Guest blog by 2016 Garden Symposium keynote speaker, Dr. David Shields.
When Lief Erickson made landfall on the Western Hemisphere it was so overrun with Native grapes he called the country Vinland. When colonists from Spain, France, and England tried to transport their home grapes—the Vitis vinefera—they planted them in a territory occupied by a host of Native grapes, all of them loathe to surrender land to interlopers. The pathogens, that had developed to insure that only the strongest strains of Natives survived, attacked the cabernets, the pinot noirs, the reislings, and the Muscats. For two hundred years people attempted to plant French, German, and Italian grapes in American soil, and for 200 years they died. Black rot, brown rot, mildew, Phylloxera, Pierce’s disease would take them all in a year or two. Until that moment just after the turn of the 19th century when vignerons decided to cross a resistant Native variety with a tasty European variety to create a hybrid.
Nicholas Herbemont, a native of the Champagne in France and the first instructor of French in the College of South Carolina, would be the first to embrace hybrid grapes in the creation of fine wine. He would only be driven to this conclusion after witnessing over 120 Vitis vinefera varieties that he had imported in 1811 wither and die in the Carolina sun. The hybrid grape that he embraced was a cross between a Native borquiniana and a European vinefera, and had the refined flavor of the latter and the disease resistance of the Native. It was a fat brown grape, succulent and saccharine, that reminded him of the Sercial Madeira grape. Georgians called it the Warren grape. But because Nicholas Herbemont created the first annually available fine quality vintage wine from it in the 1820s, it came to be called after him.
Herbemont was one of the six grapes upon which the American grape industry was founded—the others were the Catawba, the Concord, the Norton, the Delaware, and the Isabella—none of them straight vineferas. Texas and Missouri became major centers of Herbemont wine production until the early 1870s when nearly every Herbemont grape vine in the United States was dug up and shipped to Europe, because it resisted the depredations of the phylloxera mite. The Herbemont grape saved the French noble vintages, but did so at the sacrifice of its central place in the ranks of American wine. A fine table grape and a historic wine grape, Herbemont is the signature grape of Southern viticulture. It is more classic and refined in taste than the Muscadine, more rich than later hybrids such as the Chambourcin, and more versatile than the Catawba or the Isabella. Historically is was made into a fortified Madeira-like wine, a light white wine, and a rose. It was often paired at meals with another local hybrid of the summer grape (Vitis vinefera) and a Vitis vinefera named the Lenoir. In Texas the pairing of these grapes in vineyards remains to the present day.
[Historic Columbia is proud to announce the homecoming of the Herbemont! HC Horticulturist Keith Mearns, pictured here, is preparing to propagate the historic grape in our gardens. Special thanks to Justin Scheiner at Texas A&M for sending us cuttings.]
To learn more about horticulture and the history of Southern gardens, join us April 8 & 9 for Historic Columbia’s2016 Gardening Symposium “Redefining the Southern Garden: Past, Present & Future.” Early registration for this event ends March 25th so please Register Today!
CLICK HERE to view more photos of the Herbemont at HC!
The symposium kicks off with a reception and keynote presentation from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Friday, April 11 in a historic riverfront setting at Senate’s End. Amanda McNulty, host of SCETV’s Making It Grow, has all the information and tricks of the trade to help both novice and expert gardeners improve their spring garden beds and develop the garden of their dreams. Learn about soils—what’s in them, who’s in them, how to improve them and more—then take the opportunity to ask McNulty questions and mingle with other attendees while enjoying beer, wine and hors d’oeuvres after her presentation.
On Saturday, April 12, join HC at the Robert Mills Carriage House for a series of workshops that will provide a more hands-on approach to gardening skills, knowledge and information from local business owners and gardening professionals. The featured workshops are:
Discovering the Hidden Potential of Your Garden with Ronnie Dimig, local artist and professional gardener
Successful Container Gardening with Kevin Shaw, Hay Hill Garden Market
Choosing Plants that Thrive in the Midlands with Lori Watson, Mill Creek Greenhouses.
There will be vendors and garden professionals with educational resources onsite April 12, and the Gift Shop at Robert Mills will be open early at 7:30 a.m. for symposium attendees. Following the workshops, join Historic Columbia’s horticulture staff for a guided tour of our newest garden at the Woodrow Wilson Family Home.
Symposium registration is $40 for one day and $65 for both days for HC members, and $45 for one day and $75 for both days for non-members. Register for the symposium at historiccolumbia.org, by calling 803-252-1770 ext. 27, or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. The Clarion Townhouse Hotel is offering a special rate for HC symposium attendees; call 803-771-8711 and mention “Gardening Symposium” when making your reservation to receive the discounted rate.
