Terrell garden is new, but fits well with old house
By Jimmy Williams
Posted: Tuesday, April 24, 2012 8:00 pm
Patrick and Rachel Terrell are the fifth (and current) owners of a nice brick house at 317 Walnut St. in Henry County. It was built in 1923 in the heyday of development of the Atkins-Porter neighborhood when the elementary school was in its early years and the district was popular with parents of school-age children.
The Terrells purchased the house in 2002 at the estate sale of the Currier family. What a transformation they have made.
The Curriers were not ardent gardeners, but owners previous to them apparently were. Many flat sandstones that had been brought to the site and outlined old beds at some time in the past were uncovered and stacked back for later use.
It is obvious that the Terrells are adept at decorating, both inside and out. The house was tackled first. It was renovated and is tastefully furnished with artwork and unique pieces. Then came the garden. It will be one of three, and the youngest, to be on the Athena Delphian Club garden walk from 3-5:30 p.m. May 6.
The other two homes are those of Gaines and Becky Hedges at 311 Head St. and Jimmy and Peggy Williams at 1315 East Blythe St. Live music will be furnished at the Hedges’ garden and refreshments available at the Terrells.’ Favorite plants of the gardeners have been potted and will be for sale.
Tickets, at $15 for all three sites, are available at Jack Jones Flowers and Gifts, Maggie’s and Wofford’s Nursery in Henry County and The Iron Place and Rolling Hills Nursery in Murray, Ky., as well as from any club member. All proceeds will go toward Delphian charity efforts, including scholarships for deserving students and the arts.
A popular garden feature in the 1920s was a fish pool. There are still a few original ones extant in older neighborhoods. There was no evidence of one at the Currier place, so imagine Pat Terrell’s surprise when he was investigating some exposed concrete curbing in the back yard and, upon checking further, found a buried fish pool in excellent condition. It had apparently been filled in with soil at some time in the past. It has been restored.
Rachel Terrell descends from a line of gardeners, including lovers of native plants, and Pat Terrell from farmers, so they come by a desire to plant and grow honestly. They took on the small front yard in the fall of 2003, and the first thing to go in was a redbud tree at the house corner, which now is some 20 feet tall, well pruned out.
A large willow oak, also in the front, was removed (good riddance), making room for more niceties including a dogwood, inkberry hollies, ornamental grasses, azaleas, perennials (outstanding of which is a spectacular stand of autumn anemones) and on almost ad infinitum.
Presently, there it was — the plantsman’s dream: garden city. The cramming went on until saturation was reached.
After a large hemlock fortuitously blew down in the east side yard, that area, too, went under the plow, until it was jammed with choice shrubs and perennials, centered with a classy fountain.
Then, they took on the challenge of a fenced back yard that had been largely ignored. Craftsmen from Routon Construction made a silk purse from a sow’s ear when they added to one side of a detached brick garage, probably original to the house, a covered patio with a large stone fireplace in one corner; most enjoyable on crisp autumn and spring evenings.
A potting shed (it is an insult to call it that) is as architecturally distinctive as anything on the place, with attractive recycled windows and complete with a copper canopy over the door.
The once barren back plot, perhaps 50 feet by 75 feet, has developed, in just more than a year, into a garden that seems much older. A big old red oak there helps, along with some sizeable shrubs installed by Jessie and Joey Williams, who also built retaining walls with the aforementioned sandstone. Exposed aggregate walks were also constructed by the two brothers.
The fish pool is right beside the new patio and fireplace, and they are the centerpiece of the garden.
Then, just this month, the west side yard was landscaped with more than 60 plants, including azaleas, winter jasmine, Chinese redbuds, an Elizabeth magnolia, Virginia sweetspire, hydrangeas and, well, you get the picture I hope.
Go see for yourself what grit and skill can do in a relatively short period of time.
Editor’s note: Jimmy Williams is production superintendent at The Paris Post-Intelligencer, where he also writes this column.
Published in The Messenger 4.24.12