Growth at Kalmia Gardens

As Kalmia Gardens approaches the bicentennial of the Hart House, a tremendous restoration effort is underway.

Kalmia Gardens needs your help sustaining and improving the Pee Dee’s oldest and only public garden and preserving the Thomas E. Hart House, which is the centerpiece of Hartsville’s history.

 Formerly a 19th century plantation, the Thomas E. Hart House (circa 1820) belonged to the founder of Hartsville and is on the National Register of Historical Places. With plans for renovations, Kalmia Gardens is depending on gifts and donations to keep the Hart House and its history preserved for future generations.

With 35 acres of flora and fauna, Kalmia Gardens is home to a variety of plant life, including its namesake, Kalmia latifolia (Mountain Laurel), and animal life, including numerous species of birds. There is a 60-foot drop in elevation leading to the Black Creek floodplain where walking trails and boardwalks guide visitors through laurel thickets, pine-oak-holly uplands, and a beech bluff. Thanks to generous donations from the Joslin family, the Joslin Education Center and its neighboring pavillion give Kalmia Gardens both indoor and outdoor classroom space, which is used by children, college students, and life-long learners. 

Kalmia Gardens is also raising money to build an observation platform overlooking the Black Creek bluff that will be accessible for all visitors, including those with mobility concerns or other hindrances.

Kalmia Gardens takes pride in being on the forefront of environmental research and trends, including its innovative regenerative stormwater conveyance (RSC) system, an oyster shell recycling initiative, and hosting educational classes in coordination with local and national non-profits.

With your help, Kalmia Gardens hopes to raise more than $200,000 to continue preserving Hartsville’s history and further cultivating a love for nature in our community.

For more information about how you can give to Kalmia Gardens, please visit and click on “GIVING” at the top of the page, or call 843-383-8145. Be sure to specify Kalmia Gardens if you’re donating via the Coker website.

Are you a Coker alum?