South Carolina Picture Project
South Carolina Picture Project

Cypress Gardens — Moncks Corner, South Carolina

SC Picture Project  |  Berkeley County  |  Cypress Gardens

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Cypress Gardens

Cypress trees tower above the murky black waters of this swamp garden, located near Moncks Corner in Berkeley County. Cypress Gardens was created in 1909 by Benjamin Rufus Kitteredge on the original rice fields of Dean Hall Plantation. Today, the walking paths through the gardens follow the tops of the dikes. Kittredge opened the gardens to the public in 1932.

Cypress Gardens

Lee Nadleman of Atlanta, GA, 2007 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

In the 1842 book, A Day on Cooper River by Dr. John Irving, there is a passage detailing Dean Hall Plantation that reads: “It resembles a well ordered village more than that of a single plantation. The residence of the proprietor – the condition of the fields – the banks – the white and cleanly appearance of the negro houses – the mill and thrashing machine in complete order, all excite a strong feeling of admiration, and stamp at once the proprietor as an experienced and skillful planter.” In 1909, Benjamin Kittredge purchased the property and started the creation of the swamp garden, initially for his wife’s enjoyment. The house at Dean Hall eventually fell into disrepair and was relocated to Beaufort County to avoid demolition in the 1970s.

Dean Hall Plantation

Brandon Coffey of Charleston, 2008 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

The original home at Dean Hall was not the brick manse seen above but was actually the house seen below, which now sits within the town limits of Moncks Corner. The property originally belonged to the Nesbitt Family, and this simple home, one room wide, was the main plantation home for the property that would later became part of Cypress Gardens. When William Augustus Carson built his massive brick residence at Dean Hall in 1827, the original home became the house for the overseer of the plantation. Over the years the house was unused and was later discovered abandoned in the woods in 1967. The house was moved to its present location in 1968 and is fully restored and used as the Berkeley County Chamber of Commerce.

Nesbitt House - Dean Hall

Brandon Coffey of Charleston, 2018 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

Cypress Gardens showcases the unique natural environment of the South Carolina Lowcountry. Below is a photo of cypress knees, or the knobby, woody formations that grow vertically from the cypress tree’s (Taxodium distichum) root system. Scientists still do not know the purpose of knees but suspect they might have multiple uses as a sort of “snorkle,” bringing oxygen to submerged roots, and to anchor the massive trees during storms or even acting as a hedge during such events. While the functions of knees are only hypotheses, their mysterious beauty is synonymous with a cypress swamp.

Cypress Gardens Knees

Robin Seabury of Goose Creek © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

170 acres of gardens and swamps are so evocative of South Carolina’s timeless beauty that the property has been used as a set for over 15 movies, including The Patriot, Cold Mountain, The Notebook, and not surprisingly, Swamp Thing.

Cypress Garden Foam Bridge

Sara Dean of Moncks Corner, 2012 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

The above photo is of a foam bridge that was used as a prop in The Patriot. Visitors to Cypress Gardens can have fun trying to locate the many props that were left in tact after filming.

Cypress Gardens Path

John Van Dalen of Charleston, 2015 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

A little over a mile down a winding trail, meandering around and along the murky swamp waters, lies this cemetery almost hidden in the forest. Brick walls surround what presents itself like a formal garden, pierced by a towering cross. Inside those walls, visitors can find the final resting place of Benjamin Rufus Kittredge, and his family, forever interred on this place they loved so dearly.

Cypress Gardens Cemetery

Annie Martin of Charleston, 2014 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

Every day except major holidays, visitors can walk along trails which wind through lush gardens or paddle flat-bottomed boats into the swamp for a close-up view of the cypress and tupelo trees, birds, turtles, and sometimes even alligators. To make a day of it, there’s also a Butterfly House, a Swamparium with live exhibits of fish, amphibians, and reptiles native to the swamp, and a gift shop.

Cypress Gardens Alligator

Ken Ratcliff of Lossiemouth, Scotland, 2006 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

Following the historic floods in October of 2015, Cypress Gardens suffered extensive damage, forcing the popular landmark to close temporarily. Repairs to features such as the walking trails, boat landing, visitors center, and beloved butterfly house are necessary before the park can reopen. Cypress Gardens hopes to once again welcome visitors around August, 2018.

Postcard Views of Cypress Gardens

Cypress Gardens Postcard

Postcard View, Lanneau’s Art Store, Charleston, 1940

Cypress Gardens Postcard

Postcard View, Lanneau’s Art Store, Charleston, 1940

Cypress Gardens Postcard

Postcard View, Paul E. Trouche, Charleston, 1930-1945

More Pictures of Cypress Gardens

Cypress Gardens Walkway

John Van Dalen of Charleston, 2015 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

Cypress Gardens White Bridge

John Van Dalen of Charleston, 2015 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

Cypress Gardens Moncks Corner

Sara Dean of Moncks Corner, 2014 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

Cypress Gardens Berkeley County

Robin Seabury of Goose Creek © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

Cypress Gardens Azalea Trail

Steve Bower © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

Cypress Gardens Bridge

Sara Dean of Moncks Corner, 2012 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

Cypress Gardens Info

Address: 3030 Cypress Gardens Road, Moncks Corner, SC 29461
GPS Coordinates: 33.053782,-79.943603

Cypress Gardens Map

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8 Comments about Cypress Gardens

Renee White says:
April 14th, 2017 at 9:43 pm

What happened to all the birds after the movie The Notebook? Are they still there, have they made the gardens their new home?
Thank you,

Sue H Huang says:
October 22nd, 2014 at 12:53 pm

I visited Cypress Gardens and the Mepkin Abbey in 2012. I will revisit these places again with my daughter this weekend. I loved the beauty of the Gardens and the serenity of the Abbey. Looking forward to my revisit. Sue Huang

SCIWAY says:
September 15th, 2014 at 8:08 am

Hi! There is a website above the map that will likely be able to answer any questions you might have. Have a wonderful visit!

Mindy says:
September 12th, 2014 at 7:08 pm

I want to bring my gf there, and I just moved here. Can you send me info? What we can and what we can not do… What we can bring, what we can’t.

R. Marie says:
June 4th, 2013 at 2:46 pm


Donna says:
May 1st, 2012 at 1:44 pm

Would love some more info. Been a few years since we have been here — in fact, the last time was for a wedding!

SCIWAY says:
September 27th, 2011 at 8:10 am

Hi Laurie! You can find more information on Cypress Gardens’ official website:

Hope this helps!

Laurie Ratliff says:
September 26th, 2011 at 6:41 pm

I would like more information please. Is there any way that something could be mailed to me?


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