Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Barefoot Landing Marina - We visit Brookgreen Gardens

Sculptures and flowers were blended together in the gardens
We had heard about Brookgreen Gardens after looking at things to see in the Myrtle Beach area. The gardens consist of over 300 acres of plantings and sculptures. The main focus of the gardens are the sculptures, there are hundreds to see. We've been to Longwood Gardens outside Philadelphia and I had expected a similar garden but Brookgreen was very different. The gardens are there to provide a setting for their vast collection of sculptures.

Live Oaks - beautiful to look at - many, long horizontal limbs add to the effect
However, there are many plantings and the live oaks are beautiful, some over 200 years old! The grounds are meticulously maintained and interestingly arranged to encourage just wandering around and exploring, we spent over two hours doing just that.

Loved the flowers
In the afternoon we took advantage of a canal tour on a shallow draft boat. The whole area was once a rice farm and slaves were imported to work the fields. What made the area suitable was the supply of fresh water from the river and the tidal flow. Even though the river rose and fell 4 to 6 feet every day from the tides, the water this far up the river was fresh and usable for growing rice. The rise and fall of the tides eliminated the need for pumps to get water to the rice fields. At high tide the gates were raised, at low tide they were closed, keeping the water in. A change of water could be accomplished in the same manner, very economical, no power needed for water supply (other than slave labor to work the gates).

One of hundreds of sculptures

Along the banks of the canals we saw no fewer than four alligators. At the point where the boat turned around to head back to the gardens, we could see the ICW where we had just passed along the previous day! Although we didn't see any alligators that day, they were sure around! We didn't realize at the time that the water was fresh, we thought that perhaps the reason we had not seen the reptiles was due to the water being too salty - not so! Many of the side creeks are listed as anchorages - but we would never use them, especially when we had to get Hoolie to shore.

One of several sunning on the canal shore - in the wild - within sight of the ICW!
Driving back, we took the shore route but it looked just like every other shore route we've seen. Lots of hotels, places to eat, miniature golf, etc. A nice day. We have one more day to "rest up" (tough having fun...) here before leaving on Thursday.