Favorite Gardens in South Carolina

Mike Dojc
| February 22, 2024 | 4 Minute Read
A bee hovers over a cluster of pink flower blooms. Jeff Blake Photography

Whether the draw is to divine inspiration for spiffing up your backyard oasis or to simply wander amongst nature's living tapestries, these lush South Carolina sanctuaries are at their prime during this high season.

Edisto Memorial Gardens, Orangeburg

The Edisto River-hugging floral oasis (above) off of U.S. Route 301 is swimming in roses. There are in the neighborhood of 4,800 of the fragrant, prickly stemmed beauties, representing 120 labeled varieties, on display. When you’re finished smelling the roses, take a whiff of the scents in the aromatic sensory garden and cap it off by meandering alongside the river in the Horne Wetland Park section of the gardens.

A statue of a man holding a rearing horse by its bridle beside a pond. Pink azaleas and trees are in the background. Courtesy Brookgreen Gardens, by AHH

Brookgreen Gardens, Murrells Inlet

This verdant wonderland (above) seamlessly blends nature, art and history together over a 9,100-acre expanse. The botanical displays alone take hours to explore, but here are some must-dos: stroll Live Oak Allée under a canopy of three-hundred-year-old trees, peruse the fountain surrounded by the Palmetto Garden where the state tree looms large, and peep perennials at the Brenda W. Rosen Carolina Terrace Garden.

A swan swims along some cypress trees. Discover South Carolina

Swan Lake Iris Gardens, Sumter

This 150-acre city park (above) is adorned with more than 120 varieties of irises. The eloquent and upright petaled bulbs are joined by a veritable rainbow of plant life including camellias, azaleas, daylilies and Japanese magnolias. As the name portends, contending for garden-goers attention are a bevy of swans that gracefully glide across the pond. Keep a keen eye out for anhingas, egrets, herons and Muscovy ducks as well.

A small cluster of yellow flowers. iStock

South Carolina Botanical Garden, Clemson

Clemson University’s 295-acre woodland expanse is an upstate horticultural treasure teeming with a wide variety of plant life. Spring blooms highlights include the state flower, the Carolina jessamine, which can be seen right by the front entrance. Exquisite snake mouth orchids and Oconee bells engage viewers in the natural heritage garden. Take a break from wending around garden trails and pop into the Bob Campbell Geology Museum and the Fran Hanson Visitor's Center & Art Gallery.

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