UNION — The life and legacy of service to the community of a very special lady was remembered, celebrated, and honored on Saturday, April 7 during “Fireflies in the Garden” at the Piedmont Physic Garden.
The Piedmont Physic Garden is a nonprofit botanical garden located at 301 East South Street in Union. It was founded in 2014 by the family of Dr. Paul K. Switzer, a physician who practiced in Union for almost 60 years. In his memory, the Switzers donated two residential lots to PPG to create a small apothecary garden containing plants with historical medicinal uses, many native to the Piedmont and the Southern Appalachian corridor. That same year, the family of the Honorable Jack and Nonie Flynn, donated two adjoining lots, significantly expanding the scope of the garden.
Inspired by London’s Chelsea Physic Garden, the PPG’s mission is to exhibit the medicinal, cultural, economic and environmental importance of plants to the people of Union County and the surrounding Piedmont region of South Carolina. As such it serves as a hub for a wide variety of educational programs for children, teens, and adults.
Furthermore, as a physic garden, PPG’s role is to reconnect people with the world of plants and to educate them on the impact that plants have on our daily lives, particularly our overall health and wellness. The word physic refers to the art or practice of healing disease.
One of the founders of the garden was Dr. Switzer’s wife, Toccoa Wise Switzer who passed away on August 5, 2017.
Mrs. Switzer’s role in the creation of the garden and her service to the community were remembered during Fireflies in the Garden which the PPG website (www.piedmontphysicgarden.com) describes as “our third annual spring garden party and fundraiser for PPG. This is also our opportunity to thank our community partners, volunteers and other members of the community who have supported us throughout the year.”
Those attending the April 7 event got to see the new brick wall and gate that encompasses much of the garden. The wall and gate were donated to the PPG by the Bailey Foundation and dedicated to Mrs. Switzer’s memory “for her love and service to the Clinton and Union communities.”
Mrs. Switzer’s daughter, Toccoa “Coie” Switzer, said that Fireflies in the Garden was a success even though much of the festivities were forced inside because of the weather.
“Despite the rain and cool weather and having to move the event indoors to our headquarters we still had a great turnout and guests were able to actually go outside and enjoy the garden because there was a break in the rain,” she said.
Fireflies in the Garden also featured heavy hors d’oeuvres and drinks provided by Aberdeen Catering and music performed by members of the Union County High School Orchestra.
The following businesses and other organizations were corporate donors for Fireflies in the Garden.
• The City of Union
• Arthur State Bank
• Union Family Pharmacy
• Cato Corporation
• Kimbrell’s Furniture
• Rose and Walter Montgomery Foundation
• Allstate Insurance — Frank Hart
• Home Deport
• University of South Carolina — Union
• Main Street Insurance
• Union County Tourism Commission
• Wicks Locksmith
• ELB Loans
• The County of Union
• Sanders Garden Center
• Wylie and Washburn
• Paradise Home Center
A program for Fireflies in the Garden states that “we also want to thank James Hardie Industries, PLC for their generous donation towards the exterior renovation of our headquarters.“
The program also thanked “the following individuals for their on-going support of the garden.” Those individuals are:
• Billy McBee
• Linda Wilburn Weber
• Nancy Wilburn Kennedy
• Ginger Fant
• Everett Leigh
• Dianne Hendricks
• Wilson Bates
• Pete Berry
• Charles Lott
• Caroline Barger
• Bryanna Vaughn
For more information about the Piedmont Physic Garden visits the PPG website at www.piedmontphysicgarden.com.