Blossoming City

What: Southport in Bloom Garden Tour
When: Saturday, June 7th (Rain date: 6/8)
1 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Where: Tour begins at Lois Jane’s
Riverview Inn, 106 W. Bay St.
Cost: $10
(910) 279-4616

Southport is no stranger to beautiful gardens, with coastal Carolina’s warm, hospitable climate. The Southport in Bloom Garden Tour will allow residents and vacationers the chance to explore some of the most beautiful gardens that the town has to offer. This self-guided tour will take place on Saturday, June 7th, from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. The tour will feature nine unique home gardens along with Southport’s new Caswell Avenue Community Garden.

Roses are in full bloom at Lois Jane's Riverview Inn, just in time for the Southport in Bloom Garden Tour to be held Saturday, June 7th. Photo by Sara Beth McLamb

Roses are in full bloom at Lois Jane’s Riverview Inn, just in time for the Southport in Bloom Garden Tour to be held Saturday, June 7th. Photo by Sara Beth McLamb

Seven gardens were chosen on recommendations from Southport Garden Club members, and the other two gardens (Jan Trivett’s and Dianne Boguskie’s) kindly offered to have their gardens displayed on the tour. The owners of the gardens that visitors will get to breeze through include: Lois Jane’s Riverview Inn (owner Meezie Childs), Norma Suggs, Larry Maisel, Dianne and Ed Boguskie, Jan and Tom Trivett, Marty and Joe Loughlin, Elaine McBride, and the Caswell Avenue Community Garden.

The Southport Garden Club and Downtown Southport Inc. teamed up in June 2011 for the very first Southport in Bloom Garden Tour. Well-received by the locals, June 7th will be the second co-sponsored occasion. The garden tour is also meant to attract visitors from surrounding areas as well as vacationers here for the season to come enjoy the splendor the town has to offer while providing education on the tools of gardening.

“The Southport Garden Club provides plants, mulch and soil, and maintains the triangle garden on Moore Street and River Road, the pocket garden in Keziah Park, and the seven large wooden planter boxes found on the streets of downtown Southport,” Debbie Parker, the Southport Garden Club president, reveals. “The club also gives an annual scholarship to a Brunswick Community College (BCC) horticulture student. Monies earned from the tour will be used to sustain these ongoing projects. Downtown Southport Inc. will use revenue from this event to continue their work in promoting business, growth, and tourism in Southport, preserving local history and promoting educational programs.”

Parker speaks fondly of The Caswell Avenue Community Garden, informing me there is much to be admired. “The garden was established in November 2013 through the loyal work of a steering committee of 11 people. Major funding was provided by Lowe’s Charitable and Educational Foundation and Brunswick Community College.”

Other founders were Brunswick County Solid Waste and Recycling, Brunswick Soil and Water Conservation District, Coastal Water Watch, Carolina Creations, Keep Brunswick County Beautiful, and North Carolina Cooperative Extension. Civic groups, local businesses and individuals have also contributed. Over 15 individual volunteers have given over 3,000 volunteer hours to the garden.

The garden was open for viewing and loving on January 25th, 2014. At that time the garden contained 30 raised beds, many that are suitable for people with limited mobility, a shed, a composting area, picnic tables, rain barrels, fruit trees and berry plants. Funds have been donated by the Brunswick County Health Department for additional beds that have been used for their grant program, “Plant a Row for the Hungry.” Parker told me that the food grown in the additional beds will be donated to those in need through local food banks.

Anyone who is interested in leasing a bed should complete an application that are housed in the plastic box on the garden gate and mail it to the appropriate address. If you should have any questions, please direct them to the North Carolina Cooperative Extension at (910) 253-2610.

Tour tickets are $10, available in advance from the Fort Johnston-Southport Museum and Visitor Center, 203 E. Bay Street, and the Art @ 211/Ricky Evans Gallery, 211 N. Howe Street. Tickets also will be available on the day of the tour at the hospitality tent located at the first stop of the tour, Lois Jane’s Riverview Inn, 106 W. Bay Street.

Raffle Tickets for a handcrafted wooden potting bench and garden obelisk will be available at the hospitably tent as well for $1 each or six for $5. The drawing will be held on tour day.

For additional info, visit

2 Responses to Blossoming City

  1. char porter says:

    I’m interested in the Southport Garden Club because I think the camellias in my mother’s Cape Fear Drive garden are lady vansitarts. I’ve tried to propagate them but to no avail – is there someone who can help me?

    • admin says:

      Thanks for asking, here is a name and number that should be a good place to start. Tom Woods, Master Gardener Volunteer Coordinator, at or you can call the Cooperative Extension office at 910-253-2610.

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