Wednesday, May 30, 2012

From the Archives...Brookgreen Gardens

Dionysus, by Edward Francis McCartans, 1936

Anna Hyatt Huntington was a largely self taught sculpter who grew up in a family of scientists who studied animals. From a young age she was fascinated by and loved to study animals too. She did study sculpture later under Herman MacNeil and Guzton Borglum at the Art Students League of New York.

Anna and Archer Huntington built these gardens around the idea of having a large American figurative sculpture collection at Brookgreen Gardens, especially those pieces that could be situated in an outdoor setting. And of course the collection was built around Anna's own sculpture. Today at Brookgreen there are over 1200 sculptures by 350 artists - from the 19th century to the 21st century. Here are a few photos of some of my favorites.

Diana of the Chase, Anna Hyatt Huntington

Alligator Bender, Nathaniel Choate

Christ Child, Adam Belskie

Riders of the Dawn, Adolph Alexander Weinman

Inspired by Psalm 139

Samuel and the Lion

Reaching Jaguar, Anna Hyatt Huntington

The Vortex

all photos via Whitehaven

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Ferrell Gardens, Gardens of Hills and Dales, LaGrange Georgia

Ferrell Gardens, on the grounds of Hills and Dales, LaGrange, Georgia

The garden attached to Hills and Dales is known as Ferrell Gardens and has been planted as a formal garden since the 1830's. The land was bought by Mickelberry and Nancy Ferrell in 1832 and the garden plans begun. By the 1840's the gardens were established and were being cared for by the Ferrells' daughter, Sarah, and her husband Blount. They built a house on the land at the high point of the property. The gardens were a natural extension of the house. Sarah Ferrell turned the gardens into a gardener's paradise and people came from all over the South to see Sarah's boxwood plantings. She planted them in many fanciful and beautiful patterns - one area spells GOD and another is planted to resemble a harp and another is a church garden, a sanctuary.

Boxwoods spelling GOD

The church garden, here and below

Map of the gardens, from the Hills and Dales materials

Union troups marched through LaGrange in 1862, but Ferrell Gardens was not harmed. Sarah tended the gardens until her death in 1903. Her husband tried to keep up the gardens after her death, but they were not the same without Sarah. Blount Ferrell died in 1908 and the gardens were untended until 1911 when Fuller Callaway Sr bought the property. Mr Callaway remembered playing in the gardens as a boy - Sarah and Blount Ferrell had always let the gardens be open to the public for all to enjoy.

In 1913 the Callaways hired Hentz and Reid, Architects from Atlanta to design a house for the site. The house was to placed on the same site as the Ferrell house. It was designed in the Italian Georgian villa style. The house was renamed Hills and Dales when the Callaways moved into their new house in 1916. Ida Callaway cared for the gardens for her entire life and so did Alice Callaway, who lived there with her husband Fuller Jr (after the death of Fuller Sr and his wife Ida). All of the women who have lived on this land have been mesmerized by its beauty and have tended and cared for the gardens. Alice Callaway began each day with notes in her gardening book about what the day's labor would be. After Alice Callaway's death in 1998 the house and grounds were left to the Callaway Foundation and were meant to be enjoyed by all. A restoration was begun and the house opened to the public in 2004. You can see Alice's gardening room and notebook there. More information here.

Monday, May 14, 2012

House of the Week

Hills and Dales, LaGrange, Georgia

This beautiful house was built in 1916 by Fuller and Ida Callaway. It was Mr. Callaway's 25th wedding anniversary present to his wife. Hal Hentz and Neel Reid of Atlanta were hired to design the house. Both architects were young men at the time, Hentz 31 and Reid 29. Amazingly, the house was built in 15 months. With the amount of detail and the size of the house, they must have had hundreds of workers at the house to build it in that time frame. The house is an Italian-Georgian villa, and is a feast for the eyes.

Hills and Dales was privately owned by the Callaway family until 1998. Two sets of Callaways raised their children in the house. First Fuller and Ida raised their two boys, Cason and Fuller Jr. And then Fuller Jr and his wife Alice raised their two children Fuller and Ida. Both Ida and Alice were avid gardeners and spent their lives tending to the fantastic gardens attached to the property. The gardens predate the house and were planned beginning in 1841 by Sarah Ferrell. I will have photos of the gardens and more about them later in the week. Fuller Jr died in 1992 and his wife Alice lived there until her death in 1998. The house and property were bequeathed to the Fuller E. Callaway foundation with the specification that they be used for the education and enjoyment of the public. The house and property underwent extensive restoration and have been open to the public since 2004.

My mother and I visited Hills and Dales this past weekend while also staying at the Lodge at Callaway Gardens. Learning about the Callaway family was fascinating. They have given back so much to their community and their love of beauty and nature is infectious. I highly recommend a trip to LaGrange to see Hills and Dales along with a visit to Callaway Gardens. You will find yourself refreshed and the beauty around you will renew your soul.

Stay tuned this week - we'll have photos of and information about the gorgeous gardens at Hills and Dales. This is a Georgia treasure you will want to visit!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mother's Day!

Spent a relaxing, wonderful weekend with my mom at Callaway Gardens. Happy Mother's Day to all the mothers out there. Enjoy your day.