Small Treasures in Charleston


Part of the “skyline” of downtown Charleston not far from Battery Park and Rainbow Row.

Time to visit Charleston – at least as I saw it in mid-March this year. This city is truly a photographer’s paradise in terms of the diverse subject matters there are to explore and try to capture with your lens(es).

Although I first visited this area in 2009, this workshop exposed me to so much I had not seen before. And this time I was using a new camera, bought only two weeks beforehand, a Nikon D600. Shooting full-frame at last, and with images captured at 24 MB each, I wasn’t sure what to expect. Fortunately, I wasn’t disappointed – the D600 is a champ! Aside from needing to clean some dust spots off the sensor one night (in my hotel room, under controlled conditions, thankfully), I was really impressed by the detail it captured.

One of the afternoons (and one morning) were spent wandering around downtown Charleston on our own. Most of the houses are townhouse style and sit right on the sidewalk. So the homeowners seem to take pride in dressing up their windows with beautifully-planted containers. Even in relatively chilly conditions, the plants seemed to be doing just fine, and brightened up the scene quite a bit.

Charleston gardens, window boxes

A window box on a townhouse near Rainbow Row

Another window box, immaculately kept.

Another window box, immaculately kept.

Charleston gardens, window boxes

Even businesses “dress up” their window boxes.

This image was one of my favorites, not so much for the flowers as the overall ensemble.


The shutters and door colors match, but the anchor on the wall makes this image. At upper left, a crape myrtle that has yet to leaf out adds an air of mystery.

Charlestonians who live downtown have small gardens that are not unlike those here in Georgetown. They may be postage-stamp-sized but quite glorious. In spring each year, the city holds a “Festival of Houses and Gardens,” which allows entry into some of these wonders. And this year, for the first time, The Garden Conservancy held an Open Days event which included a baker’s dozen of what are surely fabulous gardens, on May 25th.

I had to be content with small glimpses into some courtyard gardens, which were lovely indeed.

Charleston gardens

A carefully and beautifully-designed courtyard garden visible from the street in downtown Charleston. Captured with Camera+ by my iPhone5 and processed in Photoshop.

Part of a small Charleston garden, visible through a gate.

Part of a small Charleston garden, visible through a gate.

Another peek into a courtyard garden.

Another peek into a courtyard garden.

Crabapples in bloom in a side garden.

Crabapples in bloom in a side garden.

That’s it for this post. Next time – a visit to two “Magnolia” locations: Magnolia Plantation and Magnolia Cemetery.

Explore posts in the same categories: landscape, photography, Travel

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13 Comments on “Small Treasures in Charleston”

  1. Mary Gray Says:

    Wonderful photos. I haven’t been to Charleston since I was a teenager. This makes me want to go back. Looking forward to your next post, too!

  2. Theresa Forte Says:

    Beautiful images, I love the diversity you see in window boxes and courtyards. Thanks for sharing!

    • Melissa Says:

      Thanks for the kind words. I had really wanted some long shots of Rainbow Row, but the day before we arrived the city had delivered those big blue recycling bins to all the houses and it was clear that no one had figured out where to put them, so on the sidewalk they sat. Kind of ruined the view!

  3. Love the window boxes they brighten up every street in all parts of the world!!

    • Melissa Says:

      So true! Almost of all of them seemed to have irrigation “spaghetti lines” running to them (which I eliminated with the joys of Photoshop). Even this early in March, the boxes were overflowing.

  4. Pam/Digging Says:

    My husband and I almost traveled to Charleston, where we honeymooned 23 years ago, for our anniversary and this year’s Garden Conservancy tour. But a new destination, Santa Barbara and its Lotusland Garden, won out instead. So many great gardening towns!

    • Melissa Says:

      Ooh, Santa Barbara – great choice. Haven’t been there in years. And would love to see Lotusland. Maybe when I retire (end of this year, hooray).

  5. Liz Reed Says:

    beautiful gardens. I just love the creativity that shows itself in little threshold and courtyard gardens, and your photographs portray them just beautifully!

  6. I love the orange shutters in that 5th photo — and I guess you have to keep your anchor somewhere. . . .

    I am enjoying the camera and software tips. I am thinking of getting a starter digital SLR camera this year. I want the equivalent of my old film Pentax K1000. Any recommendations?

  7. Wow these are some great photos. And such great looking landscapes/gardens! Thanks for the good read here and thanks for posting.

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