Myrtle Beach-area parks, gardens shake off winter, ready to shine for spring

spalisin@thesunnews.comMarch 21, 2014 

  • Some ways to spring outside


    By | Create! Conway

    When | 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday

    Where | On lawn at historic Horry County Court House, 1201 Third Ave., Conway,

    How much | Free

    Includes | Concerts by Big Bam Boom at 10:30 a.m., Rusty Henderson 11:30, Dan Barnhart 12:30 p.m., Charles Grace 1:30, Jesse Uzzel 2:30, and Brian Roessler 3:30

    Information | 248-4527 or


    Where | on U.S. 17 Business, one mile south of Ocean Boulevard/Farrow Parkway, by south city limits, across from Seagate Village

    Open | 6 a.m.-10 p.m. daily

    How much | $5 ages 16 and older, $3.25 S.C. seniors, $3 ages 6-15

    Programs | Most in nature center (open-4:30 p.m. Tuesdays-Sundays, but not April 4-6), and most free with park admission:

    • “Cast Away!” for ages 10 and older, 3:30-4:15 p.m. Thursdays through March

    • “A Stroll Back in Time,” for ages 10 and older, Fridays: 2-2:45 p.m. in March and 11-11:45 a.m. April 11, 18 and 25, on pier

    • “Feeding Time” with snake, 2-2:30 p.m. Saturdays through April, but not April 5

    • “What Dwells in a Shell?” 2-2:30 p.m. Sundays through March

    • “Park Palooza!” 9:45 a.m.-3 p.m. April 5, with nature and camping-related activities, most free with park admission

    • “ ‘Sea’ What’s on the Menu,” aquarium feeding, 3:30-3:40 p.m. Sundays through April, but not April 5

    • “Backyard Bird ID,” for ages 8 and older, 2-2:30 p.m. March 26

    • “Plethora of Plants, 2-2:30 p.m. Tuesdays in April

    • “Who’s Home?” half-mile walk to help check bird houses, 2-3 p.m. Wednesdays in April

    • “Sunset Meditation,” for ages 12 and older, 6:30-7:30 p.m. April 11, in Shelter B6 – bring chairs and blankets

    • “Tale of a Whale,” 11 a.m.-noon Saturdays – April 12, 19 and 26

    • “Urban Sea Turtle,” 2-3 p.m. Sundays – April 13, 20 and 27

    • “ Leaf’ Your Mark!” art project on fabric, 2-2:45 p.m. April 17 and 24, in Shelter B2, for $1 per artwork (exact change appreciated)

    • “Beach Walk and Shell Craft,” 1-3 p.m. April 26 with Grand Strand Shell Club, at Shelter B2.

    • Second annual “Totally Turtles!” 10 a.m.-2 p.m. May 3

    Information | 238-5325, 238-0874 (nature center) or


    By | Horry Corry Parks & Recreation

    Where | 2250 S.C. 179, Little River

    Open | 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Mondays-Saturdays

    How much | Free

    Information | 249-4157 or


    When | 9 a.m.-6 p.m. daily

    Where | in Barefoot Landing, on U.S. 17 in North Myrtle Beach

    How much |

    • $19.99 ages 13 and older, $17.99 seniors, $14.99 ages 4-12, free ages 3 and younger – and second-day-free pass available for return within seven days

    • Season passes $49.99 ages 13 and older, $37.99 ages 4-12

    Special shows daily on | lemurs at 9:30 a.m.; alligator handling at 11 a.m. and 1, 3 and 5 p.m.; and reptiles at 10 a.m., noon and 2 and 4 p.m.

    Information | 361-0789 or


    Where | on an electric yacht, in 90-minute cruises from Conway Marina, at north end of end of Elm Street, by the Conway Marina Store & Ice Cream Shoppe

    When | 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Tuesdays-Saturdays

    How much | $15 ages 13 and older, $10 ages 3-12

    Information | 246-1495 or


    When | Several times per week, including sightseeing and dinner cruises

    Where | From Barefoot Landing Marina, on U.S. 17 in North Myrtle Beach, next to Greg Norman Australian Grille

    How much | Varies per type of cruise

    Information | 272-2140, 272-6796, 855-246-9921 or


    When | noon-5 p.m. Saturday

    Where | La Belle Amie Vineyard, at 1120 St. Joseph Road, Little River, just west of North Myrtle Beach Middle School

    How much | $10 or bring two canned/dry good items for area food banks for $3 discount

    Includes | Music by Andrew Thielen Big Band, 12:30-4:30 p.m.

