The hillside gardens at Oak Hill and The Martha Berry Museum will soon receive a much-needed facelift thanks to a $3,000 matching grant from the Garden Club of Georgia.
The club, based in Athens, Ga., gives grants for historic landscape and garden renewal. Tim Brown, director of Oak Hill and The Martha Berry Museum, said the selection for restoration projects is very specific.
"It cannot be for anything new, but has to be a recreation of a historic garden," Brown said.
The gardens were planted between 1927 and 1933. Martha Berry wanted to establish a Colonial revival garden landscape to mirror renovations being done on the house. Robert Cridland, a landscape artist from Philadelphia, designed the gardens surrounding the house. He had worked for Martha Berry before and landscaped much of Berry's Campus and was also responsible for the gardens at the House O'Dreams on Lavender Mountain.
"Berry has a treasure trove of historic documents and letters between Miss Berry and Mr. Cridland, along with blueprints of the original gardens," Brown said.
Cridland envisioned the Hillside Garden to be a natural landscape to complement the formal gardens and the Greek architecture of the home, and extend the beauty of the woodlands.During recent years the hillside has become overgrown.
"The hillside was originally intended to have azaleas, dogwood and a hardwood tree canopy that overlooked the vista to floodplain and fields below. It's now completely overgrown with mahonia, privet, wisteria and other vines," Brown added.
Oak Hill will employ Sally Giles, a landscape consultant of Athens, Ga., to head the project which also will reintroduce dogwoods to the hillside, as Cridland had intended. Brown said the project will restore the trees to health and the invasive species will be removed. Work will begin this month.
Prepared by Student Public Relations Assistant Katherine McDonald.