awarded $1000 towards the installation of a new Conifer Display Garden that will highlight dwarf conifers and their use in gardens throughout the Mid-South. The Conifer Display Garden will provide opportunities to educate the public about growing conifers, tree selection and new varieties through ornamental display beds in conjunction with educational programming and interpretive signage. This project, estimated at over $25,000 is a substantial investment by the Garden and we are proud to contribute towards this exciting new collection.
The University of Tennessee Gardens, Knoxville is our third grant recipient for 2017. Their project is to add interpretive name labels on the newest conifers added to their collection. Over 200 conifers need the standard laser engraved labels that are used throughout the Gardens. This project is estimated at almost $2500 to complete, so we are happy to award $1000 to this project. Since joining our Reference Garden program in 2008, UT Knoxville continues to be a strong member and advocate of our Reference Garden program.
All three projects should be complete by Spring 2018. Each garden will be sharing an article in an upcoming issue of our regional newsletter about their project, showing your auction dollars at work. So stay tuned, plan on attending our upcoming meeting in Bowling Green and let your auction dollars help fund Reference Garden grants next year!