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Making It Grow! - Live at the Sumter Opera House



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Amy Dabbs, Clemson Extension Agent

Amy Dabbs, Clemson Extension Agent

Personal hobbies: Reading, gardening, shopping (for plants), cooking and crafts.

First memories of gardening: Vegetable gardening with my parents and grandparents in Hickory Tavern. We had a small family farm and I remember picking up potatoes for what seemed like hours! Lots of good memories of my family putting up veggies in my granny’s canning kitchen in her basement. The men and women worked together to harvest and freeze corn by the bushel! I remember thinking my grandmother was the bomb because she could slice off a whole side of an ear of corn with one slice! She could also peel apples in one whole spiral…I still try and can almost never do it! I think of her hands everytime I do it….smart, smart lady! 

Favorite plants: I’m crazy about hydrangeas!! Especially oakleafs…so pretty and easy!!! I love perennials--daylilies, rudbeckia, Echinacea, ginger lilies, ferns, you name it! The element of surprise in seeing them coming back each year makes me have faith all over again. 

Plants I like to grow: Tomatoes from seed, herbs and, of course, perennials!!! 

My least favorite things to do in the garden: Weed and deal with fire ants!

Things that interest me in horticulture/agriculture: Sustainability, native plants, pollinators, wildlife gardening and edible gardening.

Biggest mistakes in my garden: Not following my own advice!

People who inspire me to garden or have inspired me:  Obviously my grandmothers, my mother, and a bevy of incredible southern gardeners I grew up around who make the world beautiful without ever stepping foot in a horticulture class! Now, my son is my gardening buddy and I hope he sees how passionate I am about nature and plants! I am in love with Doug Tallamy’s work and am inspired by it. All I know about public gardening I learned at Clemson from horticulture professors like David Bradshaw, Judy Caldwell and Mary Haque. I learned to garden hands-on and on a budget from my co-workers at the S.C. Botanical Garden (many of whom I still work or play with!!) But inspiration still comes from all the lessons I learned from the kids I worked with in Sprouting Wings, the Master Gardeners I work with now, and all the clients who I get to work with daily. This list grows daily and if I started naming names, we’d be here all day!

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