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Flower & Garden Show features South Carolina Botanical Garden director

The 2nd Annual Erskine Flower & Garden Show May 18 drew a crowd of about 350 people to the campus, up from about 200 in 2023. “We had visitors from as far away as Atlanta, Georgia, who came specially for this event,” says Vice President for Advancement and Alumni Relations Paul Bell.

Featured guest for this year’s show was Dr. Martin Hamilton, executive director of the South Carolina Botanical Garden at Clemson University.

“In addition to providing excellent practical information on sustainable gardening and landscaping, Dr. Hamilton has inspired Erskine to seek to have the campus declared an accredited arboretum,” Bell says, noting that such a distinction could “increase the number of visitors to campus and open doors to grants to maintain Erskine’s abundance of beautiful trees.”

Bell says Erskine invites “a select group of vendors offering plants, flowers, artwork, and food” to the Flower & Garden Show and “brings expert workshop leaders covering an array of topics that ranged this year from raising a backyard vegetable garden to how to appreciate, manage, and make practical use of bamboo.”

The workshop entitled “A Walk on the Wild Side: Edible & Useful Plants of the Upstate,” which Bell says has been getting rave reviews, “wasn’t simply a lecture in an auditorium.” Participants went on a walk with presenter Chris Redding, sampling plants along the way.

Erskine alumni Dr. Robert M. Alexander ’73 and H. Neil Richardson ’72 led workshops, Bell says. ”Robert’s was on growing roses, and Neil’s was on growing daylilies.”

Alumni Sadie Bradley and Cal Boykin, both 2023 graduates, performed live music on the Watkins Student Center porch as visitors enjoyed vendors’ displays on the Erskine Mall.

An Erskine book sale was also part of the day’s offerings. Alan Pitts, who works on projects for Erskine’s archives and library, says many people were interested in the books, and several volumes are being held for prospective buyers.

Pitts cites a Harper’s Magazine set, “with its deep emerald-green covers and bright gold lettering,” as especially attractive, adding, “Several people were tempted by The Complete Letters of Vincent van Gogh, a three-volume cased set published in 1959.”

Pleased by this year’s success, Bell says, “By the end of the weekend, I had started a notebook of ideas for the 3rd Annual Erskine Flower and Garden Show.”

Alan Pitts at the book sale display
Alan Pitts at the book sale display

Erskine’s campus has repeatedly been listed as one of the most beautiful Christian campuses in America. Erskine president Dr. Steve Adamson and his wife Von have a vision for enhancing that beauty and developing the campus into a botanical delight that can be enjoyed by the college as well as visitors to Due West.

Proceeds from the Flower & Garden Show will be used to build an endowment for a  Gardener-in-Residence who will oversee the landscape design of four significant properties on the campus: the historic Pressly Family Heritage Garden, Alumni House (ca. 1880), future Parkinson Guest House (ca. 1903), and the President’s Home (built in 1938).


Erskine and Due West Skyline

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Erskine College admits students of any race, color, national and ethnic origin to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the school. It does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national and ethnic origin in administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, scholarship and loan programs, and athletic and other school-administered programs.

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