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Featured Garden: Native Plants Garden

Not only pleasing to the eye, this garden serves an important function beneath the soil — erosion control.

The native plants on this bluff minimize erosion from tides and wind and capture storm water runoff. Furthermore, the more than 30 species of plants attract songbirds and insects that thrive in our South Carolina climate.

The Waddell Mariculture Center is a field experiment station of the S.C. Department of Natural Resources and is one of the country’s largest and most sophisticated facilities for mariculture research. It was constructed in 1983 to develop propagation and farming techniques for marine and brackish water species of finfish, mollusks, crustaceans and plants.

River Oats Chasmanthium latifolium is a clump-forming, upright, ornamental grass which typically grows 2-5 inches and most often occurs in rich woods or rocky slopes along streams and on moist bluffs. Seed heads emerge green but turn purplish bronze by late summer. Bright green leaves turn a coppery color and eventually brown by winter. It is excellent for dried flower arrangements.

Georgia Savory Satureja georgiana basil is a little-known, overlooked treasure. This basil is a highly aromatic, semi-evergreen that has hints of mint. It resembles rosemary and is covered in pale pink flowers during warmer months. It’s non-invasive and drought tolerant but can also tolerate wet soil.

Blue Bunny sedge With stunning silvery blue, grass-like foliage, Carex laxiculmis (Bunny Blue) is a versatile evergreen sedge that can be used along a border edge or as a groundcover. Reaching a mature height of only 12 inches, it slowly spreads to form tidy clumps. It provides a pleasing contrast to plants such as Heuchera americana, Geum lobatum and Tiarella cordifolia.

Editor’s Note: Seven of the top gardens in the Lowcountry were showcased as part of the 2019 All Saints Garden Tour. LOCAL Life is featuring each garden through images captured by photographer Maddie Terry. This month is the Native Plants Garden at the Waddell Mariculture Center in Bluffton.