Last weekend we celebrated Mothers Day by going to see Swan Lake in Sumter SC. It is one of the prettiest city parks I have ever visited. The lake is a flower and bird lover's paradise. The beautiful black waters of Swan Lake form the setting for the spectacular Iris Gardens. The lake is dotted with colorful islands, and wildlife is abundant. It is the only public park in the United States to feature all eight swan species, Swan Lake-Iris Gardens is also home to some of the nation's most intensive plantings of Japanese iris, which bloom yearly in mid to late May and last until the beginning of June. The garden also boasts many other flowers including colorful camellias, azaleas, day lilies, and Japanese magnolias.
Swan Lake-Iris Gardens began in 1927 when Hamilton Carr Bland, a local businessman was developing the 30 acres of swamp into a private fishing camp. At the same time he was landscaping the grounds of his home with Japanese iris. The iris failed miserably in the home garden, and Bland ordered his gardener to dig up the bulbs and dump them at the swamp. The following spring, they burst into bloom. The accidental garden, referred to by Southern Living magazine a "lovely mistake," has since been developed into one of the finest botanical gardens in the United States
The magnificent swans were brought in from all over the world; representing Australia, North America, South America, Europe and Asia were originally imported by Mr. Bland in the late 1920's. You might find it interesting that the Australian Black swans have been in residence the longest, and some of the birds living in the garden at present are their descendents. They were definitely my favorites. Visitors are permitted to feed the swans. The swans are quite tame and friendly and will come right up to you looking for a hand out; so do the Canada geese, mallards, egrets, herons and anhinga which also call the gardens home.
Of all of the photos I took today, I liked this one the best and am sure I will wind up painting "The Goose at Swan Lake"
|Tri color Heron|
|family of Pied|