Cultivating the Future

The final quarter of the year brings with it preparation for the coming months as the days grow shorter and, sometimes, even a bit cooler.   We had a significant flooding event in December which inundated Colonial Lake along with much of the Peninsula and other low-lying areas.   Our community garden water gauges showed upwards of 6” of rain!  The increased frequency of these flooding events continues to inform and shape our work in the parks.   From a renovation of the gardens of Colonial Lake as it enters its “teen years” to prioritizing adding sustainable raised beds to our community gardens to allow us to maximize the amount of produce we can donate to organizations fighting food insecurity, our Conservancy horticulturists have been hard at work preparing our parks and gardens for the new year. 

Breaking Ground on New Projects

  • Our partners at the City have cleared the half-acre site for the Mulberry Food Forest, and the Conservancy has hosted several trash pick-up (removing more than 1,400lbs of trash!) days to prepare for the installation of South Carolina’s first food forest.
  • Cut Flower Garden Expansion:  In December, with help from funds raised during our Giving Tuesday campaign; we broke ground on the Magnolia Community Garden location for our cut flower program. This expansion will allow us to triple our capacity to provide cut flower arrangements to local organizations that support women in Charleston.
  • Wragg Square:  Thanks to a generous donation from the McGee family and matching funds from the City of Charleston, Wragg Square will see a significant renovation and beautification in 2024. The last quarter of 2023 saw the removal of overgrown brush and unhealthy trees and extensive pruning to clear the way for spring planting.  We look forward to sharing the new Patti McGee Shade Garden with you this Spring.

Editing & Improving Existing Projects

  • Colonial Lake:  You may have noticed some empty spots around Colonial Lake as the Conservancy alongside our volunteers and corporate groups including The Beach Company, Beemok Hospitality Group, Greystar and Advanced Technology International (ATI), worked diligently to clear invasive and overgrown plants that are threatening the biodiversity of this important garden habitat. The Conservancy is embarking on renovating these iconic gardens in 2024 to rehabilitate the wildlife habitat, increase the biodiversity and plant palette, incorporate salt-tolerant and storm-mitigating plant material, and elevate the overall aesthetic from inside and outside the park.
  • Marion Square Holocaust Memorial Plantings:  Our partners at the City stepped in to remove overgrown palms and other entrenched plantings in the beds along Calhoun Street at Marion Square and we are proud to have partnered with the Charleston Jewish Federation to plant 1,500 daffodil bulbs as a part of the Daffodil Project. The daffodil bulbs were overplanted with beautiful seasonal flowers to brighten the corridor while we wait for the spring show.  Be sure to visit Marion Square in March to see the beautiful swath of yellow daffodil bulbs that will greet you as you walk along Calhoun Street.

Seasonal Plantings & Bulbs

The Conservancy’s work to bring color and beauty to our parks during all four seasons never stops.  Be sure to stroll and check out the fantastic seasonal annual plantings in parks throughout the city, including Marion Square, Rose Pavilion in Hampton Park, and Hazel Parker Playground. These seasonal plantings have been underplanted with over 15,000 bulbs, including daffodils, tulips, amaryllis, Alliums, hyacinths, anemones, ranunculus, lilies and snowflakes that will put on a show in the Spring. 

Coming soon….Conservancy park map with seasonal display highlights! In the meantime, don’t miss our park finder.

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