Our South Carolina state parks feature several historic gardens. Read below to find out which parks tend these gardens or print out your own historic garden brochure.
During Andrew Jackson’s childhood, Carolina Backcountry families subsisted on small game, deer, fish or what they could grow with their own hands. Andrew Jackson State Park’s Historic Orchard and Herb Garden feature fruit trees, herbs and vegetables that were known to be important sources of food, flavorings and medicines for settlers and Native Americans.
The orchard is an ongoing project of the Lancaster County Master Gardeners, while the herb garden was created by the Lancaster Garden Club. The orchard includes apple, peach, plum, blueberry and fig trees. Some of the varieties include Carolina Red June Apple (pre-1800 SC), Horse Apple (pre-1800 NC), Winesap Apple (good for cider), General Hand Plums (1700’s - Lancaster, PA).
During most growing seasons visitors can also view a historic flax field. Flax was used to create linen cloth. The orchard and herb garden are open during normal operating hours for visitors to do self-guided tours. Costumed interpreters are often present during special programs.
Completely unfamiliar with the area, settlers of the original Charles Towne colony in 1670 planted an experimental crop garden to produce food for the colony and crops that could be sold for cash. Archaeological investigations at the site today reveal evidence of sugar cane, while historic documents provide evidence of other crops that the settlers tried to grow in their new Carolina home.
The garden features cash crops like sugar cane, cotton and indigo. Other crops include flax (for making linen), onions, turnips, carrots, cantaloupe, pumpkins, sunflowers, corn, potatoes and beans, as well as herbs like rosemary, thyme, basil, lavender, mint and wormwood. Ornamental plants include marigolds, roses and a merlot grape vine. A special feature of the crop garden is the replica thatched garden shed and hand-made wooden fence.
The garden is open for viewing throughout the year during normal park operating hours.
James Henry Hammond, a SC Governor and US Senator, worked to create the ideal spot for agricultural experimentation at Redcliffe Plantation, a circa-1859 house built overlooking the Savannah River Valley. His plantation journals, orchard books and wine & vineyard journals intimately describe his gardening trials and triumphs, as well as giving a detailed overview that can be used today to reconstruct his gardens.
The heirloom vegetable garden, herb beds and vineyard are an ongoing project of the Aiken Master Gardeners Association. Heirloom vegetable varieties include True Lemon Cucumber, White Bush Scallop Squash, Healing Squash, Moon & Stars Watermelon, Jenny Lind Muskmelon, Cowhorn Okra, Bloody Butcher Corn, Scarlett Runner Beans and Indigo. Kitchen and medicinal herbs like rosemary, sage, parsley, peppermint, thyme, mugwort, sweet fennel, passion flower, purple coneflower, lavender, French marigolds and horehound are planted, as well as a Scuppernong Grapevine.
Garden related programs include Growing History every July. The garden is also open during normal park operating hours.
A popular attraction at King’s Mountain State Park is the Living History Farm, a replica of a mid-19th century Yeoman Farm. The farm has a house, barn, cotton gin, farm animals, blacksmith and weave shop as well as two herb gardens, a vegetable garden and a field. For a lower class yeoman farmer it was essential to grow their own food for the family and animals, make their own medicines from herbs and grow enough cotton to make clothes.
Visitors to the Living History Farm will see sunflowers, okra, cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, popcorn, sorghum broom corn, marigolds (a natural insect repellant) and peanuts. Heirloom varieties in the garden include Bloody Butcher Corn, Black Amber Sorghum, Rat Tail Radishes and Milsap Okra. Common herbs include rosemary, sage, lavender, mints, thyme and parsley. The site also includes a gourd trellis and small vineyard, as well as apple and peach trees.
The gardens at Kings Mountain are open during normal park operating hours.
The Heirloom Kitchen Garden at Rose Hill Plantation represents the original gardens which would have supplied the table of South Carolina’s Governor of Secession William H. Gist.
The Rose Hill Heirloom Kitchen Garden includes heirloom varieties like Chioggia Beets, Purple Wonder Eggplant, Speckled Glory Butterbeans, Annie Wills Watermelon, Redleaf Cotton, Indigo, Old Henry Sweet Potato, as well as varieties of sweet onions, red cabbage, potatoes, tomatoes, peanuts, pumpkins, okra, corn and pole beans. Herbs include savory, chives, sweet basil, feverfew, horehound, tansy, dill, catmint and sweet parsley. The site also contains several ornamental rose gardens.
The garden is open during normal park operating hours for self-guided tours.