United States of America, South Carolina, Richland County, Columbia
Foster/Murray Garden (Columbia, South Carolina)
This two-acre garden site is on the grounds of the old Heathwood Hall mansion, which later became a school. The neighborhood was planted in native red and whte oaks that have matured to give interesting architectural structure to the area. The garden was planted in 1948 by the first owners of the house, Mr. and Mrs. Jefferson Davis Hunt. Their basic design continues today. The foundation planting was laid out as well as the terraces and other beds. At that time it was primarily an azalea, flowering tree, and camellia garden with paths and two center beds forming a figure eight as the focal point. The garden was enclosed by extensive decorative wrought iron fencing. Mr. and Mrs. William J. Murray returned to Columbia, their former home, in 1960, and bought the house. In 1961 George S. Betsill, a gifted landscape architect, who went on to a long career with the prestigious landscape architectural firm of Innocenti and Webel, redesigned paths and center beds. Mrs. Murray added more azaleas, camellias, a selection of bulbs, and a rose garden. She and Betsill also cut in shady paths edged by mountain laurel and hedges of hydrangeas. Mrs. Murray collected outdoor statuary that is displayed throughout the garden. Following Mrs. Murray's death at age 99 the property passed to the current owners, who renovated existing plantings which had become neglected and added significantly to the plants while retaining the original design. In 1993 a massive oak tree's fall during a storm created the opportunity for a sunny garden along the once shady paths. This is now a butterfly garden filled with herbaceous perennials designed to attract wildlife. There is a strong focus on old roses, which are planted throughout the entire garden, and which have been rooted mostly by the owner. There is also a woodland garden filled with many natives and wildflowers.
Persons associated with the garden include: Mr. and Mrs. Jefferson Davis Hunt (former owners, 1948-1956); Mr. and Mrs. J. M. Blalock (former owners, 1956-1960); Mr. and Mrs. William J. Murray (former owners, 1960-1990); and George S. Betsill (landscape architect, 1961).
The folder includes a worksheet and abbreviated garden plan.
Garden has been featured in Nell S. Graydon, comp., South Carolina Gardens (Beaufort, SC: The Beaufort Book Company, 1973)
Garden has been featured in The Columbia Record, April 1, 1965