Fall Garden Tour to Highlight Mount Pleasant Neighborhoods | Community News

Susan Marus’ garden at her Olde Park home features a welcoming and lush entrance.

Private gardens hold a bit of mystery for them. A secret that is hidden behind a house on a residential street or hidden behind iron gates – each with a certain niche, unique design or special purpose. The Charleston Horticulture Society is offering guests the opportunity to experience ten private gardens in the Olde Park and I’On neighborhoods during the 21st Annual Fall Garden Tour.

“It’s a great way for everyday people to come and see private gardens that you don’t normally see,” said Claudia McNab, landscape designer and president of the Fall Garden Tour.

The self-guided tour on November 6 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. features four private gardens in Olde Park and six in I’On, as well as the community garden in I’On. In each garden on the tour, experienced guides trained by CHS Hort will be available to answer questions and point out important details of each special garden.

Some of the private gardens featured on the tour are strictly maintained by the owner, while others are designs by landscape companies. Each garden on the tour highlights something different – one is tended by a naturalist gardener who focuses on native plants, two gardens are on the river and there is a mix of large and small gardens. Some gardeners are from the Lowcountry, while others come from different regions and have learned to adapt to a different climate.

Suzanne Marus fountain

Susan Marus’ garden birdbath is surrounded by green ferns.

Olde Park resident Susan Marus designs and maintains her private garden which will be featured on the tour. Since moving home 20 years ago, she has transformed her ordinary backyard into a garden oasis that boasts 27 different varieties of ferns and several Japanese maples. She said her garden had changed a lot over the years, especially as more shade had come from the towering oak trees.

“It’s an evolution of borrowed ideas and knowledge I’ve acquired,” said Marus, who is also a longtime member of SCH Hort.

Marus honed his green thumb by taking workshops and classes through CHS Hort, including the docent training class, which is the most in-depth course in Lowcountry horticultural heritage. CHS Hort courses range from novice gardeners to expert level training.

Aspects of Marus’ garden share a story – there’s a section of artificial grass under a swing for her grandchildren to play on and the Japanese maple trees started as a treasured gift from a friend who’s no longer there. Lucile MacLennan, a Charleston horticulturist, died a few months after her 101st birthday last year. However, she left her legacy in private gardens across the Lowcountry, including that of Marus. On garden tours, MacLennan saved eggshells from her morning breakfast and placed a small seedling in each shell to give to guests, Marus said. Some of these special seedlings are now planted in Marus’ garden.

Like all gardeners, Marus has had its fair share of trial and error, but a lot of gardening is learned on the job. A job that leaves dirt under his fingernails, but produces a haven of nature just steps from his back door.

Each fall, CHS Hort highlights a different region of the Lowcountry for the Fall Garden Tour. Past visits have included Hampton Park in downtown Charleston, Sullivan’s Island and Daniel Island. CHS Hort chose Olde Park and I’On for the visit because of the variety of gardens – Olde Park offers larger grounds with more courtyard space compared to the smaller landscapes of I’On.

Tickets for the Fall Gardens Tour are $50 for CHS Hort members and $60 for non-members and can be purchased online at www.chashortsoc.org/hort-store/p/2022falltour. Wristbands and brochures can be collected from the CHS Hort office at 46 Windermere Blvd. November 3 and 4 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. or at the O’Quinn School at 761 S. Shelmore Blvd. the day of the visit from 10.15 a.m.

Ticket sales day will also be available at O’Quinn School from 10:15 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. There is parking available at O’Quinn and the walk to all gardens is two miles. Customers can also park in the street parking lots marked in the neighborhoods if they don’t wish to walk.

The tour is sponsored by local businesses including Community Table and William Means Real Estate at I’On Village, Moultrie News and App Springs Water.

CHS Hort offers events, workshops, classes, plant sales and volunteer opportunities throughout the year. Stay up to date with CHS Hort by visiting www.chashortsoc.org.

About Thomas Thorton

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