We have something in Bluffton that I think is quite unique: a gingko tree. I love these trees. There is one at the corner of Bridge and Calhoun streets behind the Fripp-Lowden House.
Gingko trees are one of the oldest types of tree. They are commonly called living fossils because there are no similar living species.
The trees are prized for their resistance to pests and diseases, are low maintenance and are good in urban situations because of their ability to tolerate drought, heat and poor soil. These beautiful trees can grow up to 65 feet tall and are used in some herbal medicines.
If you would like to have one in your yard, make sure you get a male tree -- the female trees have a bad odor.
They also add gorgeous visual interest. In autumn -- here in late fall -- the green leaves turn a bright yellow. The lobed, fan-shaped leaves are so lovely that jewelry is often fashioned in their shape. The most spectacular one I have ever seen is in front of the home of the president of the University of Georgia on Prince Avenue in Athens.
In 1865, the building was used as a hospital during the War Between the States by Union forces. In 1911, the present church was erected in Estill. It is on the National Register of Historic Places. What looks like the Star of David is on the front of the church.
Our family now has a connection to this church and Estill. Our many trips to Athens, Ga., and Atlanta have taken us through this area on Highway 3 for years. Our daughter-in-law Dorothy is from Estill and her family lives there, so now we too share a kinship with their church. Estill is about an hour from Bluffton.
Babbie Guscio is the social columnist for The Bluffton Packet. She can be reached at The Store on Calhoun Street.