LeConte Woodmanston Plantation-Riceboro Georgia
We all have our hiking preferences and mine just happens to be exploring the woods and swamps. Preparing for a day trip with a desire to find a new area to explore I hit the google search bar for trails in coastal Georgia. The search results came upon the first botanical garden in the state.
The photos on the website showed volunteers renovating the gardens that were established back in the 1800s. The camellias lining the nature trails were said to be of threatened collections. World travelers of the past visited the gardens.
As noted in the London’s Gardener’s Magazine in 1832 by Alexander Gordon:
“The garden of Louis LeConte is decidedly the richest in bulbs I have ever seen, and their luxuriance would astonish those who have only seen them in the confined state in which we are obliged to grow them in this country.”
In the 1970s the site of the rice plantation and gardens was rediscovered at added to the National Register of Historic Places, and sixty-four acres were donated to the Garden Club of Georgia.
The next morning I headed out to find this treasure. According to the map, it should be about a forty-five-minute drive. I could not find an exact street address but planned to rely on direction signs once arriving in the general area. The GPS quickly informed me as I turned on to the first dirt road that I was off the chart.
The next sign led me down a road that looked barely traveled and had standing water on both sides.
At least I knew I was getting closer. Approaching a cleared area I could see standing structures. But something just didn’t seem right.
Just past this was a cleared area with an information panel and more buildings. A lady parked in a car waved an invitation to enter. I must say I was relieved to see another person out in this obviously abandoned place. She was super nice, informative, and the unofficial groundskeeper. Apparently, there was an effort made to restore the gardens in 2010 but it did not work out. The website was never taken offline and as a result, here I was.
The gardens were overgrown but one could only imagine the creative beauty that must have been back in the day.
The information panel where the old home stood was faded. There were brick pillars to mark the homesite.
Other small wooden structures of better days were scattered around.
The boardwalk heading through Bulltown Swamp to Floodgate Pond was unsteady. The narrow path was meant for a good pair of boots, which is not what I was wearing. I went just far enough to see the blackwater and turned around. Lots of critters live in these swamps and the mating season for the alligators is about to start. Pairing up with one was not part of the days plan.
The day worked out fine, it could never be disappointing to walk the grounds of a historic property with an interesting past. I grabbed a brochure on the way out and of course it was dated July 2010. One of the nice things about stumbling upon a place like this is that connecting to nature is so easy, no noise at all.
Thanks for stopping by, I hope you are enjoying the scenes of coastal Georgia and South Carolina 🙂