An Afternoon at the Columbia Riverbanks Botanical Garden

Where: Columbia, South Carolina

Trip Date: 10/5/17

Exploring the Botanical Garden

Early last month I took a weekend trip to Wilmington, North Carolina. Since that is more than a six hour drive from my home I needed to find somewhere for a snack and a bathroom break. And as Columbia, South Carolina is almost exactly halfway between home and Wilmington it was a rest stop made in heaven. Some Internet searching led me to the Riverbanks Botanical Garden, and I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to try my hand at sketching flowers (FYI, I have discovered I’m not particularly good at it).

The Gardens are located along the bank of the Saluda River in downtown Columbia. It is a gorgeous place, filled with fountains and nice shaded walks. Several different garden areas showcase a variety of plant life from around the world. I arrived at the tail end of summer, far from peak flowering season, so I am sure I did not see half of what the Gardens have to offer. But it was still quite a beautiful sight.


I know very little about plant life—or “nothing,” if you prefer. So this is going to be a very short article that is mostly sketches that look half as good as the flowers on which they are based. Please forgive me for being unable to offer any more interesting information.


Some of the many variety of roses growing within the Rose Garden, and one of the few flowers I can actually identify on my own.


Ornamental Peppers


“Will’s Wonderful” variety of Chrysanthemum.


Lavender, another flower I do know.

Hanging Trumpet

Hanging Trumpet.

Chinese Lanterns

Chinese Lanterns.

Again, apologies, I picked the flowers that stood out aesthetically to me, and I’m sure I selected some of the least exciting and least exotic ones that the Botanical Garden had to offer. Next time I will take someone with me who knows what they are doing.

On the other hand, maybe I just have no experience with botanical gardens, but I did wish that some of the specimens were labeled more clearly, or labeled at all. I often saw a wonderful, brightly colored, glamorous flower next to a small shrubbery, and I could only find a label for the shrub. So as someone with no experience in flower identification, I often felt quite lost (Google Image Search, my girlfriend, and my mother were of great help in identifying the flowers in some of my photographs).

The Riverbanks complex also contains a zoo—in fact, the Botanical Garden and Zoo are both included in the price of your ticket. Alas, I had time only for one, and animals are even farther out of my wheelhouse than flowers. Maybe next time.


Next Week

Stay tuned for a much longer and more informative article on the Battleship North Carolina in Wilmington.

By | 2017-10-28T20:53:59+00:00 November 3rd, 2017|Event, South Carolina|0 Comments

About the Author:

James is an artist and illustrator currently working in Georgia.

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