Memory Garden at Peachtree and 16th St Atlanta

I got a chance to visit this garden in Atlanta’s First Presbyterian church. A little history of the designer: The only landscape designer I know of back in the early 20th Century around Atlanta, Edith H. Henderson (1911-2005), lived with her husband James R. Henderson, Sr. at 1028 Amsterdam Ave in the 1930’s when she was working in the garden department at Rich’s downtown and he was a salesman at Hastings Nursery. In the 1950’s, they lived at 250 Brighton Rd NE when he was a department manager at Spratlin Harrington & Co (insurance?) and she’s listed as a Landscape Architect. She designed this garden in sometime in the 1960’s I think but haven’t confirmed that.

Here’s the plan from a recent renovation, which has not been fully planted yet

The garden itself isn’t labeled within the church but it’s located near the eastern part of the property near the Candler Chapel and is completely enclosed by the building. There are two entrances one on the north and one on the south. Here are some pictures from yesterday

The drain is indicated on the diagram and the block next to it is a memorial to Nellie Inman Cooper (1870-1911) who is buried at West Laurel Hill Cemetery in Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania. Her father, Samuel Inman (1843-1915), put up much of the money for Joel Hurt’s Inman Park neighborhood and for which it is named. He made his money in cotton in Atlanta and Houston.

On the southside, is the bird bath as marked. The plantings are mostly non-natives including the dwarf grass, japanese hydrangea but I did see a fringe tree. The site doesn’t get a ton of light but the water feature is nice.

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Ask Pliny: Did the Ancient Romans have a form of bonsai?

For there is also the variety of sycamore called the ground-plane, stunted in height—since we have discovered the art of producing abortions even in trees, and consequently even in the tree class we shall have to speak of the unhappy subject of dwarfs. The ground-plane is produced by a method of planting and of lopping. Clipped arbours were invented within the last 80 years by a member of the Equestrian order named Gaius Matius, a friend of his late Majesty Augustus.

Most scholars assume Pliny is talking about topiary but let your latin be the judge:

Namque et chamaeplatani vocantur coactae brevitatis, quoniam arborum etiam abortus invenimus; hoc quoque ergo in genere pumilionum infelicitas dicta erit. fit autem et serendi genere et recidendi. primus C. Matius ex equestri ordine, divi Augusti amicus, invenit nemora tonsilia intra hos LXXX annos.

I think he must be talking about bonsai techniques. Matius was a close friend of Cicero and Julius Caesar, accompanying him throughout the Gaul campaign. Found a neat little bio piece about Matius by Frank Frost Abbott. It’s on page 268 of his 1911 book, The Common People of Ancient Rome There’s a cleaner text version on but you can’t link directly to the correct page.

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Coral mushrooms?

Ok, that’s what I’d call it:

During Hurricane Opal, we lost a pretty good sized oak tree in the back. Some of my excavations exposed the dead or dying roots and just noticed these mushrooms this morning. Need to find out the real name!

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Sagging branch collars

Sweetbay magnolias are the only species I’ve noticed this on:

It’s almost like horizontal ropes of trunk “muscles” are loosened and sag around the bottom of the branch collar.

I wonder if all trees have this but their bark isn’t smooth enough for it to show?

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Using Georgia Native Plants: Snag Down

I haven’t kept any stumps. As my Quick Forest fills in, I’ll need to keep a few. For now, I have two birdboxes and carolina wrens just moved into one last week

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Ask Pliny: What’s the best way to pot a plant?

Some persons recommend putting at the bottom a layer of potsherds—others prefer round stones—in order to hold in the moisture and also let some through, thinking that flat stones do not act in the same way and prevent the root from reaching the earth. A middle course between the two opinions would be to pave the bottom with a layer of gravel. XII.xvi.82

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A little on Edith Henderson

An old Lee May column mentioned her, apparently she was an avante-garde gardener (must be a pun, right?). Here’s an article about one of her garden designs that was recently refurbished near the High Museum in Atlanta. I’m hoping to get there this week to take some pictures. Here’s the post, if you’re the copywrite holder I’m happy to take this down, but I’ve seen too many things I like just disappear off the web.

Found it here: garden renovation

I’ll post any good pictures I take and am interested in any stories people might have about her. She worked for the downtown Rich’s Department Store in the late 1930’s. Not sure where the garden was (Roof? Store for Homes? Jeff?) Here’s the bibliography I could put together so far:

  • Home Landscape Companion, Peachtree Publishers, 1993, 149pp. Organized by season and then by month, this guide introduces readers to the basics of landscape design and aesthetics, including privacy, color, texture, focal points, fragrance, lighting, and more. Each seasonal section concludes with a sampling of the chores to be accomplished during each month. 40 line illustrations by Vicky Holifield.
  •  The Peachtree Garden Book: A Month-by-Month Guide for Lawn & Garden Care in the Southeast, Peaceworks Publishers, 1982.

Looking for peer-reviewed journal articles next.

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