“K” is for Kalmia Gardens in Darlington County
“K” is for Kalmia Gardens in Darlington County. Named for the spectacular display of kalmia latifolia [mountain laurel] growing on a dramatic bluff carved by Black Creek, the gardens opened to the public in 1935.At the top of the 60 foot-high bluff is a one room-deep farmhouse built in 1820. The house overlooks the floodplain of Black Creek and is surrounded by a garden containing many exotic ornamentals planted by the garden's founder, May Roper Coker. When the Cokers purchased the land in 1932, she began transforming what had been a local trash dump. She planted camellias, wisteria, tea-olives, and azaleas and created trails down the bluff into what was then known as “Laurel Land.” In 1965, Mrs. Coker deeded Kalmia Gardens to Coker College in honor of her late husband, David R. Coker.