A Gardening Year

The adventures and misadventures of an heirloom gardener

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Mercer Educational Gardens

One of the benefits of being a volunteer at Rutgers Gardens are the field trips offered to local gardens and nurseries. Today we went to the Mercer Educational Gardens. They consist of a compost demonstration site and gardens maintained by the Master Gardeners of Mercer County.

In addition to the maps and literature offered at the entrance, there is a kiosk built by students at a nearby vocational school.

There are eight gardens in and around the compost demonstration site.

I’m always a little leery about “self-guided” tours. Too often, I end up with more questions than when I started. The signage in this case was exceptional. Each garden has a marker . . .

As well as a weather-proof stand with a complete description and pictures of the plants and garden that you are looking at.

My apologies. The Perennial Garden didn’t have the completed stand. That is the Annual Garden pictured above. The Perennial Garden features plants that do well in shade or part-shade.

The garden that drew the most interest was the Weed Identification Garden which contains, well, weeds!

Interestingly, the gardener who maintains this bed has trouble transplanting weeds into it. They don’t like being disturbed.

The Herb Garden consists of two large beds . . .

With a sundial in the middle.

The idea is that you stand on the middle board which is marked with the months and your shadow points to the correct time. The hours are on the surrounding stones. The sundial can be calibrated for Daylight Savings time so it is always correct.

The shed is surrounded on three sides by a pretty Cottage Garden.

This is the back.

I have to remember (and imitate!) this combination:

The Butterfly Garden was just starting to bloom.

They definitely have better butterflies than I do!
After our tour of the gardens, we headed over to the stables at the Mercer County Equestrian Center which is located on the same property. Everyone’s favorite was a cute pony by the name of Mudpie.

In another barn were the horses used by the police. They were huge, measuring 16 hands. They were also less friendly than Mudpie and his stablemates. Do you think he’s mooning us?

On my way back home, I stopped at Rutgers Gardens to check on my plot.

I can't believe how lush it's getting. It's beginning to look like a real cottage garden.

More pictures of the Mercer Educational Gardens can be seen on Flickr


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