Guests and Savannah’s SAFE Shelter benefit from this downtown Savannah Inn’s harvest
Savannah, GA – Azalea Inn & Gardens brings on the greens and encourages you to leave the blues behind. Who’d imagine an inn located in a quiet historic urban neighborhood in Savannah, GA would support their own mini-farm? But with astute planning from Adam Mentzer, passionate local farmer and owner of Adam’s Farm, the bounty is blooming at Azalea Inn and Gardens. Knowing that her mini-farm would produce beyond the needs of the guests, Azalea Inn & Gardens owner, Teresa Jacobson, set out to find a place where needy recipients could benefit from the garden. Having had friends benefit from the help of shelters for abused victims, Jacobson settled on the Savannah Area Family Emergency (SAFE) Shelter for abused people to receive produce from her garden. Today, both Mentzer and Jacobson are supplying the shelter’s clients with excess fresh-grown food from their garden while teaching graduates of the SAFE Shelter program how a small-space garden can produce big benefits.
The Azalea Inn & Gardens has a long history of gardening fame. Their award-winning flower gardens have received media accolades for years. Yet never one to settle for status quo, Teresa Jacobson decided she wanted a bigger garden in 2011 when she was motivated by a “Meet Your Maker” dinner (where local artisans’ and growers’ produce, cheeses, meats were showcased.) It was here she made the acquaintance of local farmer Adam Mentzer, and soon the concept of the Azalea Inn mini-farm developed. While skeptical at first at what could be accomplished on a small lot in downtown Savannah, Mentzer refused to be daunted, knowing raised beds and container gardens could produce plenty. What followed was phenomenal: [nggallery id=20]
The list of varieties of herbs and produce growing in the mini-farm is astounding. Careful planning has allowed a long list of varieties to be grown, the likes of which you’d expect to find on a ten acre rural Georgia farm, including:
Hybrid Squash 8-Ball Hybrid Melon Galia Hybrid Melon Athena
Gourd Cucuzzi Snake Tomato Amana Orange Hybrid Tomato Supersweet
Okra Clemson Spineless Gourd Dipper Long Handled Hybrid Cucumber Tasty Green
Hybrid Tomato Morning Light Hybrid Tomato Brandymaster Pink
Tomato Cherokee Purple Hybrid Pepper Anastar Hybrid Pepper Aristocrat
Hybrid Zucchini Squash Kentucky Blue Pole Bean Yellow Bush Bean
Purple Bush Bean Fennel Zefa Fino Swiss Chard Magenta Sunset
Arugula Daikon Radish Miyashige Hybrid Turnip Scarlet Queen Red Stems
Greens Mache Strawberries Sequoia Strawberries Quinalt
Eggplant Black Beauty Eggplant Ichiban
Rosemary Oregano Stevia
Texas Terragon Onion Chives Lemon Balm
Curled Parsley Cilantro Potpourri Lavender
Spearmint Peppermint Rosemary
Fernleaf Dill Spicy Globe basil Thai Basil
Lemon Basil Opal Basil Sweet Basil
“I’m not sure what I’m more excited about,” smiled Teresa Jacobson when asked about the new mini-farm, “all of this glorious produce and herbs, my new partnership with Adam or being able to offer those who’ve had to leave everything behind the taste of freshness from my garden,” finished Jacobson. The response from the SAFE Shelter staff and clients has included an outpouring of gratitude.
While the focus has always been on locavore cuisine at the Azalea Inn & Gardens, the new mini-farm will bring the property even closer to a totally sustainable model. Food scraps will be composted in 80-gallon Earth Machine compost bins and rainwater for watering plants is collected in 55 gallon cisterns, allowing nature’s bounty to be reused to create healthier plants and a healthier planet. Additionally, low-volume irrigation and low volume water baths are utilized outside and in. At Azalea Inn, Earth Day is every day.
Inside, cotton/bamboo blend towels delight guests with their soft and eco-friendly texture. All lighting utilizes energy-saving CFL bulbs and plastic bottles for bath amenities have been replaced with dispensers for high quality eco-friendly shampoos, shower gels and conditioners. Guests are given the option to re-use towels to cut down on unnecessary detergents and energy use and as many papers and plastics as possible are recycled.
The décor of the inn emphasizes nature, and rooms have been designed to allow as much natural light as possible. Most rooms feature private balconies or patios allowing guests to “bring the outdoors in”.
