"Following where my camera leads me!"

"Following where my camera leads me!"

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Mrs. Whaley's Secret Garden

Every spring, the charming doors and ornate gates of Charleston's secret gardens swing open to welcome visitors to the Historic Charleston's Foundation annual tour of homes and gardens.
I was fascinated by Mrs. Whaley's garden since reading her sweet book called "Mrs. Whaley and her Charleston Garden".

I loved reading about how her garden got started in 1941 and how she lovingly cared for it for over 50 years. Her book is part gardening book and part Southern memoir. Miss Emily passed away at age 87, and I believe her daughter inherited her lovely Charleston home.
I was thrilled to finally get to visit her special garden!

Welcoming us to the garden was this little creature:

We entered the historic walled garden through a wrought iron gate and a walked a stone path to get to the back of the white house on Church Street. I loved the tall windows thrown open to let in the breezes!

The garden is about a 30 foot by 100 foot area.

"A garden is a place to invite your soul to visit"...Emily Whaley

(below, the back of the house showing the upstairs balcony)

It was planned by landscape artist Loutrell Briggs as a gift to Miss Emily from her husband...... on the occasion of her being in the last months of a long and difficult pregnancy, which had her confined to bed. While being confined and awaiting the birth of  their child, she dreamed of her garden.

Her garden features a garden bench, seashells, annuals, perennials, flowering shrubs, old Charleston bricks, lovely pottery, a tinkling fountain, ferns, azaleas, hydrangeas, a stately live oak, and a small reflecting pool. 

The garden is laid out in several "rooms", including a shady one, a sunny one, a private one, etc. Lots of little "nooks and crannies" to explore. And plenty of places to pause and rest....to listen to birdsong and watch for butterflies.

I loved her book because it was not only a gardening guide and a sweet Southern memoir, but also included alot about her faith, her family, her heritage, their Charleston life, and reminiscences of her girlhood growing up on the family's plantation, Belevedere.

If you ever get the chance to visit, do go.....you will surely enjoy it!
"Gardens, above all else, are for sharing.".....Emily Whaley


  1. What a grand opportunity for you. Thanks for sharing your visit with us. I would adore the book. This was such an enjoyable post. Have a great day.

  2. Wonderful... Great that you got to see the visit. Nice finding your blog :-)


  3. Debbi, absolutely enchanting! I love the pictures.

    Happy July 4th to you and your family.

    Hugs, Barb

  4. such a beautiful place!!! gardens should be for sharing, in every way possible!! i love to split my plants and share them, or seedlings, with family and friends!! i adore a walk in my garden with friends, showing everything off...telling them the history of certain plants, where they came from!!

    and the fruits of my vegetable garden....always way more than we can eat, it brings me much joy to share with others!!

    have a wonderful weekend!!

  5. you really photographed this garden beautifully!!!!

  6. It looks like such a cool and inviting place to sit and read or just walk and think. Thank you for taking the time to photograph it and share it for those of us who will never get the chance to see it.