A tour of The Ferrell Garden at the Callaway Estate in LaGrange, Georgia. Part two of a series. Click here to see the previous article
We had watched an informative short film on the beginning and development of the gardens. The formal gardens were started in 1841 when Sarah Coleman Ferrell began expanding a garden begun by her mother in 1832. After Sarah’s death, the site was purchased by Fuller Callaway, Senior, who built a mansion on a hill overlooking the garden in 1911.
A trolley took us from the visitor’s center to the front of the home. A guided tour of the home is available but I went the other way because the gardens beckoned. (That’s a common theme of my life, going the other way). I enjoyed the many container plantings in the garden and was interested in a weeping blue atlas cedar that had been pruned in a different sort of way.
A boxwood was shaped in a whimsical manner on the side of the pool house. There’s no telling how many years it took to get the original shape and then to keep it going.
The next section of the garden, the Ray Garden, was unique. To quote the information sheet: “In the early to mid-1900s the Callaways had a large vegetable garden in this area. In 1950, Alice converted part of that garden into the ray garden, where she grew roses and ornamental conifers. The ‘rays’ are now planted with colorful annuals and perennials. The garden also includes a statue of Demosthenes.”
Our tour of the gardens was in mid-April which, I would assume, is a few days too early for planting annuals and other tender plants. There was an area that held several “cold frames.” These structures are made to be covered when a late frost is threatened. Their protective warmth comes from the earth that surrounds them. I can remember building a much simpler cold frame for my grandmother in 1959. I used three dollars from my paper route money to buy the materials. Farmers and other plant growers used the cold frame principle to get a head start on their gardening projects.
We were next greeted by a magnificent herb/flower garden. There was an elaborate entry way with columns, roses, and a place to rest.
A striking collection of antique climbing rose had been trained around four columns. This had originally been a rose garden but was converted to herbs of all kinds in 1960.
I have always liked the use of pea gravel and bricks to delineate raised beds. The combination is pleasing and it works well. This herb garden contained all sorts of medicinal, culinary, and fragrance plants along with potted dwarf fruit trees.
A little square with trimmed boxwood plants and a potted, well-shaped fruit tree is a masterpiece in my estimation.
This next plant made me stop and think. I haven’t grown any in quite some time, so the name escaped me for a moment. Then I slapped my forehead—of course, yarrow.
It had been quite a nice trip so far. Then I saw the greenhouse…
Continued next week…