Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Come Join Me On a Tour of My Ancestral Gardens....

photo by Joan Perry
I have a new little great niece, named Anna Middleton. Anna Middleton is
 named for our ancestor, Eleanor Middleton, decendant of the Middleton lineage
 of Middleton Place in South Carolina.  In honor of her christening 
this past Sunday, I decided to  post about Middleton Place for 
 little "Anna Mills" (that's what we are calling her).  
  Let's take a tour of Middleton Place and I will share with you
 the beautiful grounds, a little history and a couple of interesting facts.

Courtesy of Middleton Foundation

Middleton Place Plantation is located on plantation row about
15 miles north of Charleston, S.C.  It is on the National Register
of Historical Places.  John Williams began building Middleton in
the late 1730's but his son, Henry Middleton, completed the house .  

This map shows an aerial view of the property.  It also shows how
 the gardens were logically and geometrically laid out to
adapt perfectly to the land. 
Courtesy of the Middleton Foundation

This is Henry Middleton, he was son in law, of John Williams.  
He is responsible for finishing the house and gardens around 1741. 
 Henry also served as President of the First Continental Congress. 
His son, Arthur, was a signer of the Declaration of Independence.
Arthur's son, Henry and grandson, Williams, were credited with taking the
 plantation from a  private residence to an active self sustainable rice plantation.  

Photo Courtesy of Trip Advisor

Middleton Gardens, is America's oldest landscaped garden and is called
"the most interesting and important garden in America"
by the Garden Club of America.
This aerial view reveals the beauty of this well planned garden.
This photograph also shows, "The Butterfly Lakes"
which mimic the shape of a butterfly's wings when open
for flight.  The bluff or the  top of the graduated area to the left of the lakes,
was where the original house sat 40 feet above the lakes and the river.

Photo by Joan Perry

This view is from the opposite direction, which would have been the view from
 the back veranda of the home.  The main hallway of the home lined up perfectly 
with the strip of land you see above which gave a perfect view of the Ashley! 

Photo by Joan Perry
The main house was three joined structures, the south flanker which was
 the guest quarters, the main house and the north flanker, which housed 
the library and a conservatory.  This is a picture of the South Flank
 which is the only part remaining.  
This south flank has been restored and is now the museum. 
 It was the least damaged part of  the house when the house was burned
 in February 1865, prior to the end of the Civil War.
  It even survived the earthquake in Charleston in 1886 which completed
 the demise of the other two buildings which had been gutted by fire. 
 In the museum, you will find objects belonging to the family 
such as silver, furniture,china, and some original paintings. 
 However, the family Bible is not there! 
 My late uncle  told me he had seen the family Bible once at a 
relative's house but it mysteriously disappeared! 
 I wish I could find it and return it to the foundation!  

Courtesy of the Middleton Foundation

This epergne, is one of the pieces of silver found in the museum that
 belonged to the Middleton Family

Photo by Joan Perry

One of three of the remaining structures on the plantation is this Rice Mill House.
  The mill was built in 1851 when the plantation began more plantings to rice farm. .
Photo by Joan Perry

Centuries have softened the Azalea Pool borders.  They have become more free form or organic in look, not as structured as the original plan yet still beautiful.
Photo by Joan Perry
Another view of the Azalea Pool

Photo by Joan Perry
 Another one of the beautiful statues that grace the gardens.
Photo by Joan Perry
 One of the most impressive features of the gardens is the "Middleton Oak" which is said to be over a thousand years old, with a trunk that spans more than 10 feet in diameter.

Photo by Joan Perry
Rows of beautiful azaleas and other beautiful blooming flowers
 such as magnolias,rose blossoms

Photo by Joan Perry
Another beautiful view of the flowers along the banks of the river
Photo by Joan Perry
A distant shot of The "Wood Nymphe"  
Photo by Joan Perry
Beautiful Spanish Moss flowing from the trees add a graceful elegance as the breeze makes it dance from the tree branches.

Photo by Joan Perry
From one bank to the other, views of magnificent color! 
Photo by Joan Perry
A picturesque walking bridge for crossing the water on the nature path.
Photo by Joan Perry

The Reflecting Pool is home to many different types of wildlife.  
The animals find pleasure in watching their reflections and frolicking in the waters, 
especially during the humid summer months.

Photo by Joan Perry
One of the remaining original statues, the "Wood Nymphe", greets you around one of the curvy paths in the north garden.   

Photo -Southern Living

Historians have discovered records that prove the first camellias grown in an american garden were planted in Middleton Gardens by Arthur's son, Henry, who was friends with the French botanist, Andre Michaux.  Four camellias were planted at the parterre and three of them survive today. They are the Camellia japonica, Asiatic azalea, Rhododendron indica  and the crape myrtle, Lagerstroemia indica!

  I encourage you to take a trip Middleton Place, there is so much more to see.
 Children love the carriage rides, the stable yard, and the nature walks.
If you visit you can tell them you know the family!

  I hope you enjoyed the tour!

Happy Christening Anna Mills, hopefully, one day this will mean something to you!

Special thanks to the Middleton Foundation and Joan Perry for  photographs.  All information in the above article is credited to Middleton Foundation,


Pin It!


  1. These gardens are so beautiful! Thanks for the tour :)


  2. We just toured the plantation. It is the prettiest place I have ever seen


I appreciate your kind comments! I enjoy your feedback! No spam, link backs or commercial advertisements please! They will be removed!