Good things come in small packages-and parcels. Hatcher Garden in Spartanburg is one such little treasure.
The 10-acre urban botanical garden offers visitors a lovely spot to read a book, have a picnic lunch or get lost in nature. Benches have been carefully placed throughout the preserve - along soothing streams and quiet ponds, under the shade of 75-foot poplars, pines and oaks and next to displays of seasonal flowers - where one can sit and enjoy Mother Nature's handiwork.
Those looking to stretch their legs or burn a few calories can walk the paved and natural trails that wind through a collection of specialty gardens featuring conifers, wildflowers, medicinal plants and hostas.
One of my favorites is the butterfly garden with its variety of butterfly-friendly flowering plants. From spring through early fall, the garden is home to such beauties as the variegated fritillary, red spotted purple and our state butterfly, the eastern tiger swallowtail.
Another standout is the Conifer Collection, boasting more than 200 species of cone-bearing conifers - the largest trees on the planet. Among the collection are pines, spruces, firs, larches, yews, junipers, cedars, cypresses and sequoias.
As you walk through the garden, delightful surprises await at every turn of the trail. You'll come across bird baths and houses tucked among the vegetation, wooden footbridges traversing rocky brooks, an observation deck overlooking a pond and works of art imitating nature.
On your visit, be sure to stop by the Water Wise Demonstration Garden at the front of the property where seasonal flowers are always in bloom.
More than four decades in the making, Hatcher Garden was created by Spartanburg retirees Harold and Josephine Hatcher on a parcel of property behind their home. Over the years, the couple purchased adjacent land to create the 10-acre woodland preserve. They filled in eroded terrain, built paths and ponds and planted more than 10,000 trees, shrubs and flowers.
Today, it is maintained by a nonprofit group and lovingly tended by community volunteers. There is no charge to visit the garden, open year-round during daylight hours. Pets, however, are not allowed.