The Mr. Topsoil Difference
When it comes to landscaping your home or business, it only takes a seed of an idea to begin something special. At Mr. Topsoil, we specialize in helping that dream grow into reality with unmatched landscaping supplies like mulch, topsoil, and sod.
As trusted landscaping suppliers in Mount Pleasant, we know how important it is to have quality materials to reflect the beauty and style that you're looking to achieve. Unlike big-box stores, Mr. Topsoil offers attention to detail and stellar customer service that you just won't find anywhere else. There's a simple reason we've been in business for 34 years, and it's because we offer quality products and the best customer service in Mount Pleasant. At the end of the day, we do right by our customers by offering them reliable deliveries and honest pricing. That's just the Mr. Topsoil way.
As locals who are born and raised in Mount Pleasant, SC, we have a deep appreciation and comprehensive understanding of Lowcountry landscaping. Whether you're a business owner or a homeowner, Mr. Topsoil is your natural choice for landscaping materials.
Here are just a few reasons why customers consider us the best instead of the rest:
Impeccable Service - If you already know what landscaping materials you need to begin your project, let us know. We make life easy by delivering your topsoil, mulch, or sod right to your front door. If you're not quite sure, our dedicated team of professionals is here to help guide you.
Reliable Delivery - Part Mr. Topsoil's commitment is to provide dependable delivery of your landscaping materials. Time and safety are big concerns when dealing with landscaping, especially when dealing with large quantities of materials. That's why Mr. Topsoil uses a fleet of delivery trucks and drivers to cater to your needs. Curious whether we deliver to your home or business? Contact our office today to find out!
Highly-Trained Staff - At Mr. Topsoil, our landscaping experts have been around the block once or twice. There is no substitute for real-deal knowledge of landscaping, and our team has got it in spades. We're here to make your landscaping project easy and feasible, and we're here to assist with advice and best practices whenever we are able.
If you're ready to transform your yard or storefront into an outdoor oasis, look no further than Mr. Topsoil in Mount Pleasant, SC.Contact Us
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The Premier Topsoil Supplier in Mount Pleasant, SC
Topsoil is much more than just dirt - it enhances just about every other aspect of your landscaping project. If you're looking for long-lasting, beautiful landscaping, it all starts with high-quality topsoil that is sourced for Mount Pleasant's climate.
Topsoil can be used in many ways to improve the overall quality and health of your lawn or garden. Generally, topsoil consists of the top layer of dirt that is found in the first 5 to 6 inches inside the ground. Topsoil, especially the organic variety, is mineral-dense, nutrient-dense, and chock-full of organic matter. That makes it a top choice by amateur and professional landscapers alike.
The best quality topsoil for gardening and growing plants isn't found in bags - it's found right here at Mr. Topsoil. We optimize our topsoils to give customers a well-balanced mix of pH levels, nitrogen levels, and the perfect mineral content. Unlike some competitors, our topsoils are formulated with the correct chemical composition needed for South Carolina's climate and native plant life. That means longer-lasting beauty, less maintenance, less back-breaking labor, and more cost savings for you and your family.
Perhaps the most essential tool at your disposal is topsoil. Topsoil can be used in a variety of ways to improve the overall health and quality of your garden and lawn. Whether you're a rookie gardener or a landscaping connoisseur, there's never a bad time to learn about topsoil uses and how topsoil can play a role in your outdoor space.
Common Uses for Topsoil in Mount Pleasant
When it comes to essential tools in your garden, you might think a spade or sprinkler system would top the list. You wouldn't necessarily be wrong, but few folks think of topsoil as a crucial tool for gardening and landscaping. Topsoil is used in many different ways, but its main goal is to improve your lawn or garden's health and ability to grow.
So, what are some common reasons why you might need topsoil?
