A recent trip to Charleston, SC rekindled my love of courtyard and container gardening.  With real estate in the city at a premium, homeowners must make the best of small alleyways, side yards, and window boxes.  The piazzas or porches are designed to catch the ocean breezes and to serve as outdoor entertaining space,  perfect for beautiful pots of flowers.

Many homes are large and airy with spectacular gardens.  Some of the most interesting homes remind me of our Fernandina Beach Victorian houses, smaller, but designed to use every inch of space.  The window boxes filled with flowers add charm to many a small home.

Window Boxes with Black Gate photo by Kathy Miller

Great Charleston House with yellow pots filled with flowers photo by Kathy Miller

Red House with window boxes and pig in window photo by Kathy Miller

This iron gate provides a glimpse into a secret garden.

Side garden with iron gate Philadelphia Alley, Charleston, SC photo by Kathy Miller

Charleston and Fernandina Beach/Amelia Island have interesting pasts.  Both sit on natural harbors.  Both have historic forts. Both are surrounded by coastal marshes.

Amelia Island homes are interesting…ranging from old Victorian homes in Fernandina

Victorian House in Fernandina Beach, Fl photo by Kathy Miller

Victorian House 3 in Fernandina Beach, FL photo by Kathy Miller

Victorian Home with porch, Fernandina Beach, FL photo by Kathy Miller


to coastal spreads on the beach and the south end of the island.

 The island is narrow meaning beach views and marsh views.

Ocean view on Amelia Island, FL photo by Kathy Miller

Spectacular marsh views Amelia Island Fl photo by Kathy Miller

Summer storm brewing Amelia Island view photo by Kathy Miller

 There are many grand homes, but also great smaller homes, utilizing every bit of space…and nice garden niches, courtyards and container gardens.

Courtyard home on Amelia Island Plantation, Omni, photo by Kathy Miller

Front courtyard Amelia Island, FL photo by Kathy Miller

Miller Marsh Creek courtyard photo by Kathy Miller

Container garden with tomatoes on the vine photo by Kathy Miller

Garden on Marsh Creek Amelia Island, photo by Kathy Miller

A special garden nook…a hammock nestled among the oak trees with hydrangeas and marsh views!

Hammock nestled among oak trees and hydrangeas with marsh views photo by Kathy Miller

Perfect place for a nap.

Hammock among oak trees Amelia Island Plantation, Long Point photo by Kathy Miller

The hydrangeas have been beautiful this year.

Hydrangeas on Amelia Island photo by Kathy Miller

Hydrangeas on Amelia Island Carol Ann Atwood

I spotted some of the prettiest hydrangeas in Amelia Park, a community noted for its small town charm.  A place where you can sit on your front porch chatting with neighbors as they stroll the sidewalks.
Home in Amelia Park, Fernandina Beach, FL with hydrangeas photo by Kathy Miller

Amelia Park brick home with American flag, photo by Kathy Miller

Many homes have special painted doors.

Cute back porch with pink doors photo by Kathy Miller

Purple door and hydrangeas, Amelia Park, photo by Kathy Miller

Charleston and Fernandina Beach/Amelia Island have similar food traditions.

 Both enjoy an abundance of fresh seafood, especially shrimp. Charleston and low country boils go hand in hand.  Amelia Island celebrates it shrimping industry with The Shrimp Festival.

Dave and I like our shrimp blackened in an old cast iron skillet.  Dave tosses peeled shrimp in a little olive oil,  sprinkled with our favorite, Louisiana Cajun Blackened Seasoning.  (We get our seasoning and shrimp from Charlie Taylor at Atlantic Seafood.)  Heat iron skillet on grill until hot.  Cook shrimp 3 minutes, turning once. Be sure not to overcook.

I love iron skillets (as you know from previous posts)!

In Charleston we dined at  HALLS CHOPHOUSE .  Sides are served in small cast iron skillets.  The Pepper Jack Creamed Corn Skillet was divine.

Pepper Jack Creamed Corn Skillet Halls Chophouse, Charleston, SC photo by Kathy Miller

as was the seasonal  Brussel Sprout Skillet.

Brussel Sprout Skillet Halls Chophouse, Charleston, SC photo by Kathy Miller

What a great idea, baking sides in small cast iron skillets and serving family style.

I love visiting Charleston.  I love living on Amelia Island.

Come celebrate with me!   I’ll save you a seat at the table.


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