Photos/Courtesy of Marian Watts

Mobile Master Gardeners’ Dream Garden will be open to visitors on Monday, Sept. 10, featuring seven distinctive garden rooms.

By Glenda Eady, Mobile Master Gardener |

The Mobile Master Gardeners have given you much advice in this column these past three years. We hope you will now come walk through seven garden “rooms” we have planted and maintain. It is a demonstration garden and we invite you to be our guest on Monday, Sept. 10, from 10 a.m. to noon to observe and gather ideas for your own garden. Our Dream Garden leaders will be there to answer your questions.

There are seven different garden rooms: Building, Cottage, Grandma’s Pass-Along, Herb, Native, Shade and Vegetable. We’re located at the Alabama Cooperative Extension Office, 1070 Schillinger Road N., in Mobile. One of our rooms is located around the outside of the building, and the rest are in the rear and on the north side of the office.

The Dream Garden is maintained by a number of our Mobile County Master Gardeners, who volunteer their time and work diligently to keep their garden rooms looking great. Their goal is to demonstrate for the public what grows well in our area and the optimal growing conditions. Think of it as an educational opportunity as you visit the different rooms. Here’s what you can expect to see on your visit.

Some of the plants in the Building Garden are oakleaf hydrangea, buckeye tree, sky vine, bee balm, salvia, weeping yaupon, yucca and other arid plants.

Blooming in the Cottage Garden are abelia, Bolivian hummingbird sage, dragon wing begonia, coral honeysuckle, giant cigar plant, rose mallow hibiscus, summer phlox, porterweed and whiteleaf mountain mint. This garden is mostly filled with plants that support and encourage pollinating insects and birds. If you don’t yet have any pollinator plants, they are a must-have. All of our garden rooms have pollinator plants that will attract bees, butterflies and hummingbirds.

Grandma’s Pass-Along Garden is a place that brings you back to the days when you freely picked flowers from your favorite grandma’s garden. These plants were pass-alongs brought by Master Gardeners from their own gardens. Old favorites and some newer varieties are thriving in a glorious display of blooms, fruits and vegetables commingling, just like grandma had.

Welcome to the Herb Garden. Herbs are grown for many different uses. Among these are culinary herbs used for cooking, medicinal herbs, aromatic herbs, ornamental herbs, dyeing herbs and cosmetic herbs. Herbs are also used as companion plants to repel insect pests and to attract pollinators to your garden. You will find a few of each type of herb in our garden. It’s fun to experiment with types of herbs. Many plants fall into the herb family, including roses, which have been considered a medicinal herbal remedy throughout history.

The Native Garden features more than 30 plants and shrubs indigenous to this area. The specimens in this “room” were selected to take advantage of the garden’s light conditions with additional considerations of growth habit, mature size, bloom times and color. The garden provides examples of the many beautiful native plants that can be grown easily by local gardeners. Some examples in our garden are yellow forsythia sage, coral honeysuckle and phlox.

Much of the Mobile area is shaded by plentiful large oaks and other trees. Thankfully, there are many wonderful plants that thrive in shade and full to part shade. The Shade Garden offers a variety of such plants. Favorites in our garden are the Brazilian plume, Phillipine violet and farfugium. Despite tales that blooming plants need sun, there are many shade plants that yield beautiful blooms happily without direct sun.

The Vegetable Garden includes edibles, fruit trees and vegetables. Throughout the various seasons we grow figs, strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, persimmons, kumquats, satsumas, loquats, watermelon, cantaloupe, and scuppernongs. Eggplant, okra, peppers, corn, cucumbers, squash, carrots, radishes, onions, potatoes, tomatoes, pole and bush beans, collards, mustard greens, turnips, kale, broccoli, cauliflower, lettuce, chard and winter squash are planted at different times. There is almost always something great to eat in this garden. Once harvested, the produce is donated to the Haven of Hope.

We hope you will be our guest at the DREAM Garden on Sept. 10! We look forward to seeing you.

Gardeners, Check Out These FREE Events:

What: Mobile Master Gardeners Monthly Meeting
When: Thursday, Sept. 6, 10-11:30 a.m.
Where: Jon Archer Ag Center, 1070 Schillinger Road N., Mobile
Topic: Floral Design for Sacred Spaces
Speakers: Judy Campbell and Carol Murphy

What: Open House, Mobile Master Gardeners’ DREAM Garden
Come tour our Native Garden, Cottage Garden, Pass-Along Garden, Vegetable Garden, Shade Garden, Herb Garden and more.
When: Monday, Sept. 10, 10 a.m. to noon
Where: Jon Archer Ag Center, 1070 Schillinger Road N., Mobile

What: Lunch & Learn with Mobile Master Gardeners
When: Monday, Sept. 17, noon to 1 p.m.
Where: Jon Archer Ag Center, 1070 Schillinger Road N., Mobile
Topic: Sustainable Hydroponic Farming
Speaker:  Dale Speetjans