Provided by Magnolia Plantation & Gardens
CHARLESTON, S.C. -- With a handshake and a smile, Magnolia Plantation and Gardens on Wednesday officially joined an elite group of gardens around the world that have been dubbed an International Camellia Garden of Excellence.
During a brief ceremony on the patio at the Conservatory at Magnolia, Ron Wolfe, one of the international society's directors, presented an award to John Drayton Hastie Jr., a member of the Drayton family that has owned Magnolia since the 1670s.
Magnolia, which features 20,000 camellias, is one of only 30 gardens in the world and one of five in the United States that has received the prestigious award. The honor was recently announced during the society's biennial meeting in Chuxiong, China.
The award applauds Magnolia's commitment to displaying and providing information on camellias. Wolfe, an Albany, Ga., camellia grower, said gardens are selected based on landscaping and signage that identities the camellia plants.
As he held the society's award, Hastie acknowledged the corps of volunteers in the camellia gardens and thanked them for making the recognition possible. "We wouldn't have this honor without the volunteers in the gardens and greenhouses. I thank you," he said. "We appreciate you very much."
In a letter to Magnolia, Patricia L. Short, the society's president said, "My colleagues and I look forward to reviewing your garden in 10 years' time. We have seen how the gardens that have received this recognition in the past have continued to improve and become even finer. We hope this recognition will inspire you to achieve ever higher standards."