Garden Tour: Middleton Place

Take a virtual tour of Charleston's Middleton Place, America's oldest landscaped garden.
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Photo By: Image Courtesy of Middleton Place

Photo By: Image Courtesy of Middleton Place

Photo By: Image Courtesy of Middleton Place

Photo By: Image Courtesy of Middleton Place

Photo By: Image Courtesy of Middleton Place

Photo By: Image Courtesy of Middleton Place

Photo By: Courtesy Middleton Place

Photo By: Courtesy Middleton Place

Photo By: Courtesy Middleton Place

Camellia Allee

Easy-to-grow camellias love acid, well-drained soil and filtered light. They thrive under live oaks and magnolias, for maximum Southern charm. Middleton horticulturalist Sidney Frazier suggests the 'Alba Plena' and 'Debutante' varieties for compact spaces and 'Pink Perfection' or 'Glenn 40' if you can give them room to roam.

Formal Gardens Layout

The circular garden features tea and China roses. Middleton horticulturist Sidney Frazier says Southern rose growers might try those varieties or the 'Noisette'. For a hot, dry climate, he says the rugosa rose is unbeatable, offering a hearty plant requiring little maintenance. Try 'Lady Banks' or 'Cherokee' for ultimate fragrance. The mirror gardens to the right contain American holly trees surrounded by annuals and perennials in perfect reflection of one another. The octagonal garden was once a bowling green for the gentlemen of the house.

Cypress Lake

Spanish moss-draped cypress trees dot the natural lake on the Middleton Place grounds. Azaleas and a purple wisteria tree peek out from behind, while irises not yet bloomed frame the foreground.

Nymph In the Hydrangeas

The nymph is one of the few remaining statues from Middleton Place. Legend has it the family buried the beloved statue to protect her during the Civil War. Frazier says to grow hydrangeas, the most important thing is to pick the right location, as they are shade-loving flowers. The charming range of colors of the hydrangea flower is caused by variation in soil pH. While you can affect the acidity of your soil to choose your colors, Frazier suggests, "Let nature do her thing."

Middleton Place

Man-made butterfly lakes verge on the Ashley River. Also visible are a flooded rice field, the mill pond, the house museum, the spring house and all of the formal gardens.

Ancient Live Oak

This elderly oak is somewhere between 900-1,000 years old. 'Crimson China' roses, Japanese boxwoods and a crape myrtle tree complete the picture.

Garden Terrace and the Ashley River

A Carolina gold rice field beyond the butterfly lakes separates the manicured grounds of Middleton Place from the Ashley River.

Secret Garden

Azaleas ring the secret garden, so called because none of it is visible until visitors are within its shrubbery walls. This space offers teak benches for peaceful contemplation of the grounds, enhanced by statues representing the four seasons. Horticulturist Sidney Frazier offers Indica azaleas are friendly to all light levels, but love filtered light best. The acidic soil under live oaks, magnolias and pines creates a particularly good base for these flowering bushes.

Lawn and Parterre

Annuals planted in November pay off in a springtime of delicate white and blue pansies and pink snapdragons. Thirty-foot-tall juniper trees anchor interest points in the garden.

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