The South Carolina Botanical Garden

The South Carolina Botanical Garden in Clemson, SC is currently open 7 am to sunset with only the trails open. This is a large garden at 295 acres with many habitats. Allow a day to visit remembering that many visits through the growing season are needed to see all the botanical treasures. I am still exploring.

Although it is possible to park near the main entrance and walk the varied trails from end to end, my visitation strategy has been evolving. For a first time visit this is my suggestion which you can revise depending on your time and botanical interest.

Using the main entrance off Perimeter Road, turn left to the parking area. The trails here criss-cross with different themes like Hosta, Celtic, wildlife, dwarf conifer, picnic, camellia and so on. Return to your car and proceed right from the main entrance to the Geology Museum with its collection of minerals and fossils and the desert garden which has the largest collection of Southwestern plants east of Texas.

Drive back towards the main entrance about a quarter mile turning right at the Piedmont Prairie. Not a great variety here so continue on the trail which leads to more SC habitats, the most interesting is the Carnivorous section.

Drive to the main entrance turning right onto Perimeter Road and after a half mile turn right onto Garden Trail. Stay right past the Conference Center to the Children’s Garden and Butterfly Garden (parking is limited) both good for butterflies. Walk down the road to the Hunt Cabin which is the start of more SC habitats, open area for summer plants and a woodland with spring ephemerals.

A garden map is available at the main parking, Desert Garden and near the Hunt Cabin. More info at

Photography and text by Richard W. Holzman. Pictures were taken between the months of April and October.

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