Monday, August 29, 2016

The Hay House


Photo Credit: The Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation

This is one of my favorite southern homes yet! The ride from Atlanta wasn’t bad and the tour lasted about an hour so we had time to have lunch in Macon as well.

First let me tell you about the house. William Butler Johnston invested in banking, railroads and utilities instead of cotton which was common for the South at the time.

When he was 40 years old he married 20 year old Anne Clark Tracy and they had a two and a half year honeymoon in Europe. They collected all kinds of porcelains and fine art. They were so inspired by the architecture in Europe that on their return home they constructed this Italian Renaissance Revival mansion in Macon starting in 1855 and continuing through 1959.

Architect T. Thomas and Son was commissioned to build the house and they had artisans from Italy to work on the home. The house had hot and cold running water, central heat, gas lighting and a speaker tube system. Reminded me a lot of Downtown Abbey except the Johnston’s had an elevator!

The Johnston’s had six children but only 2 survived past the age of two. Caroline and Mary Ellen. When their daughter Mary Ellen got married to William H. Felton they became the primary owners of the estate. They had one child, William Jr.


Mary Ellen and William H. Felton 1888 (Hay House Collection)

Louisa Macgill Gibson and William H. Felton Jr. around the time of their marriage in 1915. (Hay House Collection)
William Jr. and his wife Louisa sold the house in 1926 to Parks Lee Hay and his wife Maude who owned the Banker’s  Health and Life Insurance Company.

After Mrs. Hay’s death in 1962, her heirs opened the house for tours. In 1977 the ownership of the house was turned over to the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation.

Maude Saxon Murphy Hay and her stepchildren Vivian, Elizabeth, and P. L. Jr. in 1929. (Hay House Collection)
The original house sat on 3.8 acres but most of the land was sold. The only architectural landscaping left is the lower garden and fish pond and a few ginkgo, magnolias and cedar trees.

They give roof top tours and tours all the way to the top of the two story octagonal cupola but our tour guide told us we’d have to come back when the weather was cooler. It was nearly 100 degrees the day we visited so I understood the safety concern.

Loved the pocket doors and the crown molding! The arches in the hallway and the wine cellar. It was a very interesting trip and I hope you'll get to experience this historic home one day.
Stair case in the front hall (Hay House Collection)






Dining Room (Hay House Collection)
For more information, contact:
Hay House
934 Georgia Ave. Macon, Georgia 31201
478-742-8155
Fax 478-745-4277




Sunday, July 24, 2016

Hills and Dales

In 1841 Sarah Ferrell expanded her mothers small garden originally planted in 1832. Sarah started planting boxwoods, native and exotic plants and opened her 35 acre garden to the public.

Photo Credit: Callaway Estates
When she died in 1903 the gardens became overgrown and uncared for.
In 1911 Fuller Callaway bought the property he remembered walking through with Sarah as a child.
He built Hills and Dales on the site where Sarah Ferrell house had been and this became the Callaway family home.



Hill and Dales estate is open to the public. The house is interesting to walk through and the tour guides are very knowledgeable but the big draw are the many gardens that surround the house and terraces.

The gardens consist of the Tea Hedge Garden, Magnolia Walk, Boxwood Walk, Fountain Terrace and Lovers Lane to name a few. But the most impressive to me was the Church Garden.
Photo Credit: Whitehaven

The Church Garden was created by Sarah Ferrell. It contains a boxwood hedge shaped like a harp. Other beds represents the pews, organ and offering plate creating a natural  outdoor sanctuary.
The Ray Garden was originally meant for vegetables but was converted into a rose and ornamental flower  garden in 1950.

In 1916 a greenhouse was built on the property and was remodeled in 1949. One section contains orchids, begonias and blooming tropicals. The next part houses ferns. In the third section you’ll find snapdragons, carnations and other flowers meant for cutting.The greenskeeper was happy to answer any questions that we had.

Photo Credit: Deep South Magazine

The house celebrates it’s centennial this year. It’s worth the drive.
1916 Hills and Dales Drive
LaGrange, Georgia

Friday, June 10, 2016

Hydrangeas from my Garden

Photo Credit: CK Worley

Hydrangeas are the perfect bouquet flower with many different colors ranging from blue to white to pink. The soil has a lot to do with the color of the flower.

Photo Credit: CK Worley

 A pH of less than 5.5 will give you more blue tones
A pH of more than 5.5 will produce more flowers in the pink family.

Care is easy. Cut away the dead wood in the fall or early spring. They do like water and will let you know by their wilting leaves when they need more.

Here are some of the photos I took of my mop head and lace-cap hydrangeas.





I’m so glad they decided to bloom because last year I didn’t get one blossom!
That was weather related I’m afraid.


Photo Credit: CK Worley

 My Oakleaf  Hydrangea didn’t bloom this year at all because I pruned it at the wrong time.

The Oakleaf flowers from the previous years growth so pruning in the winter or early spring will cut off all the blooms for that summer.

It’s best to prune right after they flower and before the new blossoms form.

Lesson learned.
Photo Credit: CK Worley

How old is the hydrangea plant?



The oldest fossils found dated back to 40 - 65 million years ago. They were found in Alaska, Oregon and California.








The plant was used to help with kidney stones and bronchitis many thousands of years ago in China and Japan so the species has been around for a very long time.


Photo Credit: CK Worley
Photo Credit: CK Worley
There are flowers that go with anniversaries. I never knew that!

#1-  Carnation

#2 -  Lily of The Valley

#3 - The Sunflower




And to celebrate the Fourth Wedding Anniversary - the flower is the Hydrangea!


 So if you know someone who is celebrating their 4th Anniversary. A Hydrangea plant would be the perfect gift!

Photo Credit: CK Worley
 I hope you enjoyed the hydrangeas from my garden here at Setters Run.