Redefining the Southern Garden: Past, Present & Future Historic Columbia’s 2016 Gardening Symposium – Millennium Magazine Columbia SC News

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Published on March 14th, 2016 | by Millennium Magazine Staff


Redefining the Southern Garden: Past, Present & Future Historic Columbia’s 2016 Gardening Symposium

COLUMBIA, S.C. —Historic Columbia celebrates the arrival of spring with the 2016 Gardening Symposium on April 8 and 9. Following the theme “Redefining the Southern Garden: Past, Present & Future,” the symposium blends hands-on sessions and presentations by respected foodways historian, executive chef, gardeners, and horticulturalists during the two-day event.


For centuries, the South has been known for its amazing gardens. Increasingly unpredictable climatic conditions, however, are presenting new challenges for the Southern gardener. Join Historic Columbia for a look to our storied horticultural past and for insight on ways to move the Southern garden into the future.


New additions to this year’s symposium include an heirloom seed swap featuring seeds from Seed Saver’s Exchange, Southern Exposure Seed Exchange, and the Thomas Jefferson Center for Historic Plants. Also, scientific quality pressed plant specimens collected on Historic Columbia’s grounds will be available in the Gift Shop at Robert Mills. A tour of USC’s historic Horseshoe closes the event.


The Revival of the Carolina’s Greatest Fruits and Berries with Dr. David Shields

The symposium kicks off on Friday, April 8, from 6:00 to 7:00 p.m. with a keynote presentation by Dr. David Shields, Carolina Distinguished professor, chairperson of Slow Food’s Ark of Taste Biodiversity Committee for the Southern Region, Chair of the Carolina Gold Rice Foundation, and author of Southern Provisions: The Creation and Revival of a Cuisine.


Historic Columbia welcomes Dr. Shields, who, in addition to his scholarly work in food studies, is responsible for the repatriation of a dozen classic ingredients to the region’s fields and gardens, most recently the Carolina African Runner Peanut and Purple Ribbon Sugar Cane. Dr. Shields’ presentation will explore the foods and food traditions of our past and what is being done today to revive them.


A Garden Reception and Book Signing follows the presentation from 7:00 to 8:30 p.m.

Executive Chef Wes Fulmer of Motor Supply Co. Bistro teams up with Dr. David Shields to offer heavy hors d’oeuvres including ingredients and preparations discussed in the keynote address. Dr. Shields will be signing copies of his book Southern Provisions, which will be available for purchase at The Gift Shop at Robert Mills.


“It is such an honor to collaborate with an esteemed foodways scholar like David Shields,” says Fulmer. “We are grateful to Historic Columbia for shining a spotlight on such an important topic as the near-forgotten, heritage foods of our region and state.”


Hand-on Gardening Workshops

A trio of talented gardeners, plantsmen, and botanists will present in small groups and guide hands-on activities. Each workshop is 45 minutes and runs concurrently beginning at 9:00, 10:00, and 11:00 a.m. Participants will rotate through all three workshops in small groups, allowing for more personal interaction with the presenters. The featured workshops are:


·      Cultivating History: Growing and Saving Heirloom Crops in the Home Garden with Roger Winn, owner of Roger’s Heirlooms.


·      Sprouting, Rooting, and Dividing: Basic Propagation Techniques for all Gardeners with Eric Shealy, greenhouse and nursery manager for Riverbanks Zoo and Gardens.


·      Seeing your Landscape for the First Time: Basic Field Botany with Dr. John Nelson, curator of USC’s A.C. Moore Herbarium and Historic Columbia’s

Horticulturalist Keith Mearns.



USC Horseshoe Tour at 1:00 p.m.

After the workshops visit the historic Horseshoe, the heart of the University of South Carolina’s campus, for a guided tour by Katharine Thompson Allen. Ms. Allen recently coauthored On the Horseshoe: A Guide to the Historic Campus of the University of South Carolina. Limited to the first 25 registrants.


Vendors and Sales

Plants propagated from Historic Columbia properties and products from Roses Unlimited, Rodger’s Heirlooms, Heathwood Hall, and Mill Creek Greenhouses will be available.


The Gift Shop at Robert Mills will offer books by the presenters as well as unique gardening items, including pressed herbarium specimens collected from Historic Columbia gardens and prepared at USC’s A.C. Moore Herbarium.


Early registration for the symposium is $35 for one day and $65 for both days for HC members, and $40 for one day and $75 for both days for non-members. The prices increase to $40 and $75 for HC members and $45 and $85 for non-members after March 25. Register for the symposium at, by calling 803.252.1770 ext. 23, or by emailing


The 2016 Gardening Symposium presented by Sox and Freeman Tree Expert Company. Additional sponsors include Modern Turf, Green Earth Services, Inc., Outdoor Lighting Perspectives, Anson Mills, Garden Restoration, Southern Vistas, City of Columbia, and Richland County.


About Historic Columbia:

In November 1961, a small group of individuals intent on saving the Ainsley Hall House from demolition officially incorporated as the Historic Columbia Foundation. Over the next five decades the organization, which was founded on the premise of preservation and education, would take on the stewardship of seven historic properties in Richland County. Today, the organization serves as a model for local preservation efforts and interpretation of local history. Visit or find us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or YouTube for more details.



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