|The FLEX system starts with a Power Base (note the foldable handles to make it even smaller to store) that clicks in to various attachments. You literally scoop up the attachment and it clicks in and you’re ready to roll.|
|Rochelle Greayer of Pith and Vigor wields a mean power washer.|
|Kenny Point of Veggie Garden Tips tries out the FLEX mower. The front wheels spin 360 degrees which makes the mower very easy to handle but if you are mowing on an incline or aiming for super straight lines you just lock them into place.|
The other product that really impressed me caught me by surprise. I was not expected to be excited by a tiller. In fact, I’m not really a tiller person. I don’t believe in frequent tilling of soil, but they have their place when starting a new bed or when working in a lot of amendments. And I find them rather unpleasant to use. I always feel like I’m trying to control a bucking bronco when I’m using a tiller.
|You can see the difference between a more traditional tiller, upper left, and the Bronco Axis, which has blades set vertically, upper right. Eric Rochow of GardenFork enjoyed the smooth ride.|
But let’s be honest, we were all chomping at the bit to to get on the riding mowers. There were three models for us to try: the Neighborhood Rider (a small rider targeted to people who have small yards but want a rider that stores in the same space as a walk behind), the Super Bronco XP and the new Mustang Pivot zero-turn mower. We buzzed all over the place and it was fun to see the differences between the different models. Of course we probably all had the most fun on the zero-turn mower, which has a wheel instead of the bars you see landscapers use. This makes it much easier to operate (apparently the bars take a little practice), but what I really liked the most was being able to see right in front of the mower since the engine was in the back (and the cup holders).
|Teresa O’Connor of Seasonal Wisdom puts the Neighborhood Rider through its paces.|
With the lawn sufficiently mowed (I sort of wonder if a grounds crew was lurking nearby shuddering), we took a tour of the fabulous Middleton Place. I ask for your forgiveness in advance because you are about to see a lot of picture of camellias. It was the first time I’d ever seen one in person and camellias, which are sort of otherworldly in that they look so perfect they almost look fake, were a sight for sore eyes for a flower-starved northern gardener.
|Isn’t this just so southern? The Spanish moss (Tillandsia usneoides, an epiphyte that causes no damage to trees) is so romantic.|
|As you leave the formal French gardens, you come across this perfect framing of a view. When you walk around, you see this charming wood nymph statue. I love how someone has put a camellia blossom in her hand.|
|I was fascinated by this lovely bark on the crepe myrtles.|
|Although the original house is gone, it was set here, with a perfect view of the Ashley River.|
|As we were walking, we happened upon this scene; a hat casually set on an original brick wall. I have no idea who it belonged to, but it feels like a gardener has just set it down before taking a break.|
|The old stableyards ooze plantation charm.|
|This guy saw us coming and immediately put on a show. (OK, it was probably for the girls just out of the shot, who were far more interested in eating than admiring him.)|
I also had several hours one morning to explore the city. I probably put on six or seven miles, with no real idea of where I was going, just running in to one charming vista after another.
|Kim from Sand & Sisal took the same picture but I have no idea when. I think it’s funny that we both happened upon the same place. I’ve never been a big fan of ivy but window boxes like these could change my mind.|
|There are some gorgeous private gardens, on view just through the fence.|
|Check out those fantastic pillars.|
|Fantastic details abound in Charleston. Not only would I love to live on a street called Ropemakers Lane, but I’d really like this marble street sign to mark my street. This marble-cased window might be the coolest window ever.|
I told you I was smitten. Between the gorgeous gardens, charming historic detail and the amazing food (I can’t even describe how good it was but I’m pretty sure I had the finest bread pudding ever), I can’t wait to go back to Charleston.
My trip was provided by Troy-Bilt, but you know how I roll and they didn’t tell us what to think or what to write (I’m just guessing they wouldn’t have required as many photos of camellias if they had). For more on my partnership with Troy-Bilt, read this post.
Check out my fellow Saturday6 bloggers for their take on the Charleston trip. Just promise to pretend not to see the unflattering photos of me. Oh my gosh, what was I thinking when I got dressed that morning? I need a stylist or at least someone to give me some fashion advice. I’m not kidding.