People frequently ask me what gardens I recommend in Charleston, and my reponse is usually, "just wander the streets of the historic district". There are many wonderful "peek-a-boo" gardens in small spaces beside and behind homes on the peninsula that are worth strolling by. Among the best areas is Church Street south of the intersection with Tradd, where gateways and driveways often open to manicured plots of blooms and greenery. Residents are obviously very proud of these gardens, and welcome views from the street, but please be respectful of privacy and enjoy the gardens from the sidewalk. As plantation gardens, Magnolia Plantation Gardens would be my pick. The main gardens were created from colonial rice fields, and feature sparkling ponds with arched pedestrian bridges surrounded by flora and fauna. Magnolia also offers walks through its Audubon Swamp Garden, with paths taking visitors through the stunning beauty of indigenous cypress swamp.