Tag Archives: orchids

LaGrange: Hills & Dales Estate


A not-to-be-missed site for garden travelers is the Hills & Dales Estate, the historic home and gardens of the Fuller E. Callaway family located on 35 acres of rolling hills and shady dales approximately an hour south of Atlanta.

Your first stop is the Estate visitor center to arrange a tour of the 30-room manor house. The Callaways commissioned architects Hentz & Reid to design their Italian villa style home, which was completed in 1916. There are wonderful views from the windows overlooking the gardens and one can pick out the mottos formed in some of the boxwood parterres below.


Either before or after your tour of the home, the visitor center has a short film on the history of Ferrell Gardens and Sarah Coleman Ferrell, who began expanding the gardens on the original site in 1841. It’s well worth your time and gives a proper context for the gardens themselves.

Mrs. Ferrel seems to have designed the gardens based on formal Italian Renaissance and Baroque designs in a series of patterns, mazes and descending terraces. She loved to share her gardens with others and used to invite local children to play in the parterres, even holding Easter egg hunts. One of the children who visited was Fuller Callaway, who grew up to become one of the South’s textile magnates. When he grew up, Fuller and his wife, Ida Cason Callaway, ended up buying the property in 1912 and built their home on the site of Mrs. Ferrell’s cottage. The Callaways, father and later his son Fuller, Jr. and his wife Alice, continued developing the gardens. The idea was always that the property would someday pass on to a foundation and be open to the public.

“Life is short, and as we pass this way but once, why not strew our paths with rose petals, so as to leave fragrance on life’s way?”

—Ida Cason Callaway, 1929


What’s Special

  • The signature plant is dwarf English boxwood, but there are also American boxwood, tree boxwood, Spanish boxwood and curly leaf boxwood. Overall, there are 2 ½ acres of formal boxwood parterres.
  • 23 different species of Camellia japonica.
  • Magnolia Walk, where the magnolias were reportedly planted from seed during the War Between the States.
  • Explore the greenhouses, where occasionally you’ll see blooms amongst the orchid collection which includes cattleyas, phaleonopsis, cymbidiums, vandas, brassavolas and angreacums.
  • Conifer collection includes more than 30 varieties from at least 13 different genera.


Children under six are not allowed in the manor house.

March – June

Tuesday – Saturday

10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.


1:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.

 July – February

Tuesday – Saturday

10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Closed on New Year’s Day, Easter, July 4th, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve, Christmas. Visiting hours are subject to change. Please call before visiting.

1916 Hills & Dales Drive, LaGrange, GA. 30240

Call 706-882-3242. GPS: 33.039041 / -85.048439

email: info@hillsanddales.org

Hillwood Estate – Museum & Gardens

Postrose_trellisFormerly the home of Marjorie Merriweather Post, heiress to the Post cereal empire, the twenty-five acre Hillwood Estate and Gardens is probably best known for the most extensive collection of Russian Imperial art outside of Russia. However, the gardens were well-loved by Mrs. Post. Shortly after she acquired Hillwood in 1955, Mrs. Post commissioned prominent landscape architects to create thirteen acres of formal gardens. The peak of the gardens was timed to when she was typically in residence, spring and fall.

Landscape architects Umberto Innocenti and Richard Webel created the French Parterre, featuring typical elements of an 18th-century French garden, to complement her collection of 18th-century French art and furnishings.

Landscape architect Perry Wheeler, who helped design the White House rose garden, helped adapt the Rose Garden in 1956. Beds are edged by a green and white border of alyssum and boxwood hedges. It’s also the final resting place of Marjorie Post.

Other highlights are the Japanese-style Garden; the Friendship Walk; and the Lunar Lawn, a large, crescent-shaped lawn that provides a view of the Washington Monument and was a favorite spot of Post.

orchidgreenhouse_slideshow5The orchid was Mrs. Post’s favorite flower and she even hired an orchid curator to oversee a collection of more than 2,500 specimens and hundreds of different varieties.

Open Tuesday – Saturday, 10:00am to 5:00pm,and select Sundays and evenings throughout the year. Closed January and most national holidays.