    Information | 399-9463 or

    Other festivals | Admission might vary for each:

    •  April 5 – Blues & Jazz Fest

    • April 19 – April Music Fest

    • May 3 – Key West Music & Wine Fest

    • May 15 – Nantucket Music & Wine Fest

    • June 7 – American Pie Oldies Music Fest


    By | Seacoast Artists Gallery, 3032 Nevers St., Myrtle Beach, in The Market Common (open noon-8 p.m. Mondays-Saturdays and noon-6 p.m. Sundays through May, then of June: noon-9 p.m. Mondays-Saturdays and noon-7 p.m. Sundays) .

    When | 9 a.m.-5 p.m. March 29-30

    Where | Myrtle Beach’s Valor Memorial Garden, on Farrow Parkway, at The Market Common

    How much | Free

    Information | 232-7009 or

    Also | In gallery:

    • 11th annual Spring Art Show & Sale, April 4-13

    • Novice Art Show, and exhibit by six Coastal Carolina University art students, April 16-20, with awards ceremony and reception, 6-8 p.m. April 19


    By | Waccamaw Arts and Crafts Guild

    When and where | This spring, all 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturdays-Sundays on these spring weekends in Myrtle Beach city parks:

    • April 5-6 (and to start summer, June 21-22) at Chapin Park, 14th Avenue North and Kings Highway

    • April 12-13 at Valor Memorial Garden, on Farrow Parkway, at The Market Common

    How much | Free

    Information | 446-3830 or


    By | The Wellness Council for South Carolina

    When | 11 a.m-6 p.m. April 19

    Where | Conway’s Riverfront Park

    Includes | “Hard 2 Recycle” collection area where attendees can drop off such items as electronics, clothing, metal, and foam

    Information | 995-3199 or


    By | Conway Downtown Alive

    When | 11 a.m.-10 p.m. May 3

    Where | Downtown Conway

    How much | Free

    Information | 248-6260 or


    By | Little River Chamber of Commerce

    When | 9 a.m.-6 p.m. May 17-18

    Where | Little River waterfront

    How much | Advance: $3 one day or $5 for both days; $5 daily at gate; and free pass for ages 12 and younger available at

    Entertainment includes |

    • May 17 – Fahrenheit 9:30 a.m.-noon, Sea Cruz noon-3 p.m. and Gary Lowder and Smokin’ Hot 3-6 p.m.

    • May 18 – Craig Woolard Band noon-3 p.m. and Jim Quick & Coastline 3-6 p.m.

    Information | 249-6604

    Georgetown County


    Where | Brookgreen Gardens, on U.S. 17 between Murrells Inlet and Litchfield Beach, across from Huntington Beach State Park

    Open | Saturday during regular garden hours – 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m. daily, and for April, open until 8 p.m.

    How much | Free with admission, which lasts seven days: $14 ages 13-64, $12 ages 65 and older, and $7 ages 4-12

    Also | guests will receive a coupon for free admission April 12 or 13 for the Plantacular Sale.

    Special lectures and demonstrations | Most free with admission:

    • 10-11 a.m. – Tom Francis, of Bees by the Sea, demo on honeybees and beekeeping.

    • 11a.m.-noon – “40 Years of Horticulture: Observations, Inspirations, and Invitations,” with the host and producer of UNC-TV’s “In the Garden with Bryce Lane.”

    • 11:15 a.m.-12:15 p.m. –“Lifelong Landscape Design: Gardens for Health and Longevity,” with Hugh and Mary Palmer Dargan, landscape architects

    • 11:15 a.m.-12:15 p.m. – Sharon Stollenmaier, demo on pond and aquatic systems

    • 12:45-1:15 p.m. – Ananda Fitzsimmons, co-founder of Inocucor Technologies, covering beneficial microorganisms in plant growing systems

    • 1-2 p.m. – “Winging it in a Human World,” with the host, co-creator and writer of ETV’s “Expeditions with Patrick McMillan”

    • 1:15-2:15 p.m. – “Liberated Gardeners Get More Done: Saving Your Planet, Your Time, Your Budget, and Your Back,” with Frank Hyman, owner of Cottage Garden Landscaping in Durham, N.C.