Camille Drie’s circa-1872 drawing Bird’s Eye View of the City of Columbia depicts a row of trees in front of the house, but drawing does not provide enough detail to determine the type of tree. Numerous early 20th-century images in our archives show a row of mature magnolia trees along the property’s southern border, and we’ve recently discovered a placard still in place under their canopy, installed by the Magnolia Garden Club in 1938, which celebrates the significance of their planting more than 60 years prior by the former president’s mother, Jesse Wilson. In 1983, Dr. David Rembert, botanist and now professor emeritus of USC’s A.C. Moore Herbarium, completed a tree ring analysis of the existing trees and determined two were indeed old enough to have been planted by the Wilsons during their time in Columbia from 1871 to 1874.
Of four magnolias originally planted on the property, only one still stands today- can you tell which from the picture above? Visit The Columbia Star to learn more about the magnolias and their long history at 1705 Hampton Street, then come enjoy the spring weather in their shade!
Party Like a President at the Woodrow Wilson Family Home on Feb. 7!
The reopening of the Woodrow Wilson Family Home: A Museum of Reconstruction in Columbia and Richland County is a little over a month away, and Historic Columbia has a way for you to get a sneak peek and help us celebrate before it officially opens!
Party Like a President at the Woodrow Wilson Family Home Friday, February 7 | 7 pm $100 HC members | $125 non-members
We think this freshly-rehabilitated landmark property is the cat’s meow, so we’re celebrating its reopening with a Roaring 20s-themed party in the gardens of the Woodrow Wilson Family Home. So pull out your flapper fringe, top hats and tails and get ready to party like a president!
Part II, “The Capital City Rebuilds,” explores Columbia’s history as it rebuilds and recovers from the Civil War from 1865 to 1914. Dr. Warner Montgomery, author of Columbia Revisited, leads the series. Lectures are held from 6 to 7:30 pm at the Seibels House & Garden and will cover the following topics:
The lecture series is $50 for HC members, $60 for non-members, $35 for students or $10 per class or tour. Registration is not required but space may be limited and allowed according to availability. Registration forms are available at historiccolumbia.org.
Early Columbia Lecture Series Tuesdays, January 7 – February 18 | 6 – 7:30 pm HC members $50 | Non-members $60 | Students $35 Single lecture or tour $10
Take a Second Sunday Stroll through the Robert Mills District West!
This January, join us for our Second Sunday Stroll through the Robert Mills District West on January 12.
The guided walking tour will highlight the architecture and history of this historic neighborhood. Named after the nation’s first federal architect who designed the circa-1823 Robert Mills House and the circa-1828 Asylum, today’s Robert Mills District was listed in 1971 within the National Register of Historic Places as “Columbia Historic District II.” This district contains approximately 113 historic structures embodying more than three centuries of diverse residential and institutional architecture. The tour will meet at the Mann-Simons Site at 1403 Richland Street at 2 pm.
The Cook-Off draws hundreds of chili-lovers every year, enjoying some of Columbia’s most creative recipes as they take in the sights, sounds and tastes of this signature event. Live music, beer and wine, and more than 20 varieties of chili are all included in the ticket price. Get your tickets online, by calling 803.252.7742 x 11 or by emailing email@example.com.
The Palladium Society’s 16th Annual Chili Cook-Off Saturday, March 1 | 5 pm Advance tickets: Palladium members $15, HC members $25 & Non-members $30
Door tickets: $30
Support the restoration of Historic Columbia’s gardens and make getting ready for the holidays easy by buying decorations from the Palmetto Garden Club.
Choose from a wide assortment of wreaths, garlands, table runners, flowers, pecans and garden tools. For the first time, Palmetto Garden Club is offering an environmentally-friendly garden broom made of recycled coconut palms. The wreaths are handmade in the mountains of North Carolina using locally grown greens to ensure freshness.
The Palmetto Garden Club is a non-profit organization and has partnered with Historic Columbia Foundation for the restoration of the Hampton-Preston Mansion Gardens. Proceeds from this greenery sale will support the garden restoration and other HCF garden projects.
Orders may be placed through SCHolidayGreenery.com or by downloading the order form from the website and mailing it to Missy McIver at 2 Millpond, Columbia, S.C. 29205. All orders must be pre-paid, and checks should be made out to the Palmetto Garden Club. Wednesday, October 23 is the deadline to place an order.
Orders must be picked up at the Robert Mills Carriage House on Thursday, December 5 between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. For more information, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 803.252.7742 ext. 15.
