The black waters of Swan Lake form a setting for Iris Gardens. The lake is dotted with colorful islands, wildlife is abundant andit is the only public park in the US to feature all eight swan species. The 150-acre garden also is home to some of the nation's most intensive plantings of Japanese iris, which bloom yearly from mid to late May through the beginning of June. The garden also boasts many other floral attractions, including colorful camellias, azaleas, day lilies, and Japanese magnolias. A Braille Trail enables the sight-impaired to enjoy the scents and sensations of the gardens, and visitors can enjoy the sights and scents of our Chocolate and Butterfly Gardens. Swan Walk helps birdwatchers to identify the eight swan species individual. The Heath Garden also features the towering masterpiece, "Recovery," by renowned sculptor Grainger McKoy.
The annual Sumter Iris Festival is celebrated on Memorial Day weekend.