Keep Plants & Gardens Healthy
Flowers and plants must draw nutrients from the soil they live in to survive. These nutrients must often be replenished, and one of the best ways to do so is by adding a fresh layer of topsoil. Of course, not all topsoils are the same. You'll want to choose topsoil meant for your needs and your location. For instance, topsoil meant to help fresh veggies grow near the coast may differ from topsoil needed to reduce inland soil erosion. To find the best topsoil for your residential or commercial project, be sure to contact Mr. Topsoil - our team is ready and waiting to help answer your questions!
If rainfall causes puddles to form in your garden or grass, you might need to apply a new layer of topsoil. When soil is densely packed, drainage issues abound because water isn't able to seep into the soil. You can remedy this issue by adding a sandy layer of topsoil to areas where water is pooling. By tilling the new and old topsoil together, you will break up compacted dirt, improve circulation, and ultimately help drainage issues around your plant's roots.
Refresh Your Garden's Curb Appeal
Weeding, mowing, and planting new flowers are great for refreshing the look of your garden, but adding fresh topsoil helps complete the look. This is especially true after a long winter. Cold weather can strip the nutrients from your topsoil, leaving it dull and ineffective. Adding a new layer of topsoil instantly enhances how your garden looks!
Quality Mulch. Gorgeous Landscaping. Unbeatable Service
At Mr. Topsoil, we proudly provide premium mulch, available for homeowners and commercial businesses. With several colors and varieties to choose from, you won't have to worry about searching high and low for your one-stop mulch shop. Our mulch helps reduce weed development, retains ground moisture, moderates your soil temperatures, and even helps stop soil erosion.
Looking to keep your garden or lawn in tip-top shape all year long? Mr. Topsoil's bulk mulch products are perfect for what you need, whether you own a home or work as a property manager and need to maintain your tenant's lawns. By buying in bulk, you get the benefit of mulch delivery straight to your front door at the lowest costs around. As your top mulch supplier in Mount Pleasant, SC, you can rest easy knowing our team loves to help our customers find the best ways to improve their landscaping. While it's true that you can buy bagged mulch at your local hardware store, these products are typically packaged weeks, months, and even years ahead of time. In many cases, these bags are stored outdoors where the mulch absorbs rainwater, chemicals, and nasty contaminates. As if that weren't bad enough, this kind of mulch is very expensive, making the price of a large residential or commercial landscaping project unrealistic.
At Mr. Topsoil, our mulch is produced from local trees and is made fresh and available immediately to our customers. With affordable rates and flexible delivery options, choosing Mr. Topsoil for your mulch delivery in Mount Pleasant makes all the sense in the world.
Benefits of Adding Mulch to Your Home or Business in Mount Pleasant
Gardens and other landscaped areas come in many sizes, shapes, and styles. Flower gardens add that extra special something to your home or commercial property. Veggie gardens are great for cutting back on grocery bills and add their own aesthetic appeal. If it's green and it grows, chances are it can benefit from mulch.
There are many reasons to use mulch, including:
Improve Soil Quality
As mulch breaks down and decomposes, it leaves micro-nutrients in your soil, which helps it stay fertile and great for growing. In addition, studies show that tree roots located below a layer of mulch have high counts of mycorrhiza, which help your trees live and thrive.
Conservation & Prevention
If you have a garden, you know how important it is to keep your plants watered. When you add mulch to your garden, it actually helps conserve water, meaning you may not have to break out your watering or sprinklers as often. In addition, mulch helps prevent pesky weeds from springing up in your flower beds, gardens, and outdoor living areas.
Sure, mulch adds a unique ambiance and feel to your garden or landscaping, but mulch also fosters the presence of earthworms. These slithery creatures add nutrients to your soil and help its structure so that your plants and vegetables grow healthy and strong.
Superior Sod Supplier in Mount Pleasant, SC
Buying the right sod for your home or business in Mount Pleasant speaks volumes. Proper sod placement can turn a dingy, dilapidated outdoor space into a pristine place where you love to spend time with friends and family. At Mr. Topsoil, we source the highest quality sod products from local farms, providing our clients with fresh, durable, clean grass. Whether you're upgrading your lawn or giving your commercial property a facelift, we have premium sod and timely delivery options to cater to your needs.
