Hatcher Gardens

Hatcher Gardens is a phenomenal botanical garden and woodland preserves in downtown Spartanburg SC. It is where nature’s charisma encounters the excitement of learning, and the spectacular scenery offers a preserve for wildlife. The public garden has ponds, walking tracks, and plenty of shrubs and trees.  It is an example of the outcome of the cooperation amongst liberal benefactors and a civic-minded community.

It all began in 1969 when Harold and Josephine Hatcher retired to Spartanburg SC, from Indianapolis, Indiana, to be nearer to their daughter. They bought a worn-out cotton field for their new home on Briarwood Road, on the West side of town and decided to make the lands usable. The Hatchers began restoring the woodlands and enhancing the landscape upon seeing the site’s potential as usable garden land. They planted over 10000 trees and shrubs, filled gullies and also laid paths.

The garden continued to grow in the 1970s, and several organizations within Spartanburg got attracted to the property. Therefore, they volunteered to assist in planting and maintenance. The Hatchers also acquired additional neighboring property, and together with the team of volunteers, established ponds, trails, more vegetation, a gazebo, a wildflower garden and new flower beds.

During the 1980s, the garden began to draw attention as a beautiful woodland sanctuary. It, therefore, became a public anchorage for Spartanburg people to delight-in. The Hatchers continued ageing with Josephine’s health condition deteriorating. So, in 1987, they donated the facility to the Spartanburg County Foundation for permanent protection. Members of the board were selected after the transfer of ownership was done. Then a nonprofit-status was attained to safeguard the continuity of the gardens. The gardens became a public facility of Spartanburg and was officially named Hatcher Gardens and Woodland Preserves. 

Harold continued working at the gardens adding a gardening shed, a parking lot and a pavilion area. He also decided to restore the wildflower area in honor of Josephine, who died in 1999. Unfortunately, Harold died too in 2003. Ashes of the two were scattered in the gardens to which they had devoted their souls and lives.

Today, the 12-acre gardens and preserves have a variety of landscapes that consist of an artificial waterfall and stream, a wildflower hillside, a water-wise demo garden, a nursery as well as a distinguished conifer and hosta collection. The conifer collection is a recognized reference garden by the American Conifer Society. Additionally, there are two quarter-mile paved paths sufficiently wide for two wheelchairs for ease of access by the physically disabled visitors. There is also the Garden of Hope and healing, which offers an escape location for Hospice and cancer patients, their caregivers and any other community member in need of comfort, encouragement and rejuvenation.

The Gardens and Woodland Preserves host many educational programs for both adults and children. The programs include seeds germination education and hands-on guidelines on plant care. The gardens also have yearly events such as spring and fall plant sales and an early summer fundraiser that consists of a dinner and auction.

Approximately over 40000 people visit the garden every year for educational purposes and to view the scenic landscape. Two full-time employees and a roster of committed volunteers maintain the gardens. The Gardens and Woodland Preserves demonstrates the power of collaborations and the truthfulness of community backing. The Hatchers’ legacy lives on through both the gardens and their daughter, who’s an active board member. 

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