Pendleton King Park offers nearby refuge

Jim Blaylock/Staff
Kun Xie tries to fly a kite at Pendleton King Park. The 64-acre park is maintained by volunteers.

If you're tired of the hustle and bustle of Masters Week and want to get away from it all for a while, you can find refuge at Pendleton King Park, a short distance from almost anywhere in Augusta.

 

The park was designated as a 64-acre bird sanctuary by Henry Barclay King in honor of his son John Pendleton King II, who died in 1919. It is a passive park, now owned by the trustees of the King family, who lease it to the city for $1 a year.

The park originally was a plantation and was purchased from the Bugg family by the first John Pendleton King before his marriage in 1842. The house burned in the early 1900s and was never rebuilt.

For many years, the property was run down and children played in the ruins of the plantation house, according to Kay and Tom Mills, members of the Pendleton King Commission, which oversees the park, and Friends of Pendleton, a group of master gardeners, garden club members and volunteers who have made major improvements to the park.

The park is on different levels, with various gardens maintained by volunteers and the city. Once you enter through the wrought iron gates, you may wander through the park's formal garden, a touch and smell garden, a hydrangea garden, a sculpture garden, an azalea walk, two camellia gardens and an arboretum.

Or you might enjoy sitting on a picnic bench and gazing at Lake Elizabeth.

Reach Sylvia Cooper at (706) 823-3228 or sylvia.cooper@augustachronicle.com.

Take a break at Pendleton Park, once a plantation, then a bird sanctuary, now full of gardens maintained by volunteers. These are the multiple level of gardens found at the park.

THE BLUE GARDEN: The blue garden is a parterre beside the gazebo by entrance and near the site of the original plantation house. The Green Court Garden Club keeps the garden, according to Kay Mills, a member of the Pendleton King Commission.

The city recently renovated the gazebo and replaced its columns, she said.

TOUCH AND SMELL GARDEN: The garden, designed by landscape architect Roger Davis, was dedicated to Eugenia Lehmann, the 100-year-old niece of Henry King, in 2005. In the middle, around raised flower beds, is a large fountain graced by a statue of a young girl that was found on the grounds.

The area has statues of the four seasons and is filled with flowering plants and herbs, including iris, azaleas, hostas, violas, lantanas, Spanish bells, plumbago and acubas.

HYDRANGEA GARDEN: The hydrangea garden was designed, dug and planted by volunteers who raised money for a commemorative brick wall and wrought iron gate. Volunteers also built the pergola, installed an irrigation system and planted 70 varieties of hydrangeas, about 400 in all. In each of the garden's corners are crape myrtle trees originally in bicentennial park in downtown, Mrs. Mills said.

"At some point, they were put down in the bottom of the park, and they were in pots and in terrible shape, but they were beautiful," Mrs. Mills said. "That's when Derek Vanover was working for trees and landscaping, and we asked if we could have them for the garden."

PICNICS, PLAYGROUNDS AND A SCULPTURE GARDEN: The park has picnic benches and two new playgrounds paid for by the Junior League of Augusta and a $10,000 grant from the Community Foundation of the CSRA.

Grants also made possible the sculpture garden, which was designed and built by fourth- and fifth-graders from Monte Sano Elementary School.

With names such as Beak of Woodpecker and Wing of Crow, the metal sculptures are in an American Indian theme.

CEMETERY, TRAILS AND DISC GOLF: The Bugg family cemetery, surrounded by a brick wall, was restored by members of the Augusta Council of Garden Clubs. One of the gravestones bears the name of James Carter of South Carolina, who died on Sept. 17, 1780.

The park also has nature trails that are great for bird watching, Mrs. Mills said, and a disc golf course where people play rain or shine.

The Jim Stutts Camellia Garden was dedicated in 2005. The Walter A. Wilson Camellia Garden, dedicated in 1990, has a fountain carved from one piece of stone, salvaged from Allen Park at 15th Street.

"The park is used by all socioeconomic groups, which is very representative of Augusta," Mrs. Mills said. "But it's a passive park. We don't have basketball. It's a bird sanctuary, a place to come and be peaceful."

-- Sylvia Cooper, staff writer


ABOUT THE PARK WHERE: Located a half-mile south of Wrightsboro Road on Troupe Street DAYS: Seven days a week HOURS: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.