Tour a Colorful Waterfront Charleston Garden

One creative Charleston gardener finds ways to work with a sunny backyard and shady front entrance to create the garden of her dreams. 

Waterfront Garden

This lush garden designed by Sheila Wertimer and ably maintained by Beth McGinty and Beverly Rivers in the Mt. Pleasant section of Charleston boasts plenty of year-round color and an interesting mix of plant materials. Residents Mollie and Henry Fair are some of the gracious homeowners who open their gardens to visitors during the tour of Charleston's most memorable private gardens organized by the Charleston Horticultural Society's Open Days Program, in partnership and in conjunction with the annual Spoleto Festival USA.

Window Into Another World

A simple wooden fence can only hint at the delights to come in the Charleston garden of Mr. and Mrs. Henry Fair.

Plenty of Layers

European fan palms define the outer perimeter of this multi-layered Charleston garden.


A container with variegated agave adds dimension to this Charleston garden.

Pineapple Sage

Lovely chartreuse pineapple sage lends a different green tone to this Charleston garden.


Colorful acalypha adds subtle color to this Charleston garden.

Coleus for Color

"We really rely heavily on the coleus for color and they don't need to be dead-headed," says Charleston gardener Mollie Fair of her colorful waterfront garden.

Perilla 'Magilla' Tricolor

Pink hues, as seen in this perilla 'magilla' tricolor are a recurring motif in this waterfront garden.

Achillea Millefolium

Yarrow's spiky form lends visual interest to the garden.


Also called physic nut, jatropha does well in tropical conditions.

Blueberry Bush

A mix of edibles and ornamentals give character to this Charleston garden.

Salvia Madrensis

Also called forsythia sage, Salvia madrensis is featured in Mollie Fair's Charleston garden.

Beauty Takes Work

"The downside of a wonderful garden climate" says Charleston gardener Mollie Fair, "is weeding and pruning."

Angelonia 'Summer Snapdragon'

Festive deep purple angelonia provides color in the garden.

Mix Master

"I like to mix ornamentals and edibles" says garden expert Beth McGinty, who uses chard here to help homeowner Mollie Fair achieve the uniquely colorful, textural mix in her Charleston garden.

Cannas Meet Pennisetum

Cannas on the left, balance nicely with moody, dark pennisetum in the carefully choreographed mix within this Charleston garden.

Coleus and 'Lime Zinger' Colocasia

The vivid chartreuse hues of coleus and 'Lime Zinger' colocasia make for a perfect pair in the garden.

'Haight Ashbury' Hibiscus

Multi-tonal cream, pink and burgundy foliage distinguish pretty 'Haight Ashbury' hibiscus in spring and summer.

Bicolor Canna

Gorgeous bicolor canna lends a feast of bright hues to this Charleston garden.

Striking Cardoon

With is exotic resemblance to artichoke, cardoon—sometimes called artichoke thistle—makes a striking, unique addition to this garden.

Variety of Textures

Both color variety and a range of plant textures and leaf shape help give this Charleston garden its complexity.

Border Line

A crisp border creates a striking balance between grass and lush garden beds.

Whimsy in the Garden

A saucy garden sculpture adds personality to the Fair family's Charleston garden.

Bronze Fennel

Frothy, delicate bronze fennel adds an unexpected texture in this waterfront garden.

Color Blocking

Lorapetalum, helianthus and Texas shade (left to right) show off their attributes.

Walk This Way

Agapanthus borders a charming walkway in this Charleston garden.

'Ayesha' Hydrangea

The soft purple shades of 'Ayesha' hydrangea distinguish this Charleston waterfront garden.


Tall spires of agapanthus keep things interesting in the garden.

Water's Edge

The Fair garden creates a kind of green "fence" delineating the space between their property and the marshland and water beyond.

Succulent Planter

This charming boat-shaped succulent planter was created as a table decoration at a family wedding says homeowner Mollie Fair.

The Love Boat

This charming succulent-filled boat was used as a centerpiece at a Fair family wedding.

Large Planter

A large deck planter holds a variety of succulents and agave.

Palm Wall

Exotic palm trees create a natural border between the Fair garden and land beyond.

Pink and Green

'Dragon Wing' begonia and variegated Dianella make for a nice combination in this green container.

Layered Plantings

'Soft Caress' mahonia, farfugium, tassel fern and Algerian ivy play well together here.

Big Time

The distinctive shape of Garfugium japonicum 'Giganteum' adds character to this Charleston garden.

Farfugium Japonicum 'Giganteum'

Lush Garfugium japonicum 'Giganteum' appears in ample supply in this Charleston garden.

Entrancing Entrance

Autumn fern, variegated pittosporum and 'Soft Caress' mahonia greets visitors to the Fair home.

Espalier Podocarpus

This espaliered podocarpus is striking against a white exterior wall.

Tassel Ferns

Tassel ferns thrive in the shady front yard portion of this Charleston garden.

Green Scene

'Soft Caress' mahonia, farfugium, tassel fern and Algerian ivy offer many different textures and shades of green in this Charleston garden.

Grand Entrance

Gorgeous varied shades of green lend curb appeal to this home entrance.

Keeping Things Simple

Simplified landscaping in shades of green keeps the front of this Charleston home elegantly pared back, and saves the bursts of color for the home's backyard.

Tall and Small

A great balance of heights is achieved with this mix of dwarf mondo grass, variegated pittosporum, fatsia and espaliered sasanqua.

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