From Friday night into Saturday morning, July 12th and 13th, the South Carolina Botanical Garden in Clemson was battered with more than 8 inches of rain. A deluge such as this would be harmful to any place, at any time, but there were two factors that made this event catastrophic to the garden. First, it followed ten days that had already brought 20 inches of rain, so waterways were full and the ground saturated, and second, the areas that flooded were, in many cases, newly planted.
In fact, the ribbon cutting for the Natural Heritage Garden, which stretches along Stevens Creek from the Hunt Cabin to the Fran Hanson Discovery Center, was held in April, less than three months ago.
When I surveyed the area Tuesday morning, garden staff and volunteers were already at work, but full restoration will require a multitude of hands and a mountain of money. Like most public gardens, this one is short of both.
What it doesn’t lack, however, is hope and heart. Though preliminary cost estimates measure the damage to infrastructure well over $200,000.00, and up to 50% of the plant collection of 1,000 native species, some very rare, have been lost, Director Patrick McMillan says, “If we all share and if everyone helps, even a small amount, we will emerge greener and better than ever.”
To follow the restoration of the South Carolina Botanical Garden, visit its Facebook page. To volunteer or donate, visit the website here.