Camellias in Full Bloom at Magnolia Gardens!

Sunday, some guests on my Home and Garden Tour told me that they went out to Magnolia Gardens and that the Camellias were in full bloom! Not surprisingly, the mild weather has made it so that our deep winter bloomers aren’t being taken out by the cold. Camellias are thought to have been cultivated in China for at least 5,000 years. Camellia sinensis is the common tea plant.

Camellias first arrived in America as hothouse specimens in Philadelphia in the 1740s. In 1786, Andre Michaux, French botanist and Botanist to King Louis XVI, established a Botanical Garden north of Charleston approximately where the Airport is today, hence Michaux Parkway.  He gave to his friend and patron Henry Middleton four camellias to plant at the corners of his parterre garden, at least one of which still survives.
Tom Johnson, Director of Gardens at Magnolia, takes camellias seriously and has been collecting heirloom specimens from endangered sites and placing them in a new section of the gardens. So, if you love camellias, or just want to see some flowers in deep winter (?) go visit Magnolia Gardens on one of these pretty days.

BTW, we all know that February is Black History Month. In that theme, this coming Saturday, February 11, Magnolia will feature a Black History Month Event, “From Slavery to Freedom” with more than a dozen separate events highlighting the roles and presence of African Americans in plantation culture. Admission to these events is included as part of the regular $15 admission. For further info, go to the website

Charleston Old Walled City Tours offers themed tours of Historic Charleston including the Old Walled City Tour, the Home and Garden Tour, the Slavery and Freedom Tour, and the Charleston Ghost Walk. Go to to learn more!



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