Flood damage closes S.C. Botanical Garden for first time ever

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CLEMSON — For the first time in its history, the S.C. Botanical Garden is closed after sustaining damage from a weekend flood.

Heavy rain early Saturday overwhelmed the Duck Pond and spilled over the dam. The mountain meadow below the dam, including the new Natural Heritage Garden trail and all of the plantings, were battered by water and the Geogrid trail was lifted from the ground and washed down slope. Several small trees and bushes were washed out of the ground.

The floodwater scoured under the porch of the Hunt Cabin, compromising the foundation. After consulting with university Facilities and the Fire Department, the staff agreed the overflow path from the pond had to be changed. They moved several tons of boulders by hand, changing the flow of water to direct it away from the cabin to protect the foundation.

The entire route of the Natural Heritage Garden has been damaged. Several bridges were compromised or washed away along with the entire irrigation system. Most of the topsoil has been removed, along with the plantings, and some areas have many inches of sand or gravel covering key collections. The reflection pond, which was just dredged as part of an Eagle Scout project now isfilled with sediment. The dam was undermined on one end and most likely will need to be removed.

The “Leaky Pond” filled to the overflow for the first time and many plantings were under water. The brick path that was just finished last week at the Children’s Garden and Butterfly Garden was badly damaged. There are many other less significant losses but the Garden sustained more damage during this weather event than any other.

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