Garden Variety

On a recent Sunday, my husband, Wally, and I attended the Charleston Parks Conservancy’s oyster-focused “Shucked & Sauced” fundraiser at Hampton Park—a fantastic event, by the way (see page 158)—and I was taken by how much the Rose Pavilion area had changed. How long had it been since I visited this jewel of the city’s park system?

When I first moved to Charleston, I lived in the adjacent neighborhood, Wagener Terrace, and Hampton Park served as my backyard and my respite—evening walks with my dog to the duck pond, weekend jogs along the perimeter, and many a field-day frolic with pals. Even after I bought a house on James Island, Wally and I made a point of taking our kids there often for picnics and play. I suppose it was nearly a year ago that I had last strolled the paths, catching up with a friend and perhaps not paying attention to all of the plantings and design work the conservancy had accomplished over the past few years.

If you’re like me and need a reminder to take advantage of our gorgeous green spaces, then this “Home & Garden” issue is for you. For the feature “An Insider’s Guide to Charleston Gardens” (page 90), garden editor Anna Miller surveyed six of the area’s top botanical destinations—from free parks like Colonial Lake and its dazzling ‘Peggy Martin’ climbing roses to the immaculate grounds of Middleton Place—sharing their various attributes, the best times to visit, and the latest endeavors of their horticulturists. Green-thumbed readers will appreciate not only the visual inspiration, but practical tips for plant selections, say, for salt-water inundation (find plant lists at

You’ll also discover some intriguing petal-powered businesses (page 104), tour a drop-dead gorgeous downtown home and garden renovation (page 114), and get the scoop on spring’s must-attend events (page 52 & 161). Note: if you want to tour some private gardens in person, the Charleston Festival’s “Glorious Gardens” tours continue through April 12.


Darcy Shankland
Editor in chief