By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Plant sale, festival this weekend at Botanical Garden
Heritage blandhome
The Heritage Bland house is shown surrounded by flowers and plants at the Botanical Garden. The “Annual Botanical Garden Plant Sale and Whirligig Festival” will be held this Saturday from 10 a.m to 2 p.m. for the general public, and Botanical Garden members may come Friday from 3 to 6 p.m. - photo by ROGER ALLEN/special
    Many people drive by it every day, but few take the time to stop and check it out. That is both part of the beauty of the Georgia Southern Botanical Garden, as well as part of the problem, according to director Carolyn Altman.
    Until now, the centerpiece structures of the garden have been the old Bland Home and the Bland Mule Barn. That’s about to change. According to Altman, assistant director Bob Randolph, educational coordinator Kathy Tucker are in the middle of an expansion at the garden in three phases they call the  “Heritage Initiative.” The first phase is now nearly complete.
    To show off their plans, everyone is invited to come to this weekend’s “Annual Botanical Garden Plant Sale and Whirligig Festival.” Botanical Garden members can come buy plants on Friday from 3 until 6 p.m. (If you’re not a member, you can join and participate in the members only sale.), and then the general public is invited to come on Saturday from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m.
    In addition to the plant sale, the Whirligig Festival will bring numerous craftsmen with their wares, along with many local farmers bringing fruits and vegetables from their gardens for sale. During the event, singers, dancers, and local artists will entertain festival goers. Admission is free
    The garden is not owned by Georgia Southern University, but is overseen by the Georgia Southern Foundation on behalf of the people of Bulloch County. Consider it a “green space” in the midst of a rapidly expanding town and university.
    Located just off of Fair Road on Bland Avenue, the six and one-half acre center is what remains of the old Michael Bland Farm. Dan Bland and his wife Catharine O’Neal Bland built and maintained the structures that have since it’s creation formed most of the Garden’s facilities. With their passing, it was willed to the people.
    In addition to that, the Botanical Garden Foundation’s Board of Advisors, led by president Jack Orman, as well as ex-officio members of the university faculty, has given Altman, Randolph, and Tucker a great deal of assistance in raising the funds necessary to upgrade and improve the garden’s educational facilities.
    The result of everyone’s efforts will be unveiled to the public this weekend, when the new Heritage Pavilion is opened. Now, touring school groups and all the other visitors to the garden will not only have better bathroom facilities, but also will have an area where they can rest, eat lunch, or escape inclement weather.
    Supervised by GSU Landscape Architect Chuck Taylor, Jackie Rushing’s Action Lawn & Landscaping of Statesboro and Altamaha Building Systems of Baxley are in the midst of building the Heritage Pavilion and Fountain, and constructing walkways of hand-made brick that will connect the new and old structures in a seamless fashion.
    Altman said are residents can help fund all the improvements by coming out and being a part of the “Whirligig Festival and Plant Sale.” And becoming members of BG. She estimates that the Botanical Garden has already raised one-half the money they need, but they still have along way to go.

Sign up for the Herald's free e-newsletter