Gardening Blog

All Saints Garden Tour offers a look at the Lowcountry’s magnificent seven

Barbara and Alex Kasten’s garden.
Barbara and Alex Kasten’s garden. Submitted photo

On May 20, visitors to the seven properties on this year’s All Saints Garden Tour can view four gardens in Bluffton and three on Hilton Head Island. The properties reflect the design esthetics of experienced, dedicated gardeners.

Included in the $35 price of the ticket is a luncheon in the church hall from 11 a.m.— 2 p.m. Also available for purchase will be original art work, hand-crafted boutique items, baked goods, gelato, and a wide variety of nursery items. Two master gardeners will be there to answer your gardening questions.

Tour tickets can be purchased online at: Ticket outlets on Hilton Head include: Burkes on Main Street, The Greenery on #278, Hallmark, Pino Gelato in Wexford Village, and the church office on Meeting Street. Ticket outlets in Bluffton include: Hallmark in Belfair, Merkel's Gift Shop, Honey Baked Ham, and Taylor's Landscaping.

Here’s what you can see:

Rose Hill Plantation: Barbara and Alex Kasten’s garden makes its third appearance on the tour. Manhattan urbanites for much of their lives, the Kastens have embraced the Lowcountry during their 23 years here. Alex wanted the home and garden to look as if they had been here for a hundred years. The emphasis is on a calm and peaceful environment with views from inside the house to the lawn, shrub, and tree areas outside. Two water features and a charming tea house for the great-grandchildren create additional interest.

Belfair Plantation: Pat Hendrickson’s garden features tropical plants, interesting native perennials and “other plants that survive this heat and humidity.” The entrance area features blue-flowered plumbago fronting loropetalum and a small, whimsical Fairy Garden. The rear garden has a multi-level plant wall with many containers of succulents and other heat/sun lovers. An adjacent water feature contains a jade figurine holding a dragonhead staff. The swimming pool is flanked on one side with weeping yaupon, which produces a green fountain effect.

Belfair Plantation: Marty and Will Fuller have been developing their garden over the last ten years since moving here from Massachusetts, where Marty was a professional garden designer. This garden’s emphasis is on cool flower colors — white, blue, purple, and lavender — which complement the gray of the house. Marty searches for plants which are appropriate in scale and appeal for each area of the property. She enjoys a natural look and avoids pruning shrubs into tight shapes. The pool area behind the house has a beautiful, long view of the golf course. Of special note are two Dawn Redwoods, which have grown to thirty feet tall in ten years.

Sawmill Forest: Liddy Stansbury, a professional garden planner, has spent the last six years transforming her small suburban yard. She has integrated a host of easily available annuals and perennials to provide a colorful and lively landscape. The iconic white picket fence is fronted by hibiscus, and a huge blue agave near the street is an attention-grabber. Coleus, dusty miller, crotons, geraniums, cannas, mandevillas, salvias, elephant ears and other plants provide punches of color throughout.

Wells East: Tim Drake has spent over two decades working on his property, located near the entrance to Spanish Wells. Tim is a professional designer, whose garden is on the tour for the third time. Wide, colorful and intensively planted beds surround the front of the property on two sides and are stunning. Many of the same plants are repeated in the large, continuous beds forming a semicircle behind the house. One of his unusual plants is the Japanese Paper Plant. It’s a late winter bloomer with small white and yellow flowers that are quite fragrant. This woody shrub has large green leaves, reminiscent of fatsia. It will grow to eight feet tall and thrives in lightly shaded, moist soil with plenty of organic matter.

Hilton Head Plantation: Pia and Bill Cannon’s garden consisted of a few shrubs when they moved here twelve years ago, but what a transformation. Pia, a northern transplant, defines the term avid gardener. She has worked tirelessly to enrich the soil. The result is a mostly shaded property with lush plantings of incredible variety. Plant beds completely surround the house. There are a wide selection of ferns, interesting crinum and bear’s breeches, well-grown split-leaf philodendron and Salvia ‘Black & Blue.’

Hilton Head Plantation Mary Ann and Len Snyder had to learn to garden all over again when they moved from Buffalo fifteen years ago. The property here consisted of pine straw and native trees and Mary Ann initially set about planting a few spots of color to liven up the scene. She hasn’t stopped yet. Some of her favorite plants include fringe tree, clerodendron, pineapple sage, asclepias (attracts Monarch butterflies), fennel (attracts swallowtail butterflies), coral bark maple and desert willow. Mary Ann admires Asian gardens and has included a decorative arbor, bridge, and large three-tiered planter to carry through with her garden theme of Peaceful Sanctuary.

Frank Edgerton is a Hilton Head Island resident, garden consultant and plantsman. He can be reached at