During the month of June, Greenwood, SC plays host to the South Carolina Festival of Flowers and I had the privilege of being a guest for the opening weekend of its 50th-anniversary celebration this year. With a whopping forty-four one-of-a-kind topiaries and oodles of garden beds bursting with colorful blossoms, I had a ball enjoying all the eye candy as I popped in and out of charming shops, galleries and eateries along my uptown stroll.
South Carolina Festival of Flowers
The Festival of Flowers has grown considerably since its humble 1967 garden show beginnings. It now sees an average 81,000 attendees over the course of the month-long festival, and it’s one of the Southeast Tourism Society’s top 20 events.
One of the most popular festival events is the Topiaries & Tastings Wine Walk of opening weekend. Ticket holders pick up their souvenir glass and a map at the kick-off venue and then leisurely stroll past the topiaries as they enjoy wine tastings, appetizers, and live music at numerous local uptown area businesses.
The topiaries (inspired by Walt Disney World’s Flower and Garden Show) are a relatively new addition to the South Carolina Festival of Flowers, and it’s jaw-dropping how much goes into building, irrigating and maintaining the colossal works of art.
Custom metal frames are filled with bladders and then covered in several inches of sphagnum moss and carefully selected flora. A highly intricate irrigation system directs varying amounts of moisture to the different plants within each topiary. Once the topiaries have been put together, regular pruning, fertilizing and maintenance are required to ensure they last throughout the festival and beyond.
It’s a monumental undertaking that starts a year in advance, but the results are stunning!