    • 2:30-3:30 p.m. – “I’m not From Around These Parts: Putting Down Roots in the Southeast,” with Bryce Lane

    • 2:30-3:30 p.m. – Todd Stephenson, of Total Tree Care, demo on proper pruning techniques, focusing specifically on crape myrtle, then for $25 (reservations required at 235-6016), join him 3:30-4:30 p.m. for a pruning workshop in Brookgreen’s Poetry Garden

    • 3-4 p.m. – “Photographing Spring Flowers,” with Anne Malarich, Brookgreen volunteer and photographer, then for $25 (reservations required at 235-6016), join her 4-5 p.m. for a photography workshop in the gardens.

    Information | 235-6000, 800-849-1931 or

    Some other events this spring | Most free with garden admission:

    • “Children’s Butterfly Activity Afternoon,” 1-4 p.m. March 30 at Brookgreen’s “Whispering Wings” Butterfly House and the Enchanted Storybook Forest, giving youth a preview of butterfly exhibit along with finger-painting, coloring, story-book reading, and craft-making activities. Also, tips given on adapting yards at home to attract monarchs, with free milkweed seed packets given to first 200 guests who visit butterfly exhibit – 15-minute visits on this day only for $1, otherwise 30-minute walk-throughs are an extra $3 ages 13 and older, $2 ages 4-12, through October.

    • “An Evening Under the Palmettos,” by The Friends of Brookgreen Gardens and benefiting effort to create “Waterfowl: Wings of Migration” exhibit in Brookgreen’s Lowcountry Zoo, 5:30-8:30 p.m. May 3, black tie with cocktails, Lowcountry tapas, a variety of entertainment, and silent auction, for $175 – call Friends office at 235-6018.

    • “FrogWatch Training, 10:30 a.m.-noon April 5 and noon-1:30 p.m. May 8 – reservations at 235-6016.

    • “Plantacular Sale,” April 12-13

    • “Into the Wild” lecture about butterfly conservation, noon-1 p.m. April 22

    Exhibits |

    • “Equine Spirit: The Horse in American Art” exhibit, through April 20

    • “Kent Ullberg: A Retrospective” (in sculpture), May 17-Aug. 3


    Where | 16,000-acre (25 square miles) preserve on U.S. 17, just north of Georgetown

    Discovery (welcome) Center | open 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Mondays-Saturdays, for free

    Programs | Reservations required at 546-4623:

    • Barony tours, including Hobcaw House, generally 10 a.m.-noon and 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Tuesdays-Fridays, for $20

    • “Hobcaw Barony Behind the Scenes,” 1-4 p.m. March 26, and April 1 and 18, and 10 a.m.-1 p.m. April 30, each $30

    • Bellefield Plantation tour, 1-3 p.m. April 2 and 2-4 p.m. April 17, each $20

    • “Learn to Throw a Cast Net,” 1-3:30 p.m. April 5 and 25, for $10 – also, bring your own cast net

    • “Birding on the Barony” tours, with Jerry Walls, a naturalist from Hemingway, 8 a.m.-1 p.m. on third Saturday monthly, including April 19 and May 17, each $35.

    • “Preschool Play,” for ages 4 and younger, 10-11:30 a.m. April 19 and May 24, for $5

    • “Cane Pole Fishing,” 10 a.m.-1 p.m. April 24, for $15 per pole to take home

    • “The Sting on Pollinators,” for ages 5-10, 2-4 p.m. April 24, for $10

    • “Catch Me if You Can,” featuring live raptors, from The Center for Birds of Prey in Awendaw (971-7474 or, 2:30-4 p.m. May 24, for $10.

