Arts and Culture 2011

Amy Holtcamp

SOUTH CAROLINA INSIDER

 

Roses are red, yellow, white and more in Orangeburg

Posted 6/2/2011 8:25:00 AM

Most of the year I am happy to meander through museums or sit in windowless theaters in the name of art. But in the spring, the weather in South Carolina is so beautiful, it’s hard to stay indoors. Not yet “famously hot,” the sun beckons and so one day a couple weeks ago I found time to take in some of nature’s artwork at the Edisto Memorial Gardens in Orangeburg.

When you step out of your car, take a deep breath. You can already smell the rose petals.

It’s hard to believe, but the land that today makes up these beautiful gardens was once a battlefield where Confederate and Union soldiers fought. Today this violent scene has been replaced with complete serenity; the field is now brimming with more than 75 different varieties of rose bushes and 4000 plants.

In fact, Edisto Memorial Gardens is one of only 23 test gardens for All-America Rose Selections, which aims to encourage the rose industry to improve the disease resistance and beauty of rose breeds in America.

When I visited the gardens I was sad to learn that I had just missed the South Carolina Festival of Roses. But, roses bloom from spring to fall, so there always are fresh roses to enjoy throughout that time period. The city of Orangeburg even makes Edisto Memorial Gardens a destination in the winter, illuminating the place with Christmas lights and more than 25 animated displays.

The roses are lovely, but don’t miss the 2,600 foot boardwalk that runs alongside the Tupelo/Cypress wetland in the park. It’s a lovely stroll that also will lead you to the Orangeburg County Fine Arts Center.

Edisto Memorial Gardens is open daily from dawn to dusk and admission is free. Click here for more information.