THE ZOO'S GARDENS

Flower Border

View from top of garden

The Riverbanks' gardens are beautiful. They occupy 70 acres on the top of a plateau. You can take the tram up or you can simply walk across a bridge over the Saluda River and up the steep hillside. As you go up you will be surrounded by quiet forest. If you choose to take the winding woodland trail you will come upon the ruins of one of the first textile mills in South Carolina. This mill was used to make bed ticking for the confederate army but Sherman burned it to the ground and started his assault on Columbia from that point.

Mill Ruins

When you finally get to the gardens you will be amazed. It is almost like being in a different world. The gardens are loosely based on a walled English garden. When you come in you will immediately face a sea of different flowers and plants. You will see plants from around the world here. The gardens are for people to come and enjoy. So far 12,300 different types of plants are in the gardens. Many of the plants give off distinct smells. My least favorite is the rosemary that they have around the fountains. It really stinks! Mostly the garden is pretty quiet except for the fountains which make a nice trickling noise.

Riverbanks garden can call itself a botanical garden because it does three things that all botanical gardens do.

  • It keeps records of just about every plant.
  • It has educational programs.
  • It does research.
Unfortunately there are no programs for kids at this time.

Identification Tag

Riverbanks keeps very extensive records on each plant. All the plants have tags with their names and identification numbers on them. These tags are most often hidden underneath the plants. There are other signs for the public to use.