Friday, July 8, 2011

My Southern Garden Of Love

I was recently in Charleston, South Carolina to shop wedding venues for my niece. It was a steamy afternoon in June and we wandered into this understated entry

of The Gardens at Middleton Place. We found a sprawling garden with large expanse of lawn, grand vistas and magnificent trees.  Just thinking about it and looking at the photographs of the Gardens now, about three weeks later, stirs up the same feeling of serenity that I experienced while I was there.

Just beyond this pond the garden opens up

and we watch as the party planners are arranging chairs for a wedding taking place here later in the day.  And what June bride wouldn't want wedding photos with this stunning backdrop? It turns out Charleston is a popular destination wedding site. Since we are already in the planning stages of my niece's wedding in 2012, we imagined beautiful photos the bride could pose for in this garden. But, however gorgeous this garden is--we also noted the temperature: upper 90's. We wondered what dress the bride might wear in this heat. Then we decided it would be a great party favor--and a necessity--to hand beautiful Spanish fans to wedding guests as they arrived.

But back to the quiet and open expanse of land here--all 65 acres. This is a National Historic Landmark and believed to be the oldest landscaped gardens in the United States.

The live oak trees here are remarkable and seem to be everywhere, along with the stately and large magnolia trees.  The massive branches of these magnificent trees spread out horizontally and drip with Spanish moss.   Again, we found ourselves dreaming of the photo opportunities for the bride and groom.

The garden does have some secluded areas with just a touch of statuary, minimal yet elegant touches nonetheless.

This small cove provides shady relief from the sun, and this lovely lady amidst the blue hydrangeas set off another flurry of camera shots from our little group. 

Our garden respite over, we climb into the steamy car, blast the AC, and pop in the special CD playlist designed to keep us in the mood because, after all,  we're "going to the chapel and we're gonna get married, going to the chapel of love."
I think I found my chapel of love in this grand Southern garden.