South Carolina: Brookgreen Gardens
1931 Brookgreen Garden Dr , Pawleys Island, SC 29585
Located at Murrells Inlet, South Carolina, Brookgreen Gardens has been a cultural center for its community since its founding in 1931 by Archer and Anna Hyatt Huntington. Brookgreen Gardens is one of the few institutions in the United States to earn accreditation from the American Alliance of Museums and the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, as well as being designated a National Historic Landmark and listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Its mission is to cultivate a display garden and to collect, conserve, and exhibit plants and cultural materials of the South Carolina Lowcountry, as well as figurative sculpture by American artists, which is exhibited throughout the gardens. It also seeks to educate a diverse audience about sculpture, horticulture, and the ecology and history of the Lowcountry.
There are records of conifer cultivation dating back to the plantation era of Brookgreen, including a very large Calocedrus decurrens which would have been extremely exotic for the time period!
The first organized conifer collection at Brookgreen Gardens was started in the 1960’s by then Director and Horticulturist Gurdon L. Tarbox. This collection was located in the current Arboretum, and featured plantings of Cedrus, Chamaecyparis, Cunninghamia, Juniperus, and Pinus. There are several specimens from this original collection that still exist, including a beautiful specimen of Pinus strobus that could have been planted as early as 1960, and a gorgeous 80’ plus specimen of Cunninghamia lanceolata believed to be planted in 1968.
Brookgreen is also home to gorgeous plantings of our native Taxodium distichum, Taxodium distichum var. imbricarium, and beautiful stands of Pinus palustris.
Awards and Honors
Named one of the Top 10 Public Gardens in the US by Coastal Living Magazine
Named one of the Top Five Favorite Gardens by readers of Southern Living Magazine
Charlotte Observer named Brookgreen "One of the seven wonders of the Carolinas"
Rated five circles from TripAdvisor reviewers and recipient of their Certificate of Excellence
Rated a Gem Attraction – recommended by AAA
Named one of the 10 Best (attractions in South Carolina) by USA Today
Named “one of the best things to do in Myrtle Beach” by AOL Travel
South Carolina Governor’s Cup Tourism Award
South Carolina Non Profit of the Year from the SC Association of Nonprofits
South Carolina Heritage Tourism Award from the Palmetto Trust for Historic Preservation
South Carolina Art Commission – Elizabeth O’Neill Verner Award
National Sculpture Society – Herbert Adams Medal for outstanding contribution to American Sculpture
Coastal Carolina University David Drayton Award – Preserving Gullah Culture
Historic Ricefields Association Carolina Gold Award
Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce – Business Image Award, Excellence in Customer Service Award, and Going Green Award
Georgetown County Chamber of Commerce – Excellence in Customer Service Award, Non-Profit of the Year