Creating a wildlife haven one plant at a time

Sunday, April 14, 2013

The Masters


Early April is when many of the azaleas are at peak in Georgia. Every year at this time The Masters Tournament is held in Augusta, Georgia. Now, I know not everyone is passionate about golf; however, it is worth taking a look at the event because the azaleas, dogwoods and redbuds really steal the show. It is stunning! Along with the ponds and bridges it is a serene looking place. I could walk around the course for hours just admiring all the blooms.


The grounds of  the golf club are part of a former nursery. Berckmans Nursery (aka Fruitland) was the first large scale horticultural nursery in the southeast. It was founded by Louis Berckman, a trained physician, and his son Prosper, a horticulturist who was educated in France. The family immigrated from Belgium in the 1850s. 



The family operated the nursery from 1858 to 1918. During this time they helped introduce many species of azalea and trees to the Southeast. Prosper introduced many new varieties of fruiting trees and shrubs that would grow better in our climate. He became known as the 'Father of Peach Culture' across the South and was instrumental in making peaches one of Georgia's primary commercial crops.


The plantings of azaleas began all the way back in 1931. Many of the exquisite s species are still growing around the fairways today. Almost every hole on the course is named after a plant or tree. For example the 2nd hole is Pink Dogwood and the 8th hole is yellow jasmine.



Here is the complete list:
No. 1 - Tea Olive                                                        No. 10 - Camellia   
No. 2 - Pink Dogwood                                             No. 11 - White Dogwood
No. 3 - Flowering Peach                                           No. 12 - Golden Bell
No. 4 - Flowering Crab Apple                           No. 13 - Azalea
No. 5 – Magnolia                                                         No. 14 - Chinese Fir
No. 6 – Juniper                                                             No. 15 - Firethorn
No. 7 – Pampas                                                             No. 16 - Redbud
No. 8 - Yellow Jasmine                                             No. 17 - Nandina 
No. 9 - Carolina Cherry                                          No. 18 - Holly   


Golf champion Bobby Jones and his business partner created the club and golf course in 1931. Prosper's two sons assisted in the landscape design of the course. The Berckman's home, Fruitland Manor, is what we now recognize as the Augusta National Clubhouse. 


So, if you have some time today, turn on your TV for a few minutes. Turn the volume down if you need to. (Being the language enthusiast that I am I always enjoy listening to all the wonderful accents.) And, check out the stunning setting. You won't be sorry.

11 comments:

  1. What a beautiful setting. Going down that path is a wonder.
    Cher Sunray Gardens

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    1. Thanks Cher! Being surrounded by spring blooms is a treasure!

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  2. Karin, after 4 days it's finally over! whew. I'm not much of a golf fan but my husband is, so every year I inadvertently find myself watching this game. I have to say the camera views are really great as they often show a lot of the plants. Had no idea about the history of this course though so thank you for the info :)

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    1. My hubby loves golf too, so like you I end up watching some of it too. As manicured as these courses are they are some of the best habitat for endangered birds too.

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  3. I didn't know the history of the course, thank you for that! Augusta is a beautiful course. I always watch The Masters for that very reason.

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    1. Knowing the history makes me appreciate the course even more. The last day was very wet but we needed the rain!

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  4. Oh I am so envious just by looking at your photos, wished i can personally see them. That walk in the first photo is really stunning. My first and only seen festival like that is in the Blue Mountains of Sydney decades ago, and it really is amazing and still lingering in my mind. How lovely if azaleas can grow in our hot climate!

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  5. Azaleas don't grow to well around here, but the ones you show are stupendous. The colors are so rich and the flowers so abundant! Makes you want to stick your face right into the middle of all those flowers.

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  6. I appreciate your info on the golf grounds. I too see the match every year because my husband is a fan (sudden death this year was phenomenal), and always marvel at the beauty of this course. The design of golf courses is really specialized and I was surprised to read that Prosper's sons had a hand in it, but one can readily see the hand of horticulturists and nurserymen.

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  7. I watch every year just to see the flowers....

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  8. I did see a bit of the golf tournament, drooling over the azaleas. I did not know the names of each hole was related to something growing there. Very nice.

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"Don't wait for someone to bring you flowers. Plant your own garden and decorate your soul"

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