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Making It Grow! - Live at the Sumter Opera House



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Trevor Bauknight - Volunteer

Trevor Bauknight - Volunteer

Making it Grow! would not be possible without the support of volunteers. Trevor Bauknight, education director at the Sumter County Gallery of Art, is one of those volunteers. Trevor comes in for the show and operates a variety of the studio cameras. He is also a recent Master Gardener.

I'm a geek. I have been on the Internet since the late 80s and have watched it grow, and I've managed to keep up with it as a sort of hobby, doing Web hosting, graphic design and social media for a few clients, in addition to using it as a tool for work. I enjoy making technology work and do interesting things, and I have a wide variety of interests, from gardening and sustainable living to genealogy, photography, anthropological research, religion and politics.

I got my start in gardening in East Tennessee, helping my grandparents every summer. There, the growing season coincides with the summer and doesn't include as much of the spring and fall as does ours. My cousins and I laugh about prepping the garden, which in Tennessee involves picking up hundreds of hand-sized rocks that work their way to the surface each year and disposing of them. They planted a large garden every year, sometimes two, and kept apple trees and a peach tree. The Appalachian District Fair always came at the end of August rather than in late September or October, as do ours. As I've gotten older, I've come to appreciate the history of the fair and what it represents in a community, and it bothers me to see them getting shorter and even going away. I used to love the rides, of course, but now it's the exhibits of domestic animals, canning and homesteading that fascinate me far more. I think my favorite flowers are probably those of some of our native azaleas.

Favorite Plants: Dr. John Nelson asked me Tuesday what my favorite plant was, and I felt silly because I hadn't thought much about it. I probably make more use of Camellia sinensis than anything else, having a raging green tea habit (we drink it iced, sweetened with 1/4 cup of local honey per gallon, and our allergies have almost gone away). Our effort is to replace as many of the invasive, aggressive species in our garden with native alternatives, eliminating the lawn areas in favor of low-growing cut flowers like Lilliput zinnias and wildflowers, native grasses and other low-maintenance, low-impact plants. We inherited a beautiful, if overgrown, garden when we bought our house downtown and much of our effort has been in fighting a constant battle against sumac, smilax, bahiagrass and Virginia creeper. We have had good luck attracting bats with a bat box to help with the mosquito problem, and we raise three free-range hens on our downtown 1/3-acre lot. Downtown chickens lay better eggs (we have more than we can use) and it's entertaining to just go out and watch them go about their business.

We aren't great gardeners, particularly in the heat of July and August, although my wife, Amanda Cox, has a natural way with growing and arranging cut flowers. We have experimented with drip irrigation, double-dug "French intensive" gardening (for small spaces), companion planting of vegetables and flowers/herbs, vermiculture and composting, and are currently building cold frames for the upcoming season. We hope to be able to grow straight through our mild winter, raising root vegetables and greens, and I have a goal of raising barley and hops locally to produce home-brewed beer.

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