Having been in business for more than 34 years, we know that most customers have an idea of the kind of sod they want but don't know what it's called. Other times, they know the name but don't know how to install the sod. As a full-service sod provider, we can help with those issues and much more. It would be our pleasure to travel to your home or business and help you decide which kind of sod is best for your lawn our gardening project. If you need help applying the sod, our team of professionals are ready and waiting on your call.
Here are just a few ways we assist customers with their residential and commercial sod needs:
Sod Delivery in Mount Pleasant
Mr. Topsoil's team has been delivering sod for years. Over that time, we have built an incredible amount of experience working with nurseries and landscapers. We source our sod from local farmers, so its quality is never in question. From home gardens and lawns to local golf courses and sports fields, there is no job too small or large that we can't handle.
Sod Supplier in Mount Pleasant
As Mount Pleasant's top sod supplier, it's no surprise that we work with local farms to get the highest-quality sod available. Quality sod means great grass and happy customers, and that's what we're all about. Our team of helpful pros will make sure your sod is delivered promptly and without error. When it's all said and done, the only thing that matters to Mr. Topsoil is your satisfaction, which is why we're not afraid to deliver near or far to meet your needs.
Yard Sod in Mount Pleasant
Our selection of residential and yard sod is the best in our region. Our customers demand all sorts of yard sod, and we're happy to accommodate them. From different hues and textures to high durability sods meant for heavily trafficked areas - we've got it all. Need a little assistance on how to properly prep your yard? Our friendly team are happy to give you tips, tricks, and best practices to ensure your project is completed correctly.
Ready to Get Started?
Whether you're looking for a topsoil supplier in Mount Pleasant, SC, who can deliver to your home or a sod supplier for your small business, Mr. Topsoil is here to serve you. Whether you're a landscape gardener or a weekend warrior, we've got everything you need in one place, at a price you can afford. Contact our office today for your free quote!FREE CONSULTATION
Latest News in Mount Pleasant, SC
Fed. investigating removal of Mt. Pleasant eagle’s nest
MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. (WCBD) – A federal investigation is underway in Mount Pleasant after residents reported a possibly-illegal removal of an eagle’s nest from a cell tower.Mike Brown lives right across the street from the tower off Rifle Range Road. He’s watched for years as ospreys and eagles made themselves at home on top of the structure.“Well, seven years ago I watched the osprey build the nest, had their babies and then they leave in the fall and then shortly after the bald eagles show up,” B...
MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. (WCBD) – A federal investigation is underway in Mount Pleasant after residents reported a possibly-illegal removal of an eagle’s nest from a cell tower.
Mike Brown lives right across the street from the tower off Rifle Range Road. He’s watched for years as ospreys and eagles made themselves at home on top of the structure.
“Well, seven years ago I watched the osprey build the nest, had their babies and then they leave in the fall and then shortly after the bald eagles show up,” Brown explained.
This yearly cycle was disrupted on Thursday when Brown said he watched crews working on the tower remove an eagle’s nest. He doesn’t believe the birds were in it at the time, but he said he saw them just two days before.
“I mean its seriously heartbreaking, you know. They were kind of my buddies. I was very excited to see them come and go every year,” Brown told News 2.
Brown captured photos and posted them to social media. Word of the removal spread quickly.
“When I got here, there was nothing left of the nest and I do know the eagles were present and unhappy that the nest was gone,” said Cacky Rivers, a local wildlife photographer.
Rivers monitors several nests through her work. She said it’s the middle of nesting season, so the eagles may very well have laid eggs.
“I don’t know what was in there. I don’t know what they found. I have no idea. But I know that they’re done. They no longer have a nest, and they are basically parents that have nothing now and so, they may have to start over if they can. I don’t know if they will with timing or if they have to wait another year,” she said.
Rivers got in touch with both federal and state agencies who reported to the scene. According to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service’s website, the removal of eagle’s nests is illegal, unless a permit is issued.
The agency confirmed to News 2 it is investigating the incident but said they can’t comment on active investigations.
