CLEMSON, SC — The SC Botanical Gardens in Clemson were closed Sunday due to safety issues and flooding that washed away bridges and wiped out exhibits.
The gardens saw eight inches of rain Friday night into Saturday morning, according to a Facebook post by Interim Director Patrick McMillan, and followed 10 days during which 20 inches fell in the area.
“No amount of preparedness or planning could have spared us,” McMillan said. “We will recover. We will be better than ever. We have the will to do whatever it takes to continue to grow our garden to greater heights.”
McMillian told university spokeswoman Robin Denny that part of the garden, including the front area and the Geology Museum and Visitor’s Centers, might open Monday afternoon.
Other parts of the garden hit hardest may not be open until next spring.
There is no official estimate for the damage yet but director says certainly in six figures, Denny said.
Most of the damage resulted from the flooding of Duck Pond, which overwhelmed a dam and “completely scoured” the meadow below the dam, including a recently built trail, and lifted another trail from the ground, washing it downhill, McMillan said.
The flooding also put the foundation of a cabin at risk, but quick work by McMillan and Clemson Facilities workers helped prevent major damage. The group moved “several tons of boulders” by hand to redirect flood waters away from the cabin, McMillan said.
Several bridges were damaged and washed out and irrigation systems were completely destroyed. Much work is left to be done to repair the storm damage, and the public is asked to donate to the gardens in order to help with repair efforts. Donations can be made at the Botanical Garden's donation page