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Glacial relics

Making It Grow Radio Minute
SC Public Radio

Recently, our team went to Hartsville and filmed at Kalmia Gardens. Director Dan Hill took us down the slope on that property which drops sixty feet to Black Creek. Several plants there are glacial relicts – they moved down ahead of the glaciers during the Pleistocene era. In North America, the last glaciers came as far south as Pennsylvania and plants moved ahead of them as the climate changed, too. As the glaciers retreated, many northern plants couldn’t live in the warmer climate that returned. But at Kalmia Gardens, a northern type of mountain laurel as well as galax and a specific witch hazel have persisted in that unusual ecosystem. There is a sturdy but long set of steps that takes you form the top of the garden to Black Creek and then lateral paths so you can walk in these woods.

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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.