How to Landscape With Shrubs in the Garden

Integrating heirloom shrubs into this Charleston garden preserves the past and makes way for new growth. 

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Photo By: Many of the trees and shrubs in the Boatwright garden came along with the house. Others were gifts from

House Proud

The stunning circa 1850 home of Dr. and Mrs. John Boatwright is situated in the Mount Pleasant neighborhood of Charleston. Each of the three successive owners of the property have been avid gardeners, meaning there is lots of established old growth. The Boatwright garden has been featured on the annual Charleston garden tour as part of the Garden Conservancy's Open Days program. Private Charleston gardens are included in the tour each year during the internationally known arts festival Spoleto Festival USA. "I like the older garden feel," says homeowner John Boatwright, "we've preserved and protected what was here." Local plant expert Beth McGinty contributed her expertise to this garden tour, identifying many flowers and plants.

Rest Stop

A beautiful brick fountain flanked by hydrangea bushes provides a tranquil feature in this Charleston garden.

Water World

A variety of aquatic plants add visual interest and texture to this Charleston garden fountain.

Happy Hydrangea

A fixture in any Southern garden, hydrangeas do well in the partial shade of the Boatwright garden. With the right balance of pH in the garden, flowers can sport pink, purple and blue flowers on the same inflorescence.

Elegant Agapanthus

The soft purple of agapanthus and hydrangea give a burst of color to this Charleston garden.

Place to Rest

An elegant black bench offers a place to rest and drink in the natural beauty of this Charleston garden.

Fire Power

An outdoor fireplace is softened up with two small dwarf boxwoods in containers.

Inspirational Messages

The Boatwrights, who certainly live by the hospitality creed, have accented their garden with inspirational messages.

Feathered Friends

A beautifully designed bird house is in keeping with these lovely garden's aesthetic.

Mona Lavender

'Mona Lavender' Plectranthus stands out against a backdrop of pine straw in this crisp garden border.

Forest in the City

A tree canopy of both older and younger trees define the Boatwright yard.

Path Accents

A neat path connects various sections of the garden and is nicely enunciated with two containers flanking its entrance.

Lime and Lemon Trees

A future orchard awaits in the Boatwright garden. A number of the trees and plants in the garden were gifted to Dr. Boatwright by grateful patients.

Deep Purple

Hydrangea and butterfly bush offer shades of purple in this charming Charleston garden.

Think in Layers

Larger shrubs and trees in the back and shorter shrubs in front give this mature garden a sense of balance and proper scale.

Old School

The Boatwright's 1850 home has been added onto, but the garden retains an old garden flavor.

Don't Fence Me In

The Boatwright garden sits on less than an acre but part of its expansive, generous feel is due in part to the lack of fences or walls of any kind, part of the neighborly, everyone's-welcome feel of the Mt. Pleasant community.

Butterfly Bush

Freshly mulched with pine straw, these garden beds feature a palette of pinks and purples.

In the Spirit

Gardener John Boatwright says of his lovely Mount Pleasant space, "it's a garden meant to's a spiritual place for me."

Hydrangea Varieties

The Boatwright garden boasts some 8 varieties of hydrangea including 'Blushing Bride', 'Endless Summer', 'Annabelle' and 'Emily Moulliere'.

Camphor Tree

A gorgeous old-soul camphor tree commands pride of place in the Boatwright garden.

Old Souls

The Boatwright yard is planted with azaleas and camellias and a variety of older shrubs and trees, some dating back 50-60 years.

Orange Tree

The sultry Charleston climate affords these homeowners the opportunity to grow citrus in their garden.

Classic Garden

Many of the trees and shrubs in the Boatwright garden came with the house. Others are from Dr. Boatwright's grateful patients who have shown their appreciation with the gift of plants.

Hydrangeas Galore

Among the many varieties of hydrangeas on the Boatwright property are 'Annabelle', 'Blushing Bride', 'Endless Summer', 'Nikko Blue' and 'Emile Mouillere'.

Container Solution

Simple but elegant terra cotta pots create a lovely vignette.

Community Focused

John Boatwright describes his Mt. Pleasant community outside Charleston as "generations of people who love community, who love family, who treasure simple pleasures."

'Good as Gold' Rose

The arresting orange of the 'Good as Gold' rose is featured in the Boatwright garden.

Container Accent

An urn filled with boxwood and trailing ivy tendrils is the perfect accent for an outside corner of the home.

Gathering Place

An open, raised patio surrounded by formal containers gives this outdoor space the feeling of a European garden.

Symmetry Works

The golden rule of gardening: three of a kind, works well in this container garden arrangement.

Thriller and Spiller

Boxwood provides the thriller and ivy the spiller in this container.

Container Fireworks

White angelonia, scaevola and lobularia provide plenty of interest in this container.

Mixing It Up

Torenia oxalis and lamium fill this porch container.


Each outdoor space on the Boatwright estate has a different attitude: this porch outside the master bedroom affords some privacy and a lovely place to enjoy a morning coffee and newspaper.

Live Oak

A magnificent live oak, one of the distinctive trees that dot the Southern landscape offers a graceful garden accent.

Pine Tree

When the Boatwrights did their home expansion they made sure to spare this lovely pine tree which, right outside their porch, provides an almost sculptural element to the garden scheme.

Time Out

A gracious swing is an enticing invitation to nap: Charleston is famous for its beautiful porches which encourage outdoor time and neighborly socialization.

Boxwood Ornaments

Two neatly trimmed boxwood bushes provide dramatic punctuation in this garden bed.

Confederate Jasmine

Prolific, sweet-smelling Confederate jasmine provides a lovely green border on this staircase.

Resting Place

A stone bench tucked away in a garden nook invites contemplation.

Lush Borders

Lush borders of shrubs and trees define the Boatwright garden.

Historic Home

A side entrance to the gracious circa 1850 Boatwright home.

Green Machine

Podocarpus, agapanthus and dwarf gardenia bring the green to this Charleston garden.

Old Growth

Part of the appeal of the Boatwright garden is the sense of history that permeates it, an idea echoed in the numerous trees and shrubs that the family has maintained throughout the years.

Water's Edge

One of the pleasures of Charleston's Mount Pleasant community is the lack of enclosures. Children roam freely from garden to garden and the beautiful vistas are meant for all to enjoy.