This garden is located in downtown Sumter, SC. It was started accidently in 1927 when Mr. Hamilton Carr Bland began to develop the land around his home. He planted Japanese Iris which would not grow. After consulting experts, he asked his gardener to dig up the bulbs and throw them out in the swamp. Much to everyone’s surprise they bloomed the following year. Between 1938 and 1949 two gardens were deeded to the city. They make up today’s beautiful Swan Lake Iris Garden. The park is the only US garden housing all eight swan species. In addition to statues and wildlife, visitors can enjoy a variety of flowers and flowering trees. The gorgeous walk around the lake is a one mile loop with opportunities to view cypress trees and wildlife specifically majestic swans gliding through the dark water. I usually walk it a few times and always see something I missed the first time around. Visitors can access the second garden through an overpass. This garden is just as beautiful with a gazebo, picnic tables, boardwalks that guide visitors through a swamp. I was elated to see a black swan sitting over her eggs. I also saw several eggs in a nest, likely mom was getting some food nearby. Azaleas were just starting to bloom, I am sure in one more week the park would become a festival of color with iris, azaleas, lilies, camellias. I visited on March 28, 2021.
References Swan Lake Iris Garden
- Swan Lake 2020
- Swan Lake 2021
- Poinsett State park/The Wateree passage of the Palmetto Trail
- Church of the Holy Cross
- Wateree Heritage Preserve
- The City of Sumter, SC