The Martha and Reed West Island Garden
A Native Wetland Garden
The Martha and Reed West Island wetland garden offers stunning views year round. Three small islands in the eastern edge of Sydnor Lake are linked by a series of bridges and boardwalks. The bog-like environment here provides a diverse ecosystem for both plant life and wildlife.
This garden was created in 1993 through funding from Martha and Reed West. The wetland habitat of the garden re-creates the landscape of Mr. West’s youth in the tidal marshlands of South Carolina. The Wests were pleased to provide beautiful views for guests dining at the Tea House. A bequest from the Wests helped fund renovations in 2012. Dredging, aerations, and reinforcement of bridges and weirs helped restore the garden ecosystem, improve the water health, and protect and preserve the pitcher plant collection.
Insect-eating Pitcher Plants
Most of the plantings here are either native to the eastern United States or hybrids derived from native plants. Especially intriguing is the impressive collection of Sarracenia or pitcher plants. This insectivorous (insect eating) genus derives nitrogen from digesting insects captured in its “throat.”
Showcasing the Importance of Wetlands
Protecting our remaining wetlands is a critical part of maintaining a healthy environment. Wetlands play an important role in controlling flooding, cleaning water, and preventing shoreline erosion. Where wetlands have already been destroyed, constructed wetlands can be installed using techniques, materials, and plants that keep water in place. Learn more about wetlands and key issues in water quality through a series of educational signs in and around the West Island Garden.
Home to a Variety of Plants and Animals
Towering Bald cypress trees and graceful Birches offer pockets of shade from the summer sun. The West Island Garden also teems with wildlife that never hesitates to make an appearance. Fish, toads, and turtles bask in the sun’s rays, chipmunks scamper, and a near-tame Great Blue Heron proudly calls the garden home.
A Winter View of the West Island Garden
Even in the snow, the West Island Garden is a beautiful and serene place to be.