Charleston SC is well known for its lush and beautiful gardens! Some of the most impressive can be found at the plantations along Ashley River Road. Middleton Place, Magnolia Plantation, and Drayton Hall are truly places you will not want to miss when you visit Charleston. These are located a short 30 minute drive from downtown and are well-worth the trip to come visit our Charleston Gardens.
Middleton Place is a National Historic Landmark and home to America’s Oldest Landscaped Gardens. The Garden Club of America has called the 65 acres “the most important and most interesting garden in America”. Centuries-old camellias bloom in the winter months and azaleas blaze on the hillside above the Rice Mill Pond in the spring. In summer, kalmia, magnolias, crepe myrtles and roses accent a landscape magnificent throughout the year. The Gardens have been planned so that there is something blooming at Middleton Place year-round.
The gardens at Magnolia Plantation are of such beauty and variety that they have brought tourists from around the world to view them since they were open to the public in the early 1870s. However, many parts of the gardens are much older, some sections more than 325 years old, making them the oldest unrestored gardens in America. As the plantation has stayed within the ownership of the same family for more than three centuries, each generation has added their own personal touch to the gardens, expanding and adding to their variety. Today there are various varieties of flowers from camellias, daffodils, to azalea’s and countless other species in bloom year round, with the climax of incredible beauty building towards the spring bloom. When you visit, you can experience how one family’s vision of creating order and beauty in an untamed new world has evolved over the centuries into the magnificent sprawling gardens that the public can enjoy today.
Magnolia Plantation also boasts a Swamp Garden! The Audubon Swamp Garden is a unique world where trees grow from the water, islands float, and everywhere wild creatures go about their secret lives. It boasts a diversity of living things almost unequaled anywhere else in America. Thousands of plant and animal species coexist amongst the cypress and tupelo gum trees, surrounded by blackwater. Each year, hundreds of egrets, herons, and other waterfowl nest within feet of the walking path. You can explore this wild and otherwise inaccessible landscape on boardwalks, bridges, and dikes.
On the river-front lawn is the 18th-century ha-ha, the ditch that provided a nearly invisible barrier that kept large animals in grazing areas without disrupting the sweeping view. On the land-front lawn is the Victorian garden mound. A camellia planted about 1920 by Richmond Bowens, the descendant of seven generations of African Americans at Drayton Hall, survives as a key element of the gardens. This preservation approach to the landscape makes Drayton Hall exemplary among historic sites in the nation. According to Southern landscape historian Suzanne Turner, Drayton Hall has “the most significant undisturbed historic landscape in America.” Visitors to the site today can explore various parts of the landscape through the River Walk along the Ashley River and the Marsh Walk along the salt river marsh and the remains of 18th century rice fields.
So, as you plan your trip to Charleston, remember that there is so much history here and so much beauty to be enjoyed! Staying at the Governor’s House Inn downtown will provide exactly that as well! There is much beauty and much history to be enjoyed! This bed and breakfast will delight you as you are pampered and treated with much southern hospitality! Book your stay today!!