During our first summer heat wave, my mother and I traveled 85 miles south to Columbus, Georgia to tour seven private downtown Columbus Historic District gardens on the 2010 Keep Columbus Beautiful Tour of Gardens. All the private gardens were on Broadway, so we parked our car and enjoyed a walk along the brick roadway under huge, established shade trees. At each garden, local artists from the Joseph House Art Gallery set up easels and were painting garden scenes.
I have family roots in Columbus. My mother was born and grew up in Columbus. I was born in Columbus, and my cousin, Susan Binns, lives in Columbus and owns a lovely home on Broadway, built in 1845, that was featured on the garden tour. All seven of the private gardens on the tour are as stunning as anything you
will see in Savannah or Charleston.
Combining the old with the new can be a challenge. The owners of these historic gardens understood how to incorporate the best mature features of their gardens with their own imaginative and updated designs. Towering shade trees and heirloom period plants attested to the age of the gardens. But each garden was updated to reflect how the present day owners want to use their space. Comfortable outdoor “rooms” were a big part of the updated designs.
The tour also included five public gardens in the district. We stopped at the Walker-Peters-Langdon House on Broadway which is a Federal cottage built in 1828 and is considered the oldest house in Columbus. The gardens included plants grown during the mid to late 1800s, such as culinary herbs, medicinal herbs, color/fragrance herbs, a vegetable garden and a rose garden. Local master gardeners tend this historic
garden as part of their volunteer service in the community.
You can get so many ideas for your own garden by going on a garden tour. I loved the color combinations used in the pots sitting on the porches and in the plantings beds. I appreciated the use of the tried-and-true Southern favorites, including hydrangeas, gardenias, caladiums and ferns. The beautiful formality of boxwood hedges was so charming. This garden tour was fabulous and made me appreciate the beauty and character of Columbus.
Take a day trip to Columbus. For more information about the Historic District, go to http://www.historiccolumbus.com/