Magnolia Gardens placing exhibit at the U.S. Botanical Garden in Washington D.C.

from Staff Reports

More than 200 years ago, George Washington had a vision for the capital city of the United States that included a botanic garden that would demonstrate and promote the importance of plants to the young nation. Established by the U.S. Congress in 1820, the U.S. Botanic Garden is one of the oldest botanic gardens in North America.

Steeped in history, rich with tradition, the U.S. Botanic Garden is a living plant museum that informs visitors about the importance, and often irreplaceable value, of plants to the well-being of humans and to earth’s fragile ecosystems.

And very soon, West Ashley will be represented within the historic garden museum in Washington, D.C., which is the oldest continually operating botanic garden in the U.S. and welcomes more than a million visitors annually. That’s because the U.S. Botanical Gardens has selected Magnolia Plantation & Gardens as one of only 30 gardens to install temporary exhibits at the nation’s capitol in 2019 when the country celebrates public gardens.

Magnolia’s unique design as the last large-scale Romantic-style garden in the country fits with the Botanic Garden’s mission to create an array of displays that represent a diversity of gardens, said Botanic Garden spokesman Devin Dotson. The Botanic Garden is adjacent to the U.S. Capitol Building.

  Arlington, Va., garden designer Jeff Minnich was selected to design Magnolia’s entry. “I am delighted that Magnolia was chosen to participate in the 2019 Summer Exhibits at the U.S. Botanic Garden,” he said. “It’s my honor and pleasure to assist with the design and installation of the display.”

Magnolia’s executive director Tom Johnson said, “To be honored by one of the nation’s most prestigious gardens is truly a plus for Charleston, the state of South Carolina and the Drayton family that has been stewards of this land for more than 300 years. With Jeff’s expertise, we will design and install a display that reflects the beauty of Magnolia that draws hundreds of thousands of visitors annually through our gates.”

The garden displays will be exhibited outside the Botanic Garden from May to October. Gardens were invited to present proposals for exhibits to coincide with the American Public Garden Association’s conference that will be held in Washington, D.C. from June 17-21, 2019. “Thrive Together, Diversity Grows Gardens” is the conference theme, which is intended to show the impact the garden industry has in the world and push public gardens to be accessible and inclusive for all who work at and visit these spaces. Magnolia’s exhibit will reflect diversity in culture and nature.

  The exhibit will be a small-scale model of Magnolia’s iconic Long White Bridge across a small blackwater pond with metal herons and a metal alligator to represent some of the fauna in the gardens. Signage will explain Magnolia and its romantic gardens and the influences of Native American and African cultures.

For more information about Magnolia Plantation & Gardens, visit For more information about the U.S. Botanical Garden, visit

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