Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. A recent article in the Department of Natural Resources’ South Carolina Wildlife magazine highlighted a 2000-acre urban forest in the City of Aiken. A wealthy Northern family, the Hitchcocks, bought the property for fox hunting and related events. In nineteen thirty-nine they gave it to the Aiken community as a gift. Due to the presence of a unique geological feature referred to as the “Chalk Cliffs,” a dome of clay rising through the surrounding deep sands, many plants we associate with higher elevations are found here including mountain laurel and the locally rare ground juniper. The woods are open to the public, on horseback or foot, dogs are allowed, too, three hundred sixty-five days a year. We owe a debt to the Hitchcocks and other visionary northern sports lovers whose legacy is that unique parts of our state are protected from development.