* Wed C&C "No Theme" Thread #697 on 2021 09 01 *

Started 3 months ago | Discussions thread
Mike Fewster Veteran Member • Posts: 8,621
Re: Botanical Garden Project Part 1

minniev wrote:

This week and probably next I'll be sharing sets from a project I'm doing for our local environmental group.

In the 1970s the area where I live was just "developing" out of wilderness and less than 200 families lived out here, most having moved from a nearby big city. The ladies, perhaps bored, formed a garden club, but found the area so different that their usual projects were untenable. So they focused on creating a large botanical garden featuring native plant life, with walking trails throughout. As the ladies aged they became less able to maintain it, and now only a few are still afoot. Today's generation of women are too busy working to keep the club alive. Our non profit took it on as a project, got a grant, and by spring will have completed the cleanup/fixup/refurbishing. It will be handicapped accessible and braille certified. I'm doing the photography for the print and kiosk guides (except for the birds, who are being done by a local Audubon bird photographer). These aren't in order, but plucked from the larger set of the spring/summer grouping.

This is the main trail, about a mile long with some unpaved side trails and features to explore. It will all be smoothed for easy wheelchair access and marked for safety for the visually impaired.

The first thing the ladies planted was camellias. Unchecked for half a century they are now large trees. After their camellia phase, they decided to plant only native plants, but they left the camellias where they were.

Bill has written several books on "fernology" and led the development of the fern bog, which features every kind of native fern in central Misssissippi.

I don't know all their names but they are fun to photograph in closeup.

Wild morning glories abound in summer.

Because a creek runs through the middle of the garden we often have a light fog in the mornings that makes photos more fun. There's bird boxes like this, individually chosen for the types of birds our Audubon folks have identified as residents. The signage for the visually impaired will have bird songs and tactile images.

We wanted an outdoor classroom to encourage field trips by school groups as well as grown up groups like garden clubs, so volunteers built us one.

I've taught photography classes in the outdoor classroom. It's free to the public for anyone to use.

One of my assignments was to photograph a Devil's Walking Stick which I would have thought was an insect. After several tries, I finally found someone who knew what and where one was - ancient breed of trees with few leaves and lots of thorns.

There is a raised butterfly garden out front that is accessible for wheelchairs, so the original ladies' club members, many of whom are wheelchair bound now, can putter around with trowels if they wish.

Very pleased to note that this is part one. Lots and lots of reasons to like this series and I will enjoy subsequent Parts.

It is a feel good story of a valuable project. The project has many sides. History and changing generations, the plot as an environment, the individual plants and inhabitants, the varied people who give their time to the project and the work done.

You have caught the many aspects that make up the story. It is a brilliant little project that gives meaning to photography. It must be very satisfying.

A PS. Shock. Horror. Beautiful butterfly but what is the flower? Is that Lantana? If so in Australia it is listed in the 10 most damaging invasive species to ever arrive here.

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Mike Fewster
Adelaide Australia

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