Sunday, May 8, 2011

Ryan Gainey's Garden--Connoisseurs Garden Tour 2011

If James Brown is the Godfather of Soul, 
then Ryan Gainey must be the Godfather of Atlanta Gardening.

Ryan Gainey's garden starts at the street--no it spills over into the street--and trickles down the curb to his neighbors front yards. (Some of the neighbors have Tour Worthy yards, too. The pressure must be intense.)

Ryan Gainey helped start the Botanical Garden's Connoisseurs Garden Tour many years ago and he volunteers his garden as a stop every year.  It's really great to tour the same garden year after year and see how it changes.

Mr. Gainey purchased this property in 1982. There were at least three green houses--it had been some kind of commercial operation.

By the way--the house was built in 1920 or there abouts.

The garden is divided into "Rooms" laid out along pathways.  There's an informal side of the garden and a  formal side.  Maybe Mr. Gainey's style developed, the trends changed or the land dictated.

Here we enter the informal winding path on the east side of the garden.

Here's a little glimpse of the path.  Notice the greenhouse in the background.  It's one of the three.

One thing that always strikes me about Ryan Gainey's garden--yes, I've been there about 5 times over the years--his plants are thick and dense and look so natural. 

There's a delightful mix of garden statuary, pots and vertical elements--always something interesting to look at.

This grape arbor runs more or less parallel with the winding path and the second greenhouse.

Of the three greenhouses this one is most used at this time of year. Could be the others are put into service in the winter for tender plants.

The winding path continues along the back side of the property.  I love this oak leaf hydrangea.

The west section of the garden is  more formal--laid out on an axis. Even with the formal bones the plantings are still lush and spill out over their boundaries.


I love the lines of sight Mr. Gainey has created here.
He always frames the view. Many times it's with an arbor.

At the end of the axis is something interesting.

This rustic arbor is in the middle of one of the "rooms." 

It's occuring to me that I probably take the same pictures every year. I don't care--I like them.

A few years ago Mr. Gainey bought the house next door.  He's expanding into that back yard with rows of sunny borders that include tomatoes and a few herbs.

See how he invites us in.

When we left he was sitting in this rocking chair with one of his five Jack Russels.  Another pup escorted us to the car.  I overheard a snippet of conversation as we strolled past.  The garden manager (volunteer from the tour) commented that Mr. Gainey was so generous to participate every year--one couple from last year's tour didn't want to do it again it was just too exhausting. 

Mr. Gainey said "I think it's exhilarating."

Come back later to see more garden from the tour.