Garden of the Benjamin Phillips House

Charleston, SC

This Federal house was constructed circa 1818 and restored by the current owners in 1987.  At that time, there was no garden, only a paved parking area.  Shortly thereafter, Hugh and Mary Palmer Dargan designed this award-winning garden.  The design is based on formal patterned gardens found in Charleston in the late eighteenth century.  Access to the garden is through a handsome wooden gate entwined with confederate jasmine and roses which also envelop the doorway.  The pathway to a second gateway is lined with confederate jasmine arches against a neighboring wall.  The second gate opens onto a dining and entertainment terrace surrounded by confederate jasmine and roses climbing on the kitchen house, brick walls, and even piazza columns.  In spring, this garden room looks like a cloud of snow everywhere.
From the terrace you enter another walled room highlighted with a parterre of four quadrants encircling an antique sundial with scampering white clematis.  Old camellias provide color and height in each quadrant while crab apple trees lend a canopy of pink and white when blooming.. The parterre edges and pathways are lined with Kingsville boxwood, the slowest growing and smallest leafed boxwood in the Lowcountry.  Oyster shell paths provide different vantage points from which to see this enchanted garden.  Two garden houses on either side of the west wall, with clay pantile roofs, were constructed to house garden tools and storage and to appear as old privies. 
Nestled between the garden houses are two Hume hollies providing shade for a bench from which the beauty of the garden can be seen.

Open Days 2022: Saturday, May 28
Hours: 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Admission: Please register for this "Behind the Garden Gate" Open Day here.

  • This garden allows photography

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