Monday, December 7, 2015

Wells Japanese Garden, Newberry, SC

Torii, Wells Japanese Garden, Newberry, SC

Be silent my dear, and enjoy the scene 
as we walk in this Japanese Garden serene.
- From Walking In A Japanese Garden, Joyce Hemsley and John William McGrath III 

The Wells Japanese Garden in Newberry, SC is a fine place to rest the mind and refresh the senses if traveling through town. It’s small, occupying about one half acre. You might have to ask directions. Then you might have to ask again.

It once belonged to the Wells family. W. Fulmer Wells (1903-1980), a young student of architecture, was captivated with the Japanese Tea Garden that he’d visited near San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge. So, he designed this small oasis for his family’s estate in Newberry. His father, Henry Burton Wells, Sr. (1874-1940), had it built in 1930.

The senior Wells was well-known in town, having joined the local fire brigade at the age of 14 as a coal cart boy. He served the Excelsior Fire Company in several capacities, including Fire Chief from 1905.

Tea House, Wells Japanese Garden, Newberry, SC

The garden is entered through a side entrance off the street, above which a sign explains a bit of its history. Main features include a stone temple, a torii, cast lanterns, small ponds planted with lotus and Japanese iris, and spanned by bridges in a Japanese style. A teahouse provides a quiet place to rest. Indigenous and exotic species include Japanese maples, crapemyrtles, bamboo, ferns, hostas, gardenias, Japanese euonymus, nandinas and bald cypress.

Garden maintenance apparently occurs when someone from town notices that the place looks a little run-down. It’s about time. Nevertheless, it’s worth visiting to enjoy a few minutes of serenity.

Wells Japanese Garden was donated to the City of Newberry in 1971 and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1980. It is open daily.

Historic Newberry, SC
Historic Newberry is a good place to enjoy a few hours browsing antique shops and other locally-owned stores. Its architecture, typical of many small towns, is charming.

Newberry Opera House, Newberry, SC
The Newberry Opera House features many seasonal productions. Restaurants nearby, such as Figaro, are ideal for dinner before or after the opera.

Follow me now to see more of Wells Japanese Garden in Newberry, SC.

Entrance, Wells Japanese Garden, Newberry, SC
"Temple", Wells Japanese Garden, Newberry, SC
Lotus blossom, Wells Japanese Garden, Newberry, SC
Woodwardia ferns, Wells Japanese Garden, Newberry, SC
Wells Japanese Garden, Newberry, SC
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Thursday, December 3, 2015

A question about using landscape fabric.

Q. My lawn maintenance man wants to put down landscape fabric to stop weeds from coming up around my shrubs. Do you think that’s a good idea?

A. I’m not a big fan of landscape fabrics and similar weed barriers, for the following reasons:
  • They might prevent weeds from germinating beneath them, but permeable ones don’t prevent seeds from germinating on top and growing down through them; 
  • Weed barriers on slopes might not let water perk down through them fast enough, instead letting the water drain where it shouldn’t; 
  • Edges of weed barriers can become exposed and tangle in lawnmower blades. 

I much prefer applying plenty of organic mulch.

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