Brookgreen Gardens, South Carolina – A must see!

Song of Songs 2:3-4 “Like an apple tree among the trees of the forestis my beloved among the young men.  I delight to sit in his shade,and his fruit is sweet to my taste.  Let him lead me to the banquet hall,and let his banner over me be love. (NIV)

The Huntington family purchased rice plantations in South Carolina between Charleston and Myrtle Beach near the town of Murrells Inlet and created Brookgreen Gardens.  Mrs. Huntington was a sculptor and Brookgreen is a repository for both large and small sculptures of many American artists. It was formed in 1932 on 9,100 acres combining four rice plantations on the Waccamaw River. Put Brookgreen Gardens on your must see list!

It is the country’s first public sculpture garden and has the largest collection of figurative sculpture by American artists in an outdoor setting in the world. (Source: Wikipedia) We spent two days and seven hours photographing this stunning garden which was my favorite memory of hiking in South Carolina.  The stunning size of the trees in the Live Oak Allee and Magnolia Allee were a welcome respite from the oppressive heat and humidity.  

Hurricane Clouds in Background

We walked through half of the property for four hours on a sweltering pre-hurricane day in October 2018. We started in the formal gardens far from the frivolity of all the visiting children.  The sculptures are fun, mysterious and interesting.  The white swirling clouds were the backdrop to a blue sky dripping with humidity.  We found an enclosed garden with funny and serious quotations about gardens engraved in the stone enclosure by a rose garden.  

The back of the property is a large river, still swollen from Hurricane Florence and many of the nature preserve paths were closed.  They have a small zoo and one of the guides told us, “the river got so high that the 70 year old alligator floated to the top and over their enclosure into another part of the zoo.  Since the alligator is so old and used to being fed by humans, he did not kill any of the now accessible smaller animals.  Yet.”  It too was closed.  

We walked through the small butterfly enclosure with hundreds of fluttering creatures around us.  There are butterflies that look like sticks, and butterflies that are every color for camouflage.  

We returned to Brookgreen another day for a three-hour hike around the lakes, seeing the large sculptures and walking the Magnolia Allee.  The way the tree branches are vertical for balance, the red pod seeds and the dark green of the leaves made for memorable pictures.   Hurricane David had passed 100 miles inland from Brookgreen Gardens and the day was cool, crisp, and blessed with blue skies.  

Magnolia Pods
Magnolia Allee
Large Magnolia Tree

What do you love about traveling to new places?  Do you visit gardens in different parts of the world? Why are gardens created for people? 


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