Part of Charleston, South Carolina and its old-history is the plantations that have offered natural beauty for many years. A plantation, for those of you that are not familiar, is a large estate or farm that usually contains of course the land for farming such crops as tobacco, cotton, sugar and et cetera; a large mansion and a beautiful flowering garden. These plantations are most rememberable for being a part of the United States history during the period of slavery.
Although none of us would want to return to the days of slavery, we can still get a glimpse of yesterday by going to a plantation today. Charleston is filled with dozens of gardens however I prefer to return year after year to those seen at the old-fashioned plantations. One of the most amazing remnants of these days is the 18th century and 19th century craftsmanship of gardening most unlikely to be seen in other gardens today.
For those of who have never been to a plantation garden, it is unlike any other garden or botanical location in America. Each garden offers different interpretations of the antebellum culture which includes gardening tools and processes done by African and West Indies Slaves.
The Top Plantation Gardens:
1. Boone Hill Plantation; Usually open from 9AM to 5PM daily, with the exception of 1PM-4PM on Sunday, this is a wonderful oldest working, living plantations. It costs around $14.50/adult, $13.00/Seniors and $7.00/Children. This garden had begun in 1743 by the son of Major John Boone. The first living plants that were planted were live oak trees and now have grown into millions of flowers and trees. Therefore it has been “alive” for around 320 years in total.
2. Cypress Gardens: It was this garden that first started my general interest in plantations throughout my years. Usually it opens from 9AM to 5PM daily, with the exception of all major holidays being closed. It is a 170 acre Berkeley County Park that contains beautiful gardens, the cypress swamp and walking paths for all ages. The best part of this garden is the swamp – yes, a swamp is still gardening since it contains living plants and trees. My family likes to go on a private canoe-like boat through all the trees that are still living with the roots in the swamp water. It costs around $10.00/adult, $9.00/Seniors and $5.00/Children
3. Charleston Tea Plantation: If you like tea or ever wondered what it was like a tea farm, this is the garden to go to and see. It is actually America’s only commercial tea farm in the nation. Generally there is not much to do however we do like to walk through live oaks, look at all the tea plants while on the trolley, learn how to make tea, purchase fresh tea leaves and et cetera. Since it is a plantation, it is very quite being that there are no neighbors. Usually it opens from 10AM to 4PM daily, with the exception of Sunday noon to 4PM.
4. Irvin-House Vineyards: Now that I am of legal drinking age, I love to be entertained by going to this vineyard located just outside of Charleston in Wadmalaw Island, South Carolina. It is only open to the public on Thursday through Saturday starting at 10AM to 5PM. If you go on Saturday though, the tours are free and legal drinking age adults can try out authentic wines from the vineyards. It is a nice day trip to stroll through the grounds and see the plantation with an added perk of complimentary wine afterwards.
5. Drayton Hall: This is plantation is open daily except on major holidays. It is a National Trust Historic Site and considered one of the oldest preserved plantation houses in American that is open to the public. It has endured quite a lot throughout the years but is in perfect original condition. The house is Georgian Palladian Architecture and was built around 1738 to 1742. It is a wonderful place to visit without children or with children and learn about history. There are guided tours and also self-guided tour options. It costs around $14.00/adult and $8.00/Children.