Learn why Charleston garden and design enthusiasts are hitting the road for this hidden-gem destination
(Left to right) Freshly cut amaranth, sunflowers, celosia, and marigolds; Wimbee Creek Farm designs bouquets for home delivery, as well as for weddings and special events.
If you were paying attention at the start of Charleston’s 21st-century farm-to-table movement, you’ll remember Maria Baldwin. The California transplant helped establish a therapeutic garden for disabled youth at McClellanville’s Thornhill Farm in 2007. She grew it into a 10-acre operation raising organic veggies, sheep, pigs, and chickens sold to restaurants (such as Husk, McCrady’s, and FIG) and via her online market, Our Local Foods.
But did you know that Maria is now serving up a different kind of Lowcountry bounty—cut flowers and floral workshops—from her Wimbee Creek Farm in Beaufort County?
When Thornhill’s owners sold it to East Cooper Land Trust back in 2014, Maria and her husband, Gary, began searching for a place where she could realize her dream of helming a flower farm. Two years later, they found Wimbee Creek, where long-fallow veggie fields were surrounded by water on three sides.
Today, six acres near the Baldwins’s charming “flower barn” are filled with rose bushes, hydrangeas, flowering fruit trees, plants grown for their foliage, and ever-changing swaths of annual blooms.
(Left to right) Wreath workshops use grapevines harvested from the fields; farm dog Romeo guards a rainbow of zinnias.
“My goal was to be able to step outside at any time of year and find beautiful natural materials to design with,” says Maria, who learned floral arranging by enrolling in classes online and around the country. Assisted by a small team, she creates arrangements for home delivery, weddings, and special events and hand-ties custom bouquets at the Port Royal Farmers Market.
Yet it’s Wimbee Creek’s weekly workshops that have Holy City garden and design enthusiasts buzzing. Each begins with a walking tour that reveals “the good, the bad, and the ugly of a working flower farm,” notes Maria, who explains all the weeding, seeding, and harvesting that guests witness in the fields.
Then it’s on to the purely pretty: Maria guides attendees in using just-picked blooms to create their own arrangements. “We design in the garden style, basically emulating nature in a vase,” she says. The morning ends with a luncheon on the porch overlooking the creek.
This fall’s event lineup kicks off on September 14, with workshops focused first on floral arranging, then on autumn wreaths in October and holiday wreaths after Thanksgiving. A November 6 plant sale offers another chance to visit the farm and shop for cool-season annuals and perennials.
Wimbee Creek’s monthly e-newsletter is the best way to receive word when new workshops are posted at wimbeecreekfarm.com. Tickets sell out quickly, so snag yours fast for a bucolic day among the blooms.