Coker’s Kalmia Gardens To Host Two Fundraisers in March

For more information, contact Barb Steadman - 843.857.4199

HARTSVILLE, S.C. – March 20, 2012 – Later this month, Kalmia Gardens of Coker College will host two annual events to raise awareness of and support for the botanical treasure nurtured there since 1932.

“Spring is in full bloom at Kalmia Gardens, and I would like to remind everyone that the Gardens belong to the community,” said Melinda Norris, Kalmia Gardens board member and Associate Professor of Business Administration.  “It is also important to know that financial support is critically important to improving infrastructure, continuing sustainability efforts and expanding Kalmia’s popular educational programs.”

The annual oyster roast fundraiser at Kalmia Gardens is from 4 to 7 p.m. Saturday, March 24. Tickets, which must be purchased in advance, are a $35 per person and include food and beverages. As it has done for the past several years, Slug's Revenge, of Florence, S.C., will provide live bluegrass music at this year’s oyster roast.

Coker’s Students In Free Enterprise team will host a Duck Cup Race on Black Creek at Kalmia Gardens at 10 a.m. Saturday, March 31.

Last year, the Duck Cup involved 350 rubber ducks and three prizes for the duck “owners.”  This year the student organizers hope to gather as many as a thousand ducks for the pseudo-avian swim meet.  Prizes, which include a 25-inch flat-screen television, an iPod Shuffle and a variety of gift cards to local businesses, will be awarded to the top ten finishers.

Ducks can be purchased for $5, and there is no limit to the number of ducks each person may purchase. Attendance at the race is not required to win.

For more information about the oyster roast or the Duck Cup, contact Mary Ridgeway at Kalmia Gardens at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .


About the Kalmia Gardens of Coker College

Established in 1935 and open to the public, Kalmia Gardens includes an historic house and a 35-acre private botanical garden. The Thomas E. Hart House, built in 1820 with timber cut from the property, and surrounding gardens are on the National Register of Historic Places. The site boasts a wide array of rhododendrons, camellias, azaleas, wisteria, tea-olives, dogwood and the Gardens’ namesake — Kalmia latifolia, the Mountain Laurel. It also features a daylily display garden that has been recognized by the American Hemerocallis Society. Kalmia Gardens is part of the scenic South Carolina Cotton Trail and is the gateway to the 796-acre Segars-McKinnon Heritage Preserve.

When the Coker family first acquired the land, May Coker began transforming what was then a desolate area into a place of tranquility and beauty, creating many trails that lead down to Black Creek. She gave Kalmia Gardens to Coker College in 1965 as a memorial to her late husband. In 2002, her daughter established the Joslin Education Center at the Gardens.

From the Hart House and formal gardens there is a 60-ft drop in elevation to the Black Creek floodplain where trails and boardwalks guide you through laurel thickets, pine-oak-holly uplands and a beech bluff. The unusual terrain is responsible for creating Kalmia’s unique and diverse plant and animal life. The contrast between the formal house and gardens and the cypress swamp below makes for a distinctly enjoyable experience.

For more information about Kalmia Gardens of Coker College, visit

PHOTO: Kalmia Gardens of Coker will host its annual oyster roast fundraiser on March 24 and the Duck Cup on March 31.  Pictured, Kalmia’s Thomas E. Hart House, built in 1820.


Coker College readies undergraduates for personal and professional success through a distinctive four-year program that emphasizes a practical application of the liberal arts as well as hands-on and discussion-based learning within and beyond the classroom. Coker is ranked among the “Best Colleges” in the South by U.S. News & World Report as well as The Princeton Review. Located in Hartsville, S.C., Coker is within two hours of the cultural, financial and recreational resources of Charlotte, Columbia, Charleston and Myrtle Beach.


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