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Gardens & Historic Plants of the Antebellum South


    • In the late 1700s, a tremendous amount of plants existed in Southern gardens and were propagated and sold in nurseries. Garden plots included ornamental trees and shrubs, annual flowers and lots of fruit and vegetable crop varieties. "The Catalogue of Plants in the Botanick Garden of South Carolina," published in 1810, listed many plants still widely grown today.

    Garden Plants

    • Across the 1800s, Southern plantation owners began acquiring newly imported plants first grown outside Charleston. The tea and common camellia, crape myrtle, azalea, Cherokee rose and Asian magnolias gained a foothold in landscapes, but only with wealthy landholders. Grapes, apples, pears and peaches grew in the Antebellum garden, as did a wide array of vegetables and flowers like cockscomb, hollyhock, loosetrife, bellflower, crocus and yellow daffodil -- called "jonquils" in the Old South.

    Historic Sites

    • Today, remnant examples of gardens that existed during the Antebellum period display plant species and designs of the day. Monticello in Charlottesville, Virginia, and Middleton Place just outside Charleston preserve a horticultural slice of American period history.

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