The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources released the following statement to News 2.
“The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources responded to reports of the removal of a large raptor nest in Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina. The United States Fish and Wildlife Service has initiated an investigation regarding the removal, and inquiries concerning this incident should be directed to Office of Communications, United States Fish and Wildlife Service Southeast Regional Office at email@example.com.”
SC Ports OKs $100M+ in contracts for N. Charleston facility
The SC Ports Authority has voted to enter into contracts worth over $100 million to design and build a new facility at the old U.S. Navy base.MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. (WCSC) - The South Carolina Ports Authority has voted to enter into contracts worth over $100 million to design and build a new facility at the old U.S. Navy base in North Charleston.The authority has broken ground on the $400 million railyard near McMillian Avenue, which is funded by the state legislature. The contracts the board approved Tuesday afternoon are the ne...
The SC Ports Authority has voted to enter into contracts worth over $100 million to design and build a new facility at the old U.S. Navy base.
MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. (WCSC) - The South Carolina Ports Authority has voted to enter into contracts worth over $100 million to design and build a new facility at the old U.S. Navy base in North Charleston.
The authority has broken ground on the $400 million railyard near McMillian Avenue, which is funded by the state legislature. The contracts the board approved Tuesday afternoon are the next step in moving it forward and ramping up construction.
“It has roadways so that the trains don’t interfere with passenger traffic,” SC Ports Authority President and CEO Barbara Melvin said about the facility. “It has an additional rail track. It has the facility itself, along with equipment. A lot of design has already occurred, and now we’re moving into construction, which is the really exciting piece of this as we see the project coming out of the ground, so it’s a big deal.”
When built, the facility will handle cargo from Norfolk Southern and CSX, which Melvin said represents 25% of their current business.
“We expect to be able to handle a million rail lifts, and as we move into phase two, which is the second part of the design, it moves to 1.3 million rail lifts,” she said.
Board members awarded a contract worth just under $120 million to Landmark Construction to build the site itself. This contract includes building sound walls, rail foundations, 11 processing tracks and four arrival and departure tracks.
They also unanimously voted to pay over $4.3 million to design around 15 miles of rail that would head south from the facility toward Charleston before wrapping back to North Charleston.
Juan Gordon, the president of Coalition 18, which represents around 900 truckers in the Lowcountry, said the facility could do some harm to local drivers who rely on a distribution system called rapid rail. This is a system designed to move cargo from ports to areas more inland.
“I’m against it because I know people who solely depend on that program,” Gordon said. “I know people who that’s all they do is rapid rail, and they have been doing it for 10, 20 years now.”
Gordon said he does not see the facility causing truckers to turn in their keys, adding that future projects could help offset the lost business.
“We’re such a huge port community here in Charleston,” he said. “I believe we’ll find a way like we’ve done so many times.”
Melvin said they are still on track to be handling their first trains at the facility in the summer of 2025.
“This is a next great step for us, as we are a very competitive top 10 port to become an import gateway for the United States as well as having our cargo reach further into land,” Melvin said.
Copyright 2023 WCSC. All rights reserved.
These Are The 10 Most Beautiful Towns In South Carolina You Should Visit
The East Coast is filled with must-visit places, from Montauk’s surfing beaches to Newport’s majestic mansions. Many vacationers visit the East Coast to check out the spectacular beaches, perfect for swimming, surfing, and tanning. Even in the winter months, the nature on the coast is beautiful. One pa...
The East Coast is filled with must-visit places, from Montauk’s surfing beaches to Newport’s majestic mansions. Many vacationers visit the East Coast to check out the spectacular beaches, perfect for swimming, surfing, and tanning. Even in the winter months, the nature on the coast is beautiful. One particularly beautiful East Coast state is South Carolina. From stunning South Carolina waterfalls to South Carolina’s oldest, most historic hotels worth staying at, there is plenty to see and do in the Palmetto State.
While South Carolina is home to beautiful cities like Charleston, there is also a great deal of charming towns in the state.
