Thursday, January 6, 2011

Brookgreen Gardens

While we were enjoying Pawleys Island, SC, I tried to find interesting things for us to explore with our kids.  I scoured the internet, searched the "things to do folder" in the condo [where we stayed] and Brookgreen Gardens was listed everywhere. 

Here is an excerpt from the website of Brookgreen. In 1931, Archer and Anna Hyatt Huntington founded Brookgreen Gardens, a non-profit 501(c)(3) garden museum, to preserve the native flora and fauna and display objects of art within that natural setting. Today, Brookgreen Gardens is a National Historic Landmark with the most significant collection of figurative sculpture in an outdoor setting by American artists in the world and has the only zoo accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums on the coast of the Carolinas. 

Obviously, we visited in the winter and even accounting for the lack of green - it was stunning.  I would list Brookgreen Gardens as one of the most beautiful places I've ever been.  

I don't have a thorough knowledge of sculpture, but to see all of the pieces interspersed in natural settings throughout the gardens was gorgeous.  Many of the sculptures have been acquired from museums and personal collections, but a large portion are pieces that the owner herself created.  Anna Hyatt Huntington was an active artist until the end of her life, creating her last piece in her mid-90's.  

The piece of sculpture that stands at the entrance to the gardens is made of aluminum.  It is entitled "Fighting Stallions".  I'm not sure if you can fully appreciate the detail included in the work, but in person it is impressive, to say the least.  

standing in front of the Brookgreen Creek - isn't the lighting just gorgeous?

 The 10,000 acres comprising the former estate of the Huntingtons includes three plantations.  One of the plantations shared the name of the creek at the back of the property, Brookgreen.  Many of the travel and shipments arrived via the creek - due to the violence that occurred on the highways.  The many slaves that lived on the property toiled for long days planting and harvesting rice. 

this grove of live oaks were the entrance to Brookgreen plantation some 250 years ago

We enjoyed our time at Brookgreen, also visiting the small zoo and the slavery display.  Sadly, we didn't have time to walk the path that corresponded with an audio tour detailing the history of the plantation and the lives of the slaves that made the plantation successful.  We hope to return in a subsequent trip, possibly when the gardens are in bloom and the surroundings are green and lush.

bronze sculpture of Diana, by Anna Huntington

poetry inscribed on marble is interspersed through the gardens

statue of Pegasus, carved in NC in a granite quarry and shipped in three pieces


  1. Imagine what how many gardeners it would take to keep up with that place!

  2. they have 400 volunteers and a waiting list for additional ones. They of course have professional horticulturists - their assets total $33 million (I read their yearly financial report) - they are obviously shrewdly managed. crazy, huh?