Hatcher Garden: Ordinary People…Extraordinary Gardens
Real-life success stories with humble beginnings are the most inspiring stories. Recently I visited Hatcher Garden, a small public botanical garden and woodland preserve located in Spartanburg, South Carolina. What makes this garden extraordinary is its humble beginnings as the small backyard of two retirees to its current ten acres.
In 1969 Josephine and Harold Hatcher moved to Spartanburg to be near their daughter and grandchildren. The home they purchased was located on a small lot that backed up to a wooded area that was once a cottonfield. There was a small creekbed and plenty of possibilities, but there was also signs of soil depletion, erosion, and it served as a local dumping ground.
Harold Hatcher, retired from a career in social justice, and wife, Josephine lovingly started working on their small lot. In time they were able to purchase some of the adjacent property, and with the help of friends they built pathways and ponds, amended the soil, and planted over 10,000 trees, shrubs, and perennials.
Eventually the community took notice and the Hatchers opened their gardens for public visits . Community volunteers got involved to support the Hatcher’s efforts, and in 1987 at the age of 80 years old, Harold Hatcher donated the property to the Spartanburg County Foundation for use as a public garden.
Today the garden is open year-round free of charge to the public. Here you will find numerous outdoor spaces along paved pathways, an extensive pond system for managing storm water runoff, and a conifer collection of 109 trees of 60 genera and 40 species.
What’s extraordinary about this small public garden is its humble beginnings. The Hatchers weren’t wealthy retirees with unlimited monetary resources. They rolled up their sleeves and loved a piece of land back to life. And then they shared. What a beautiful and extraordinary gift from two very ordinary people.