Five Reasons to Love the South Carolina Botanical Garden
One. Serenity and peace of mind. The garden is a 295-acre refuge and sanctuary on the grounds of Clemson University.
Serenity and peace of mind in a busy and noisy world is one of many reasons to love the South Carolina Botanical Garden. An ineffable feeling of deep kinship with nature comes about, and a wistful sense of longing for more.
“And into the forest I go to lose my mind and find my soul.” – John Muir
Two. Learn about the plants, shurbs, and trees.
The Natural Heritage Trail provides a glimpse of the wonders of South Carolina from sea to mountains. Examples include the Maritime Forest; Longleaf Pine Savannah; Piedmont Prairie; Piedmont Woodlands; and Mountain Bog to name a few. Along this trail, see why indigenous Americans and early Europeans loved South Carolina.
Many plants are labeled with markers. And there are apps that help. What’s Blooming This Month? tells you what to expect. The Plant Inventory App alerts you to what’s around as you go. Right now, find California poppies dotting areas near the Visitor’s Center and wildflowers scattered among the Piedmont granite flatrocks. And that’s not all! Many plants are blooming this time of year!
Start the Natural Heritage Trail early in the morning at the Maritime Forest. This way, you’ll reach the shaded canopy of the Piedmont Woodlands by the midday heat.
Three. Children love it! Feed ducks with food from the feeder at the Duck Pond and continue to the Children’s Garden.
Four. Bring your basket and enjoy a picnic in a shaded spot at the picnic tables.
Five. The South Carolina Botanical Garden is open year-round from sunrise to sunset. And it’s free of charge!
Upon arriving, take a left from the main entrance and park in the parking lot on Perimeter Road. The magnificent trees there set an immediate lighthearted mood. By stopping here first, you can visit the restrooms in the building below and pick up a map to get oriented.
Slow down and walk in the natural world. Stop to hear the wind rustling through a canopy of giant trees. – Marie Goff
Note: Many buildings are closed now due to the COVID-19 pandemic. These include the Fran Hanson Visitor’s Center; Bob Campbell Geology Museum; Hayden Conference Center, and Hanover House. But don’t let that stop you from enjoying the trails. After all, that’s the main reason to go!
For more stories about access to the woodlands in South Carolina go to:
Live Oaks, Palmettos, and Pines Amid Scenic Coastal Marsh and Maritime Forest
Civil War History and Piedmont Forest on the Palmetto Trail
On Earth Day, Thursday, April 22, 2021, Governor McMaster launched a massive tree planting initiative in South Carolina, PowerPlantSC. On that day, 17,000 volunteers in 46 counties planted over 3.4 million trees in strategic locations throughout the State. Why such as massive effort? During the event, Governor McMaster explained the role of trees in the human and environmental health of South Carolina. In addition, he stressed the connection between these and the economic health of South Carolina.
How did Governor McMaster launch such as massive campaign? He tasked Tom Mullikin, Chairman of the South Carolina Floodwater Commission. (second and third from left in the photo are Tom Mullikin and Governor McMaster at the kick-off for PowerPlantSC, image by Marie Goff) Tom described how public, private, and nonprofit organizations helped to organize the largest single tree planting event in American history. Representatives from many of these organizations were on hand at the Governor’s Mansion.
During the ceremony, I recalled compelling presentations about how trees transform desolate urban areas into gardens, and how when that happens, people show up to enjoy it. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations provides information about how trees improve the quality of life for humans and habitats worldwide in this short article, “Building greener cities: nine benefits of urban trees.”
Arbor Day is another celebration of trees and it’s right around the corner, this Friday, April 30. The Arbor Day Foundation provides lots of information about trees and how they sustain the planet. They’ll even help you learn what’s natural in your area and send free saplings of your choice to your home when you become a member. Eddie and I have trees still growing that the Arbor Day Foundation sent us just a few years ago.
It seems imperative to protect the forests we already have and identify more areas to plant trees. Wise planting of more trees at home, in communities, and in areas designated for forests ensure a healthy, safe, and beautiful South Carolina for future generations.
By chance, friends Charlene, Teresa, Laurie, and I visited the South Carolina Botanical Garden in Clemson, South Carolina the day before Governor McMaster launched PowerPlantSC. We walked along with the Natural Heritage Garden where visitors learn about each natural area of South Carolina from the sea to the mountains. An easy walk shows us what we’ll miss if we let our natural habitats disappear.