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The ancestral home of the Drayton family in America, this former rice plantation predates the neighboring Drayton Hall plantation. Development of the property began in the 17th century. The plantation gardens were opened to public access by the family in the 19th century, making them Americas oldest public gardens. The property has been under the perpetual care of the Drayton family for eleven generations, spanning three centuries.
We decided to visit Magnolia Plantation during our Spoleto trip and thoroughly enjoyed the long walk around the gardens. This time we visited the large and impressive gift shop in the main house.
The gardens are large and impressive and we both consider it the highlight for visiting. It's extremely easy to spend 2 hours exploring the grounds. We visited the Magnolia Plantation during the peak of Spring, where azaleas were in high bloom and it was well worth it. The 'Flowerdale' garden is stunning. It was originally planted in 1680 and is surrounded by boxwoods. The small bodies of water are especially breathtaking from the bridges. I still find it hard to believe I would ever say that something called a Swamp Garden was beautiful, but I stand corrected. The Cyprus trees are very impressive and have a beauty all their own. Be sure to find the Drayton Oak. It was also originally planted in 1680 by Thomas Drayton. As impressive as this Oak has been, it unfortunately suffered two large limb breaks in April 2008 from age. We will be visiting Magnolia Plantation in May 2008 and are not looking forward to seeing the damage first-hand.
The gardens are the highlight of Magnolia Plantation. Go in the spring when the largest variety of flowers and plants are in bloom. This site is impressive.