December 21, 2011

Middleton Place

Most people visit Middleton Place in the spring when the azaleas are in full bloom.  It is a glorious sight.  Winter is a very different experience at Middleton, but we had a wonderful time nonetheless.  We may have seen only a few flowers in bloom, but we had the place to ourselves.  The garden is much more than flowers.

Middleton Place is the home of the oldest landscaped gardens in the country and has been welcoming visitors for decades.  Although Middleton Place House is open for tours, the focus here is most certainly the gardens.  The formal gardens were laid out in 1741 in the classic style and were expanded in the new romantic style in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

Looking Toward the Butterfly Lakes and Ashley River

Octagonal Garden
We started our visit with lunch in the restaurant, which is known for its Southern cuisine. We then toured the house, which was built as a dependency, but is now the only house that remains on the property.  The main three-story brick house and the other dependency were destroyed during the Civil War and the earthquake of 1886.  Although there are notable Benjamin West and Thomas Sully portraits on display, as well as two outstanding Charleston rice beds, the most fascinating item for me was a simple embroidered slave sack.  This sack was only recently discovered at a flea market in Tennessee and acquired by Middleton Place from the woman who discovered it.  It likely dates from 1840.

Middleton Place House
We wandered through the gardens, admiring the boxwood plantings, the camellias that are just starting to bloom and the giant live oaks.  Water is an important part of Middleton Place, and not only for its ornamental lakes and ponds.  The Ashley River was the main highway to the outside world, and provided an essential element for rice cultivation, the major crop grown on the plantation.  My particular favorite is the butterfly lakes, which are a signature feature in the gardens.

South Green Walk

Sundial Garden


Reflection Pool
Middleton Place is such a beautiful and peaceful place to explore and a place that I never tire of visiting.

Rice Mill Pond

Noisy Peacock

Flooded Rice Field

Wood Nymph Statue

Another Camellia


  1. Hi. This is Cheryl at Pleasant Details. Your blog is fantastic. I will be following your travels. It was so nice to meet you and I look forward to traveling with you!

  2. Just gorgeous! Oh how I miss Camellias! Thanks for sharing all the pics. LV

  3. LV, The camellias were just lovely. I know what you mean about missing certain flowers, and it's a treat to experience them once again. It's our pleasure to share the photographs with everyone. Sarah

  4. Cheryl, Thank you so much for the compliment. It was a pleasure to meet you as well, and to compare notes about our Sprinters. We're looking forward to your traveling with us. Sarah