March was a month that gifted me with the opportunity to travel with other Garden Writers and Communicators to a conference in Charleston, South Carolina. Touring two of the oldest and most famous gardens of note in America, was more than a pleasure. It was a delight that conjured up more questions that still need to be answered. Questions that will surely warrant a return visit, for more discovery as well as another horticultural journey into the past, while enjoying the beauty that is just a natural part of the South. There is something that consistently draws me to the South. Not sure if it is simply a matter of my roots, the pace or a reflective opportunity to pause and bask in the serene landscapes — but there is something that draws me to a simpler time and place.
We were privileged to tour Magnolia Plantation and Gardens (www.magnoliaplantation.com) and Middleton Place (www.middletonplace.org) I would love to share a bit of Magnolia Plantation and Gardens with you.
If it had not been for Tom Johnson, Executive Director and Herb Frazier, Marketing/Public Relations Manager of the Magnolia Plantation and Gardens, this opportunity would not have been possible. Conversations with Kirk Brown, Garden Writers Association made for a lovely Spring meeting at this serious place of beauty.
Tom Johnson, Executive Director, Magnolia Plantation and Gardens
Herb Frazier, Marketing/Public Relations Manager Magnolia Plantations and Gardens
This was the second time I visited Magnolia Plantation — the historic home and grounds of the Drayton Family — and as I found out, the home of Isaac Leach. Isaac Leach grew up on Magnolia Plantation and is an integral part of the grounds. He cares for the landscapes with the same pride that his father, grandfather and other elders did in days gone by. Isaac informed me that sharing the history of Magnolia was his “art”, as well as knowing what diseases might wipe out all of the azalea blooms and how he needs to effectively address these issues. After all, guests have been coming to Magnolia Plantation since 1870.
My imagination conjured up days of old when the property was very active and busy as I walked the grounds of this beautiful Estate with its Live Oaks, old Azaleas, Camellias and of course the moss dripping from limb to limb. The history of Magnolia speaks to the southern spirit of standing strong with a strong sense of commitment to the land whether you were a Drayton or not. Isaac shared that he knew this land forward and backward. He knew some of the secret spaces that no one knew of except for him and his descendants. Isaac knows the sounds, the sights and the feel of Magnolia. What a privilege that must be. To some, Plantation might be a word that is a bit jarring and evokes negative stories from the past. However, Plantations are a part of history – the history of America and ofttimes, the only place that some could call home. Magnolia Plantation and Gardens speaks to a shared love for this place of beauty, from the families that have built their lives and developed relationships amid the beautiful landscape on the Ashley River.
Instead of a history lesson, here are a few photos that speak to the beauty that surrounds anyone who visits Magnolia Plantation and Gardens (www.magnoliaplantation.com). I promise you that I only captured a small piece of the beauty that is all throughout the grounds….
Art along the walkways…creating a complement, not a distraction to the budding Azaleas and Camellias ……
If you have the opportunity, visit Magnolia Plantation and Gardens. I guarantee you will leave with a piece of Magnolia on your mind……
Next – Middleton Place…..by