Website: Hillwood Estate – Museum & Gardens

Sarasota: Marie Selby Botanical Gardens

Selby_Cattleya_luddenmanniana_smSarasota, Florida

Marie Selby Botanical Gardens

Named one of America’s Top Ten Botanical Gardens by Country Living Gardener magazine in 2003, Marie Selby Botanical Gardens is a renowned research center and the legacy of the late Marie Selby.

Selby Gardens is perhaps best known for its living collection of more than 6,000 orchids. The approximately 13-acre bayfront property is an open-air and under-glass museum of more than 20,000 vibrant plants, many collected in the wild on over 150 scientific expeditions to tropical rain forests by Selby Gardens research staff. The eight greenhouses are the heart of botanical research and plant identification, and Selby Gardens is internationally recognized for its Bromeliad, Gesneriad, and Orchid Research Centers.

Highlights include the Tropical Display House with its rain forest atmosphere, the Bamboo Pavilion, Banyan Grove, Cactus and Succulent Garden, Cycad Collection, Mangrove Forest, Fern Garden, Hibiscus Garden, Bayfront Restoration Project and Baywalk Sanctuary. Also on the grounds is the former Christy Payne Mansion, a unique example of eclectic Southern Colonial architecture. The Mansion, on the National Register of Historic Places, is the home to ever-changing botanical art and photography exhibits.

What’s special: Epiphytes

Selby_brom Billbergia brachysiphon var. breviflora2 MSBG1993-0272A_0The Marie Selby Botanical Gardens is known for its knowledge of and astounding collection of epiphytes — plants that live on other plants. Epiphytes are sometimes called “air plants” because they have no roots in the soil themselves.  They obtain water and minerals from rain and debris on the plants supporting them, which they also use as a means to reach more sunlight. Epiphytes are classified as non-parasitic.

Common epiphytes of Florida  are Bromeliads (Bromeliaceae), Orchids (Orchidaceae), and Ferns (Pteridophyta).  According to the gardens: “Florida has the richest epiphyte flora in the United States. Of the approximately 85 native epiphytic ferns and flowering plants, nearly two-thirds are found in Florida only in swamps of the Fakahatchee Strand State Preserve and Big Cypress National Preserve, and tropical hammocks of Everglades National Park.”

Download a Guide to Common Epiphytes of Florida

Open daily except Christmas Day. Handicap accessible.

811 South Palm Avenue, Sarasota, FL 34236
Phone: 941-366-5731[ info ]

Coral Gables: Fairchild Tropical Botanical Garden


Coral Gables, Florida

Fairchild Tropical Botanical Garden

The Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden has what’s been called the world’s greatest living collection of palms and cycads found in its 83-acres.

The Garden itself was named after the famous plant explorer David Fairchild (1869-1954) who retired to Miami in 1935. There, he teamed with Col. Robert H. Montgomery, a retired accountant, along with other horticulturists and plant enthusiasts and landscape architect William Lyman Phillips. Phillips, who was a member of the Frederick Law Olmsted partnership and a leading landscape designer in South Florida during the 1930s, provided the original design.

Today, Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden showcases its extensive collections of rare tropical plants with Phillips’ classic landscape design.

Selby_Cattleya_luddenmanniana_smThe Fairchild rainforest is a two-acre, outdoor exhibit of tropical rainforest plants from around the world, especially plants of the American tropics. The adjacent conservatory contains rainforest plants that will not survive outdoors in subtropical south Florida.

What’s Special

Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden’s DiMare Science Village covers more than 25,000 square feet and featuring five buildings including the Clinton Family Conservatory’s Wings of the Tropics Butterfly exhibit – with 3,000 butterflies.

Fairchild’s homeschool guided programs are especially designed for children between the ages of 5-12 and include hands-on lessons.

Fairchild also enjoys a global reputation as a conservation and education-based garden, with field programs in over 20 countries, including support to protected areas in Madagascar and Africa and botanic garden development and renovation projects in South and Central America, the Caribbean and the Middle East.


Located in metro Miami, just south of Coral Gables.

10901 Old Cutler Road

Coral Gables, FL 33156