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Spartanburg’s Hatcher Garden is a unique, free attraction

Accessibility, visibility and creation of a children’s garden were Dan Shook’s goals when he became manager of Spartanburg’s Hatcher Garden three years ago. Two are now complete and plans for a one- and-a-half-acre children’s garden are well underway.

A 10-acre botanical garden and woodland preserve in the heart of the city of Spartanburg, Hatcher Garden displays seasonal flowers, foliage and trees with soothing ponds and streams. The garden is open every day of the week from dawn until dusk, and admission is free.

“Hatcher Garden is a unique place,” Shook told Livin’ Upstate. “It was built by the community, for the community and we don’t want to limit anyone’s ability to enjoy it. That’s why we will never charge an entrance fee.”

Hatcher Garden Board Member Doug Nash (L) and Manager Dan Shook.

Spartanburg’s only public garden, Hatcher Garden & Woodland Preserve stands as a testament to the power of community partnerships. When Harold and Josephine Hatcher retired to Spartanburg in 1969, they began developing the land behind their home on Briarwood Road. Over the next 30 years, they acquired 10 acres of land where they, alongside members of the community, planted thousands of trees, shrubs and flowers for area residents to enjoy.

Today, Spartanburg County Foundation holds the land and garden funds in public trust and a board of directors oversees the nonprofit organization that manages the garden. As Manager, Shook handles day-to-day operations. That includes coordination of about 200 volunteers every month who dig holes, plant trees and container gardens, weed and clear downed trees. Regular volunteer opportunities are available on Tuesday and Thursday mornings from 9:00 a.m. until Noon.

Shook also schedules and leads tours for thousands of students who visit Hatcher Garden each year from across the Upstate. Educational programs at Hatcher follow the curriculum of area schools and are accredited classes for third through fifth grades.

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A horticulturist and longtime owner of a landscaping company, Shook has been the perfect fit for Hatcher Garden, said board member Doug Nash. “It’s worked out beautifully,” Nash said. “Having done work here over the years, Dan knew a lot about Hatcher but he has helped take things to a new level.”

Passersby on John B. White Sr. Boulevard can readily see the recent visibility improvements at Hatcher Garden including a new entrance, expanded parking lot, a new drop-off area and a new garden entrance that features a 60-pound metal image of the tree from the Hatcher Garden logo.

To improve accessibility, Hatcher Garden paved the switchback trail system throughout the garden to give those requiring canes, walkers and other mobility devices the ability to enjoy the beauty of the garden. Hatcher Garden recently hosted wheelchair-bound residents from Mountainview Nursing Home who were accompanied by volunteers from WSPA News 7 as part of the station’s annual day of giving.

“That was an awesome day,” Shook said. “That’s what Hatcher Garden is all about. Volunteerism and community members from all walks of life coming together to enjoy this unique and free attraction.”

Named the Best Local Tourist Attraction three years in a row by the Herald-Journal’s Best of the Best in Spartanburg, Hatcher Garden also was named Best Event Venue for the first time. Between everyday visitors and those attending weddings and other special events, Hatcher Garden expects to welcome more than 50,000 visitors in 2019.

Want to visit?
Address:  820 John B. White Sr. Boulevard, Spartanburg, SC 29306
Hours:  Open every day during daylight hours
Admission:  Free. Donations are accepted at the garden and online.
For more information:  info@hatchergarden.org or (864) 574-7724.

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