Photos and Comments from the Saps trip to Callaway Gardens 2012

 “The Fun of a Southern Appalachian Plant Society Field Trip” by Jeanne Cope


What could be more fun than traveling with a group of gardeners to visit a plant research station to observe blooms being pollinated, enjoying the Atlanta Botanical Garden in full bloom, with garden art and plant-covered walkways?  Visiting the Chattahoochee Nature Center, only one in the Southeast where parents bring their children to have fun and learn about the earth and creatures living here. Having the fun of lighting a learning fire in a young mind that opens new possibilities never thought of before is pure joy.


We also toured the historic home of the Fuller E. Callaway family and the beautiful Ferrell Gardens. At Callaway Gardens we enjoyed seeing azaleas in bloom, walked the butterfly house containing tropical trees and plants, saw butterfly larvae, pupae, and just hatched butterflies drying their wings. Whew! Now this is exciting.


My camera nearly overheated taking dozens of photos.  A great benefit traveling with SAPS is asking names of plants and learning about them. I never met a plant I didn’t like.


If one person doesn’t have the answer, someone on the trip will know or find out. Camaraderie is the key to a traveler’s congeniality. Find new friends, meet old friends again and become one united group. Change seats; meet another person, hear about them and their garden. Have fun.


SAPS trips are always fun, come outdoors, walk in the sun, snap photos, meet birds in their giant greenhouse bulging with tropical greenery and orchids, walk various levels and see flowers growing in a balanced natural environment entirely created by man.


The family home of the Callaway’s is named Hills & Dales Estate because of the lay of the land, which once grew cotton. The land owner started a factory producing wonderfully thick fluffy linens for baths and textiles for homes.


The gardens were begun in 1841 by Sarah Ferrell who expanded a small garden begun in 1832 by her mother, Nancy Ferrell. Between 1841 and 1903 Sarah developed “Ferrell Gardens”.  In 1908 Sarah’s husband died and the property was sold to Fuller E. Callaway Sr. and his wife, Ida Cason.  Ida restored the gardens making additions of fountains and statuary. Ida expressed her love of plants which was continued by later ladies in the family. The plan to plant small trees to grow huge in a lifetime as a China fir, gingko, and Italian Cypress was a stroke of genius and understanding.


How wonderful the huge ancient trees survived to live happily in the large garden.  The tall, Italian Cypress is an exclamation point in garden design. Ancient boxwoods outline terraced levels of the gardens and spell out words such as love and God.


Strolling through the gardens I visualize ghosts of the many Ferrell and Calloway ladies, wearing clothing of their time, strolling beside me. While strolling, I listen carefully as these invisible ladies silently and painstakingly explain the reasoning and planning that created the bones of the beautiful gardens.  The ghostly ladies speak of additions they made to continue the garden into the future by restoring, maintaining and improving the original design of the first lady to walk her gardens.


This is the story of our most recent SAPS field trip, planned, designed and led by Marsh and Leonard Passmore, dedicated tour planners.  Why not sign up for a future trip, bring your notebook, camera, conversation, humor and knowledge to exchange with others. You will have a fabulously good time of learning, camaraderie, and friendship with fellow travelers. Leave all your troubles at home and find there is always Peace in the Garden.

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