One of the best small towns in South Carolina is Edisto Island. Edisto Island’s population is under 2,000, making it the perfect small-town getaway. The outdoor activities in the area are a major draw, including fishing, golfing, biking, hiking, paddle boarding, and surfing. In addition, the local seafood does not disappoint. Ask any local about shrimp, and they will say Edisto Beach contains the best shrimp in the world. Some visitors attempt to catch their own shrimp, while others turn to the local seafood restaurants for a delicious dish.
Another one of the prettiest places in South Carolina is Newberry. Located in the Midlands of South Carolina, this town is rich with culture and history. Visitors enjoy strolling along Newberry’s historic downtown. This charming area features restaurants and small business shops. The Newberry Opera House is perfect for travelers wishing to see some beautiful Newberry architecture and take in a show. The opera house offers a wide variety of concerts, as well as ballets and gospel brunches.
The US is full of small towns people should visit in the winter. One South Carolina town that is equally beautiful year-round is Mount Pleasant. Less than a 20-minute drive from Charleston, Mount Pleasant offers a quiet escape from city life while still giving visitors the option to drive into Charleston. What makes Mount Pleasant truly beautiful, however, is the breathtaking views of the Wando River and the Atlantic Ocean. Palmetto Islands County Park is the perfect Mount Pleasant spot to experience nature, featuring fishing, kayaking, paved trails, and picnic areas.
Travelers who enjoy fishing will love the South Carolina town of McClellanville. This beautiful oceanfront town is known for its superb fishing, shrimping, and oystering. While days out on the water are appealing to some folks, others prefer biking along the luscious Pinckney Street. This stretch of road is surrounded by all sorts of greenery, creating a shaded tunnel to bike through. The town’s downtown area also impresses guests with its local shops and restaurants.
Located in Western South Carolina, Aiken is the perfect southern small town. From farmers' markets to music fests to parks, there are plenty of charming activities to enjoy in Aiken. Visitors looking to get a lay of the land should embark on Aiken’s 2-hour guided trolley tour. Perfect for any season, the trolley contains both heating and AC. Guests on the tour learn about the town’s history, including information on historic homes in Aiken and the Civil War’s Battle of Aiken.
Hilton Head Island
Hilton Head Island is a name many people have heard before, with many travelers wondering if Hilton Head Island lives up to the hype. This town is known for its sandy beaches and bright waters, but Hilton Head Island offers much more than a stunning shoreline. Must-visit historic sites on the island include Heyward House Museum and Welcome Center and Stoney-Baynard Ruins at Sea Pines.
Outdoor activities are also popular on Hilton Head Island. Visitors enjoy fishing, boating, and swimming in the Atlantic Ocean, as well as golfing at one of the impressive courses.
When people hear the name Georgetown, they often think of Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. There is also, however, a charming town named Georgetown in South Carolina. Georgetown, in fact, is South Carolina’s third oldest city. This waterfront town is lined with delightful shops, flower beds, and powerful oak trees. Local bookstores, vintage shops, boutiques, and restaurants can all be found in Georgetown. Some travelers prefer to get out on the water, enjoying Georgetown’s boating and fishing scene.
A beautiful and peaceful South Carolina town worth visiting is Bluffton. Bluffton possesses a strong art scene, with several art galleries and artist workshops located throughout the town. Visit The Society of Bluffton Artists Gallery to view incredible local artwork, including mixed media pieces, paintings, photography, sculptures, and jewelry. At least one local artist is always on-site to answer questions and share their knowledge of art.
Another quiet South Carolina town is York. York's downtown area is lined with colorful storefronts, glowing streetlamps, and several local eateries. Those who need caffeine to start their day will love York Coffee Roastery and Greenhouse Coffee. When in York, it is also essential to visit the farms in the area. Black’s Peaches, a local farm, sells fresh strawberries and peaches, as well as delicious homemade pies. During the months of early May-mid June, visitors can pick their own strawberries.
