Gardens in Decatur, GA

I volunteered for the Decatur Garden Tour this weekend and my friend Kathleen and I were able to visit a few gardens in the morning, before long awaited rains began just before my shift in the afternoon. Longtime garden designer Ryan Gainey‘s compound is always a treat and he presided over his five dogs, who chased after us down one of his magical paths.

Coming into the garden, we passed by his 1933 Ford, in mint condition.

the treehouse is the real thing, you can go up by small steps to view the gardens below, filled with local sculptures.

the guest cottage is a charming retro place, fitted out with kitchen and bedroom.

Christine Sibley was a renowned Atlanta ceramicist; this is her Sunflower chair.

Gainey’s main house is covered with vines and so much green that the dormer seems to be growing.

one of the few formal aspects to the gardens is a manicured boxwood allée.

the original greenhouse is one reason Gainey bought the property 30 years ago.

Ryan Gainey and me.

Many other gardens on the tour were worth a visit – we saw about four. These are various shots from each.

Raised beds for veggies makes sense in a region working with water conservation and droughts.

Bamboo makes wonderful screens, but has to be managed carefully.

TN fieldstone was hauled in for this hard landscape.

This small garden shed set into a large level yard, was built by a local carpenter.

I didn’t get photos of the last garden due to rain, but the layout was a front lawn turned edible yard, via the Decatur ‘Lawns to Lettuce’ program. Old cardboard, layered newspaper and cheap dirt was brought in to start a June garden that turned remarkably productive. Vines, melons, gourds, vegetables and herbs had already been harvested and plans to reduce more lawn were in place.

The Oakhurst Community  Garden Project sponsored the contest for the edible front lawn, and they work to teach environmental awareness through their hands-on education programs. I look forward to my own garden’s rewewal once I haul in a ton of old newspapers, free bark mulch and mushroom compost.

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5 Responses to Gardens in Decatur, GA

  1. I always forget just how lush and green and enveloping the landscape is down there. It must be a very different place to garden then the Northeast.

  2. V says:

    Michelle, my yard down here in GA was as dry as a brick until the recent rain we had.
    PA soil where I lived – in Chester County- is much more loamy and fertile, and gets adequate rain. Atlanta has been in another drought lately. But we make do. Mr. Gainey has had years to amend his gardens and I hope to follow his lead.

    The good news is that everything breaks down faster- we’re almost in the tropics!

  3. Ali Hossaini says:

    What a delightful tour! It’s practically tropical there, and I enjoyed seeing the vernacular approach to gardens, sculpture and interior design. I especially liked your comments about the edible yard. Is that movement getting momentum in Atlanta? Maybe you could provide more coverage of Lawns to Lettuce.

  4. I agree, I am very interested in the Lawns to Lettuce idea too!

    I just remember Atlanta being full of vines which cover everything — I guess those are able to manage in that soil, and with more sporadic rain fall?

  5. Pingback: Decatur Spring Garden Tour, Sunday | Victoria Webb - Furious Dreams. Painter, Designer, Activist

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