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Spartanburg Community College’s main campus is known for it’s many pocket gardens. Those spaces are maintained by the college's horticulture department.
Jason Bagwell is chair of the horticulture department. Kevin Parris is arboretum director and Jay Moore is an instructor. They teach and train about 60 students each year providing them with hands-on experience working in the campus gardens. Each student is part of a team of three or four students. They are graded and required to work together to maintain the spaces.
Over the past five years, the horticulture department has added a few gardens. A highlight is the Cabeana Gardena located in front of the library. This garden has developed into a secluded space with many living walls creating pockets of conversation spaces.
In addition, there is the Plant Zoo, where every plant in the garden has an animal name. Another area is called the International Peace garden and there also is the Xeric garden, which is one of the low maintenance specialty spaces. And finally, there is a medicinal garden.
In August, the team decided to install an Asian garden. This peaceful, calm and tranquil garden is right outside the glass wall of the library. Students can work in the library and have a view of the new Asian garden.
Moore says they spent an entire year thinking about what to plant in the space. He said their decision was influenced by the mature Crimson Queen Japanese Maple trees already planted in the area. The conifers planted in the garden create spaces to plant many specimens that thrive in the deep shade.
People are invited to walk into the garden by crossing the Asian boardwalk. Immediately you walk pass the large bed of scree (bits of broken rock) that represent a body of water. The boulders scattered in the space depict islands floating in the water. The space is decorated with a large sea serpent. In addition, a seating area with a marble table and four stools is placed at the back of this garden.
No Asian garden would be complete without a stand of bamboo. Moore planted some yellow groove bamboo in a pot in the ground. The pot will contain the growth of the bamboo. He added a few small azaleas, some boxwoods, and a large group of ferns. A variegated fatsia called camouflage was added for color.
In addition, Moore planted some fragrant pathway gardenias and farfugium leopard plants. The space also includes short black mondo grass and a contorted camelia shrub that changes directions.
The Asian garden is anchored on the left side by a weeping black gum tree. Near it is a red large metal Japanese bell hung in a lumber frame. In the middle of this peaceful garden, is a waterfall that adds more beauty to the space.
Linda Cobb is a Master Gardener who lectures, teaches, and does garden design in South Carolina. She can be reached at 864-574-8493 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit her website at www.mygardenersguide.com.