Clemson, S.C. — The South Carolina Botanical Garden will be under interim leadership beginning Oct. 1.

George Askew, vice-president of Clemson University Public Service and Agriculture, will serve as garden administrator until a new permanent director can be hired.

Current garden operations, modified due to COVID-19, will remain unchanged, Askew said.

South Carolina Botanical Garden Visitors Center

South Carolina Botanical Garden Visitor Center
Image Credit: University Relations

The change comes after current garden director Patrick McMillan announced he has accepted a position as director of Heronswood Garden in Kingston, Wash.

In announcing his resignation to garden staff and supporters, McMillan praised them for helping make the SCBG one of the top botanical gardens in the Southeast.

“The support that you as Friends of the Garden have made to the development and advancement of the SCBG is largely responsible for what we have been able to accomplish. I wish to thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for making this the most amazing adventure in my life,” McMillan said.

McMillan was named SCBG director in 2010. In addition to serving as garden director, he also hosted the Emmy Award-winning series “Expeditions with Patrick McMillan,” and was Glenn ’65 & Heather Hilliard Professor in Sustainable Environment in Clemson’s College of Agriculture, Forestry and Life Sciences.

“Patrick’s passion for the natural world and visionary leadership have helped the South Carolina Botanical Garden realize its mission to become a world-class botanical garden focused on teaching, research and outreach, and a sanctuary where the public can learn about and experience the diversity of nature,” Askew said.

The SCBG, located on the campus of Clemson University, is a 295-acre garden that features a nationally recognized nature-based sculpture collection, education and outreach programs and the Bob Campbell Geology Museum. It is also home to some 12,000 species, varieties and cultivars of plants and the largest exhibit of Southeastern native plants in the world.

The SCBG began in 1958 as a camellia preserve on a small parcel of land adjacent to John C. Calhoun’s 19th century Fort Hill estate and has since grown to its current acreage of cultivated landscapes and natural woodlands and was designated as the State’s botanical garden in 1992.

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