The Hatcher Gardens provide an idyllic natural retreat in a suburban neighborhood southwest of downtown Spartanburg. Developed by Harold Hatcher (b. 1907) and his wife beginning in 1969, the horticultural complex has expanded from a single lot to almost ten acres. It includes more than ten thousand trees, plants, and shrubs.
Historically a cotton field carved by an eroded ravine, the site had become an overgrown thicket choked with deep ditches, briars, and trash. Hatcher, an ardent naturalist committed to reclaiming and improving green spaces, chose the unattractive site to put his ideas into practice. During the next twenty-five years, he purchased additional land, filled gullies, and built dams and ponds to conserve water and prevent erosion. Tall pines eventually created a tree canopy that gradually changed the ecology of the site. By 1990 a formerly dry streambed was again flowing naturally.
In the shade of the new canopy, Hatcher planted hundreds of azaleas and one of the largest collections of hostas in the state. Near the entry on Reidville Road there are annuals, a butterfly garden, a water garden, and gazebo.
In 1987 Hatcher donated the garden and some endowment resources to the Spartanburg County Foundation. The garden is managed by the Garden Clubs of Spartanburg, a nonprofit organization supported by more than twenty-five garden clubs in the area.
Hembree, Michael. The Seasons of Harold Hatcher. Spartanburg, S.C.: Hub City Writers Project, 2000.