Travelers looking to stay on an island will love Beaufort, located on Port Royal Island. While Beaufort is less than 26 square miles in size, there is no shortage of things to do. The Visit Beaufort website shares 50 things to do in the Lowcountry. Three must-try activities are taking a Beaufort biplane tour, visiting the Beaufort History Museum, and embarking on a kayak tour. Exploring the area via kayak tour is a fun and unique way to learn about Beaufort and its marine ecosystem. Visitors who embark on the Dolphin Ecology Tour can paddle through the salt marsh and view dolphins up close.
Cold snap bursts water pipes across the Lowcountry creating ‘major crisis’ in leaks and flow
John Ramsey firstname.lastname@example.org://www.postandcourier.com/news/cold-snap-bursts-water-pipes-across-the-lowcountry-creating-major-crisis-in-leaks-and-flow/article_13b7daf6-8530-11ed-8875-1b0d869c2672.html
Record cold temperatures have burst so many pipes that the Charleston Water System has seen its water flow double, leaving the utility on the verge of asking customers to boil their water.“We’ve seen thousands upon thousands of leaks in customers homes and in their irrigation systems, so we’ve been dying a death of a thousand cuts,” Mike Saia, spokesman for Charleston Water System, said on Dec. 26 in reference to the gallons of spillage pouring out of torn-open pipe sections.“We’re in a major...
Record cold temperatures have burst so many pipes that the Charleston Water System has seen its water flow double, leaving the utility on the verge of asking customers to boil their water.
“We’ve seen thousands upon thousands of leaks in customers homes and in their irrigation systems, so we’ve been dying a death of a thousand cuts,” Mike Saia, spokesman for Charleston Water System, said on Dec. 26 in reference to the gallons of spillage pouring out of torn-open pipe sections.
“We’re in a major crisis that can only end if customers take action to stop leaks,” he said.
The Charleston Water System remains safe but the utility is asking customers to leave their faucets dripping overnight to prevent freezing, disconnect their irrigation systems from the water supply and check for leaks.
Teams are available to help shut off water valves at 843-727-6800, but Saia said wait times for an answer were averaging 30 minutes because of the volume of calls. The calls and responses so far have measured into the hundreds.
Downtown Charleston reached 20 degrees Saturday, breaking a record for Christmas Eve chill set in 1989. The overnight cold is expected to last a few more days, meaning more leak conditions are possible for local customers.
Other areas were in more distress. The town of Ridgeville in Dorchester County issued a precautionary Boil Water Alert until Thursday afternoon because of burst pipes.
Some relief from the cold temperatures should be ahead as overnight lows are expected to rise above freezing in the coming days, with daytime temperatures hovering in the 60s by the weekend.
Charleston Water System has been able to treat enough water to avoid a boil order so far, but it’s dangerously close. The system can treat about 105 million gallons per day. With the leaks, it has been treating more than 100 million gallons a day for the past few days.
Workers who see water leaking from a house are now stopping to turn off the water even if no one is at the home, Saia said. Many vacation rentals or other short-term rental homes may be vacant with no one there to notice a leak, he said.
The projected warmer weather will increase the likelihood of a water main break, Saia said, which could be enough to cause an emergency if the home leaks aren’t stopped.
“We need our customers to do everything in their power to identify these leaks and help us stop them before temperatures rise and the second challenge rears its head,” Saia said.
Area plumbers have had no shortage of work orders. By noon on Dec. 26, the fractured 43-foot pipe underneath a house on Daniel Island was plumber Perry Pickering’s seventh call of the day. He worked from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Christmas Day responding to more than two dozen calls on Christmas Eve.
He’s seen frozen and burst pipes all over the region.
“It’s the worst freeze damage that I’ve seen in my lifetime,” said Pickering, 54-year-old owner of Picks Plumbing in Charleston. “Normally the people closer to the coast like Daniel Island and Mount Pleasant don’t have to worry about it because of the temperatures being a little bit higher coming off of the ocean. But this year it it caught everybody.”
Pickering said the vast majority of broken lines he has seen are on the outside of homes and have no insulation.
