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Swan Lake Iris Gardens

Making It Grow! Minute logo

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. From its beginning as a modest fishing pond, Swan Lake Iris Gardens, in the heart of Sumter, now encompasses property donated in the thirties by A. T. Heath. Graceful swans add to the serene nature of this cypress-lined black-water lake with its displays of camellias and azaleas and magnolia trees. But in May, thousands of visitors come to see the stunning blooms of Japanese iris growing throughout the garden. Perhaps the loveliest spot to see the juxtaposition of wildlife and flowers, is at the sculpture created by Sumter native Grainer McCoy. A huge wing, in the recovery mode of flight, surrounded by swaths of blooming iris, inspires feelings of joy and hope and a reverence for nature to all who view it. Each year, Memorial Day weekend brings special events and celebrations to this free public garden. 

Amanda McNulty is a Clemson University Extension Horticulture agent and the host of South Carolina ETV’s Making It Grow! gardening program. She studied horticulture at Clemson University as a non-traditional student. “I’m so fortunate that my early attempts at getting a degree got side tracked as I’m a lot better at getting dirty in the garden than practicing diplomacy!” McNulty also studied at South Carolina State University and earned a graduate degree in teaching there.