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Published: November 7th 2013
Girl Reaching into Water
Such a delicate balance!
Brookgreen Gardens, 1931 Brookgreen Drive, Pawley’s Island, South Carolina, has been on our “to visit” list for years. We landed there on a lovely, blue sky Saturday in late October. We used our senior citizen and AAA discounts and paid $22 at the gate. Our ticket is good for seven days and truth be told, if we were staying nearby, we would have come back several times. With our time constraints (wanted to set up camp near Savanah by sunset) we focused on the sculpture. We met our very pleasant and well-informed docent by one of the many statues of the goddess, Diana, for a one hour tour that exceeded expectations. Brookgreen was founded in 1931 by the Huntington family. She, a sculptor; he, a poet, philanthropist, scholar of all things Hispanic, and heir to a railroad fortune. The art is exclusively American, representational sculpture. As Allen said, “We are not about three exhaust pipes welded together as ‘art’.” And, as staid as some sculpture might seem, Brookgreen pieces must represent movement and, often, water elements.
The live oaks were dripping with white lights as well as “Spanish” moss in preparation for “Nights of a Thousand
A table near the entrance to the Visitors' Center displays whatever is blooming that day in vases with identifying labels. Nice touch!
Candles,” a Holiday Lights display that is said to be fabulous. While more sculptural than botanical, the plants in the “gardens” were in transition with many annuals still in bloom and 60,000 caladium bulbs being harvested.
Among the many thoughtful touches was display near the entrance to the visitors’ center featured more than a dozen vases with labeled samples of flora still in bloom the day we visited. Push chairs were available for those who might not be capable of the level; but lengthy walk to view the sculpture. A way better than average video introduced the gardens at the Visitors’ Center. Proceeds from a tastefully stocked gift shop are turned back to the foundation, and the restaurant is said to be a good one.
We didn’t avail ourselves to the restaurant, butterfly house, pontoon boat creek cruise, zoo, or “Trekker Excursion” in an ATV into the area that served as rice fields pre-Civil War. There was no vacancy for camping at the very popular Huntington Beach State across the street from Brookgreen Gardens; so we trekked on to Charleston. We would definitely visit the gardens and try again to get in at the
The Diana Pool
This is the work of Anna Hyatt Huntington, who with her husband, Archer, founded these gardens which abound with sculpture. Many, many women artists are represented here!
state park on another trip.
As an aside, over 3000 visitors were expected the day we visited. The local hospital had booked Brookgreen for their annual family picnic. No problem, what a well-organized, as well as beautiful, operation. We understand that volunteers make up 90% of the staff – hats off to all.
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