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Join Historic Columbia at their spring Gardening Symposium South Carolina’s Early Horticultural History from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. on Saturday, March 24. Starting in the early 19th century, South Carolina was a hotbed of horticultural experimentation and mastery. Many of the South’s most treasured and iconic plants were introduced into North American gardens through the work and passion of early South Carolinians.

Learn about this exciting legacy and its connection to the Hampton-Preston gardens, with the historic property’s 200th anniversary being commemorated this very spring season. The gardens of the Hampton-Preston Mansion are currently undergoing an exciting transformation, thanks to a private donation from The Darnall W. and Susan F. Boyd Foundation, Inc. with additional grant support from Central Carolina Community Foundations’ Connect Communities program.

“The gardening symposium is about our state’s rich gardening history,” said Evan Clements, Historic Columbia’s director of grounds. “In addition to hearing about what was, we’re excited that our guests will have the opportunity to see first-hand the extensive work underway at the gardens at Hampton-Preston and how we are bringing them back to their heyday.”

The event will commence with a presentation by Dr. James Everett Kibler of Pomaria, South Carolina’s influential nursery, and author of “On Reclaiming a Southern Antebellum Garden Heritage: An Introduction to Pomaria Nurseries, 1840–1879.” Pomaria and the Summer Brothers’ influence on South Carolina’s horticulture was immense. Dr. Kibler has been researching and cataloging the effects of this prolific nursery and its founders. Pomaria and its products played an integral role in the development of gardens and landscapes across the south, and Dr. Kibler will expound on the magnitude of its influence.

Historic Columbia’s director of grounds, Evan Clements, will share the history of the Hampton-Preston gardens and what that has meant for the restoration process that has been underway since 2012. Clements, accompanied by Historic Columbia’s horticulturist Keith Mearns, will later be giving a behind-the-scenes tour of the Hampton-Preston gardens to provide guests with a closer look at the project.

The afternoon’s events will kick off with a talk from Tom Johnson, executive director at Magnolia Plantation & Gardens in Charleston. Recently featured in Southern Living magazine, Johnson is commonly referred to as the “Camelia Man” and oversees the Gardens of Rev. John Drayton at Magnolia Plantation, the nation’s oldest public gardens.

For the first time, plants propagated from Historic Columbia’s properties will be available for sale. A wide variety of tough garden perennials will make up the initial offering, chrysanthemum, salvia, flowering maple, butterfly bush, and variegated purple heart. Products will also be for sale from Mill Creek Greenhouses, Paradise Plants Plus, Rodger’s Heirlooms and Simply Citrus.

An heirloom seed swap will take place during and after the workshops for attendees to participate in at their leisure and will include seeds from Seed Saver’s Exchange, Southern Exposure Seed Exchange and the Thomas Jefferson Center for Historic Plants. The day’s events will also include a book signing from Dr. Kibler.

Hay Hill Services is the presenting sponsor for the 2018 Gardening Symposium, with additional support from Outdoor Lighting Perspective, Modern Turf, Sox and Freeman Tree Expert Co., Southern Vistas Landscape and Garden Center and Green Earth Services, Inc.

The event will take place from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. on Saturday, March 24 at the Carriage House at Robert Mills, located at 1616 Blanding Street. Tickets are $50 for Historic Columbia members and $60 for non-members. Boxed lunch from Spotted Salamander will also be available for an additional $15. Visit HistoricColumbia.org, call (803) 252-1770 x. 23 or email reservations@historiccolumbia.org to learn more and register.

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