Several years ago we made the commitment with strong encouragement from our son, Joshua, to be more eco-friendly. He contacted a local company to pick up all our recyclable products; he schooled us on cutting down our carbon footprint, on not contributing to our landfills and encouraged the change from tiny plastic bottles of boutique shampoo and conditioner to refillable pumps in the shower and offering guests the opportunity to use towels and sheets for more than just a day. The first month of recycling alone reduced our curbside trash pickup from three large city-provided containers to only one.
Inception: March 18, 2011, First planting March 23, NOGS Tour of Gardens April 29, and May 5, 2011 as another marker.
What an exciting concept – a small Savannah inn cultivates a Garden of Eating! The same historic bed and breakfast that began a recycling program two years before the city did is breaking new grounds – literally. Azalea Inn and Gardens has teamed up with local farmer, Adam Mentzer of Adam’s Farm to develop a high-yield square-foot garden in the urban locale of historic Savannah’s former garden district. In the 2005 commissioned research of 217 E. Huntingdon Street it was discovered that the grounds on which our Inn is located were once part of the original 5-acre garden plots given to each new settler in James Oglethorpe’s Savannah colony.
Several consultations later, Adam presented the innkeepers with a design, a budget and a plan. Construction began on March 5, compost was hauled in on March 18 and planting commenced on March 24. Jake designed and installed the irrigation system over the course of those few weeks and completed the installation and hook-up on April 9. The garden is springing to life with seeded crop pushing leaves through the soil and seedlings taking hold and growing.
We opted for a variety of produce to grace the raised beds installed throughout the small plot area choosing many varieties of tomato (Brandymaster Pink, Morning Light yellow, Cherokee Purple, Amana Orange and Supersweets), members of the squash family (cucumber, gourd Cucuzzi snake, 8-Ball Squash, Zucchini, and two forms of eggplant), the melon family (Galia, Athena, and other curcurbits), peppers including Aristocrat and Anastar along with Ancients, several beans (Kentucky blue pole and purple and yellow bush beans) and a variety of root crop from scarlet queen red turnips to fennel and carrots and potatoes.
We also threw in some strawberry varieties for good measure and a bed dedicated to herbs. Finally, a customer of Jake’s, a blueberry farmer, had given us four plants and we were pleased to see they were beginning to put forth fruit.
We are excited to see how our garden grows and the delight we anticipate in the eyes and on the palates of our guests as they enjoy the bounty of “Our Garden of Eating” at our inn.