|Location||1624 West Carolina Avenue, Hartsville, South Carolina|
|Area||30 acres (12 ha)|
|Founder||Mrs. David R. Coker|
|Owned by||Coker College|
The gardens were established in the early 1930s by Mrs. David R. Coker on the land, which had become a neglected dump. Mrs. Coker made trails, dug a pond, and planted ornamental species including azaleas, camellias, tea olives (Osmanthus fragrans), and wisteria. In 1935 she opened the gardens to the public, and in 1965 she gave them to Coker College. The centerpiece of the gardens is the Thomas Hart House, built in the 1820s, and the home of the town's founder. It and the gardens are on the National Register of Historic Places.
Kalmia Gardens encompasses a blackwater swamp along Black Creek, and uplands of pine, oak, and holly. Due to its unique geology, being situated on a 60-foot north-facing bluff, it has an abundance of naturally-occurring mountain-laurel Kalmia latifolia. The namesake plant blooms in great profusion in May. Other montane plants grow together with coastal plain plants, making for a unique assemblage of flora. Many animal species live in the dense woodlands as well, and Kalmia Gardens is well known as an excellent birding spot.
- Power, J. Tracy; Julie Turner (June 13, 1990). "Thomas E. Hart House and Kalmia Gardens" (pdf). National Register of Historic Places - Nomination and Inventory. Retrieved 23 June 2012.
- "Thomas E. Hart House and Kalmia Gardens, Darlington County (624 W. Carolina Ave., Hartsville)". National Register Properties in South Carolina. South Carolina Department of Archives and History. Retrieved 24 June 2012.
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