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‘Splendor in the Garden’ Tour

By Nathan Elliott

THE McCORMICK GARDEN Club celebrated its 70th Anniversary with a ‘Splendor in the Garden’ tour of six local gardens on Saturday, May 4, 2019. The club began on May 27, 1949, when a group of friends and neighbors gathered and organized as the McCormick Garden Club with 32 charter members, and it was admitted to the Federation of Garden Clubs of South Carolina in 1950 and adopted the rose as its club flower and “My Wild Irish Rose” as its song. The club is alive and well today with 51 members and although many things have changed since that first meeting 70 years ago, the club’s objectives of educating its members in the fundamentals of gardening and encouraging public and civic beautification have remained the same. With a wide range of programs from floral design to horticulture to field trips to gain first-hand knowledge, the garden club continues to have an impact in the community with the maintenance of plantings at the McCormick Arts Council sign, the Water Wise garden at the library, and roses at the Blue Star Memorial Marker at the courthouse. Other projects include Tree ID Tags for the Savannah Lakes Village Shenandoah Trail, McCormick Elementary School garden support, and The MACK Summer Programs. Members have participated in accredited flower shows and won awards for the club—most recently a First Place Award for decoration of the historic Dorn House, and a First Place in Horticulture for support of the First Steps Learning Center’s vegetable garden. 
The ‘Splendor in the Garden’ tour was an offering to the McCormick community in celebration of the club’s 70 years and was a great success with visitors discovering a variety of gardens—each with a unique personality that reflected the individual owner’s vision and taste. And from which the tour visitors could find inspiration and fresh ideas for their own gardens.
The Tranquility Garden featured happy daylilies and flowering shrubs with a special area set aside as a memorial to Madge Wideman, a treasured member of the Garden Club for many years. Stunning aquatic scenes including a Koi pond could be viewed behind the house. Of special interest to native plant enthusiasts was the Back to Nature garden with its rhododendrons and native azaleas and a shade garden with oakleaf hydrangeas, Japanese maples, and hostas. At the Everchanging/Surprising garden as you walked through the rock wall gate you were embraced by the profuse effect of mass planting beds and rock hardscapes. The fountain in the foreground of a stunning view of the lake and beautiful kinetic garden art made this garden unforgettable. The Riverview Garden also offered stunning views of a serene cove off the Little River as did the Natural Wonder garden which was unique in that it was “a fresh new” garden having undergone a complete renovation in the past year. Visitors either started their tour in the town of McCormick or finished there with a look at the Whimsical Streetscape garden with an hibiscus and a lemon tree and many charming garden accessories at the street entrance to the upstairs home of the owner to which you were invited to view also. 
Paula Palaima and Christine Cook were the wizards behind this successful event and can be seen here with scenes from the gardens.

Through the years a wide range of monthly programs and field trips with projects local as have its impact in the community with meaningful projects such as the most recent tour of six gardens.

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