Seen through a Camellia hedge across the great lawn, the South Flanker at Middleton Place
March 24, 2021
Prior to the Civil War the main house was flanked by the North Flanker and the South Flanker, which was built in 1755 as gentlemen’s guest quarters and a business office.
From the Middleton Place website:
Both flankers, along with the main house, were burned by Union troops in February, 1865, just two months before the end of the Civil War. The South Flanker was the least damaged of the three buildings and repairs to it began in 1869 and included a new roof, Dutch gable ends and an entry hall leading from the Greensward. Thus strengthened, the South Flanker survived Charleston’s Great Earthquake in 1886 that brought down the gutted walls of the other residential buildings. By 1870 the Middletons had returned to live again at Middleton Place and the South Flanker continued to serve subsequent generations until becoming a House Museum in 1975.
I’ve mention that the Tulip Magnolias have put on a spectacular display this year unspoiled by frosty nights. They have been blooming for weeks and with no leaves yet on the trees the blossoms really stand out.
I don’t recall seeing this next type before with so many petals, almost like a daisy.
This one reminds me of a teacup, and another one that I wished I could have gotten up above for an interior shot.
This next one is prettier before it fully opens. I generally see this style more bedraggled looking.
Lastly, a yet unfurled blossom, showing off a gorgeous magenta exterior, a color I remember fondly from my childhood along with the Crayola 64 Box. I just looked Crayola up to ensure I remembered correctly and find you can now get a full box of 12 of the same color. Who knew?
Rice field trunks play a big role in controlling water movement in many of the South Carolina areas I explore. Once used for growing rice, private land owners and the SC Department of Natural Resources currently manage thousands of acres of wetlands using this time-tested method. Dikes separate what was a rice field from a major body of water and the trunk is used to move water back and forth.
Last week the water had been let out of the Magnolia Plantation & Gardens boat pond, so named because they give nature tours by boat around the pond. To give you an idea of the size, the perimeter of the pond is about 1.75 miles (3 KM). The pond is a mixture of open water and cat tails / reed clumps. Two years ago the boat channel was dredged and the water seen in the first image is in that channel.
With the low water I was able to get some images of the trunk parts that are normally under water.
There is a wooden box creating a culvert under the dike (think cereal box laying on its side). I have read that these are called trunks because in colonial times hollowed tree trunks were used to conduct the water.
The lower paddle ends of the flaps, which pivot at the top, are adjusted to manage the water flow.
The Ashley River is tidal, so with both ends of the trunk wide open at low tide the water drains out of the pond. Then with at least one end of the trunk closed as the tide turns the water in the pond will remain low. The seals on either end are not tight and there is always some water movement.
Leaving the trunks ends open will refill the pond as the tide raises the water level in the river. Sometimes they are left open for days to wash out the pond or change the salinity level.
The bonus to all this for the nature photographer is that wading and shore birds are attracted to the lower water. Fish are concentrated in a smaller volume making hunting easier and they can poke around in the mud.