Garden Photo of the Day

Lights at Magnolia Plantation

An over-the-top light display at a public garden

Patty Eckels sent in these photos of an incredible light display at a nearby public garden.

Magnolia Plantation here in Charleston, South Carolina, is holding an event for the first time called “Lights of Magnolia.” People have been working for months getting it ready. All the materials were shipped from China. Everything was done by hand, including the welding of the dragon with its 26,600 porcelain plates that were hand-tied one by one. The animals and hundreds of lanterns are all done in silk. The big ball is made from tiny little bottles filled with water, all wired together, one by one.

The display is indescribable and amazing. I hope you enjoy these pictures. Maybe you can make a trip to Charleston to see this!

This huge dragon is made from porcelain plates laboriously hand-tied.

Magnolia Planation light showThe dragon all lit up at night. Puts the usual holiday light display to shame!

Whole herds of animals, all of which are silk lanterns, are lit from within so that they glow magically in the night.

Another scene is made from glowing silk lanterns.

Close-up of a structure made from tiny jars filled with colored water, creating a gemlike texture when lit.

A huge sphere made of tiny water-filled jars wired together, glistening like a jewel in the sun.

The dragon under construction, under Magnolia Plantation’s iconic trees draped with Spanish moss (Tillandsia usneoides, Zones 8–11).

In addition to this amazing light display, Magnolia Plantation is famous for its enormous collection of classic Southern flowering shrubs such as camellias and azaleas.


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View Comments


  1. User avater
    vanhatalosuomi 12/04/2019

    That was fantastic!
    Reminds me of all the ornaments and displays I saw firsthand when I lived in China. Ceramic plates, cups and saucers were all incorporated in the displays I've seen in the past.
    The colored water bottles was also something I'd previously seen. Very pretty when lit up at night, very glittery.
    Thanks for posting!

  2. Sunshine111 12/04/2019

    That was amazing! Very impressive. I’d love to see it but I’m not sure I’m going to make it this year. Is this something that will be reconstructed or used again in the future. Congratulations everyone who participated in this creation. You should all be very very proud

    1. User avater
      pattyeckels 12/04/2019

      If all goes well, the display will be exhibited every year. No, they do not reuse ANYTHING from this display. It will all be thrown away. They say it would cost to much to pack it in containers, put on ships and ship back to China. I am hoping to, um, “confiscate” a few plates. Lol. So glad y’all enjoyed these few pictures. There is so much more.

  3. Camamum27 12/04/2019

    Patty, what a magnificent display! Thanks for sharing.

  4. mjtrusz 12/04/2019

    I am so envious! what a beautiful display. Here in Massachusetts we have a Winter Lights display that is beautiful, especially because of our recent snowfall, but nothing to compete with this. Thank you for sharing.

  5. User avater
    treasuresmom 12/04/2019

    Oh, my, love this!

  6. User avater
    meander_michaele 12/04/2019

    So magical and enchanting. I adore the impression the silk lanterns give and the animal themes are adorably whimsical.

  7. btucker9675 12/04/2019

    Daniel Stowe Botanical Gardens, just north of us here in the Charlotte area, did a similar version of this a couple of years ago. It was fantastical! All varieties of animal lanterns, including in the water features. Thanks for sharing this one!

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