As we pulled up to the estate and walked in through the gates, the first thing we noticed was the abundance of life. From the display of goats, deer, fowl, and turtles in the local petting zoo and grassy fields:
To the free-roaming locals that graced us as we sat down in the picnic benches to enjoy our midday meal:
The peacock marches back and forth between the benches, and his feline companion is never far away. I later learned that the cat, Sylvester, was abandoned at farm and has been with them for over 16 years. He managed to extort a good portion of turkey meat out of my sandwich.
After a hearty meal we began our long trek through the flower garden. A sign leading to a small path marks the beginning of our trail. The Azalea bushes are in full bloom throughout, as we curve through a bend and come to a criss cross of pathes to the different sections of the 50 acre garden.
The trails of flowers seemed endless. The colors turn and shift and melt through each bend. Each scene filled with a new dramatic contrast more vibrant than the last. The floral arrangements vary from a hundred species of camelias, daffodils, and azaleas, all in full spring bloom. From the mossy ground to the tree branches, the delicate mix of floral scents are carried for miles on the wind.
The forest floor become littered with petals of red, pink, and llavender.
As we continue on to our path, we began to explore off beaten trails that diverge from the scented floral road, into darker, older, and more foreboding areas of the gardens. After rounding another path, and passing through a tunnel of dense foliage, we came across an old sculpture, carefully accented with a flower petal.
Ornate Greek scultupres are found in all corners of the gardens. Many out of sight, and many obscured by the overgrowth of foliage.
As we walked on, we spotted more ornamental carvings scattered in different settings, accentuating the scene, from bright, airy, floral spaces:
To darker and eerie swamps:
Magnolia garden is one of the oldest in America, with some sections more than 325 years old, unrestored and untouched. Older but well preserved sculptures and structures litter the grounds of the estate, and brings the imagination to life.
Taking a break from our stroll, we find ourselves at the back of the plantation home.
We took some time to inspect the intricately crafted and carefully placed gazebos and swing benches in the outdoor living areas, and took a few moments to collect ourselves.
Continuing on, we diverged from the rest of the flower gardens and headed in the other direction, away from the house, through tunnels, woods, and clearings to the water.
Here we passed through areas of the estate that seemed much older, ancient woods and towering trees in contrast to the well manicured lawns, each with its own story to tell. Here there are rivers and streams, duckweed covered ponds and clear pristine lakes.
All teeming with an abundance of wildlife.
With ornate bridges that flow with the landscape.
Heading further to the edge of the garden trails, and the end of our tour, we came across a breathtaking view of the swamp. The scene brings to mind the beauty of an older and untamed land.