America’s Last Large-scale Romantic-style Garden
Welcome to Magnolia Gardens. Unlike most of America's gardens, which are formal and seek to control nature, Magnolia cooperates with nature to create a tranquil landscape like Eden where humanity and nature are in harmony. "Come forth into the light of things, let nature be your teacher." - William Wordsworth
The gardens at Magnolia Plantation are of such beauty and variety that they have brought tourists from around the world to view them since they were open to the public in the early 1870s. However, many parts of the gardens are much older, some sections more than 325 years old, making them the oldest unrestored gardens in America. As the plantation has stayed within the ownership of the same family for more than three centuries, each generation has added their own personal touch to the gardens, expanding and adding to their variety. Today there are various varieties of flowers from camellias, daffodils, to azaleas and countless other species in bloom year round, with the climax of incredible beauty building towards the spring bloom.
WHAT'S IN BLOOM? View Magnolia's 12-Month
Gallery of Blooms
William Posey Silva (1859-1948) was a Charleston Renaissance artist. He referred to Magnolia as "The Garden of Dreams" in his paintings of our gardens. Original paintings by Silva hang in the main House.
Magnolia is the last large scale Romantic Gardens left in the United States. The Romantic Garden movement has its roots in the industrial revolution in Europe, and is tied directly to the empowerment of the common man. When he went to work in the factories, he wanted to design gardens that would help him forget the dreary life offered during the workday. A good definition of a romantic garden is an "Extravagant Liar". Truly, this is what a romantic garden is designed to do, to "lie" you into forgetting the normality of everyday life. Romantic Gardens are designed to take the viewer to a place where emotion takes precedent over reason. Surprise awaits around every corner. Form, balance and symmetry are thrown to the wind and these gardens are designed to appeal directly to the soul.
We hope that you come and visit us so that you can experience how one family's vision of creating order and beauty in an untamed new world has evolved over the centuries into the magnificent sprawling gardens that the public can enjoy today.