Ryan Gainey's Georgia Garden
This is the garden of internationally known designer and plantsman Ryan Gainey. We first saw it over 20 years ago on a Garden Tour. Most of these shots were taken on a Saturday morning in mid-April. The last ten in the set were taken three weeks earlier from the street.

Here are some quotes from his website, and a link and a link:

" madly passionate, stimulating, thought-provoking, exuberant, creative, romantic, whimsical, embracing …. mere words are inadequate to describe the force of nature that is Ryan Gainey. He is gardener, poet, raconteur, philosopher, mentor, verbite, visionary, designer, and showman all in one.

Growing up in Hartsville, South Carolina he found himself keenly interested in the natural world around him. Mentors in that rural Southern community nurtured his love of growing things, much as he mentors others today. He went on to study Ornamental Horticulture at Clemson University under Professor F. W. Thode. Later he received an Honorary Doctorate in Letters from Coker College in his native Hartsville.

Moving to Atlanta, he at last began to nurture his own piece of land, a two-acre garden in Decatur, Georgia which has been featured in every major gardening publication in the United States and abroad. Visiting this paradise is a highlight each year for the thousands who partake of the Atlanta Botanical Garden’s Gardens for Connoisseurs tour. His garden has been a featured stop for 20 years. "

Here are some of Ryan's thoughts about his own garden, that he calls "The Garden of Poetry and Prose":

"My garden is a cottage garden as befits the architecture and history of the turn-of–the-last century bungalow which is its center and its anchor. In the 23 years I’ve owned this property, the garden spaces have evolved into a series of rooms that relate to the house, and to each other.
·The Front Garden
·The Visitor’s Garden
·The Dry Wall and Folly
·The Terrace
·The Borders
·The Temple Garden
·The Oval
·The Rose Arbor
When people see the variety of garden pictures I’ve created here, they think the garden must be five acres big. In truth, it is not even an acre. Visitors are overcome with the complexity, but truly it is a series of pictures that take every advantage of the space and the site.

It is a cottage garden, but one with roots in all of garden history. Its design structure is formal, with its roots in the Renaissance, one of the most influential periods of all history. Look at how the Italians laid out their gardens with patterns and integrated them into the agrarian landscape with their orangeries and outbuildings. Look at their inclusion of ruins and their interest in mythological characters, the themes they display in sculpture and their use of water. Being a student of all that, I have developed a garden that is a reflection of my passion. I have my temple. I have my folly. I have my orangerie which is my glass house. I have patterns in boxwood, patterns in stonework. I have views and overlooks and water.

The entire garden is perhaps 150’ by 150’, a small enough space for the eight garden rooms listed above, plus the connecting passageways and spaces and arbors that transition from one distinctive area to another. Each garden room is distinctive from the other by virtue of its architectural features, its use of plant material and architectural material. And yet they are compatible. The garden flows and moves. "

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