2018 Gardening Symposium

Explore SC's Early Horticultural History

Starting in the early 19th century, South Carolina was a hotbed of horticultural experimentation and mastery. Many of the South’s most treasured and iconic plants were introduced into North American gardens through the work and passion of early South Carolinians, including the Hampton-Preston family. Learn about this exciting legacy and the current efforts underway to revitalize the Hampton-Preston gardens. 

The Garden Symposium will take place from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. on Saturday, March 24 at the Robert Mills Carriage House. To learn more and register, call (803) 252-1700 x. 23 or email

Saturday, March 24

9:00-10:15 AM 

Jim Kibler – South Carolina’s Influential Nursery - Pomaria

Pomaria and the Summer Brothers influence on South Carolina’s horticulture was immense. Dr. James Everett Kibler has been researching and cataloging the effects of this prolific nursery and its founders. Pomaria and its products played an integral role in the development of gardens and landscapes across the south, Dr. Kibler with expound on the magnitude of its influence.

10:15-11:30 AM

Evan Clements – The Gardens of the Hamptons and Prestons: Past, Present, and Future

Director of Grounds, Evan Clements will share the historic background of the garden, what has been transpired on the grounds since restoration efforts began in 2012, and what the future holds for the gardens continued development.

11:30 AM-1:00 PM Lunch/Vendor shopping/book signing

Box lunch option from Spotted Salamander ($15)

Taking Root book signing with Dr. Kibler

Vendors: Mill Creek Greenhouses, Paradise Plants, Simply Citrus, Rodger’s Heirlooms, LushLife Nursery


Tom Johnson – Director of Magnolia Plantation in Charleston, SC – The Gardens of Rev. John Drayton.

This talk will explore the early 19th century garden of Rev. John Drayton. Mr. Johnson is widely known as an expert on camellias and azaleas, the mainstay of historic southern gardens.


Keith Mearns & Evan Clements – Tour of Hampton-Preston Gardens

Join Historic Columbia’s garden staff for a tour of the newly restored Hampton-Preston Gardens. Get a behind the scenes look at how the gardens continue to develop and learn about future plans for the grounds.

Vendors and Sales

Plants propagated from Historic Columbia properties and products from Paradise Plants, Rodger’s Heirlooms, Simply Citrus and Mill Creek Greenhouses will be available.

An heirloom seed swap will take place during and after the workshops for attendees to participate in at their leisure and will include seed from Seed Saver’s Exchange, Southern Exposure Seed Exchange, and the Thomas Jefferson Center for Historic Plants.

The Gift Shop at Robert Mills will offer books by the presenters as well as unique gardening items, including pressed herbarium specimens collected from Historic Columbia gardens and prepared at USC’s A.C. Moore Herbarium.

Special Thanks to Our Presenting Sponsor