Tuesday, April 12, 2016

A Spectacular Garden Tour

You are in for a treat today, touring through a beautiful garden which has been a work in progress for 29 years. My friends, Dale and Joan Marsh have a love for beauty.  Dale and Joan both love antiques and enjoy collecting beautiful art for their home and garden. Dale is the quintessential gardener and Joan the quintessential designer, a great combination.
 Their Louisiana Low Country Style home was built in 1987 on a large woodland lot.  It has charm and grace depicting their love of architecture and history that you will see firsthand as we tour.
In the cool of the early morning with blue skies, I  had an enjoyable time photographing the beauty of spring flowers in their garden.

 Many colors of azaleas, dogwoods, magnolias, oak and pine trees grace the natural area leading up to their home.

 Side of the house leading to the back gardens.

 View of their beautiful fountain and back terrace looking out over the gardens. The fountain was purchased in New Orleans and the fencing on the terrace is from an old home in the local area.
Katherine, their daughter, in the garden before her wedding recently. What a beautiful bride she was!

This is the whole family. From left to right: Dale, Joan, son, daughter and her husband. Joan insists this garden is Dale's because of his hard work and devotion to it. Everything other than the natural area and initial foundation plants, driveway azaleas and brick path boxwoods was put here by him alone. Joan says, her role was to provide design and structure. She says," He is the gardener I am the under-gardener." The tour begins.
Strolling down the woodland steps the native azaleas are in full bloom and the fragrance was ethereal.

The old millstone was under an old oak tree at Joan's grandparents home. Loving old things Dale salvaged it before the home was sold probably knowing he would find the perfect spot to keep it in the family and preserve it's history.

This gorgeous statuary sets the stage for the next vista.

      The rose arbor laden with beautiful Lady Banks roses.  We have enjoyed garden parties in their garden throughout the years and we always enjoy viewing the sunset from the pavilion shown in the background.    

Lady Banks blossoms don't last long but are so beautiful at their peak.

This photo does not do the arbor justice. 
To the right of the arbor is a large viburnum full of luscious blossoms. 
 The viburnum or what is commonly called snowballs are striking and like this location. This charming old birdbath was also from Joan's grandmother's yard.

The splendor of the beautiful day and spring flowers was delightful.
There is a feast for the eyes everywhere you look. Antique gates and urns accent plants of all kinds along the trail. I'm sure these irises will be blooming soon.

This plant is Mountain Laurel which Dale dug up from the woods at his farm. It is a native species of Alabama and the Southeast. 
The passion and love of plants and beautiful garden antiques evident in this garden charm all who enter.
Florida anise. Quite beautiful!

 Center entrance to the garden. Close ups below of statuary.

I don't believe their collection of beautiful statuary can be matched for miles around.
Coming up the trail to another part of the garden there is a special large spreading Japanese maple tree that is a favorite spot of Joan's.
There is a bench underneath the tree where Joan sits and enjoys this exquisite tree. She told me she felt God's presence so strong there. This bench was her mother's and on the other side of the tree is another of her mother's benches.
I told her that my camera could not capture what God's eyes could see.  What I was viewing with my eyes was so much more beautiful than the photograph. 
 From underneath the Japanese maple looking up at the house.
 The blue of the sky and the new green was so pretty.

This was Joan's mother's bench on the other side of the Japanese Maple. I'm sure many prayers of praise have been prayed here. Close up of ram in background in next pic.
There is a story behind each vignette. A shopping trip together exploring usually is a fruitful addition to their garden. They enjoy traveling together and find great treasures near and far. 
The ram depicts the sacrifice God provided to Abraham for Isaac, and is a garden symbol from the Roman days.
These ladies are from Joan's mother's garden. Mrs. Warren toiled in her garden joyfully and it was beautiful also.
 Crossing the lawn toward the garage and into another garden there are many lovely vignettes.
 Love the juxtaposition of the french iris and dusty miller.
 Another graceful Japanese maple cascading over the sweet season statuary

It takes tremendous planning and backbreaking work to create a garden.
Now we are entering what they affectionately call the "kettle garden."

Sweet scrub.

 According to Dale, the 80 gallon cast iron syrup kettle now made into a fountain came from an "old syrup making family " in Samson, Alabama.  It was manufactured in Chattanooga. Dale remembers every detail and it is fascinating to hear the history behind all the pieces. Notice the figure in the background.

This antique cast iron jockey holding a lantern was always admired by Dale and was gifted to him by Miss Elizabeth Ballard's estate a number of years ago. It stood at the end of her doorsteps for as long as he can recall. She was a family friend and later a client.
 Whimsical turtle planter made me smile.

View from the side of the garage where comfortable seating is enjoyed for quiet lunches and morning coffee and meditations overlooking the garden.

Joan is a talented designer and has an antique business called Legends. She has a booth at Scott Antiques Market in Atlanta a number of times a year and also has a booth At Montgomery Antiques and Interiors, Montgomery, Alabama.
      I have enjoyed hearing the history of so many of their vintage pieces. I am glad I can record this information for their children as well as many of our local friends that are familiar with these places.  The Victorian window on the garden side of the garage came from the old parsonage of First United Methodist Church, which once stood where the Citizens Bank building is located across the street from the FUMC sanctuary in our town.   It was taken down and demolished, except for 2 windows, one of which is pictured above.

 Variegated hydrangeas. The garden is magical when the hydrangeas are  blooming in late May and early June. They host lovely garden parties on their terrace quite often when the hydrangeas are blooming. Strolling through the garden is a special tradition we all look forward to enjoying.
I learned these posts are called bollards. These French cast iron bollards were bought over 20 years ago at an antique store in Montgomery, Alabama. The attached heavy chain was moved from their farm.
As you meander down the brick path various varieties of camellias greet you.
 Dale, in his element with his beloved camellias.

A myriad of quaint seating areas are scattered throughout delight the eye.
The bell was the school bell for Piney Grove School, which was located near the Marsh farm.

        The front porch fretwork for Kate’s playhouse was taken from the Edwards home (Joan's great grandmother and father’s home) at the intersection of Edwards Street and Daleville Avenue where the present Citizens Bank is standing. It was demolished to make way for the bank and the porch columns, baluster rail and gingerbread all came from the front porch of the Edwards home.
 I had a fit over these cute bunnies!
 Don't you love all the details? Mail box and everything!
The gable eve work standing next to the door of the playhouse also came from the Edwards home. 

Green bottle tree. History of bottle trees found here.
The blue bottle tree is based on an old African tradition to ward off "evil spirits", with the evil spirits being trapped inside the blue bottles, and providing some measure of protection to the homeowners.

The gate to the back property called Bernie's Gate after the friend who built it.

So lovely.
The  special rose garden will soon be full of beautiful roses with lovely scents. Catherine was a sweet fragrance of beauty in our lives and is sorely missed.

Buckeye plant native to Alabama and the southeast.

Would you believe there is so much more to see?

 Joan adds, "that their garden and all of nature really, feeds her soul." When I walk through it and see God's creation in the flowers and shining through the sun dappled trees I immediately think of the song, Hallelujah by Chris Rice." View it here.

The love and passion for this beautiful garden shines through.
I know you can see how talented and knowledgable Dale and Joan are. They are very special friends of mine. Thank you Joan and Dale for allowing me to share your garden. It was indeed a pleasure for all of us.

Blessings to you today, Bonnie
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