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Laurel hells

Making It Grow Radio Minute
SC Public Radio

Mountain Laurel has a fascinating pattern of twisting and turning branches, very decorative to look at but hard to maneuver through. Sometimes laurel thickets are called laurel hells and there are tall tales in the Appalachian Mountains about men and hunting dogs getting lost in them never to be seen again. For rustic houses these branches are now used as balusters in the railings that keep you from falling off the porch or loft. You can order them to fit your needs; they come woven together and can even have curves. You may want to seal them, but if you leave them natural, the wood which comes in a rusty brown will eventually weather to look like aged cedar and is pretty impervious to the elements. When my ship comes, in my dream is to use these on my cabin in the mountains.

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Amanda McNulty is a Clemson University Extension Horticulture agent and the host of South Carolina ETV’s Making It Grow! gardening program. She studied horticulture at Clemson University as a non-traditional student. “I’m so fortunate that my early attempts at getting a degree got side tracked as I’m a lot better at getting dirty in the garden than practicing diplomacy!” McNulty also studied at South Carolina State University and earned a graduate degree in teaching there.