|"Neptune" sculpted by Wheeler Williams|
Nandina, also known as heavenly bamboo, thrives between sculpture and brick wall
Brookgreen Gardens, located in Murrell's Inlet in Georgetown County, South Carolina, is a treasure I'd driven past many times over the years while traveling up and down US Highway 17. Family and friends had told me I would find it enchanting and that it was the sort of place well suited for a day trip out of Charleston. Yet I never seemed to fit a visit into my schedule.
When I finally did visit Brookgreen, it was on the spur of the moment near the end of a calendar year. One of the characters in my novel-in-progress owned a Scottish deerhound and, in order to attempt an accurate portrayal of the dog's behavior, I was searching for information about the breed. While reading from Arthur S. Beaman's Lure Coursing, I learned that the author had purchased a deerhound from the kennel owned by sculptor Anna Hyatt Huntington. I remembered that she, along with her husband Archer Huntington, had created Brookgreen Gardens, and I decided it was time for a day trip.
|"The Visionaries" by Anna Hyatt Huntington|
Archer and Anna Hyatt Huntington and one of Anna's beloved Scottish deerhounds
I went alone that first time and wandered through various garden rooms, soaking in the landscape and sculptures. Winter in the Lowcountry of South Carolina emits a stark beauty, but a beauty nonetheless. Sculptures of Diana, bright red berries, and beards of Spanish moss drew my attention, as did Anna Hyatt Huntington’s large sculpture “The Visionaries,” a portrayal of Archer and Anna planning the gardens accompanied by a Scottish deerhound. The back of the sculpture included an inscription of “The Silver Gardens,” a poem written by Archer.
On very cold days, like that one, I'm not prone to linger. And on that day I did not. Other than stopping in the restaurant for a late lunch, I kept moving, pausing only to take photographs and to read plaques that provided information about the works of art and their creators.
|"Fawn" by sculptor Albert Stewart is located in the children's garden|
with Oregon grape (mahonia aquifolium) and azaleas in the background
|Part of "Pledge of Allegiance" by sculptor Glenna Goodacre|
Archer Huntington, heir to fortune, and Anna Hyatt, a successful sculptor, married on March 10, 1923, his fifty-third birthday and her forty-seventh. Brookgreen Gardens and Huntington Beach State Park host a 3-in-1 Day to celebrate.
Archer Huntington, known for his philanthropy, founded The Hispanic Society of America in New York and the Mariner’s Museum in Virginia, and with his wife Anna Hyatt Huntington co-founded Brookgreen Gardens. The Huntington Sculpture Garden, the first public sculpture garden in America, is a component of Brookgreen Gardens. It opened in 1932.
Brookgreen Gardens, as a whole consists of more than nine thousand acres. The Huntington Sculpture Garden consists of more than thirty-five acres. Other components of Brookgreen Gardens are the Lowcountry History and Wildlife Preserve and the Center for American Sculpture.
|"Griffin" sculpted by Paul Howard Manship|
|The top portion of "Sunflowers" by Charles Parks|
Currently Brookgreen Gardens charges $14 for adult admission (ages nineteen to sixty-four), $12 for those sixty-five or older and for young adults, $7 for children ages four to twelve. Younger children are admitted free. Tickets are valid for seven days, which is brilliant since there is so much to see and do at Brookgreen.
Background: "Fountain of the Muses" by sculptor Carl Milles
For more information about Brookgreen Gardens visit their website: http://www.brookgreen.org/