What could be more beautiful than springtime in Charleston? It’s nothing new, you know. People have been coming to Charleston for the high spring bloom for nigh 150 years, when Reverend Drayton opened the Gardens at Magnolia Plantation to the public. Charlestonians have been in love with ornamental gardening for many more years than that. It was in the 1740s that Mrs. Lamboll first planted her ornamental garden in the neighborhood of the street that bears the name. Her “Gardener’s Chronicle” was in high demand and widely read by a generation of budding garden fanciers. Eighteenth century Charlestonians flocked to the docks to buy exotic saplings and bulbs off the ships arriving from the Orient. Many of the great plantations were improved with gardens at this time. The gardens at Middleton Place, with its butterfly terraces, were being laid out in the French style circa 1760. Harriett Horry Ravenel, writing in 1906, reflects on Charleston gardens before 1800 :
|Mrs. Whaley’s Garden|
|Thomas Rose House Garden, the design of Loutrell Briggs
Such a fitting description of Charleston ! Isn’t it great that some things never change? So you locals, busy in your everyday lives, take time out to ‘smell the roses” so to speak this year. Just take a walk downtown or visit the Gardens. Charleston Old Walled City Tours offers a Charleston Home and Garden Tour five days a week at 1:30. For details go to http://walledcitytours.com/tours/charleston-home-and-garden-walk.html For those of you from off, it looks like peak bloom, barring a disastrous frost, should be March 27-April 10. Come see Charleston painted pastel and create memories that will last a lifetime!