I should have known many of you readers remembered different tidbits about the original nursery that is still producing hundreds and hundreds of morning glory blooms along Highway 78.
Jo Dufford was able to supply most of the history with the help of Donna Rae Williams…Thanks gals for the clues!
I believe you are talking about the Segelken Nursery which Mr. George and Mrs. Evelyn Segelken ran for years. It may have been that location where Mr. George crossbred azaleas to come up with the Pride of Summerville azalea. He donated probably hundreds of these plants (actually 33,000) and others to help start the park in the middle of town.
Traveling south from town, the garden on the left is filled with that particular azalea, and just over a little bridge is a plaque dedicated to him.
The Nursery was later owned and run by his nephew, Carl H. Segelken. Carl is a member of our church and still lives with his family here. I may have some of my facts wrong, but Carl would be an outstanding source of information, and I’m sure he would have many stories to tell you.
Think I’m correct in saying both Mr. George and Carl were born in Germany. I consider Mr. George and Mrs. Evelyn two of our outstanding early citizens here, and she was a very special lady to me.
I tried in vain to find a picture of the plaque in dedication to George Segelken but was unable to do so…so when I found myself re-entering Summerville after an invitation for grilled hamburgers at John and Mandy’s house around 7:00…no rain and still light…my car turned itself down South Magnolia. I parked the car praying I was on the right side of the park and the plaque was nearby…I didn’t realize just how close I was.
I met another visitor, Carol Dunkin, and her dog staring down into the water looking for turtles over the bridge above. I asked her if she knew where the plaque I was seeking was located…she walked to the end of the bridge and pointed down…there it was! What a great God Wink!
Our wonderful town historian, Barbara Hill, has written several articles for our local newspaper about the history behind the creation of Azalea Park and the amazing contribution that George Segelken provided for it in the form of azaleas…one of which is the famous “Pride of Summerville.“
*Resource: “The Flower that Trumpets Our Town” (Barbara Hill)
It took a century and a half before the azalea became our official flower, and the journey included civic minded ladies, a mayor with a dedicated floral background and a nurseryman with a great love of Summerville.
It was well over a century ago that our town held her first floral fair. According our official history book, “Summerville,” these began in the 1890s when local ladies displayed flowers in the Opera House section of the Town Hall that stood on the corner of Richardson and Main until the mid-1960s.
In 1941, Summerville proclaimed her “First Annual Flower Festival.” It was 77 April’s ago and offered a variety of activities for all ages. These included jitterbugging to an eight-piece orchestra, garden tours, pony carts, box lunches, a Marine band and marching children. There was also a parade of highway patrolmen, Boy Scouts, and cars carrying mayors of Summerville, Charleston, Moncks Corner and Walterboro as well as sheriffs from Charleston, Colleton and Dorchester counties. There were races, a reception at the Country Club and a closing Festival Ball at the Pine Forest Inn.
The Turners are off for Disney World Tuesday so I went over to tell the children good-bye …summer is here and vacation time has arrived. Great cook-out…thanks John!
Walsh, Mollie and the children are off to Fripp Island for a few days starting today….have fun little ones!
*On a much smaller scale my legacy of love and floral gifts are the Japanese maples for the grandchildren…praying they all survive and bear witness to wonderful citizens of the world.