About Azalea Inn
Deliciously relaxing and lighthearted, the Azalea Inn and Gardens is a casually elegant Savannah bed and breakfast mansion offering vintage and award-winning gardens and its new mini-farm, historic 19th century architecture (complete with soulful imperfections) and a scrumptious, new and traditional southern cuisine breakfast. A hidden garden courtyard pool, modern comforts and free on-site parking sets Azalea Inn & Gardens apart and makes staying here easy and relaxing. Located in the Historic Landmark District of Savannah on brick-cobbled Huntingdon Street near Forsyth Park (Savannah’s central park), the inn’s atmosphere is characterized by fun, with an adventurous and decidedly eco-friendly focus. Yet the ultimate allure of this daffodil-colored Queen Anne Italianate inn is its owner’s 21st century, whimsical and outgoing personality. You’ll arrive ready for a break and leave with a new great friend.
For those seeking a green urban refuge, the Azalea Inn & Gardens is a delight. Learn more at www.azaleainn.com.
These and other photos available in high-res from Azalea Inn. Misty DeBlasio photos
Join us this Friday and Saturday from 10 to 4 for the 2011 NOGS Tour of Hidden Gardens- a private glimpse into eight beautiful gardens that are not normally accessible to the public. These hidden gardens are north of Gwinnett Street (NOGS) in the historic district of Savannah and proceeds go to support the charitable works of the Garden Club of Savannah. Recently, WJCL interviewed Pat Ryan of the Garden Club and Teresa Jacobson of Azalea Inn and Gardens for a sneak preview of what garden enthusiasts can expect (click here to see the interview).
We think you will be amazed at the growth the produce gardens have achieved since the filming two weeks ago! Tomato plants are now 2 to 3 feet tall and some are setting blossoms; cucumbers are climbing and setting buds as are the cantaloupe and Galia melons. The herb garden has taken off as have our blueberry bushes and strawberry plants. Adam Mentzer of Adam’s Farm came by last week and erected the climbers for tomato plants, cucumbers, melons and pole beans, so the visual is a bit amusing as you see a sea of white strings delicately holding up the tips of so many of our plants. The snake gourds have taken hold right next to the four Georgia blueberry bushes and delicate blue and pink trumpet vines scale the lattice at the front of the produce garden.
Azalea Inn has been at the forefront of the eco-friendly sustainability model for downtown Savannah bed and breakfast inns being the first inn to champion recycling several years before the city provide curbside service. It seemed logical to continue the trend by adding low volume drip and micro-drip irrigation throughout the two gardens, and to expand last year’s 12×15 produce beds to encompass the entire back yard of the inn’s neighboring plot. The amazement of our guests upon seeing the “mini-mini farm” we have sustained in the middle of an historic downtown city has been the source of inspiration for many.
Join us this Friday and Saturday and show your support for the many wonderful causes of Savannah’s Garden Club. Tickets are $45 per person or $40 each for a group of ten or more. For further information, please visit their website at http://www.gcofsavnogstour.org/.
View Azalea Inn and Gardens’ accommodations in historic Savannah, itinerary suggestions, the best of area restaurants, and more.
Distinctive bed and breakfast lodging for the April NOGS Tour of Hidden Gardens of Savannah Georgia is best savored at Azalea Inn and Gardens, also a select property on this year’s tour. We were honored with the invitation to be a part of the Garden Club of Savannah’s annual fund-raising event, and Jake, of course, was ecstatic! Despite the heavy freezes (and subsequent loss of vegetation) we have experienced this year, he barely blinked as he assured me that we would be ready by the scheduled dates, April 29 and 30, 2011. True to his meticulous nature, Jake has begun working on a map of the grounds marking the locations of the different flora and fauna so we can have identifying signs throughout making the tour of our gardens even more enlightening.
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Time now to slip inside the inn for a picture-perfect breakfast and some easy conversation around the communal table with the guests. What will we enjoy today? Ah, Banana Pancakes with Banana Caramel syrup, chicken-apple sausage, and a refreshing fruit cup of strawberries, black grapes and melon balls topped with blackberries and raspberries drizzled with a ginger-mint syrup, oh my! A little hot tea now to compliment my Savannah Sunrise – an Azalea Inn and Gardens breakfast specialty juice.
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