Janet Rigsby, staff horticulturist, remarked “We have several sources of written documentation for this area. One states that The West Garden was ‘an informal collection of cherry laurels, lilacs, roses and a large bed of sweet lavender.’ Another source says it was ‘filled with roses, pinks, lilies, sweet shrubs and even a cape jasmine, an immense bush taller than the tallest man, and a row of figs against the fence.’” For those unaware, cape jasmine is what we now refer to as gardenia.
Ms. Rigsby and her team of volunteers sweated through many long and hot days, recreating an expanse that now includes antique roses and some of the companion plants indicated in the documentation. The “sweet bed of lavender” referred to in historic papers has been lovingly restored and is of vital importance during the historic home’s annual Lavender Festival which occurs the 2nd Saturday in June. The garden beds are edged in upward facing stones which mimic the original edging patterns created by the King ancestors during the garden’s creation in the 1840’s. Local landscaper, Meadows Landscaping, participated in much of the hardscaping and additional labor.
A work in progress, like any garden, Ms. Rigsby will continue to embellish the landscape with historically accurate plantings referring to King family documents in an effort to authentically recreate and maintain this exceptional space. The grant was completed in April 2012, but additional work continues on this garden and is expected to be fully realized by May 2013. The West Gardens of Barrington Hall are a nod to the home’s women gardeners, particularly Eva Baker, daughter of Barrington King, who was a rosarian, and Evelyn Simpson, lovingly referred to as the “original lavender queen.”
Visitors are always welcome to stroll the gardens at Barrington Hall, the only public antebellum garden in metro Atlanta. Free guided garden tours, led by Janet Rigsby, are available on Wednesdays, March through September, at 9:30AM. Please visit our website for information on a six-week lunch ‘n learn garden lecture series led by Ms. Rigsby.
For further information, please call Barrington Hall at 770.640.3855 or log onto our website at www.southerntrilogy.com.