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Jenks Farmer's Funky Little Flower Farm Trip

4/25/2023 1:55 pm

Get ready for a road trip on June 3, 2023!  






Spring is arriving midwinter as it tends to do in the Deep South. Predictably our warm weather meanders in and out like a lost child in a public bathroom.  We yank a door open and scream when it’s not what we expect. 


I sit contemplating my snowdrops in full flower, under my bridal wreath. A horticultural Evil Kneivel, the bush has once again burst into full bloom, in February. Nearby, a gnat swarm marks the now liquifying trunk of my giant Abyssinian Banana. I wonder if anyone has bananas out for sale yet. I know it’s too early. I know that we are heading for the slap of freezing rain against the back door and yet I remain unphased by reality. This my friends, is why we can’t have nice things. Or at least why we sometimes have to get nice things twice in a row because we tried to plant them too early the first time. 


Liane and I have come up with at least one answer to this conundrum: a garden trip in June. The frosts will be well behind us. Our cool season annuals will all look like drunken soldiers, and I will be sitting on my hands to stop myself from pulling off the slowly yellowing daffodil foliage. What do you do when the windows need washing and the garden needs weeding?  Road trip!   


Come with us to Beech Island, South Carolina to visit Jenks Farmer’s nursery built on a 150 year old family farm. We will wade through fields of Crinum and lunch on the farm, which sounds like a Garden & Gun illustration. (Reality likely includes some of us wearing our scary gardening clothes, which would be closer to a photo shoot for Compost Weekly.) Regardless, Jenks will stroll us through the farm and gardens. He even promises to include actual botanical information among the rest of the the stories he tells. 


Following the opportunity to buy lots of plants you can’t find at home, we'll have a brief stop at nearby Redcliffe Plantation to learn some local agricultural history while savoring trees that will never grow in my garden.  


Those who are interested, and we will judge you if you are not, can come along to visit a local garden or two or three in nearby Augusta, including Bonnie Thurmond's, which is influenced by Jenks and contains many tempting plants and objects. Good thing I don't have sticky fingers except for seeds. I also hear there are some fabulous local nurseries jonesing for my leftover change that we may visit if the pockets aren't empty. Then maybe we can perhaps meet up for dinner. A day trip, or a horticultural lost weekend, depending on your proclivities.  How can you say no?


We are poised on the edge of car compost season. It’s the time of year that demands windows wide open, a bag of Cheetos, and a place to go involving dirt roads. Wander off with us to South Carolina for a day. No one wants to stay home and wash their filthy windows.  Remember plants bought on different trips do not get added together. Saddle up, there’s nothing between you and a gardening road trip other than good judgment, and who needs that? 


Details other than yelling "count me in", and stop looking at my dirty windows, are below in Liane’s well structured sign up. 


Looking forward to seeing you out at the farm. 







It's hard being the straight woman to Kathleen sometimes. I've been known to unleash a witticism or two, but there's poetry and there's prose. Sigh.  So here are the deets you need to know as you exit your reverie.


The Details:

Join us as we take a road trip to Beech Island, South Carolina, just around the corner from Augusta, Georgia to meet up at Jenks Farmer's nursery and farm in Beech Island, SC.  


Our visit with Jenks begins at 10 am, so give yourself enough time to get there using your GPS as your guide. 


Jenks will greet us with hot coffee or cold Beech Island well water and a snack. We'll have a one hour tour through the rare plant nurseries and the Crinum fields, with notepads or cellphones in hand to record our wish lists. Afterwards, we'll have an early lunch prepared by a local chef with beer and Crinum based cocktails available. Next, we'll have an hour long garden and history tour. Then you'll have some time to empty your wallet buying gorgeous plants in the nursery or you can just wander around oohing and aahing more.  


Redcliffe Plantation Historic Site is just around the corner from Jenks. He's arranged a 15 minute talk there for us to learn about the fascinating and important horticultural history of the area. Plus there are spectacular trees to see. Linger longer if you like. Or come back Sunday for a full tour.  


