Monday, October 31, 2011

Monday, Oct 31st, Charleston, South Carolina


A South Carolina garden which first featured azaleas and camellias, and a swamp walk where Audubon spent time, were the targets for today. Magnolia Gardens, owned by nine generations of the Draytons, and which evolved from a Barbados sugar plantation owner’s dream to take advantage of the English King’s territorial ambitions into one of the most successful rice plantations in the colonies, was also the site of one of the last battles of the Revolutionary War. Its lowland waterways, fed by an elaborate freshwater irrigation system, provided 150 years of “Carolina Gold” to America as it fought its way from settlement, through the Revolution, and up to the end of the Civil War. Leveled by Union troops, the property rose again when a freed slave whose family had managed the gardens partnered with a rebellious family member whose yearning to become a minister was cut short due to the death of his older brother. Suffering from tuberculosis, and ordered by his doctor to “go get his hands in the soil”, John Grimke Drayton dedicated the rest of his life to creating a world-class, publicly-accessible, Garden of Eden at Magnolia on the Ashley River.
His descendants still own the property, and all gardens in America owe much to the care and dedication demonstrated by them.

Here is a link to the rest of the photos we took (Yes, Pat shot several of these) today: Magnolia Gardens


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