    More information |


    Where | on U.S. 17, between Murrells Inlet and Litchfield Beach, across from Brookgreen Gardens

    Open | 6 a.m.-8 p.m. daily through April 6, then until 10 p.m. through Nov. 2

    How much | $5 ages 16 and older, $3.25 S.C. seniors, $3 ages 6-15

    Programs | Many for free with park admission:

    • Atalaya open 9 a.m.-5 p.m. daily for self-guided tours, for $2 extra fee (also, docent tours at 2 p.m. Sundays-Fridays and noon Saturdays through October, free with admission to home), and optional 45-minute audio tour $4.

    • “Coastal Kayaking,” 10 a.m.-noon Mondays through October, in guided salt-marsh tour from Oyster Landing in Murrells Inlet. $35. Register at 235-8755 by 4 p.m. the previous Sunday.

    • “Feeding Frenzy,” 11-11:30 a.m. Tuesdays-Sundays in nature center.

    • “Living Off the Land” guided walk,” 4-5 p.m. Tuesdays through May.

    • “Secrets of the Salt Marsh,” 4-5 p.m. Wednesdays through May, from marsh boardwalk.

    • “Coastal Birding,” 10-11 a.m. Wednesdays through October, from causeway parking lot.

    • “Hike with a Ranger,” 2.5 miles, 2-4 p.m. Fridays through May, from North Beach parking lot.

    • “Jetty Adventure,” 2.5-mile guided walk, 10 a.m.-noon Saturdays through May.

    • “Snakes and Reptiles,” 4-5 p.m. Saturdays through October in nature center, for $3 extra, in advance from park store.

    • Annual “South Strand Wildlife and History Day,” noon-5 p.m. March 15-16, with Atalaya fee waived.

    • “Atalaya Sleepover,” 5 p.m. March 29-10:30 a.m. March 30 – reserve by 5 p.m. March 21: $50 ages 16 and older, $30 ages 7-15, and free ages 6 and younger.

    Information | 237-4440, 238-5325 (nature center) or

    Also | Friends of Huntington Beach State Park: 650-6666 or


    By | Low County Herb Society, fielding herbal, gardening and lawn questions from the public

    With | Clemson University Extension; Inlet Culinary Garden; Blue Pearl Organic Blueberry and Honey Bee Farm; Debbie Menchek, a Clemson Master Gardener; and herb society members

    When | 11 a.m.-1 p.m. March 29

    Where | Georgetown County Library Waccamaw Neck Branch, 24 Commerce Lane, Pawleys Island, west of U.S. 17

    How much | Free

    Information |


    When | 9 a.m.-4 p.m. May 3, including ceremony at 11:30 a.m.

    Where | Belin Memorial United Methodist Church, 4182 U.S. 17 Business, Murrells Inlet.

    How much | Free

    Information | 651-5099 or


    When | 9 a.m.-4 p.m. June 6-7

    Where | Browns Ferry Gardens daylily farm, 13515 Browns Ferry Road (S.C. 51), northwest of Georgetown and U.S. 701

    How much | Free

    Information | 546-3559 or


    By | Brunswick County Master Gardener Volunteer Association

    When | 9 a.m.-5 p.m. April 3-4 and 9 a.m.-2 p.m. April 5

    Where | Brunswick County Government Complex, off U.S. 17 in Bolivia, N.C. at greenhouse, behind Building N.

    Information | Tom Woods, Master Gardener volunteer coordinator, at 910-253-2610, or email; also


    Based at | Old Sunset Beach Swing Bridge, 109 Shoreline Drive W., Sunset Beach, N.C.

    Open | 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturdays

    Special events |

    • “Easter at the Old Bridge,” noon-2 p.m. April 19 at Old Bridge. Free.

    • Second annual Strawberry & Wine Festival fundraiser, noon-6 p.m. May 3 at Silver Coast Winery in Ocean Isle Beach, N.C., for $5, including music by The Imitations from Wilmington

    Information | 910-579-9021 or


    What | The Center for Birds of Prey

    When | 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Thursdays-Saturdays, with guided tours 10:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. and flight demonstrations at 11:30 a.m. and 3 p.m.