Afterward, we'll visit a local garden in nearby Augusta.  In March 2020, Bonnie Thurmond downsized from an historic cottage on an acre lot to a modest ranch on a third of an acre, with one oak tree and one camellia. She and Jenks worked through the pandemic to create a very personal oasis. Truth be told, she did spend the months the new house was being renovated, when she should have been purging and packing at the old one, transferring plants, rocks, reclaimed architectural pieces and more, one car load at a time to the new house. We think that you’ll be quite surprised to see what she has accomplished in just a few years!


After Bonnie's, we'll can head out to one or two of a couple stellar nurseries Bonnie adores.  Be ambitious and choose both, if you dare.  Nurseries Caroliniana closes earlier, so consider that. Global plant hunter Ted Stephens has made his finds his stock in trade. Take a preview or even order some of his rare and unusual plant material ahead of time:  Very close to Bonnie's is Bedford Greenhouses, given the thumbs up by Garden & Guns list of 15 Nurseries to Visit in the South.


Some of us plan to stay the night and will grab dinner together, or you can join us and still get home before midnight. Or you can choose to form your own splinter group. We're mellow like that.  We know that Kathleen and I will laugh the most.


Getting There: Transportation is on your own, and we can only guess where you might be coming from! What we do know is the drive from metro Atlanta can take between 2 1/2 to 3 hours depending on traffic. Carpool assistance can be arranged. Check the box on the registration form if you'd like to drive others, ride or fly solo. 


Preliminary Ideas for Extending the Weekend: Some folks may come early and stay over Friday, or stay overnight on Saturday, or both. There are plenty of interesting nearby nurseries although we note that very few are open on Sunday (which is why some of us will head there on Friday because 38 greenhouses and cheese straws at Sanderlin Nurseries in Appling calls to us, whereas Bubba's Orchids not so much). Also, Aiken is not that far away and offers a charming downtown full of restaurants and shops, along with the delightful Self-Guided Aiken Arboretum Trail that have "Friday" written all over it.


Attached are detailed lists of of sights worth seeing, nearby or en route nurseries, hotel and restaurant possibilities.  Registrants will be emailed with info to connect with each other regarding carpooling and hotel thoughts. Then you can finalize your travel intentions to make it a truly Plant-astic weekend!  





Anyone now, including non-members. There will be a wait list option if the trip is full. 


 registration form link here .   

Cost of trip:  $40.  

$35 of the $40 fee is being aggregated to pass along to Jenks for snacks, lunch, etc. The additional $5 is a donation to help defer incidental costs. It will not be used to wash the Cheeto stains Kathleen makes in Liane's car or buy either of us tasty beverages, although if someone offers, we won't say no!  



Events are rain or shine, unless there’s a major storm. 


Your payment is nonrefundable. If we can fill your slot from the waitlist, we might be able to facilitate a "place" swap. Otherwise, consider it a small donation in the hopes of a fun time!  


If you choose to pay by check, your check must be received within 14 days of reserving your spot. Your check should be made out to Georgia Perennial Plant Association, Inc. and sent to PO Box 190993, Brookhaven, GA 30319.  In fair disclosure, note that Liane hates going to the Post Office box, is still recovering from a post auction exposure case of Covid, and it only saves you 37 cents to use a stamp, so be a mensch and strongly consider registering online.


Carpooling and Travel Terms - Participant acknowledges that Georgia Perennial Plant Association, Inc. ("GPPA") is not directly providing transportation or physically hosting these events and participant will hold GPPA harmless for any and all liability that may result from participation in them.  


In order to complete your reservation, you will be asked if you have read and accepted a Liability Waiver/Risk Acknowledgement form that will be presented before checkout.


INFO FOR EXTENDING YOUR TRIP: nurseries along the route and nearby, hotels, sights to see, restaurants: Download Extra Using this Link (excel spreadsheets)


Registrants will be given a list of other registrants for the purpose of coordinating carpools, hotels and caravanning if they desire to do so.




P.S.: all typos and grammatical errors are either intentional or beyond caring about at this point. If we got a fact wrong, well, it wouldn't be the first time. If it is an important one we really need to fix on the other hand . . . .  Maybe that is why Kathleen always makes me do the details while she waxes poetic. I may have to demand the Cheetos Crunchy or Flamin' Hot now. None of that "puffy" stuff for me, Kathleen!