South Carolina Botanical Garden
Piedmont, SC - Events of Friday, April 29, 2016
The South Carolina Botanical Garden is located on the campus of Clemson University in Clemson, South Carolina, which is about 40 minutes from where we were staying in Piedmont. When Margery was researching things to do on our way northward, she discovered the garden. Since we usually don't like to travel more than two days in a row, and since Piedmont was situated just about right for a stop, we decided to spend several days in Piedmont and visit the garden.
We headed to the garden on Friday morning. We wanted to go fairly early in the day because it was supposed to be hot and humid, but we didn't want to go too early because we were planning to stop for a late lunch at a Texas Roadhouse that was on our way back to Piedmont because Margery got an email coupon for a free appetizer for her birthday.
The South Carolina Botanical Garden covers 295 acres and has miles of walking trails through woods and through a meadow as well as display gardens and a 70-acre arboretum. Admission is free.
We started our visit at the Fran Hanson Discovery Center where we picked up garden maps.
Fran Hanson Discovery Center
Located adjacent to the Discovery Center is the Bob Campbell Geology Museum, which contains a collection of over 10,000 rocks, minerals and fossils. We also wanted to take a quick look around the geology museum while we were there; but when we first arrived, there were several school buses in the parking lot, and there were several groups of kids heading for the geology museum. Therefore, we spent a little extra time looking at the plants around the Discovery Center.
After we looked around the grounds of the Discovery Center a while, we headed to the geology museum.
One of the school buses had already left, and the kids were gathering getting ready to board a second one so we pretty much had the geology museum to ourselves.
The museum has an interesting display of fluorescent minerals. Some minerals glow in various colors under ultraviolet light.
After spending a little time in the museum, we hopped into the truck to drive to the parking lot for the main part of the garden located about ¼ mile away. There were also several school buses in this lot. We started with some of the paths through the woods in a direction away from where it sounded like the kids were. Most of the paths near the parking area are paved and are lined with perennials. Unfortunately, most of the perennials were already done blooming, and it looked like they had only begun to plant summer annuals so there wasn't much color.
As we got farther from the parking area, the trails got more rustic and the sound of the school kids got more distant. There is a maze of trails, and most of them aren't marked so it's a little difficult to find your way. We eventually ended up at the restored Hunt Cabin.
The cabin was built in 1826 by Charles Hunt, Jr. on 2,300 acres of land in Seneca, South Carolina, that were given to him and his wife, Martha, as a wedding gift by Martha's father. Charles and Martha raised their 12 children in it. The cabin was moved to Clemson in 1955.
We also passed a nature-based sculpture by artist Herb Parker called the "Crucible."
As we headed toward the demonstration gardens, we passed the picnic area where the remaining school students were just finishing having lunch and were beginning to gather to return to their buses. Ahhh - quiet would be returning to the garden soon.
As we said earlier, most of the perennials had already finished blooming, but we were pleased to see a couple of azaleas and rhododendron still doing their part to provide some color.
The garden doesn't have a rose garden per se, but there was one very large rose bush covered in spectacular blooms.
On our way back to the truck, we stopped for a photo of the conifer demonstration garden.
We were a little disappointed that there weren't larger displays of plants in bloom. However, if you take the time to look, there were small pops of color here and there and a number of interesting plants to see.
From the garden, we headed to the Texas Roadhouse where we selected Rattlesnake Bites for our free appetizer. Rattlesnake Bites are little balls of cheddar cheese and chopped jalapeños that are deep fried. We both had 6-ounce sirloin steaks ($8.99 early bird special). Everything was yummy!
There was rain in the forecast for Saturday, but it was sunny in the morning so we decided to do some more sightseeing. We'll tell you about it in our next post.