When the Colony of Georgia was founded in the 1730’s, it was a privately-owned commercial venture, which had the purpose of making a profit by exporting agricultural materials like rice, silk, tobacco and tea to England. When the city of Savannah was founded by James Oglethorpe, one of his first actions was to set up a test plantation to try out various plants and see how well they grew.
As it turned out, Ogelthorpe’s venture was a failure, the colony lost money, and eventually it gave up its charter, put itself under direct Crown control, legalized slavery, and lived on a cotton economy.
In the 1920’s, the site of Oglethorpe’s first plantation was occupied by the USDA, as a test station to examine a number of plants that the US hoped to import for commercial uses, such as rice, bamboo and figs. Eventually the site was closed down and abandoned.
Today, the old USDA “bamboo farm” is occupied by the Coastal Georgia Botanical Garden, which displays a wide variety of plants and flowers.
Here are some photos from a visit.