Wednesday, February 27, 2019


Charleston, South Carolina, is affectionately known as the “city set in a garden”. It is a walker’s paradise and the small private gardens, most of them set behind elaborate wrought iron gates, bring an Old World charm to the city.

Most of the Charleston gardens are private. They are often of limited space and the owners maximize this by the inclusion of protective walls and the creative use of ornamental plants. Many of these gardens are “hidden” behind heavy gates and it is this decorative ironwork that fascinates me.
I did a bit of research and found that the oldest remaining ironwork in the city dates back to the Revolutionary War period. This was wrought iron which a blacksmith, using a forge, anvil and hammer, would mold and shape into scrolls, fleur-de-lis, leaf and floral patterns. These would adorn gates, stair railings, boot scrapes and decorative panels. During the mid-19th century cast iron was more commonplace in Charleston than wrought iron. This was mass produced by pouring the molten metal into molds and it allowed for more elaborate decorations preferred by Victorian tastes of the time.

Although cast iron is less susceptible to corrosion than wrought iron they both need regular cleaning and painting to avoid rust and general deterioration. This must be a lucrative business for someone in Charleston because almost all the decorative ironwork that I saw was in excellent condition. The wrought iron gates of Charleston and the “secret” gardens behind them are treasures not to be missed.


Blogger Anvilcloud said...

I wonder if they open up at all for annual garden tours.

3:16 AM  
Blogger Arkansas Patti said...

Anvilcloud makes a great point.
Wonder if they clean their own gates of if there is a firm that does. Kind of like chimney sweep, still a necessary job.

8:25 AM  
Blogger Marie Smith said...

Old world charm indeed. Charleston must be.charming!

3:05 PM  
Blogger Beatrice P. Boyd said...

I have never been to Charleston, but recall some similar gates when we visited Savannah, GA several years ago, Ginnie.

3:07 PM  
Blogger NCmountainwoman said...

I love the charm of the old houses in Charleston. Especially the gates and design work.

9:41 AM  

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