Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Garden Library Gift

Detail of Woodrow Ogden, photographer. Ante-Bellum Louisiana Home, Afton Villa, St. Francisville, Louisiana. n.d. Printed by H.N. Conray, Inc., New Orleans.

The Southeastern Architectural Archive is home to the Garden Library of the New Orleans Town Gardeners, a local garden club affiliated with the Garden Club of America and the Smithsonian Institution.

Last week, through the efforts of New Orleans Town Gardener Ruthie Frierson, the Library was the recipient of an important gift from Genevieve Munson Trimble, who has spent nearly the last forty years preserving the gardens of Afton Villa Plantation. Ms. Munson Trimble has generously donated her gardening journals, both the originals and copies, as well as landscape architect Neil Odenwald's related reports, to the Garden Library.

Although the plantation home, shown above, was destroyed by fire in 1963, Trimble's vigorous preservation efforts have resulted in a revitalized series of terraced gardens and a romantic garden amidst the ruins, the latter inspired by Vita Sackville-West's Sissinghurst Castle Garden, Kent. Trimble's journals provide a wealth of information, from records of hardy (and not-so-hardy) plant varieties to accounts of personally significant events, wedding together her landscaping and her life.

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