The City Magazine Since 1975

Dig It!

Dig It!
April 2016
This month, load up on inspiration, information, and plenty of plants at events around town

 { Through APRIL 24 }
Festival of Houses & Gardens

While beautiful green spaces appear on all the walking tours offered during this Historic Charleston Foundation event, it also includes “Glorious Gardens Tours,” each featuring eight to 10 private landscapes. And be sure to take advantage of luncheon lectures covering topics such as ”Creating Intimate Garden Spaces.” Downtown Charleston. Days, times, & prices vary. (843) 722-3405,

{ Through April 30 }
MUSC Urban Farm

Lend a hand in MUSC’s educational garden on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, and the first and third Saturdays of the month. MUSC Urban Farm, corner of Bee & President sts. Times vary. Free.

{ April 1-29 }
Gathering in the Garden

Volunteer in local community gardens that donate fare to food pantries. Charleston Parks Conservancy crews meet at West Ashley’s Magnolia Park and Community Garden on Tuesdays and Fridays and at James Island’s Medway Community Garden on Thursdays. Locations vary. Tuesday, Thursday, & Friday, 9-11 a.m. Free.

{ APRIL 3 }
Charleston Honey & Bee Expo

Find out how you can help the rapidly declining honeybee population. Indoor and outdoor exhibit areas host local beekeepers, honey-makers, an ”Ask a Master Gardener” booth, and more, and kids are sure to love the observation hive, as well as honey cotton candy, games, and crafts. Cinebarre, 963 Houston Northcutt Blvd., Mount Pleasant. Sunday, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Free.

{ April 5-28 }
Garden in the Parks

Join experienced horticulturists to work in the Holy City’s beautifully blooming green spaces. There are even opportunities in the newly renovated Colonial Lake Park. Locations vary. Tuesday & Thursday, 9-11 a.m. Free.

{ April 8 & 9 }
House & Garden Tour

The Garden Club of Charleston’s 81st annual event is centered around Colonial Lake, where a refreshment station greets ticket holders. Self-guided tours lead visitors through historic homes and gardens (featuring floral arrangements designed by club members), with docents waiting at each stop to share details on the plantings. Downtown Charleston. Friday & Saturday, 1-4 p.m. $50.

{ April 15 & 16 }

Charleston Horticultural Society’s massive plant sale has moved to Old Towne Creek County Park and this year kicks off with Friday night’s Plantasia Eve Party, offering live entertainment, food, and wine under the oaks. Old Towne Creek County Park, 1400 Old Towne Rd. Friday: 5:30-7:30 p.m., $35. Saturday: 8 a.m.-4 p.m., free.

Ask an Expert: I haven’t had success growing plants under my oak tree, and the ground beneath it becomes a muddy mess when it rains. What can I do?

“Not to worry—there are a few basic changes you can consider making. First of all, understand that oak trees are allopathic; they release natural chemicals through their roots and foliage that inhibit growth of competing species, so that may be why your plants didn’t succeed. Start by using a layer of mulch to create a bed that extends out to the drip line (the outermost circumference of the tree’s canopy). This will not only create a tidy appearance, but also improve the tree’s health by providing nutrition and lowering chances of soil compaction. If you want to add plants, consider those with smaller root systems that thrive in lower light conditions, such as autumn fern, cast iron plant, and holly fern.” —Joan McDonald, garden editor

It’s finally time to direct-sow annuals such as zinnias, sunflowers, and marigolds! Select an area that receives full sun and has good drainage. Remove weeds and amend the soil with compost. Plant your seeds according to the packet’s instructions, then rake smooth to ensure good seed-to-soil contact and water lightly. During germination, make sure the soil stays damp but not soggy.