Fall is nearly here, and Historic Columbia is ready to celebrate the season with two popular annual exhibits, Scarecrows in the Garden and A House in Mourning.
Scarecrows in the Garden
Scarecrows in the Garden displays handcrafted scarecrows from local families, classrooms, businesses and organizations through the month of October. The free exhibit is open during regular touring hours and also includes a scavenger hunt and a search for the “Sneaky Steve” scarecrow.
Scarecrows in the Garden Contest. Registration ends Sept. 27. Enter your ghoulish, traditional or historical scarecrows in our contest; prizes include cash, awards and tour passes. The cost is $10 for families, individuals and classrooms and $20 for businesses and organizations.
Sculpting Scarecrows Weekend Workshop: Sunday, Sept. 22 at 2 p.m. Take a lesson in scarecrow creation and take your scarecrow home or enter it in the contest. For $15, participants receive helpful instructions, assistance and a scarecrow kit.
Scarecrows in the Garden Opening Reception and Awards: Sunday, Sept. 29 at 2 p.m. The exhibit debuts as local celebrities and community leaders judge the best scarecrows. Admission for HCF members is $5 for adults and free for children and for non-members, $7 for adults and $4 for children ages 6 – 12, and free for kids 5 and under.
Scarecrows in the Garden Family Day: Saturday, Oct. 26 at 12 p.m. “People’s Choice Award” and “Best Class Crow” winning scarecrows will be announced as children enjoy a variety of activities and games that highlight the importance of the fall harvest and Halloween’s history. The event is $6 for the first child and $3 for each additional child or free for HCF members.
A House in Mourning
From Sept. 27 until Halloween, A House in Mourning at the Hampton-Preston Mansion will introduce visitors to 19th century mourning traditions and compare them to ones we observe today. Strict social customs required Victorian Americans to publicly demonstrate their sadness in specific ways, including stages of mourning clothing. Today, mourning the loss of a loved one is thought to be much more private than in the past- but is it really? The exhibit will show that our modern forms of public mourning, including Facebook pages, roadside memorials and tattoos are not so different than those of our Victorian ancestors. The exhibit will be incorporated into regularly scheduled tours of Hampton-Preston Mansion, and admission is $6 for adults, $3 for youth and free for Historic Columbia members.
Historic Columbia is inviting the public to contribute to A House in Mourning by collecting current pictures and stories of public mourning. Use the hashtag #HouseInMourning on Twitter and Facebook throughout the month to share photos and experiences with HCF. (Not all submissions will be used in the exhibit.)
Girl Scouts are invited to take a step back in time with Historic Columbia Foundation at the annual Victorian Ladies Tea Party held at Seibels House, Columbia’s oldest remaining home, on Saturdays May 11 and May 18.
Girl Scouts will learn about Victorian customs like calling cards and the language of the fan as well as participate in Victorian-inspired crafts, including making herb sachets and paper dolls. The highlight of the day will be the Victorian tea where girls will learn table manners and etiquette.
“The Victorian Tea Party is a wonderful opportunity for girls to learn about etiquette, traditions and customs from the late 19th century. In addition to the tea party, girls will play games and make crafts similar to those in the Victorian Era,” said James Quint, Historic Columbia’s education coordinator.
This event is offered from 10 am to noon or 12:30 to 2:30 pm on both Saturday, May 11 and Saturday, May 18 at Seibels House & Gardens. Tickets are $8 per scout and $5 for adults and can be purchased by emailing email@example.com or by calling 803.252.1770 ext. 36. Reservations are required. Group reservations are welcome.
Treat mom to a delicious meal with a view of some of Columbia’s most beautiful gardens this Mother’s Day at Historic Columbia Foundation’s Mother’s Day Brunch, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sunday, May 12 at Seibels House & Garden.
This annual event provides a scenic backdrop for a Mother’s Day she’ll never forget. If weather permits, outdoor seating will be available just in time to enjoy our historic gardens in bloom. The brunch buffet includes classic breakfast foods and pastries, as well as salads and lighter fare, all served in the beautiful Seibels House, Columbia’s oldest house. After brunch, take a stroll through the gardens and either a tour of any of Historic Columbia Foundation’s historic house museums or a spot on the Second Sunday Stroll guided walking tour of Cottontown at 2 p.m. (meets at the North Columbia Fire Station No. 7, 2622 North Main Street).
