Local living like a tourist: A visit to Brookgreen Gardens

There is a reason we refer to Brookgreen Gardens as one of the top treasures in the United States.

You just have to walk through to appreciate all the attention to detail and care that goes into maintaining the gardens and sculptures. Brookgreen Gardens has won many awards, including being named one of Trip Advisor’s top 10 Public Gardens in the U.S.

Brookgreen Gardens, in Murrells Inlet, offers tours, programs and exhibits for all ages. You can take a guided tour or stroll the gardens or the zoo on your own.

Some of the more popular offerings are the horticulture and children’s programs, the sculpture classes as well as the annual plant sale. The gardens are also host to several yearly events such as Brew in the Zoo, a craft beer tasting, and the Harvest Home Weekend Festival, which offers outdoor activities for the whole family.

But by far, the most popular event is the Nights of a Thousand Candles, a two-week period in December when the gardens are transformed into a winter wonderland.

Brookgreen Gardens was originally the site of four rice plantations: Springfield, Laurel Hill, Oak and Brookgreen.

Founded by Archer Huntington, a writer and philanthropist, and his wife, Anna Hyatt Huntington, a sculptress, the property was a perfect location for them to relocate from the northeast to preserve and showcase Anna’s work. Today the garden is on 9,000 acres between the Waccamaw River and the Atlantic Ocean. Huntington State Park, which is directly across the street, is maintained by the state as part of the park system.

About 80 percent to 90 percent of the plants are grown on site. When I visited one recent afternoon, my tour guide shared that there are more than 40,000 caladium’s planted in one of the gardens. I thought that was amazing, since I killed the only one I had in my garden!

If you have not been to Brookgreen Gardens you are really missing a treasure. From the 250-year-old Southern live oaks with hanging moss to the perfectly maintained grounds, it blends art and sculpture with nature and today showcases many different artists and sculpture works.

Brookgreen Gardens is the perfect day trip for the entire family, but you can easily spend a few days there – that is why each ticket is good for seven consecutive days.

Until next week, enjoy all the Grand Strand has to offer.

Since July 2011, Sherrie has been living in North Myrtle Beach and sharing the best that the Grand Strand has to offer. From people to events, Grand Strand Happening is your source for everything fun from Little River to Murrells Inlet.

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