GOOSE CREEK – For those interested in learning more about growing and caring for flowers, vegetables and even grass in your lawn, consider taking a gardening class at your local library.
The Berkeley County Library System has hosted gardening classes for as long as senior branch librarian Nanette Hamilton can remember. He said that the local population is interested in the topic.
“There’s a Facebook page called ‘Goose Bay Gardeners’ that gets a lot of traffic,” he said. “There is an active interest in gardening in the community.”
Christopher Burtt, urban horticulture extension agent for Berkeley, Charleston and Dorchester counties with Clemson Cooperative Extension, taught a class July 23 at the Goose Creek Library on summer chores — basically what gardeners need to do to care for their plants in the summer.
“Summer is one of those times when it’s really about solving problems and solving problems. It’s hot, plants are stressed, being outside is stressful,” Burtt said. “For most, the best thing to do is to make sure everything is as happy as possible.”
This isn’t Burt’s first time teaching. She has done a number of studies at the Charleston County Public Library on various types of gardening, from vegetable gardening to edible gardening. She previously taught several classes with the Berkeley County Library System.
Hamilton said she noticed that people were usually interested in Burtt’s classes.
“I saw them taking notes last class,” Hamilton said. “I think they were too busy.”
Throughout the class, Burtt talked about a number of things: making sure not to overwater plants in or under water, how to make sure they’re not stressed and therefore not susceptible to disease, and how to care for specific flowers and vegetables. After class, he would stick around to answer people’s questions and look at the plants people had brought in.
Burtt said she enjoys talking about plants and how to care for them, as well as interacting with the people who attend the classes.
“It’s a group of people that we don’t necessarily connect with with some of our other classes, like Master Gardener or any of the other programs that I’ve done. It’s kind of simpler,” Burtt said. “Maybe someone isn’t necessarily into gardening, but they say, ‘Hey, I’ll be at the library and maybe I’ll come in.’ even if it’s too much, maybe we can interest a non-primary person in horticulture.”
Chris Amundson and her husband Mark attended Burtt’s class. She said she had taken horticulture classes at the library before, but she and Mark were both excited about Burt’s class because they had watched “Making it Grow,” a show on horticulture and horticulture produced by Clemson University on the South Carolina ETV network.
“She was beautiful. It had nice outlines and it had a sequence you could follow. He answered specific questions for specific people.” “It was well thought out, well presented. He was a good speaker.”
Meghan Bartos had just moved to Goose Creek in May, and the class Burt taught was the first gardening class she had ever taken at the library. Familiar with horticulture, but unfamiliar with hardiness zones — the standard by which gardeners can determine which foliage will grow best in a location based on average minimum winter temperatures, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture — she moved.
“I moved here from South Dakota. I am completely clueless (here). I tell people, “I can garden all day up north, I know what to do in zone 4. Zone 8, I have no idea,” Bartos said.
Bartos said she plans to take gardening classes offered by the Berkeley County Library System in the future.
“It was very informative, a lot of eye-openers about what I could and couldn’t do. I have to change my whole thought process. I’m excited to learn that these classes happen quite often. I need them,” Bartos said.
Burtt said she hopes people will gain a better understanding of gardening and a greater appreciation for the environment after attending her classes.
“It’s very important for us as humans to be better stewards of our environment,” Burtt said. “My main goal is to educate and inform so that people can be better at improving their landscape. This, in turn, improves the general environment around us.”