A Sustainable Garden Grows in Savannah

The Savannah College of Art and Design's new apiary and organic garden celebrates the university's 40th anniversary and the teaching power of the garden. HGTV takes a tour of SCAD's Back40 garden.

Photo By: Tomas Espinoza

Photo By: Tomas Espinoza

Photo By: Tomas Espinoza

Photo By: Tomas Espinoza

Photo By: Tomas Espinoza

Photo By: Tomas Espinoza

Photo By: Tomas Espinoza

Photo By: Tomas Espinoza

Photo By: Tomas Espinoza

Photo By: Tomas Espinoza

Photo By: Tomas Espinoza

Photo By: Tomas Espinoza

Photo By: Tomas Espinoza

Photo By: Tomas Espinoza

Photo By: Tomas Espinoza

Photo By: Tomas Espinoza

Photo By: Tomas Espinoza

Photo By: Tomas Espinoza

Photo By: Tomas Espinoza

Photo By: Tomas Espinoza

Photo By: Tomas Espinoza

Photo By: Tomas Espinoza

Photo By: Tomas Espinoza

Photo By: Tomas Espinoza

Photo By: Tomas Espinoza

Photo By: Tomas Espinoza

Photo By: Tomas Espinoza

Photo By: Tomas Espinoza

Photo By: Tomas Espinoza

SCAD Builds a Garden

The bee is the Savannah College of Art and Design's mascot, "a unique icon of industry" says SCAD president Paula Wallace. The bee is also the star of a new organic garden and apiary legacy project and teaching tool at the college where students can learn about a host of relevant topics including garden design; sustainability; use of plants in beauty and fragrance products; the use of beeswax in jewelry-making and painting; and how to dye fabrics using plants. In just about every way SCAD Back40 is the perfect, holistic teaching tool and laboratory for a school perpetually expanding its approach to incorporating real world practices into its curriculum. Pictured: a bee pollinating anise hyssop.

Trellis Time

Bamboo trellises support a variety of edible and ornamental plants in the Back40 garden including tomatillos (Physalis philadelphica and Physalis ixocarpa); black cherry tomatoes and pretty flowering nasturtiums at the base of the trellis.

Explosion of Color

Featured in this raised bed is an appealing cacophony of color including hot pink dianthus (a type of sweet William); lighter pink yarrow (Achillea Millefolium); hot pink salvia in the background; golden coleus 'Wizard' in the foreground and 'Sunshine' ligustrum, miniature to the left and right.

Loquat Tree

A loquat tree (Eriobotrya japonica) sits at the center of this raised bed. The trees are quite common in Asia and are a nod to SCAD's international focus, with campuses in Lacoste, France and Hong Kong.

Raised Beds

Brick raised beds and bamboo trellises make this organic garden as attractive as it is functional.

King Me

A stunning carved wooden crown shows SCAD's constant attention to aesthetics and design even in this practical garden shed at the Back40 garden.

Pollinator Apartment Complex

Rows of bee houses mean plenty of pollinator power (and honey) is produced at the SCAD Back40 garden.

Bodacious Berries

SCAD's Back40 garden features a blend of edible and ornamental plants. But even the everyday blueberry bush is a case study in how functional, edible plants can be beautiful too.

Tomatillos

With the appearance of Chinese lanterns, tomatillos are a staple of Hispanic cooking and are indigenous to Mexico. Tomatillos are also disease-resistant and therefore increasingly grown by American farmers. Tomatillo in Spanish translates to "little tomato" and they are classed as fruits in the same category as tomatoes and cucumbers.

Mexican Bush Sage

Salvia leucantha, also known as Mexican bush sage brings a pretty burst of purple color to the SCAD Back40 garden.

Flowering Nicotiana

Nicotiana sylvestris also known as flowering Nicotiana is part of the tobacco family.

Boss Beekeeper

Certified beekeeper and master gardener Jody Elizabeth Trumbull maintains the SCAD Back40 garden and apiary, working to connect the SCAD garden with school groups, SCAD students and the Savannah community.

Show Hive

Currently empty, this glass frame will eventually host a bee colony so students can watch bees in action in the teaching garden shed at SCAD's Back40 garden.

Fresh Honeycomb

Beekeeper Jody Elizabeth Trumbull shows off a piece of honeycomb from one of the Back40 hives.

Sit and Stay Awhile

Even opportunities to sit and relax have been made design-friendly at SCAD's Back40 garden.

Planting Tool

Head gardener Jody Elizabeth Trumbull with a Japanese planting tool that helps determine the depth or distance between seeds as you plant.

Make it Pretty

The SCAD Back40 shed is a lesson in how even practical tools and spaces can be beautiful when decorative features, plants and thoughtful details are added to the mix.

Tools of the Trade

Beekeeping tools are kept at the ready in the SCAD Back40 main garden shed.

Bee City

Beekeeper Trumbull shows a cluster of bees clinging to the honey super frame where bees build wax.

Foxglove Front and Center

The SCAD Back40 garden has been planted not just to provide edibles, especially heirloom varieties like Carolina Gold rice related to the region, but ornamentals like these foxgloves, which make a functional, edible garden more beautiful.

Bee House

SCAD's Back40 apiary offers housing for thousands of bees who serve a vital role in the garden's life cycle.

Squared-Away Garden Shed

An elevated take on the garden shed, the main building leading to SCAD's Back40 garden features space to store beekeeping and gardening equipment, but also space for classes and educational opportunities.

British Garden Design

SCAD Back40's design is modeled on a formal English garden with raised beds and walkways radiating out from the main building where classes are taught and garden tools are stored.

Pollinator Pool

A pool where pollinators can find water in a hexagon honeycomb shape provides an essential garden function.

Sideways

Sliding barn doors and rattan chairs frame the side entrance to the Back40 garden shed.

Sideways

Sliding barn doors and rattan chairs frame the side entrance to the Back40 garden shed.

All in the Details

Pollinators are welcome in this garden but all other pests are kept out with a metal gate and fence that also serves to define the garden's parameters.

Tomatoes in Formation

SCAD Back40 features both ornamental and edible plants including these tomatoes which may eventually end up on students' plates at a SCAD dining hall or be contributed to America's Second Harvest of Coastal Georgia.

Host of Edibles

Trellises stand at the ready to support a future crop of green beans in the garden.

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