Cypress Gardens, a 170 acre preserve in Monks Corner, was on our list of places to visit when we first visited South Carolina in January 2016. Unfortunately, it had been completely destroyed in October 2015 by the “thousand year flood.” Promises to reopen over the next three years were changed as setbacks to repairs came with Hurricane Matthew in 2016, Tropical Storm Irma in 2017 and the January snowstorm of 2018.
At long last Berkeley County has overcome the weather and bureaucratic delays, reopening the park in April. After giving them a few weeks to work out the kinks we’ve now had our first excursion there and fittingly, it started raining as we pulled into the parking lot.
Not deterred we started with a guided boat ride through the black water swamp to get a feel for the park layout. It was neat being down close to the water surface and another time I’d take the self-guided (paddle yourself in a small flat bottom boat) so I could stop where I wanted.
Plants are being allowed to come back on their own but the management actively is removing the thriving duck weed and creating compost from it.
We saw a few alligators including some under a year old, snakes and song birds. Hopefully wading birds and other wildlife will return as the landscape heals.
A few small islands throughout the swamp had cultivated flowers. I don’t know if these somehow survived all the weather events or have been recently planted.
Walking trails around the swamp and into the woods, a butterfly house, a combo aquarium/reptile center, and numerous gardens round out the attractions.
Wild flowers have been allowed to grow unmolested by the lawnmower at Magnolia Cemetery in Charleston and this morning there were more types than I ever remember seeing there. A nice patch of these pink beauties, perhaps some kind of mallow, caught my eye.
A single bloom off on its own shows delicate pink shades.
The ground was dry and after scanning for snakes, ants and other creatures I got down on the ground for a few images
Photographing this iconic spot at Magnolia Plantation and Gardens with Azaleas in bloom is all about timing. The flower blooms, the light, the stillness of the water, the absence of people on the bridge– all things we have no control over. It’s a lovely spot and I tend to take a few captures whenever I pass by, even if the flowers aren’t in bloom.
Or perhaps “Saucer Magnolia” depending on where you look. Google quickly overwhelmed me with information in my search for how many varieties there might be. I’ll just say this particular tree has huge blossoms, 8 to 10 inches (20-25 cm) across, and they have a more delicate coloring than those in my post Tulip Magnolias in Bloom.
These blossoms didn’t seem to have the outer fuzzy covering as other tulip magnolias I have seen.
The blossoms emitted a sweet, but not overwhelming, fragrance. Some other varieties I have encountered could almost be said to stink.
Many Azaleas are also in bloom in this area and these made a nice backdrop to another unopened bloom.