Tickets for brunch are available for $25 for Historic Columbia members, $30 for non-members and $5 for children. Ticket price includes either a complimentary historic house museum tour or a spot on the Second Sunday Stroll of Cottontown. Reservations are required for Mother’s Day Brunch. To purchase tickets, call 803-252-1770 ext. 24 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Today is Earth Day and Historic Columbia Foundation wants to invite you to explore our beautiful gardens and see what’s in bloom at our properties this spring! Spring is one of the best times to be outdoors, and what better excuse to get out of the house or office than Earth Day! Stroll through the Robert Mills House gardens to see the cherry and dogwood trees in bloom. Daffodil bulbs have sprung up and created a beautiful blanket of yellow throughout the Robert Mills House and Hampton-Preston Mansion grounds. Dianthus, snapdragons, and violas are lingering from last season, while the azaleas are in full display throughout our properties. Irises decorate the sidewalk of the Seibel’s House and the Cherokee rose adorns the fence of the Hampton Preston Mansion.
Historic Columbia strives to create a lush and inviting place for visitors to enjoy, while also representing and preserving the history of our properties’ landscapes with a sustainable approach. All of our gardens are FREE and open to the public anytime we are open! We invite you to visit, take a stroll, enjoy a picnic and if you’re really feeling green, join our garden volunteer group!
Historic Columbia would not be able to maintain our many green spaces without the support of our dedicated garden volunteers. Our volunteers work with our Director of Grounds, Horticulturist and Head Gardener getting their hands dirty on various projects including planting bulbs, flowers and vegetable gardens, plucking weeds, trimming bushes and so much more!
HCF has teamed up with United Way of the Midlands for Day of Action THIS Thursday! Volunteer in our gardens from 1:30 – 4:30 pm, Thursday, April 25 and lend a helping hand during National Volunteer Week. Can’t make it Thursday? Our garden volunteers meet every Thursday year-round. Starting May 2, the volunteers will meet at the front steps of the Robert Mills House and assist with garden projects from 9 am – noon.
Earth Day Inspired Merchandise from the
Gift Shop at Robert Mills!
HCF’s Gift Shop at the Robert Mills House has a plethora of gardening books ranging from $15 – $50. We also sell seed packets from various plants and flowers found throughout our grounds for just $1 per pack. Come shop with us!
The Gift Shop at Robert Mills is conveniently located at 1616 Blanding Street, with free parking. We’re open Tuesday-Saturday from 10 am – 4 pm and Sunday from 1 pm – 5 pm.
Don’t Miss the Woodrow Wilson Restoration
Workshop on Gardens, May 11
Join HCF for a workshop at 10:30 am on Saturday, May 11 featuring gardening and landscape techniques. Get a sneak peek of HCF’s newest garden at the Woodrow Wilson Family Home and chat with experts from John Milner Associates about the principles behind landscape design. Reservations required. $10/$15 per person
Historic Columbia Foundation is seeking handcrafted historical, ghoulish or traditional scarecrows for their annual Scarecrows in the GardenContest, sponsored by Palmetto Parent magazine. The deadline to enter the contest is September 24, 2012. All scarecrows will be displayed on the grounds of the historic Hampton-Preston Mansion from September 30 – October 31, 2012 during Historic Columbia’s annual Scarecrows in the Garden Exhibit. Community leaders and local celebrities will select the best scarecrows and the public is encouraged to vote for the “People’s Choice Award” and “Best Class Crow.” Prizes include cash, trophies and tour passes.
The cost to enter is $10 for families and individuals; $10 for classrooms (“class crow”), and $20 for businesses and organizations. Proceeds benefit Historic Columbia Foundation. To enter, visit www.HCFScarecrows.eventbrite.com. More information may also be found by calling (803) 252-1770 ext. 24 or emailing email@example.com.
Sculpting Scarecrows Workshop: Saturday, September 22, Noon – 2 pm Meets at the Hampton-Preston Mansion, 1615 Blanding Street
$20 for families and $25 for organizations (includes contest entry fees)
Those interested in entering the Scarecrows in the Garden Contest are encouraged to attend the Sculpting Scarecrows Weekend Workshop on September 22 from Noon – 2 pm. Participants in the workshop will create and decorate a spooky, dazzling, or life-like scarecrow during the workshop. The workshop is not required for participation in the contest, but is available for those interested. Participants should come to the workshop with a clear idea of what they’d like to create, bringing items from home to personalize their scarecrow. Materials provided in the workshop: hay, PVC piping, string, and other items. Scarecrows can be taken home, or for an additional $5, entered into the contest. Reservations required (online at www.HCFScarecrows.eventbrite.com, by phone 803.252.1770 ext. 24 or by email firstname.lastname@example.org). Proceeds benefit Historic Columbia Foundation.
