LeConte-Woodmanston Rice Plantation and Gardens

LeConte-Woodmanston Rice Plantation and Gardens

LeConte-Woodmanston Rice Plantation and Gardens


4918 Barrington Ferry Road
Midway, GA   31320

Phone (912) 884-6500
Link http://leconte-woodmanston.org/
Email mprice197@comcast.net
Hours of Operation

The LeConte-Woodmanston Plantation and Botanical Garden National Historic Site is open daily to the public for hiking, picnicking and self-guided garden tours. Guided tours are available by appointment only.

About the Garden
Come experience the beauty and serenity of our botanical gardens! Enjoy the color and variety of species available as the seasons change. Discover the native, historic and exotic plants and flowers that grace the gardens and trails.

In 1760 John Eatton LeConte established Woodmanston, a 3,300 acre inland swamp rice plantation along the headwaters of the South Newport River in present day Liberty County, Georgia. His son, Louis LeConte moved into the family's hunting lodge in 1811. Here he pursued his scientific interests and established Georgia's first botanical garden.

Little firm evidence exists revealing the exact design of Louis LeConte's garden. Research indicates that "formal gardening" was popular among some southeastern coastal planters during the early 1800s. It is thought that English botanist, J.C. Loudon's writings, identifying the five classes of gardens, had an influence on Louis's choice of design style.

In 1896, when Joseph LeConte made one final visit to Woodmanston he observed that the garden that was his "joy and delight in childhood" had fallen into a state of abandon and disrepair. By 1971 all that remained was a lone Camellia tree, a stand of old-fashioned crepe myrtles and two very old Sabal Palmettos that framed and marked the alignment of the front facade of the LeConte's plantation house. Fortunately, the story didn't end there.

In the early 1970's Colonel Claude Black found traces of the old garden and an organization was quickly formed to preserve the site.

Today Louis LeConte's world-famous 19th century gardens are being re-created with historic roses and bulbs as well as a Georgia collection of camellias combined with a sampling of the historic camellias Louis knew. A small LeConte pear orchard commemorates its introduction as a cultivar in 1856 by Louis's brother, John Eatton LeConte.

Visitors experience the serenity of the Avenue of Oaks, see the foundations of Louis's home, view a replica slave cabin and stroll through the cypress forest on a mile-long interactive trail along historic earthen rice dikes. The intricate system of dikes and canals includes a replica sluice gate used to impound the water of BullTown Swamp for rice cultivation.

LeConte Woodmanston is on the National Register of Historic Places. It is a Coastal Georgia Greenway Trailhead as well as a part of The Liberty Trail, East Coast Camellia Trail and the Coastal Georgia Birding Trail. It offers something for everyone whether you're a gardener, wildlife enthusiast, bird watcher, nature lover or history seeker!

About the Camellia Collection
Total number of camellia plants:   100
Number of distinct camellia cultivars or species: 75+

Louis LeConte was noted for his garden with camellias and bulbs. He was probably the first to cultivate camellias out-of-doors in Georgia. Many of the unidentified camellias are from Lois Groszmann's garden.

Camellia japonica 'Herme'

Camellia japonica 'Magnoliaeflora'