As you walk up the wide, wooden walkway into Mellow Mushroom, you sense there is a different feel to this restaurant. The large wrap-around wooden porch has comfy chairs. You think, "Certainly this is not the typical restaurant in the village". The front of the restaurant boasts several large oak trees and palmettos. When you turn around to look at the parking lot, you see palm trees and two live oaks, one at the entrance and one at the exit. Nice!
Once inside, your vision is drawn to a glass wall that looks out on a patio. You feel compelled to walk closer, to get a better view. And there it is, a magnificent old oak tree seemingly growing out of the deck. At first you believe it is 5-6 trees, winding their way to the roof top and providing much appreciated shade. But in fact, you are gazing at “Blanche”, a live oak tree that is nearly 300 years old! Her enormous trunk, 21 feet 8 inches in circumference, is safely hidden under the deck. The giant limbs of Blanche are covered what looks like dead foliage. Once again you are deceived. The plant covering the limbs is resurrection fern that will spring to lush, green beauty as soon as it is sprinkled with water.
This tree was a deal maker when Bo Chambliss, owner of Mellow Mushroom, was deciding upon the location for his restaurant. When he walked to the back of the lot and saw the tree. He said, "We've got to have this!”.So with the help of Roger Ditmer, a certified arborist, and creative builders, every effort was made to save Blanche and several other live oak trees on the property. Decks were raised to protect the roots and drip lines for water and fertilizer were installed.
Inside the building, the tree theme continues. Near the kitchen, there is a tree trunk used as a pillar. As you look up above it, you see a variety of pictures of the Chambliss family, three generations in fact, enjoying the local beaches. This is called "the tree of life".
Back on the front porch, to your right as you exit the restaurant, is another impressive live oak tree. You can see where building modifications were made so limbs could be preserved. This tree, recently named Lexi, is approximately 150-200 years old.
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Together, we can make a difference
Everyone benefits when owners and builders “go out on a limb” to preserve trees, especially old live oak trees.
Golden Isles Fund for Trees is pleased to award Mellow Mushroom our first GIFT Business Award for Tree Preservation.
Saving the Blanche Oak-Mellow Mushroom
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Going Out on a Limb