Sunday, April 22, 2012

Southern Charm

Last week was spent in South Carolina visiting my husband's parents in Kiawah Island and soaking up some much needed sun. Kiawah is not far from the beautiful city of Charleston so we planned a day in town and, on my father-in-law's recommendation, visited the website of the Historic Charleston Foundation prior to our trip and booked tickets for a guided walking tour in the morning and an afternoon garden tour.

Charlestonians are clearly very house- and garden-proud and every home, whether large or small, is graced with greenery.

No possible detail is overlooked. Here the front steps are decorated with creeping fig vine (ficus pumila) that, according to our guide, needs to be trimmed weekly during the summer on account of its rapid growth.

The scent of Confederate jasmine (Trachelospermum jasminoides) is inescapable in Charleston during the Spring. Its vines flow over walls and around front doors.

Not even garages are neglected when it comes to enhancing the exteriors with flowering vines.

This is possibly the most beautiful garage I have ever seen, really too lovely even to be called a garage.

On to the garden tour...photographs were not permitted inside the private gardens which I can tell you was extremely painful for me; however, from outside the walls and through the iron gates I did snap a few.

What appealed to me about the Charleston gardens we saw, as well the plantings on and around the exteriors of the houses, is that order prevails. Yes, friends, my OCD extends to the outdoors - not for me the undisciplined, English cottage garden! My kind of garden employs a lot of boxwood, neatly trimmed hedges corralling tidy plants, trellis, tuteurs and strategically placed topiary. Whatever the medium, I love topiary.

Fortunately, my girls are truly good sports and, by now, quite used to my tireless explorations of every city we ever visit. Here I am with one of my beautiful daughters who is still managing a smile after viewing nine gardens. They make me proud.

The Historic Charleston Foundation tours we signed up for were part of the organization's Festival of House and Gardens which takes place from late March through late April. It is well worth a visit for a few days or a long weekend to take in some of the extraordinary properties on view.


  1. Beautiful Gardens! It makes me want to re-think my scraggly mess outside my door!

  2. Oh Phyllis, I so agree with you. Trimming with manicure sissors seems right to me. I love the tidy-look. I have a girlfriend who never prunes and it almost makes me crazy to sit in her home and look at the mess outside. Beautiful photos, and that stair-clad ivy has caused my heart to skip a beat. Some real love went into this, didn't it?

  3. Love Charleston...and Kiawah. When I was younger we had a house there and I spent every summer there! No matter how many times you visit Charleston the architecture and culture never seems to get old!

  4. Phyllis - Fabulous photos! Divine gardens!! I love that style: walled town gardens with lots of structure, order and furnishings :-) I've always wanted to tour the gardens of Charleston. Too bad photos inside the gardens were not allowed. Have a great week! Loi

  5. These are simply amazing! I am saving all these pictures in my garden inspiration file. Lovely post x Sharon

  6. I am dying to go! What amazing gardens! I wish I had a green thumb:) Thanks for the share! Kathleen

  7. Gorgeous photos! I've been itching to get to Charleston!

  8. I never tire of visiting Charleston or perusing photos taken there. Yours are lovely. Off for some golf in Kiawah in September for me! Can't wait!

    1. Kiawah is such a great place, especially for golfers!

  9. Just gorgeous! I visited Charleston in November and fell in love with that city! I actually recognize some of the houses in your photos. I think I found my dream home on every street!


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