Two fighting stallions, sculpted by none other than the eclectic Anna Huntington that we talked about yesterday, mark the entrance to Brookgreen Gardens. The Gardens extend over four former rice plantations and consist of sculptures, a zoo, several ecosystems, wildlife preserves, a poetry garden, a children’s storybook garden, and dozens of water fountains. In short, it’s huge.*
Anna’s sculptures are featured throughout the park in enclaves, in groups, as part of larger sculptures, and as the center of fountains. In many areas, they are even used to tell stories. This is most true in the children’s garden where sculpted brown bears, pigs, as well as a tortoise caravan, are displayed along with the words of myths, fairytales, morality shorts, and other famous children’s stories.
Poetry, written by either herself or Archer, is interspersed throughout the gardens on stone plaques and colorful boards. Many of them reference the nature they are surrounded by – tomatoes, lilacs, lavender – or ancient myths of gods and goddesses, or simple statements of human truth. The results are beautiful (though the cynic in me resented that not all artists could afford to construct their own beautiful exhibition of art and writing instead of depending on a select group to cherry pick one artist’s work over another).
The walkways weave around the natural fauna and lead through stone archways and iron gates and between garden trellises and rows of oaks into each of the gardens. It’s like wandering through a labyrinth of floral-printed green walls with sculpted figurines marking the way.
– M. Ray Hall
*If you’re planning to visit the gardens in the summer, especially when it’s particularly warm, make sure to bring plenty of water, sunscreen, and wear proper attire. The best option is to extend the trip over two days, even if you don’t plan on taking in the zoo. Also, get a map.