Charleston, South Carolina is a great place to visit and see some beautiful gardens, both formal and informal. Our first stop was Magnolia Plantation, which has some excellent informal gardens with a lot of hidden gems, particularly someone’s great love of flowering shrubs.
I adore long allees of trees, particularly when underplanted with azaleas, as these were. It was a breathtaking way to enter the garden.
While there were some attempts at formal gardens, including a hedge maze, the great beauty of this garden is in its flowering shrubs, of which there were a great many– and in particular, its camellias, if we had visited during winter, would have been outstanding. As it was, we still saw many late bloomers.
This was a particularly lovely specimen- a dark pinkish red, but not magenta. Very attractive and subtle.
There were some great gardens in the historic district of Charleston– many of them very formal, relying heavily on boxwood hedging.
This garden was a great example of using boxwood hedging in a paisley design– with amaryllis inside. Even though these were town gardens with very limited spaces, they really utilized the space in an attractive and scale-appropriate way. (You can contrast this with the “Flowerdale” picture above– notice that one takes up 2-3000 square feet, while the other is in a 15×20 foot space). As a northern gardener, I particularly loved the amaryllis planted en masse everywhere in charleston, even next to street signs. Us northerners can’t do that.
This windowbox had an excellent use of foliage, which we could all do more of– it’s hard to remember that leaves often look better than bedraggled flowers for a seasonal planting like a windowbox.
There were hundreds of gorgeous formal gardens, these are only some of the pictures I took– hopefully you can use some of these ideas in your own garden– large or small.