Athens Select touts sure bets for planting now.

Annual salvia ‘Victoria’Yes, there will be blooms for sure but the question is which, where and how many?

Many people who love to garden, do not, unfortunately like to plan ahead.

And most will succumb to the prettiest thing they see in the nursery with only the vaguest, if any, idea what or where they will plant it.

This approach leads to a less desirable effect than is hoped for, since a garden is not just a collection of plants but a work of art, a composition with all attendant joys and challenges and not to be undertaken carelessly. It also involves the extra dimension of time because it constantly evolves. However, along with the short lecture, help is at hand and may be found, where else but online at the Athens Select Web site.

John’s Island Beach ClubSimple Elegance. These two words were the heart and soul behind J Banks Design’s vision for their recently completed project, John’s Island Beach Club; an approximately 50,000 square foot Private Club located in Vero Beach’s best-known luxury private community, John’s Island.

The firm was hired three and a half years ago to create a sophisticated, yet extremely casual and comfortable space where families would enjoy beachside living. J Banks Design was involved in every detail of the interior design process including the execution of integral millwork drawings, specifying all finish and hard material selections as well as selecting, ordering and installing all furnishings, artwork and accessories.

The original John’s Island Beach Club was torn down, and rebuilt nine feet higher and 75 feet closer to the Atlantic Ocean to afford better overall views. The design team’s main goal was to make sure that the new Beach Club was all about the gorgeous views, something that the former Beach Club “missed.” The finished product is now an interior setting that seamlessly translates to the outdoors. Soaring ceilings, classic columns and grand mahogany doors frame the view of the ocean and are responsible for evoking a design experience that is parallel to a tropical paradise.

Art expert to trace Asian influence on landscape design.

Idyllic Retreats - Chinese and Japanese GardensSea Pines Garden Club will sponsor a special treat for Hilton Head Island garden lovers when internationally recognized Asian art expert and filmmaker Paula Haller presents a lecture and slide show program titled “Chinese and Japanese Gardens: Idyllic Retreats.”

The unique event will take place at 10 a.m. March 23 at Coligny Theatre and will last one hour. Tickets are $10 and are available (while they last), at the following locations: The Greenery at both Bluffton and Hilton Head locations, Christie’s Hallmark at Bluffton and Hilton Head locations, Pretty Papers at Wexford and Burke’s Main Street Pharmacy. Further ticket information may be had from Diana Norlander at (843) 363-6580. Ticket availability is limited to seating capacity of Coligny Theatre.

Spring Into Action – Declutter Your HomeAre the stacks of paper, mail and magazines taking over your home?

Do you trip over the kids’ toys or someone’s shoes every time you enter a room?

Often this seems like a typical environment of a busy family, but it can create stress and frustration.

Clearing the clutter and organizing your home is the key to having more time to relax and enjoy time with your family.

As spring-cleaning begins, it is smart to look at each area of your home to see what needs to be re-evaluated for better efficiency and organization. There are a few helpful hints to make sure you avoid feeling overwhelmed with this project.

Spring Tour of Homes a Beaufort traditionIT WOULDN’T BE SPRING IN BEAUFORT WITHOUT St. Helena Episcopal Church’s annual Spring Tour of Homes. Known as a showcase of the historic city’s antebellum homes, the tour started in 1956 to help raise funds for a new parish house.

Fifty-three years later, the tour has become a community tradition and often attracts visitors from all over North America, said Reneé Killian-Dawson, tour chairwoman.

“We are blessed to have so many historic homes in the area — many surviving before the war of the states,” said Killian-Dawson, an interior designer and a historian. “We have a lot of civic pride. People from all over the place love these homes.”

Chairing a historic home tour couldn’t be more appropriate for Killian-Dawson. Her background in restoring English countryside historic homes helped inspire her Beaufort design business, English Interiors.

Musings on what it’s all about — for those who dig it.

..nothing is gained by not gathering roses.”Although it amounts to preaching to the choir, herewith a compendium of thoughts from gardeners who seem to grasp what it’s all about. Let us all get psyched up for the coming garden year!

If some expressions resonate more than others with various reader/gardeners, all contain a seed of reality, expressed poetically or more pragmatically. So, why garden? It is tempting to simply say that one gardens because he/she can’t help it. Is it genetic? Sometimes yea, sometimes nay. Well, what is the sweet mystery

then? Here follow several observations of devotees from the recent and distant past.  "If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.” Who had the nerve to make such a bald pronouncement? Why, Cicero of course.

The Beaufort County Extension Service will offer the next master gardener class March 4 through June 12 at the PSD No. 1 office on Matthews Drive, Hilton Head Island.

The class will meet from 1 to 4 p.m. each Wednesday. The curriculum is developed and distributed statewide by Clemson University and administered locally by Laura Lee Rose, county extension agent-horticulture, Beaufort County Extension Service. 

Master Gardeners receive a minimum of 40 hours of instruction and core training in soils and plant nutrition, basic botany, entomology, plant pathology, vegetable and fruit gardening, landscape design, and several other subjects.

In addition to completing the class assignments, each individual is required to donate 40 hours of volunteer work to receive designation as master gardener. These projects range from support at the Hilton Head plant clinic and the Beaufort County Extension office, to providing horticultural assistance at a variety of community-based initiatives like restoring the gardens at the Heyward House in Bluffton and teaching gardening skills to area youth and adults.

There is a course materials fee of $200 per person or $230 for spouses sharing materials. Interested applicants can contact the Beaufort County Extension Service, P.O. Box 189, Beaufort, SC 29901, (843) 470-3655 for more information. The application deadline is Feb. 14.

The mission of the Clemson Extension Master Gardener Program is to select, train, and utilize knowledgeable volunteers to facilitate the educational work of the local consumer horticulture agent, by delivering researched-based information to residents of the state 

The Lowcountry Master Gardener Association is a volunteer organization that supports and engages in projects and activities which promote and foster community enrichment, knowledge and enhancement in the areas of horticulture and ecology. 

Nearby gardens meet great expectations.

View of Biltmore “castle” from South TerraceThe best New Year’s resolution you could possibly make for 2009 is to plan a trip, or several, to visit some of the outstanding gardens available within a day’s drive from Hilton Head Island.

These include three of the most renowned public gardens, not only in the Southeast, but in the entire country.

This is not to recommend a one-day round trip, because an overnight stay is necessary to fully enjoy the experience, although you can easily reach your destination in a day.

Users of Beaufort County’s popular Real Property Lookup and Real and Personal Tax Payment Web site pages are in for big changes with new state-of-the-art tax and appraisal software.

Property Max and Collect Max replaced the county’s property research and tax payment services. Both are powered by Manatron, a national company used by many government property tax and assessment ofces.

Put a modern twist to your traditional holiday decor.

Holiday Home Makeover

By now, you’ve likely pulled dusty boxes of half-broken ornaments, partially used candles, tangled twinkling lights and themed tablecloths from the bowels of your closet. But before you deck your house in holiday splendor, reconsider the décor of old. The impending New Year marks a fresh take to tradition, according to Carmen Natschke of Decorating Diva, an online home design resource.

“As with all things décor, the basics will always have a strong influence,” she said. “I don’t see a significant down trend in traditional holiday color usage. What I do see is a fusion of traditional color basics and trendy color newcomers, such as pink, robin’s egg blue, sage, chocolate and other 2008 color favorites.”