    Where | 4872 Seewee Road, Awendaw, about 40 miles south of Georgetown, east of U.S. 17, first left south of the Sewee Outpost

    How much | $15 ages 18-64, $14 seniors and active duty military, $10 ages 6-17, and free ages 5 and younger

    Information | 971-7474 or

If any season might be greeted with a welcome hug, it’s this first weekend of spring.

Brookgreen Gardens will get the new season going Saturday with its annual “Diggin’ It” garden festival, and Huntington Beach State Park still had some openings as of Tuesday for its “Atalaya Sleepover,” March 29-30. Various parks also will soon fill up with art, festivals and music.

Sara Millar, vice president of horticulture and conservation at Brookgreen, said after this “long, cold winter ... we are all ready to get back to gardening.”

This “very cold winter” overall, “even before the ice storms,” damaged many of the gardens’ seasonal plantings significantly, she said.

“We plant the seasonal beds for the spring season in October,” Millar said. “This year, we are doing extra planting this spring to replace many of the plantings that unfortunately, had to be removed. In addition, many semi-tropical plants or tender perennials are not expected to over-winter this year as they have in years past.”

Grading the gardens’ state, Millar looked up, positively, for this seasonal transition this spring.

“The long cold snap is good for many plants,” she said, “including spring flowering bulbs such as daffodils and hyacinthoides. Many plants need cold conditions for full dormancy, cold period and vernalization. The silver lining to this cold winter is we expect spring-flowering shrubs like azaleas and spiraea to put on quite a show this spring. We have noticed in past years: The colder the winter, the better the bud set and subsequent flowering.”

In Brookgreen’s final days of preparations this week for “Diggin’ It,” Millar said besides expecting “great weather” on Saturday, speakers will cover a range of topics, “from an inspirational discussion on horticulture to gardening in the Southeast, to being environmentally friendly in your horticultural practices.”

Demonstrations lined up will include photographing spring flowers, “because garden photography is always an extremely popular topic,” Millar said, and proper pruning of crape myrtles, “a popular landscape plant.”

Ann Malys Wilson, senior interpretive ranger at Myrtle Beach State Park, is happy to trade in a winter she summarized in four words – “cold, dreary, rainy and cloudy” – for “a sunshine-filled day ... to make everyone’s day better and healthier.”

“Spring is slowly coming,” she said. “I think many of us will really appreciate it this year after this winter.”

Despite the long cold snap, a variety of birds have been seen close to the park pier all winter, Wilson said, grateful for “great looks at black scoters, horned grebes, red-breasted mergansers, red-throated and common loons.”

“A common eider was seen throughout the winter plucking food right off the pier pilings,” she said. “It was pretty cool to look down and see a bird more common to the North directly below you. Dolphins have also been sighted pretty regularly swimming very close to shore, slapping their flukes after most dives. They have also been swimming pretty close to the pier, which isn’t always the case.”

Wilson called the jetty at Huntington Beach State Park, 20 miles south, “the hot spot this winter,” with three species of scoters, common eider, long-tailed ducks, and even a harbor seal.”

“One reason we may be seeing so many unusual ducks,” said Mike Walker, an interpretive ranger at Huntington Beach, “ is that a greater percentage of the Great Lakes froze over than normal, forcing many of them south.”

Richard Camlin, senior interpreter at Hobcaw Barony, just north of Georgetown, called Mother Nature’s cycle late this year.

“We had a brief start with pine pollen, he said, then it got cold again and I haven’t noticed any more. The snowdrops in Friendfield Village came up a little late this year. In the past, the warm winters have had them blooming by the end of February. They just hit their peak last week. I saw a covey of quail near Bellefield the other day. There are a few sightings a year, and this was the first one for me this year. I’m always excited to see them.”

Seeing small alligators sunning themselves by a pond or on a swamp log also has warmed up Camlin’s meter for spring.

“These gators are now 4 years old and a little over a foot long,” he said. “We saw them during camp right after they hatched, and there have been a few there each year. The mother was still with them early last year. They usually are with them for about two years.”

Buddy Cox, owner of Southland Nursery Landscaping Inc. in Conway and just north of near Forestbrook community, rated this winter the worst he can remember in his 42 years of business, being “all hemmed up and all hemmed in” continuously.

