Brookgreen Gardens and Sculptures of Anna Hyatt Huntington
Iceland Poppies Bloom at Brookgreen Gardens
Brookgreen Gardens - A Work of Art and Nature in Murrell's Inlet, South Carolina
Brookgreen Gardens was a vision shared by the sculptor, Anna Hyatt Huntington, and her husband Archer M. Huntington. Anna was a well respected artist, Archer a wealthy industrialist, scholar and philanthropist. Their vision was to establish a lush and beautiful setting to showcase Anna's life sized sculptures. In 1930, Brookgreen was purchased as part of a 6,600 acre tract of land that included three rice plantations with a house on the Waccamaw River and another on the beach.
The Huntingtons Purchase a Hunting Preserve
Although it was a hunting preserve when they purchased it, the Huntingtons reserved the land for the preservation and study of wildlife and plants. Together they designed the extensive gardens and natural areas including many quiet pools and fountains to showcase the sculptures. At the same time, construction of their winter residence, Atalaya was in progress. Through the vision and planning of the Huntingtons, Brookgreen gardens has evolved to include beautiful gardens, reflecting pools, nature trails and a low country zoo.
Today Brookgreen Gardens shows 1,400 works by over 350 American sculptors from the early nineteenth century to the present.
Visitors to Brookgreen are welcomed by a fountain and floral display surrounding the cast aluminum sculpture of Anna Hyatt Huntington's Fighting Stallions.
Fighting Stallions - A Sculpture in Cast Aluminium by Anna Hyatt Huntington
The Diana Pool
Visitors have the option of walking some of the nature trails, taking time for a picnic lunch in one of the out of the way picnic areas, or going in to see the formal gardens and sculptures. Although many of Anna Hyatt Huntington's sculptures are found throughout the park, there are also sculptures by many other American artists.
Stop at the Welcome center to see a display of currently blooming plants, to get more information about the park and to find out about guided tours and trams.
Pictured below is the Diana Pool with Anna Hyatt Huntington's sculpture Diana of the Chase at its center. This is often a meeting place for guided tours, but even if you decided to do a self guided tour, be sure to stop for a moment to enjoy the sculpture of Diana and the beautiful reflections in the mirror-like pool.
The Diana Pool features the Diana of the Chase sculpture
Spreading Live Oaks
Spreading branches of ancient live oak line a walkway through the gardens. These oaks were part of the original rice plantation, probably framing a road leading to the house and formal gardens. Now they lead visitors deeper into the gardens on a pleasantly shaded walk.
Live Oak Allee at Brookgreen gardens
For Every Season, There Is a Bloom
There's something blooming in every season at Brookgreen Gardens. Sculptures are permanent, and because of careful planning, there is something blooming during every season. Check the Brookgreen Gardens website for a list of seasonal blooming plants.
Iceland Poppies in Bloom
Even in late winter and early spring, you will find such vibrant blooms and Iceland poppies in their palette of sherbet colors. The translucent blooms attract watercolor artists who sometimes set up easels off the garden paths.
Iceland Poppies Grow Around a Reflecting Pool
Camellias in Every Color Bloom Around Brookgreen Gardens
Camellias in every color brighten shady spots around the gardens in the fall and winter. These amazingly fragile looking blossoms seem to like cool weather and you'll find them in December, January and February.
Camellias bloom in the winter brightening a dull landscape.
Pansies of Every Hue
Butterfly gardens in sunny spots near fountains and pools attract many colorful visitors. Amateur photographers are sure to get some good photos of one of the many different species that come to visit the bright flowers.
Some Plants are Selected to Attract Butterflies
Beautiful Butterflies Are Attracted to the Butterfly Gardens
Colorful Insects Sample the Flowers
Magnolias in Bloom
Magnolias in bloom are vibrant against the blue sky. There are many flowering trees in the park including dogwood, flowering cherry, star magnolia, southern magnolia and crepe myrtle. A quick check of Brookgreen Gardens' website will list what is likely to be blooming each season.
Magnolia Blossoms Against the Blue Sky
A Children's Garden Features Plants, Arbors and Whimsy
The children's garden is a whimsical collection of animals with their young, baby animals frolicking together and fairy tale arbors and walks. Children and adults will laugh at the names of some of the sculptures, like the larger than life bronze pig by Sandy Scott entitled "Eat More Beef."
Bronze Sculptures in the Children's Garden
One of the serene pools at Brookgreen Gardens
Year Around Blooms at Brookgreen Gardens
No matter what time of year you visit, you will find profuse blooms in every season at Brookgreen Gardens.
In the summer, numerous varieties of lilies, hydrangea, black-eyed Susans, magnolia, crepe myrtle and gardenias grace the gardens along with other flowering plants.
In the fall, look for jessamine, roses, chrysanthemums, sweet grass, spider lilies and Mexican bush sage.
In the winter camellias, early daffodils and crocuses, star magnolia, winter jasmine, flowering cherry, flowering apricot and many other plants are in bloom.
Spring at Brookgreen Gardens is a fantastic bloom of daffodils, iris, columbine, shasta daisies, trillium, roses, jasmine, orchids, flowering dogwood, wisteria, clematis and other flowering plants.
Brookgreen Gardens for Lovers of Art and Nature
Brookgreen Gardens are a joy to visit at any season. The diverse offerings of the Gardens include 1400 sculptures, uncountable flowers, trees and other plants that are selected to provide blooms a year around. There is also a low country zoo and, for those interested in low country history of South Carolina, a boat ride on the Waccamaw River. Tickets to the garden include a 7 day pass to give visitors time to explore each nook and cranny at a leisurely pace.
The photographs above are only a very small taste of what the gardens have to offer, but I hope you've enjoyed my selections and that you'll visit these lovely gardens in person someday.
Please be sure to visit my article, Atalaya - The Amazing Winter Retreat of Anna Hyatt Huntington. Atalaya is located across the highway from Brookgreen Gardens within the bounds of Huntington Beach State Park. It is well worth the time to visit as it will give a deeper insight into the lives of two amazing people, Archer M. Huntington and Anna Hyatt Huntington.
Copyright 2011©Stephanie Henkel
Brookgreen Gardens in Murrells Inlet, SC
Brookgreen Gardens, located within a short drive of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, showcases sculptures and year around blooms.
Useful Links for More Information
- Atalaya - The Amazing Winter Retreat of Sculptor Anna Hyatt Huntington
Atalaya, former winter home of American sculptor, Anna Hyatt Huntington. A sprawling Moorish style home, some say castle, on the Atlantic coast near Myrtle Beach. This National Historic Landmark is located within Huntington Beach State Park in Murrel
- Brookgreen Gardens Zoo Myrtle Beach South Carolina Attractions National Historic Landmark
Brookgreen Gardens in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina has a significant outdoor collection of figurative sculptures by American artists. It also home to an accredited zoo.