Scarecrows in the Garden Opening Reception and Awards: September 30, 2 – 5 pm
Hampton-Preston Mansion & Gardens, 1615 Blanding Street
Members: Adults/$5, Children/Free
Non-Members: Adults $7, Children 6-12 $4, Children 5 & under Free
Extra Exhibitor Passes: Adults $5, Children 6-12 $3, Children 5 & under Free
The winners of this year’s Scarecrows in the Garden contest will be announced during the opening reception and awards on September 30. Judging will take place from 2 – 3:30 pm; awards for the business/organization and family/individual categories will be announced at 4 pm. Activities include a Scarecrow Scavenger Hunt, $1 highlight tours of HCF’s House in Mourning exhibit that feature fashion, practices and traditions that were customary during the Victorian Era. HCF will also be offering participants the opportunity to see Dreadful Sorry at 5 pm. This short film was taped in the Robert Mills House. While you are here don’t forget to vote on your favorite scarecrow and “Class-crow” and let us know if you can find Sneaky Steve. Admission includes children’s crafts, light appetizers, beverages and family fun. This is a rain or shine event. Proceeds benefit Historic Columbia Foundation
Annual Scarecrows in the Garden Exhibit: September 30 – October 31 Tuesday – Saturday: 10 am – 4 pm; Sunday: 1 pm – 5 pm
Hampton-Preston Mansion & Gardens, 1615 Blanding Street FREE and Open to the Public
Take a stroll through the recently installed gardens at the historic Hampton-Preston Mansion (1615 Blanding Street) and view dozens of uniquely-crafted scarecrows from area businesses, schools, families, and organizations during this FREE public exhibit during the month of October. The exhibit showcases ghoulish, historical, and colorful scarecrow entries from this year’s Scarecrows in the Garden Contest. Activities also include a scavenger hunt and locating the “Sneaky Steve” scarecrow.
A House in Mourning: September 30 – October 31 Part of the regularly scheduled Hampton-Preston Tour
$6/adults, $3/youth, Free for members
Mourning the loss of a loved one was much more public for Americans during the 19th century than it is today. The sadness a family felt was outwardly shown by more than just the wearing of black clothing, however. There were certain customs observed such as covering mirrors that seem quaint to us today but were important for Victorian Americans in order to properly honor the deceased. During the month of October, the Hampton-Preston Mansion will feature many of these mourning traditions. Guided tours will discuss the role and importance of stages of mourning during the 1860s as a part of our regular daily tours. Proceeds benefit Historic Columbia Foundation.
Historic Hauntings Cemetery Tours: October 11, 6 – 8:30 pm (last tour starts at 8:30 pm)
Elmwood Cemetery, 501 Elmwood Avenue
$10 non-members/$5 for children of non-members (17 and under);
$5 members/$3 for children of members (17 and under)
Join Historic Columbia Foundation and Elmwood Cemetery staff for guided tours presenting some of Columbia’s eerie and peculiar past by the light of the full moon. Admission includes tour of Elmwood Cemetery, light snacks and a take-home craft for children. Reservations requested. Proceeds benefit Historic Columbia Foundation. Purchase tickets online here: www.cemeterytours.eventbrite.com.
Family Day: October 27, Noon – 2 pm
Children are invited participate in a variety of autumn activities that highlight the importance of the fall harvest and history of Halloween. Scarecrows in the Garden People’s Choice Award winner will be announced. $6 for first child/$3 for each additional child/free for members. Proceeds benefit Historic Columbia Foundation.
Pumpkin Patch Early Adventures: October 2012 (month-long)
Available to private groups of 10 or more children (ages 3-8 years old).
Historic Columbia Foundation’s Early Adventures program is designed especially for daycares, birthday parties, schools, churches, clubs, and learning centers. During the month of October, Early Adventures groups will dress up like scarecrows and play games in the gardens. Activities also include searching for a scarecrow on the loose. All programs include story time, games, crafts and snacks and 2 activity leaders. Games and crafts will be determined according to participant’s age group. Each program last approximately 90 minutes to 2 hours depending on the number of participants. Reservations required. $6 per child. Proceeds benefit Historic Columbia Foundation. For more information, please contact Sarah Blackwell at email@example.com or 803.252.1770 ext. 33.
Historic Columbia Foundation was founded in 1961 by a group of preservationists determined to save the Ainsley Hall House, known today as the Robert Mills House. More than four decades later, Historic Columbia Foundation manages four historic house museums and their associated artifacts, and tells the stories of people, places and progress in Columbia and Richland County. For more information, please visit http://www.historiccolumbia.org.