In this “awfully late winter,” he said customer traffic has lagged behind its usual trend by mid-March.

“Our spring usually kicks off the second week of February,” Cox said, “then by March 1, we’re really busy.”

Combining wet with cold conditions this year, he said, “every week so far, we’ve had more bad than good days.”

Yet, he stressed patience, and soon, people will fulfill their hunger for color in the landscape, as such plantings as Bradford pears, then azaleas and dogwoods and others, will radiate “to get some brightness in their lives and in their yards.”

Cox also shared a few tips as spring settles in:

• Weeds that pop up at this point in lawns probably are “late winter weeds,” and they just need mowing, to make them die off on their own, preventing their growth enough to develop seed pod.

• Hold off on fertilizing grass for the first time this year until it’s fully green, which “might even be April, or late April.”

• Don’t use “weed-and-feed” products on “centipede sod or grass” until it’s at least three years old, after enough time to set roots down.

• Be patient: Give grass time to come out, keep it mowed regularly, and if weeds turn up, try some spot weed killer, vs. covering the whole lawn, to see if that controls them.

Cleaning up winter’s wrath

Two ice storms within three weeks by mid-February left many area sites reeling.

Myrtle Beach State Park’s Wilson said last weekend that park crews were “still cleaning up” from the second storm.

“It’s in my top six worst storm damage to the park of my 20-year career here,” she said.

At Huntington Beach State Park, where cleanup rolls on, Walker puts the damage “in the top three to four storms I have experienced in my 23-year career.”

Hobcaw Barony’s Camlin spoke about the heavy storm remnants.

“We hit the roads the day after the storm to clear fallen limbs and trees,” he said. “We cleared 12 miles of road that first day, which left us another 78 miles get open. The yards had lots of oak limbs down and a couple of trees, but they were cleared pretty fast. ... The sound of crashing limbs was constant and there is no way words can explain what it was like to be in the middle of the forest with everything iced over.”

At Brookgreen, Millar called this “the most challenging winter we have seen in a while,” with minimal damage from the first ice storm, but “quite an impact” from the second.

“Everyone on staff, as well as volunteers, were in the gardens the day after the second ice storm,” she said, “working diligently as a team so the gardens could be reopened the following day.”

The ice accumulation “wrecked havoc” on many trees across the property, but left no severe damage in the gardens’ historical collection, Millar said. Pine trees, live oaks and southern magnolias were the species hit the hardest.

“We rented additional heavy machinery,” she said, “including a hydraulic lift, dump truck, and backhoe to utilize during the cleanup process. The top priority was clearing the roads and sidewalks throughout the property and removing any dangerous limbs that hung over sidewalks, benches, and other places that visitors congregate. After all the safety needs were addressed, we continued cleaning throughout the property and restoring the gardens. Over a month later, cleanup is still ongoing, and the property is reassessed on a daily basis.”

A Socastee couple from the A&E reality series “Shipping Wars” got involved with spring cleaning and disaster relief on a big scale in Georgetown County after that second ice storm. Travelers plying S.C. state highways of late, especially inland, might see many big broken limbs and tree debris along the sides of roads, and the immense clearing that entails.

Christopher Hanna, owner of Palmetto Yacht Management, said he and his girlfriend and office administrator, Robbie Welsh, said they have provided transportation services.

“Our involvement began after a random delivery of a piece of equipment to the Georgetown recycling center,” Hanna said. “Once delivered, they asked if we had any equipment that could aid in the process of cleanup.”

Hanna said his transport company obtained use of two large dump trailers from Texas-based Big Tex Trailers and that it continues working with two tree-service firms as well as the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

“The busiest road we have cleared has been S.C. 51 at the junction of U.S. 701,” Hanna said. “Now we are working to clear more of the neighborhood side roads.”

He also said, “by far,” this kind of cleanup in his profession has the been most different kind of spring cleanup project he and Welsh had had in their profession.

“It’s been a learning experience,” he said.

Down the road, look for Hanna and Welsh on the forthcoming fourth – their third – season of “Shipping Wars” on A&E.

Contact STEVE PALISIN at 444-1764 or follow Kicks! on Twitter @MBKicks.

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