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Citadel News Service

For Release
Jan. 28, 2002

Emily Whaley Memorial Garden Tour set for March 10

The fourth annual Emily Whaley Memorial Garden Tour will capture a unique Charleston neighborhood in the beautiful, early new green of spring, when the good bones of well-designed gardens are evident.

The tour features 10 gardens in Ansonborough, including a Japanese enclave, a swimming pool grotto, and an exquisite water parterre. Garden experts will lead each tour. The tour is designed for everyone interested in gardening as well as those who want to learn more about the unique architecture and history of Charleston.

The tour begins at 1 p.m. Sunday, March 10, at St. Stephens Episcopal Church with a spiritual concert and concludes at 4:30 p.m. with a reception in the notable garden of Peter and Patty McGee. The cost is $50. Reservations are required no later than March 4. Call 843-953-7691.

Ansonborough is an historic and venerable neighborhood. Dating from 1746, this first suburb of Charleston began as a 64-acre tract owned and developed by George Anson. The 18th century borough was home to merchants, tradesmen and a few planters. About 1,000 dwellings were burned in the fire of 1838. Rebuilt in brick, the area was home to a significant German population and included two Lutheran Churches and a German Catholic Church. In 1958, Historic Charleston targeted this area for its first revolving fund and more than 135 antebellum houses were restored. Today the area is a much-prized neighborhood for its quiet streets and lovely gardens. Many of the gardens are of recent design by landscape architect Sheila Wertimer. Her gardens are serene enclaves or garden "rooms" where the sound of cascading water helps create a feeling of intimacy.

The tour begins at St. Stephens Episcopal Church, 67 Anson St., with a gospel concert by noted spiritual singer, Don White. St. Stephens, built in 1835 by John and Henry Horlbeck, has a simple interior with a barrel-vaulted ceiling. The facade is classical, with an arched center doorway surmounted by a tablet with flanking stucco recesses interspersed by Tuscan pilasters. Tour groups will disperse from this spot, each group going to a different location.

Gardens on the tour are:

  • 72 Anson St., constructed in 1846 is a three-and-a-half-story brick house of the side-hall and double-parlor plan. The garden is rich with horticultural variety, creating an interesting microclimate of its own. The owners, Peter and Patty McGee restored the house and garden in 1994 creating a space that is a much-used extension of the house. Refreshments are provided here for your pleasure while you tour the garden.
  • 71 Anson St. is known as the Thomas Doughty House and dates from 1806. Enjoy the newly landscaped garden in the front. Walk back along the drive to the garden of Sue Wallace, our special host. The original slave quarters and kitchen building have been combined into a single residence. The containers of herbs add a pungent scent to the air.

  • 89 Anson St. is the St. Johns Reformed Episcopal Church. This gothic church was constructed in the 1850s as a church for slave and free black Presbyterians. The garden in back of the church was dedicated in 1991 in honor of Philip Simmons, renowned African American ironworker and member of the congregation. The charming parterres provide a strong backbone to this quiet church garden.
  • 42 Anson St. with its wonderful double gardens is a relatively new house. Walk through the arched gate into two elegantly designed parterres. Facing south, these garden "hot" spots allow the owners the luxury of a great variety of fall and spring plants. The Japanese garden to the rear of the house is an enchanting enclave of bamboo and maple.
  • 40 and 42 Society St. are known as the Juliana Dupre Houses. 40 Society St. was constructed in 1850 within the walls of the original 1838 house. This small garden is lush with a variety of established plants including sweet olives and camellias. The small pool interacts with the living spaces. 42 Society St. has a large and attractively laid out garden encompassing the entire expansive side lot.
  • 62 Society St., the Hieronymus-Tiedeman House was constructed in 1838-40 after the great fire. The house is unusual in that it has a masked side porch that is shaded from the street. The walk back to the garden and saline pool is a pleasing shaded avenue. The sunny pool grotto is rich with architectural emblems. This unique city pool is an example of craftsmanship, well integrated into a garden living room.
  • Walk past St. Johannes Lutheran Church built by Edward Brickell White in 1842 in the Greek Revival style. You will also go by 54 Hasell St., the Col. William Rhett House built in 1712 by Rhett who was known for the capture and prosecution of the pirate, Stede Bonnet. View the Umberto Innocenti designed garden through the iron gates.
  • The garden and house at 60 Hasell St. are unique in this neighborhood. Constructed in 1847 the antebellum house is an Italianate style villa with twin Tucson towers. The flanking brick outbuildings provide a surrounding forecourt for the wonderful water parterre. The splendid water garden includes a thriving population if fish, water lilies, papyrus plants and lotus. The hollies used as a hedge enclose the garden for privacy.
  • 4 George St., the James W. Brown House, was constructed in 1852 in the Greek Revival style. Note the use of scored red mortar between the bricks. Approach the garden along the driveway. Designed by Sheila Wertimer, the garden functions as a "party" room for the house. Italian cypress act as focal points and as a boundary for the central grassed square.
  • The house and garden at 57 Laurens St. date from 1836. The house is of black cypress and shows early-Greek Revival elements. Walk back to the pool that abuts a three- story brick kitchen and slave quarters built after the fire of 1838. The garden occupies an additional lot on the west and has always been part of the property. Its simple lines complement the house.

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