Swan Lake Iris Gardens – Sumter, South Carolina


South Carolina  |  SC Picture Project  |  Sumter County Photos  |  Swan Lake Iris Gardens

What do you get when you throw yard debris into a nearby swamp? Hamilton Carr Bland got Swan Lake Iris Gardens in Sumter, one of the country’s finest botanical gardens and the only public park in the United States with all eight species of swan.

Swan Lake Sumter

Sara Dean of Moncks Corner, 2014 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

In 1927 Bland began developing 30 acres of land. He wanted to create a garden but had no luck cultivating irises.

Swan lake Iris Gardens

Blake Lewis of Sumter, 2013 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

Eventually, he and his gardener dug up the plantings and tossed them into the swamp. By springtime, an abundance of irises adorned the swamp’s banks, and Bland Gardens were born.

Swan Lake Bridge

Sara Dean of Moncks Corner, 2014 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

Bland was well known for his landscaping talents, and in 1938 A.T. Heath, Sr., insisted that Bland design his land, Heath Gardens, before donating it to the city as a public park. In 1949 Bland also deeded his gardens to the city, and together they became known as Swan Lake Iris Gardens.

Swan Lake Recovery Statue

Greg McGill, 2011 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

The park includes a Braille Trail for the sight-impaired, a Butterfly Garden, and a Chocolate Garden, which is as savory as it sounds. Comprised of chocolate-hued edible flora, the Chocolate Garden teaches visitors that flowers can appeal to more than just the eye.

Swan Lake Sumter County

Sara Dean of Moncks Corner, 2014 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

Swan Lake Fountain

Linda Brown of Kingstree, 2013 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent


Swan Lake Iris Gardens Info


Address: 822 West Liberty Street, Sumter, SC 29150
Website: http://www.sumtersc.gov/swan-lake-iris-gardens.aspx

Swan Lake Iris Gardens Map



Swan Lake Iris Gardens – Add Info and More Photos


The purpose of the South Carolina Picture Project is to celebrate the beauty of the Palmetto State and create a permanent digital repository for our cultural landmarks and natural landscapes. We invite you to add additional pictures (paintings, photos, etc) of Swan Lake Iris Gardens, and we also invite you to add info, history, stories, and travel tips. Together, we hope to build one of the best and most loved SC resources in the world!


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3 Comments about Swan Lake Iris Gardens

SCIWAYNo Gravatar says:
August 31st, 2015 at 6:45 am

Sort of… it is an industrial farm called Garnay, Inc., not a naturally occurring forest.

Linda MelanconNo Gravatar says:
August 29th, 2015 at 10:32 am

I read in Southern Living Magazine that there was the largest Gingko Forest in the world in Sumter, S.C. I cannot find anything about it at any Sumter website. Does this exist?

Carole (Alston)No Gravatar says:
January 20th, 2014 at 11:26 pm

How do I find information of African- Americans living and working in Sumter (Horatio), SC during the period from 1830 through 1920?
Thank you.





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