This past Saturday morning as I looked at my very long to-do list, the sunshine rays danced across the floor beckoning me to come out and play. So I tossed the list to the side and convinced myself that I needed fresh air more than I needed to complete that pesky list. I knew exactly where to go, too! I headed for the Coastal Georgia Botanical Gardens at the Historic Bamboo Farms where there's plenty of fresh air and beautiful views.

As I strolled down the paths of the gardens, the songs of the birds quickly silenced the nagging call of the list. The brisk wind had the big tree limbs swaying in a beautiful choreographed dance, distracting my thoughts of dirty baseboards I had planned to clean that day.  The big white balls of flowers that covered the Chinese Snowball demanded that I stop and let them show me their splendor. The tiny lizard in the orchid greenhouse smiled at me as I passed by, reminding me that in all my hurrying I miss so much of God's beautiful creation and the tiny joys in plain view. It was a perfect, serene morning that slowed my heart and lifted the tension of the week from my shoulders. Definitely better than cleaning baseboards!

I fear too many of our fair city's residents are missing out of the beauty in this place. It's the best $5 you can spend to stretch your eyes and take in nature. Those of you who have visited the gardens but not in the last two years will be amazed at the spectacular transformation. It is truly a showcase of beauty from the minute you turn into the drive.

If you've been meaning to get out to the gardens and just haven't made it, then let me invite you to join me and the Friends of the Coastal Gardens on April 24 for Sunday Supper in the Strawberry Patch from 4 to 7 p.m. The fun kicks off with a guided tour through the gardens. Then Norman Winter, Garden Guru for the Savannah Morning News, extraordinary photographer of flowers, butterflies and birds and the director of the gardens, will give a presentation at 4:30. At 5 p.m. we sit down to enjoy a proper Southern Sunday dinner prepared by the best Southern cooks in the area (a/k/a my amazing staff!).

There will be a silent auction with items for all budgets, including gift certificates to local dining and shopping establishments, art, antiques, unique experiences, exquisite plants, and gift baskets from local vendors. The great thing about all this - other than a perfect Sunday afternoon with family and friends - is that the proceeds go to education and outreach programs as well as funding additional garden projects to maintain the garden's position as the area's premiere botanical garden. 

I hope you'll plan to spend the afternoon with me in the strawberry patch. If you can join us, you need to reserve your ticket by April 18 so we can make sure we have enough food for everyone to enjoy. You can reserve your tickets by emailing Liz Lubranie at or by calling 912-921-5460 x 202. The tickets are $35 for adults and $15 for children 12 and under. Hurry and call before they are all gone!

The strawberry patches at the Coastal Gardens and surrounding areas are open for picking! There's nothing like a strawberry grown in good Georgia soil. Here are a couple of my favorite recipes for the season.

See you on Aprl 24!

Teri Bell is co-owner of Miss Sophie's Marketplace at the Mighty Eighth in Pooler. Go to