Tour an Italian-Inspired Garden in Charleston
Price and Louisa Cameron have created an elegant paean to European art in their unique walled garden.
Dr. and Mrs. Price Cameron have created a dreamy garden inspired by Italy at their Charleston home. Their home and many other exquisite private Charleston gardens are featured each year during the Charleston Horticultural Society's Open Days Program, in partnership and in conjunction with the annual Spoleto Festival USA.
An indication of the treat in store in the Cameron's backyard garden is seen in the allee leading to the garden, with its neatly trimmed boxwoods and gravel path.
A lush fern sprouts from this elegant terra cotta pot, taking advantage of a shady spot in the Cameron garden.
Pop of Color
Alpinia sprouts from a pretty glazed pot in this Charleston garden.
Lending order and symmetry to this Charleston garden are two rectangular parterres and one circular parterre.
What Southern garden would be complete without hydrangeas?
A series of fountains, each hand-painted by retired plastic surgeon Price Cameron, show this talented home gardener's affection for old world gardens.
This delightful container bursts with calla lily, Rieger begonia and strawberry geranium.
Though this fountain appears to be crafted from tile work, in reality homeowner Dr. Price Cameron has meticulously applied paint and used three-dimensional effects to give the appearance of custom tile.
Keeping an Eye Out
Price Cameron uses carefully mixed paint colors to replicate the look of terra cotta to transform ordinary cast concrete into something fare more luxurious looking.
"I'm not a fan of magnolias" says Price Cameron, who gained permission to remove a large one from his yard, thus freeing up space for a series of elegant parterres. The tree's extensive root system and shade prevented anything from growing under or near the tree.
Peek of Porch
A large porch with blinds to keep the harsh Southern sun at bay is one of the features that lend the Philip Porcher House in Charleston some of its charm.
The steeple of the oldest Lutheran church in the South rises above the Cameron home in Charleston.
Though most of the artwork in the Cameron garden is European-influenced, the occasional more global motif sneaks in.
A garden bench is the perfect place to take in the splendor of the Cameron garden and references Europe's public gardens, where similar opportunities to rest, contemplate and socialize abound.
A charming garden shed strikes an almost Asian note in this Charleston garden otherwise steeped in European aesthetics.
Dr. Price Cameron describes his sumptuous Charleston garden as "a work in progress" perpetually tweaked and perfected by its owner, who clearly enjoys the labor as much as the effect.
Seedpods of the 'Indian Shot' canna lily, an old-fashioned pass-along, are featured in the Cameron garden.
These custom tuteurs were designed by Price Cameron and hand-made for the garden.
A Taste for Beauty
"This garden's on about its 13th incarnation" says Dr. Price Cameron, of the formal garden he lovingly coaxed into being. The back garden was formerly part of the school next door. To give a charming sense of enclosure, the Camerons replaced ugly wire fencing with walls.
The transformation of a weed-choked yard filled with shrubs, trash trees and clumping bamboo is documented in homeowner Louisa Pringle Cameron's book The Private Gardens of Charleston.
Worth the Trouble
"Paintings a lot of trouble and it's very cerebral" says Dr. Price Cameron, who executed all of the intricate trompe l'oeil painting in his Charleston garden. Evidence of Cameron's painterly skill can also be seen in the cast concrete lion's head that he has painted to give the look of terra cotta.
Color Year Round
The beautiful hand-painted crests and fountains in the Cameron garden have the added benefit of lending year-round color to the garden.
Painted stucco walls add visual interest and help to enlarge this Charleston garden.
A scene of fair maidens and cherubs imagines another earthly paradise amidst this paradisiacal Charleston garden.
A gorgeous Rothschild lily (also called flame lily) Gloriosa rothschildiana is sitting pretty in the Cameron garden.
Self-taught artist and retired plastic surgeon Price Cameron painted all of the pieces in his garden, in this case using the impasto technique of thickly applied paint to evoke the lamb's woolly coat.
A visit to Price and Louisa Cameron's garden is as much a journey through the allegories, myths and religious iconography found in European art.
This well-placed arbor and bench combined with Price Cameron's artful rendition of a cross and stained glass window gives the feeling of a garden sanctuary.
The garden is clearly a sacred space for the Camerons, who have decorated their delightful Charleston garden with paintings that reference tiles, frescoes and oil paintings seen on their European travels.
This octopus was inspired by Portuguese tile. The shrine that contains this whimsical creature is faux brick painted by resident gardener Price Cameron.
"Travel is inspirational" says gardener and painter Price Cameron who draws from his European travels but also plenty of Internet research to create the painted vignettes that line the walls of his Charleston garden.
Carefully applied paint gives a 3-dimensional effect to this charming garden wall painting.
Even the bricks that appear to ring this classically-inspired portrait are faux, painted to fool the eye by resident gardener and artist Price Cameron.
"There's humor in the garden" says Price Cameron, referring to objects like this classical sculpture featuring a well-placed leaf.
Boxwoods encircle silver germander in the garden tuteurs.
Ice, Ice Baby
"Icee Blue' podocarpus forms the centerpiece for the tuteurs in this Charleston garden.
Graceful Italian cypress give punctuation to garden beds defined with brick edging.
Some of the parterres in the Cameron garden feature orange marigolds and sweet potato vine.
A Taste of Italy
Italian cypresses lend elegant vertical interest to the Cameron garden.
"Mathematics is behind any successful design" says Price Cameron, who has endowed his Charleston garden with the sort of precise symmetry you might expect of a former plastic surgeon with a love for classical Greek and Roman design.
Hibiscus has been pruned to a single stem small tree in this Charleston garden.