Magnolia Gardens garner prestigious international camellia honor

February 15, 2012

CHARLESTON, SC – Magnolia Plantation and Gardens has been awarded the prestigious Camellia Garden of Excellence with honors by the International Camellia Society. The award was announced recently during the ICS biennial congress in Chuxiong, China. Magnolia is the fifth garden in the United States, the only garden in South Carolina and one of 18 gardens worldwide to receive the honor since the first award was given in 2001. 

Tom Johnson, director of gardens, said the honor validates Magnolia’s on-going effort to collect and preserve ancient varieties of camellias to restore the gardens to the style envision by the Rev. John Grimke Drayton.

Miles Beach, director of Magnolia’s Camellia Collection, and a team of master gardener volunteers have spent the last three years developing the camellia collection to meet the strict requirements to receive the award.

Johnson said the work by Beach and the master gardeners made it possible for Magnolia to garner the honor.

Magnolia has 25,000 camellias growing throughout the gardens, making it one of the largest camellia collections in the world.

In 2001, the International Camellia Society launched a program to recognize camellia gardens of excellence that meet a set of criteria developed by the ICS to encourage excellence in the growing of camellias, to ensure that visitors will see camellias at their best.

In November, garden writer Gene Philips featured Magnolia in the Southeastern Camellia Society’s online magazine. After reading the story, Jennifer Trehane, editor of the International Camellia Journal, said she wished she had read the story before her visit to Magnolia last spring. Trehane said, “It’s a fantastic garden, with an atmosphere all its own. It should be on the ‘must visit’ list of all international camellia travelers to the East Coast.”