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In 2006, Historic Columbia embraced an exciting vision for the Robert Mills Historic District through its Cultural Landscape Master Plan. Rooted in the horticultural heritage of South Carolina's capital city, this document became a roadmap for the systematic installation of gardens within six of the properties under Historic Columbia’s care. Since then, each of the properties, now featuring a diversity of period-appropriate design and plantings, has benefitted from enhanced visitation while offering an ever-evolving landscape throughout each passing year.
With the oversight of its Garden Committee, Historic Columbia is currently implementing Phase II of rehabilitation of the Hampton-Preston Gardens, which is outlined in the organization’s Cultural Landscape Master Plan. This much-anticipated phase will return the garden’s central sections to the historic site’s horticultural “golden age” (1840s-60s). Work will include installing an urban arboretum densely populated with trees, re-establishing historic pathways and plant beds, introducing period-appropriate plant materials and garden structures, and repairing the perimeter wall as well as introducing electrical and irrigation systems.
As the centerpiece of gardens in the Robert Mills District, Hampton-Preston Phase II enhancements will allow Historic Columbia to use the space as an outdoor classroom, improve the property’s appeal for rental events and establish the site as a public green space for residents and tourists to enjoy.
Once Phase II is complete, there will be 20,500 square feet of new pathways and 55,000 square feet of newly irrigated planting space. Historic Columbia has a master inventory of 50+ trees that have either already been planted or will be planted in the coming months. The robust collection of trees and plants includes diversity of species and will continue to expand as the garden develops. Resources for the selections are wide ranging and include historic periodicals referencing Columbia’s gardens, Jim Cothran’s book Gardens and Historic Plants of the Antebellum South, Restoring American Gardens, Fruitlands Nursery catalog, Pomaria Nursery catalog, Research from Historic Columbia’s Cultural Landscape Master Plan and more.
Phase II improvements are made possible through a private donation from The Darnall W. and Susan F. Boyd Foundation, Inc. Ongoing garden support is made possible by AgFirst and the Palmetto Garden Club.
For those who would like to support work at the Hampton-Preston Gardens, please contact Wendi Spratt, director of development, at 803.252.7742 x 12 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Gift recognition opportunities start at $2,500.
For more information, visit the Phase II Frequently Asked Questions. Work at the Hampton-Preston Gardens will take place February 2017 through the spring of 2018, which coincides with the 200th anniversary of the mansion’s construction. The site will remain accessible during much of this time. No work will take place in Phase I of the gardens, which includes the Welcome Gate and Entrance, the Welcome Garden, the Fountain Garden, the Henry Michael Powell Memorial and Children’s Garden and the Butterfly Garden.