Osprey Trail at DIS delights as hidden gem among gardens

It’s hard to miss a garden with flowers blooming and budding, yet the Osprey Trail remains a hidden gem among Daniel Island’s many parks and trails.
The two-acre stretch of paradise is nestled between the hum of traffic on Daniel Island Drive and in front of Daniel Island School. 
Named after the school’s mascot, the Osprey Trail features six distinct garden rooms along a winding gravel pathway, boasting native plants and ornaments. 
What was once an overgrown wooded area blossomed into a series of gardens, thanks to the Daniel Island Garden Club.
When Daniel Island School first opened its doors, the patch of land was an overgrown plot of woods and a mess of broken branches. Seeing this, garden club members wanted to use the island’s natural aesthetics to transform the neglected plot into a welcoming enclave for everyone who passed through.
In 2009, the trail came to life.
Linda McWey Price, former president of the garden club and now Osprey Trail coordinator, said the garden trail has literally grown since its inception.
“The trail is indeed a hidden gem and has become an educational resource and tranquil retreat for students, residents, and visitors in the Daniel Island community,” Price said.
Six gardens line the gravel pathway, and each showcases native and naturalized plants alongside ornamental species and bulbs. They are the Woodland Shade Garden, the Southern Garden, the Rose Garden, the Pollinator or Bird and Butterfly Garden, the Children’s Garden, and the Japanese Garden. 
The gardens include a statuary, sundials, birdhouses, windchimes, a Monarch Waystation, and hopscotch pavers.
Benches lining the trail commemorate community members and were donated in memory of loved ones. Here you can also find painted bricks of a “Bee Dance” designed by Charleston artist Kris Manning.
The trail also boasts semicircular brick benches, a dry creek bed, a wooden bridge, and a nine-foot copper and stainless steel Osprey alloy casting, created by local sculptor David Springer, that resides in the central plaza. 
Certified as a National Wildlife Habitat in 2022, the trail provides food, water, and cover for wildlife to raise their young sustainably.
With more than 150 plants throughout the trail, teachers and staff at Daniel Island School take advantage of the gardens by using them as learning tools. Over the years, the green space has served well for Easter egg hunts, nature walks, and for observing plants and wildlife right outside the school’s front doors.
“Our students regularly use the outdoor classroom that is part of the trail,” DIS principal Laura Blanchard said. “It is not uncommon for classes to take walking field trips, and they traverse the trail while out and about.”
QR codes are also available among the foliage, so students and visitors can identify each type of plant species. 
What makes the trail special is the community input. 
All the plants, mulch, and fertilizer have been graciously donated by homeowners, garden club members, local nurseries, and landscapers. A recent donation from the Charleston Parks Conservancy saw the planting of 15 trees, further enriching the trail’s natural splendor. 
In addition to Price, Barbara Bollinger and garden club member Cheryl Boyle have also been cited as being instrumental in the growth of the trail.
As for maintenance, the dedicated Osprey Trail Preservation Team donates their time once or twice a month to prune, weed, plant, and fertilize the trail, while a community contractor performs other maintenance each week.
In addition, the Daniel Island Community Fund and the Daniel Island Town Association work together to financially support and improve the landscape and irrigation for the Osprey Trail’s long-term health and beauty.
“The Osprey Trail is a labor of love for all who volunteer here,” Price said. 
In 2021, the Osprey Trail was featured in the Charleston Horticultural Society’s Fall Garden Tour, as well as in a Clemson Extension Tri-County Master Gardener tour. It continues to flourish and serve as a beloved garden on Daniel Island.
As the Daniel Island Garden Club prepares to celebrate its 25th anniversary, Price invites all residents and community members to explore and learn from the Osprey Trail.
Even visitors who don’t have a green thumb or gardening experience can enjoy a springtime stroll surrounded by colorful blooms. 
For more information on how to get involved in the Daniel Island Garden Club or to volunteer and assist with the Osprey Trail, contact Linda McWey Price at lmcwpr@gmail.com

Daniel Island Publishing

225 Seven Farms Drive
Unit 108
Daniel Island, SC 29492 

Office Number: 843-856-1999
Fax Number: 843-856-8555


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