Offices at some local water companies were closed Dec. 26. An automated message at Mount Pleasant Waterworks said the utility had lowered water pressure across the system to try to help deal with freezing temperatures.
Pickering’s advice to homeowners was similar to the alert the Charleston Water System sent out over the weekend.
“Moving water does not freeze: leave the lines dripping,” Pickering said. “You need to leave the cold water as well as the hot water dripping because the hot water line, except for the water heater, after a few minutes it gets cold as well and is susceptible to freezing.”
Roadside artisans a Mount Pleasant staple
Driving through Mount Pleasant along Highway 17, wooden stands line the roadside. Some are simple, made of wood and nothing else. Others are outfitted with doors or plastic to keep the wind away, and have signs posted along the top of the stand that boast handmade sweetgrass baskets.These seven miles of road in Mount Pleasant make up the Sweetgrass Basket Makers Highway. The roadside vendors are a staple of the Lowcountry’s history.The aforementioned baskets that hang upon the roadside stands are made of sweetgrass, palme...
Driving through Mount Pleasant along Highway 17, wooden stands line the roadside. Some are simple, made of wood and nothing else. Others are outfitted with doors or plastic to keep the wind away, and have signs posted along the top of the stand that boast handmade sweetgrass baskets.
These seven miles of road in Mount Pleasant make up the Sweetgrass Basket Makers Highway. The roadside vendors are a staple of the Lowcountry’s history.
The aforementioned baskets that hang upon the roadside stands are made of sweetgrass, palmetto, bulrush and pine needles. The materials are woven together in a practice that dates back to slaves brought to South Carolina from West Africa nearly 300 years ago. The art has stood the test of time, passed down from generation to generation.
Making your way down the highway, you’ll have your pick of stands and vendors to buy from. On a chilly December morning, Eugene Gilliard is one of the few sellers at the stands. A puff of smoke from the small fire next to him lets passersby know he’s open for business. He’s at the stand every day, which is on the front lawn of the home he and his mother share.
His basket-making technique involves weaving in a counter-clockwise pattern letting the basket decide what it wants to be. Unlike many basket weavers who learn from family, Gilliard is self-taught, mimicking the weaving patterns of a friend.
“A friend of mine was sewing [a basket] and I said if you can do it, I can do it,” Gilliard said. “The Lord blessed me with the talent to come out here and do this.”
Gilliard, who worked in construction before becoming a full-time seller, prefers being his own boss. Crafting baskets is relaxing for him. His mind goes “blank,” and he can tune out the bustling traffic that’s always present on the highway.
Elijah and Janet Dumas sit in a stand just a stone’s throw up the road from Gilliard’s spot, their hands busy with strands of pine and grass. Cars and trucks speed by, creating a noisy backdrop; however, despite the ruckus, there is an atmosphere of concentration, as Janet constructs the start of a new basket. Round and round, her hand works. Elijah is training Janet to take over the stand full-time, giving her pointers and sharing the history of the stand.
Elijah is a fifth-generation basket weaver and is proud of it. He does commission work as well as basket repairs. His family has sold their wares in the exact spot for roughly 90 years, and that’s the way it will stay.
“This spot is very special to me. Very special…It’s like my first home here. I can always come back to the stand,” Elijah said. “They can’t get this spot. I don’t care what they do, they’ll never get this.”
Occasionally, a car beeps its horn to say hello. A friend comes up for a brief visit, a moment to wish the two a Merry Christmas. This is a common occurrence for Elijah, who operates both the stand and a table at the Charleston City Market.
“I never get a break when I’m downtown, but when I’m home, it’s the same thing. It’s all day. I see more friends and family than I do customers,” Elijah said.
He learned from watching his great aunt weave, who wouldn’t allow the children to play until they finished the bases of baskets. It was her way of keeping an eye on the children, and sneakily endowing a piece of tradition that now Elijah has passed on to his children and grandchildren.
“They didn’t have a choice [to learn], just like me. They don’t have to do it for a living, but they must learn. My granddaughter and a few grand-nieces, I taught them all, so we can all do it,” Elijah said.
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