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The Official Web Site of the State of South Carolina

Gardens History

SC Governor's Mansion Complex Gardens

Wedding Garden

In 2003, First Lady Mrs. Jenny Sullivan Sanford committed her efforts to opening the gardens for enjoyment of all. One may have a marriage ceremony in the Wedding Garden or spend a quiet lunch beneath a towering tree. Through her love of nature and its beauty, she sought to enhance the historical grandeur of the gardens by further restoration. With the benevolent guidance of Charleston Landscape Architect Sheila Wertimer, a designer plan emerged. This project was made possible by the revenue accrued through the rental of the Lace House and Gardens as well as the Governor’s Mansion Foundation, a 501(c)3 charitable organization.

The gravel has been replaced with blue stone, many new shrubs and plants have been added, a wall fountain is now the focal point, wrought iron gates flank the entrance to the garden and brick pathways lead guests through the “rooms.” Through the interest of those dedicated to caring for one of South Carolina's most inspiring havens, it is our hope to forever preserve this state treasure.

The Wedding Garden is an ideal spot for an intimate garden party or wedding ceremony and can accommodate up to 150 guests.

Memorial Garden

The Memorial Garden, owned by the Garden Club of South Carolina, Inc., is located on the grounds of the Governor’s Mansion. Designed by Loutrel Briggs of Charleston and New York, a cathedral design is implemented to create a feeling of a garden sanctuary within a bustling city. Mr. Briggs' design evokes the serenity of a Charleston garden using varieties of green plants, blooming shrubs, garden elements and hardscapes directing the visitor to a raised terrace featuring a vintage marble fountain. The property donated by Mrs. Sarah P. Smith Boylston in memory of her husband and son, the garden is recognized as the first memorial garden in the United States sponsored by a garden club honoring veterans of WWII.

One of only three gardens in South Carolina listed on the National Register of Historic places, it has been described since the 1940s with honor... “expressed in beauty, a place apart, where one may go as to a sanctuary, and undisturbed, arrange one’s thoughts and where South Carolinians who served their country well in World War II-may be offered grateful remembrance."

The Memorial Garden is a lovely venue for a wedding ceremony or social events and can comfortably seat 400 for a ceremony.

Caldwell-Boylston Garden

Amidst the nine-acre South Carolina Governor's Mansion complex, a garden oasis dating from 1830 draws enthusiasts, historians and visitors from all corners of the globe. First developed by Mr. John Caldwell, original owner of the Caldwell-Boylston House, the property became a labor of love to Mrs. Sarah Porter Smith Boylston who purchased the home in 1910 and lived there for more than sixty years. Mrs. Boylston was known for her garden parties where she entertained actors, politicians and dignitaries.

Sarah Boylston created different “rooms” in her garden used as entertaining areas. One Columbia historical author called her garden "one of the most important showplaces in the southeast." Mrs. Boylston was also dubbed "the official---unofficial Hostess of Columbia (Jennie Dreher Evins, Sarah Boylston and Her Garden)." Mrs. Boylston is remembered working in her garden wearing a large hat with her two Great Danes by her side.

The Caldwell-Boylston Gardens with a central pergola draped in Lady Bank's rose can accommodate up to 250 for a wedding ceremony and an ideal spot for a garden luncheon.

Mansion Mall

Over the years, many have contributed to the care of Mrs. Boylston’s legacy. By the time Mrs. Tunky Yarborough Riley became First Lady in 1979, the state had purchased the property, and she adopted the gardens as a special restoration project. It was First Lady Tunky Riley's vision that created the Mansion Mall area. The focal point of the mall is the Italian marble fountain donated in 1986 by the Gonzales family, founders of The State Newspaper.

The Mansion Mall is a popular spot for ceremonies, receptions, rehearsal dinners, fundraising events, and parties. It can accommodate up to 600 for a wedding ceremony on one side of the fountain or a seated meal function for 600 using all of the mall area on both sides of the fountain.