Just a couple miles off of I-26 in Spartanburg, among shopping and restaurants on the busy main thoroughfare of John D. White, Sr. Blvd, is a 10 acre botanical garden and woodland preserve. The beautiful space is full of ponds, waterfalls, wildlife, trees and gardens with a wide variety of leafy and flowering plants. Hatcher Garden is open free to the public and should definitely be on your list of places to visit in Spartanburg.
Get to know Hatcher Garden
The garden began as the backyard garden of Harold and Josephine Hatcher in the late 1960s. The Hatchers converted run-down, eroded acreage behind their home into beautiful gardens, gradually opening them to the public and later officially opening Hatcher Garden. The Hatchers have since passed on, but the garden remains and is maintained by dedicated volunteers.
Visitors to Hatcher Garden will find numerous paved and mulched woodland trails covering the 10 acre space. The paved paths are wide and easily traversed with a stroller. Along these trails are six different ponds, many connected by a series of rocky creeks and waterfalls. Colorful wildflower beds and a butterfly garden line the sunny paths, while large confers and shade loving plants spread out among the woodland parts of the garden. Helpful signs along the trails point out information about the birds, trees, plants and about the Hatchers themselves. Bring a picnic or a snack and enjoy the many benches, picnic tables and gazebos.
I visited on a Wednesday morning with my 4 children, and other than the volunteers maintaining the garden, we had the paths all to ourselves to wander. My children particularly enjoyed the waterfall under Corrie’s Bridge and the little circle stone patio nearby. We spent almost 2 hours enjoying the garden.
A couple of my children are real investigators and collectors. They love to examine and collect rocks, flowers, sticks, dirt. It doesn’t really matter what. Do you know any little ones like that? It was a minor challenge to explain why we could not pick the flowers or dig for bugs in the beds. However, it was a really wonderful opportunity to discuss appreciating and respecting the hard work of the volunteers we saw working. Without them, we couldn’t enjoy the beauty around us! If you see them when you visit, make sure to say thanks!!
Homeschool Ideas for Hatcher Garden
The gardens were not crowded at all on the morning we visited. I plan to go back with some reading material or workbooks when we need a little change of pace. You may enjoy them for an outdoor workspace, too! Or, consider some language or writing activities during and after your visit. As you walk, choose items and ask your children to come up with adjectives to describe the things you see. When you head home, write a journal entry about one or two of your favorite pieces of the garden using descriptive words. For older students, share this review or reviews of other places from Kidding Around Greenville and have them write their own review of Hatcher Garden!
Consider bringing some insect, bird or plant identification books on your visit. One of our favorites is The Secret Lives of Backyard Bugs, by Judy Burris and Wayne Richards. My 6 year-old received it as a gift and he truly does not leave the house without this book. It lives in our school bag and goes pretty much wherever we go. When he sees an interesting bug he digs it out and uses the colorful photographs to find the bug in question and read the accompanying passages.
Don’t forget to grab a map at the picnic shelter to the left of the parking lot. The gardens are not so big that one could get easily lost, but the simple map provides a wonderful opportunity for students to practice their map ready skills.
Plan your trip to Hatcher Garden
820 John B. White Sr. Blvd
Admission is free, but donations are accepted.
The gardens are open dawn until dusk.
Here are a few pointers for your trip:
The numerous shady portions of the garden have many natural insects, including mosquitoes! We did not bring bug spray, but it would have come in handy.
When approaching the garden from I-26, pull into the second drive. The first is for school buses and handicap parking. My GPS called the drive Hughes Lane.
You’ll find a map of the garden under the picnic shelter to the left of the parking lot.
We hope you enjoy your visit to Hatcher Garden!