Follow the Blooms embraces history

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By Sherry Archie

With a touch of spring in the air, the shrubs, trees, and bulbs locally and across our state remind us of their beauty as they awaken from a long winter’s rest. To enjoy the beauty of season as well as learn a little more about the history of our state, you don’t have to travel far.


The Garden Clubs of South Carolina (GCSC) will host the third annual Follow the Blooms Tour on Saturday, April 13.

This year the tour will blend South Carolina historical treasures with period-specific gardens, including Millford Plantation near Pinewood, Wedgefield Presbyterian Church in Wedgefield and Church of the Holy Cross in Stateburg.  

A special addition to the day features floral design demonstrations, “Southern Bouquets,” by Melissa Bigner – editor of Charleston Weddings magazine and senior editor at its parent title in Charleston – and Heather Barrie – owner and lead designer at Gathering Floral & Event Design in Charleston. The floral demonstrations are at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. at Church of Holy Cross in Stateburg.

Rebecca Bull Reed, associate garden editor of “Southern Living” magazine, has served as chairperson for the tour for the last two years.

“Last year the tour featured incredible gardens in S.C., including several that were private and not typically open to the public. This year we changed our focus to historical public spaces. It will be a day of storytelling where you can learn about the interesting places you have right here in your
own backyard,” Reed said. “We are very excited to add the floral design seminar to our event. Heather and Melissa will provide inspiration to those who like to clip and snip from their own garden to make simple bouquets, as well as designs for weddings and special events.”

Lancaster residents Peggy Little and Glenda Mungo have assisted in the planning of the 2013 Follow the Blooms tour. Little, president of the Lancaster Garden Club and current GCSC board member, serves on the GCSC Follow the Blooms committee. Next year, she will serve as a Follow the Blooms chairperson.

Little asked Mungo to assist her with some of the planning in an ex officio role.

Mungo, current President of the Lancaster Council of Garden Clubs, will begin serving on the GCSC board in May.
Little actually was instrumental in securing Millford Plantation for the tour.

Dick Jenrette donated the 1839 property to the Classical American Preservation Trust to be used as a house museum. The house is considered one of the best examples of Greek Revival architecture in America.

The period-specific gardens include camellias, azaleas, boxwood, roses and, of course, magnolias.

“I have known Dick Jenrette for years. He invited me to visit Millford several times. When I finally did, I thought I was at the White House when I first walked in. With the regal reds, golds, and blues along with the vintage furniture and spiral staircase, I thought it was just phenomenal,” Little said. “I’m most thankful to him to allow us to include Millford on the Follow the Blooms tour.”

Mungo says the tour follows the theme of the incoming GCSC President, Judith Dill – historical treasures in historical places.

Founded in 1881, Wedgefield Presbyterian Church features a sanctuary often called “the church in the pines.”

The Church of the Holy Cross features walls constructed of rammed earth. Together, the Church and the Borough House – along with a number of outbuildings – comprise the largest concentration of rammed earth constructed buildings in the U.S.

Joel R. Poinsett is buried in the church cemetery. He is responsible for introducing the poinsettia to the U.S.

The Follow the Blooms tour’s primary goal is to raise money to benefit the educational and cultural efforts of The Garden Club of South Carolina, Inc.

The tour is from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, April 13.

The $40 ticket price includes tour of Millford Plantation House, Wedgefield Presbyterian Church, Church of Holy Cross and “How to Make a Southern Bouquet” floral design demonstration.
Lunch is available for $15 from noon to 2 p.m. at Church of Holy Cross.

Additional tours of Borough House grounds and The Ruins at Church of Holy Cross are available for $15.

For more information and to purchase tickets, visit www.gardenclubofsc.org/projects/followblooms.

Tickets may also be purchased by mailing checks to Follow TheBlooms, 362 Bryan Street, Allendale, SC  29810.