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As fall approaches, Spartanburg Community College is preparing to hold its annual Arboretum Adventures fundraiser that supports the college’s horticulture program. This year’s event, which is a lecture followed by a dinner, will be held at 6 p.m. Sept. 27 at the Tracy Gaines Auditorium on campus. Each year, the community college invites area residents on campus to take part in its annual event, which raises money to fund the award-winning horticulture program at SCC.
This year’s speaker will be Mark Weathington, director of the J.C. Raulston Arboretum at North Carolina State University. It’s an honor to have Weathington here in Spartanburg, as the arboretum at which he works is one of the finest in the country. His presentation, “Planning a Better World,” will highlight the 40-year legacy of the arboretum’s mission to collect, evaluate and promote plants.
Weathington is passionate about his work and connects people with plants and lives by the motto, “Life is too short for boring plants.” After dinner, he will have his book, “Gardening in the South,” available for purchase.
Weathington takes a common sense approach to gardening and adds a little humor. He makes gardening accessible for any level of gardening. Having traveled all over the world to places such as Europe, Mexico, China, Taiwan, Japan, Ecuador and New Zealand, Weathington has previously served as director of horticulture and facilities at the Norfolk (Va.) Botanical Garden and as a horticulturalist at the Atlanta Botanical Garden.
Weathington loves to use the J. C. Raulston Arboretum as a testing ground for all plants that he likes to recommend. He brings plants home to the arboretum from his travels and believes if he can make them live in its climate they are safe to recommend to any home gardener. His goal is to free the homeowners from killing plants. He will do that for you in this garden. When he recommends a plant to a homeowner, he is confident that it will grow here. That takes the pressure off of the home gardener.
Arboretum Adventures tickets can be purchased by calling 864-592-4624 and are also available online at www.sccsc.edu/arborevents. The cost is $30 per person or $50 per couple. There is an opportunity to give $10 additionally to support a seedling or student to attend the evening event. The people who support SCC believe that students should attend the evening lectures so that they, too, can learn.
The Sustainable Agriculture Building (better known as The Big Red Barn) will also be on display during Arboretum Adventures.
“We are proud to be called the School of Horticulture, and we have earned that name,” said Jason Bagwell. “The instructors here believe that if you hear about it, then you have to see it. Arboretum Adventures is all about learning from the best of the best, and bringing them here to teach us. In that light, we like making it available to our community so we can all learn together.”
The teachers are enjoying their new sustainable agriculture program. They have a student who is from Union County and is currently learning about the production of food and will use this information at his family’s nursery business when he graduates.
Additionally, SCC will hold its annual fall plant sale from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Oct. 5 and from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Oct. 6. Spartanburg Community College raises most of the plants sold and uses the funds raised for its programs. The Spartanburg Men’s Garden Club will also be on hand, selling shrubs and trees.
Fall is a major time to plant perennials, evergreens, trees and ornamental shrubs. The plants spend all winter laying down roots and getting settled into their space in the soil. Come springtime they are ready to grow. The funds from the plant sales are put to good use. As an example, this year, $1,000 scholarships were award to 10 students, which makes everyone’s efforts worth a lot.
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.