Sunday, March 11, 2012

Barnsley Gardens - Part I

A trip to Barnsley Gardens, near Adairsville, Ga. ,appeals to not only those interested in gardening and horticulture, but in history as well. And what a history the place has! If you read my previous post, I had links to two pieces about Barnsley, and you learned a great deal there. But during our tour through the ruins, we were given a historical overview of the history behind the garden by a local historian, Clent Coker. His ancestors grew up near the castle and he has a personal association with the place. His extensive research over the years has uncovered some fascinating facts. I have his book ordered and look forward to reading it.

The photo below is one I took of a photo in the museum. It was taken before a tornado destroyed major portions of the house in the early 1900s.

I am sorry to report that most of the photos I shot with the Instagram app for iPhone were lost----by me. Because I was unfamiliar with its workings, I deleted them immediately after shooting them, thinking I was saving them. How frustrating this was! All of the ones I shot of the front entrance are gone. The photo below is the side of the house. That fantastic climber running rampant up the brick is a Lady Banks rose. Hard to believe its size. Look at the "trunk."

Another interesting tidbit Mr. Coker provided: When Peggy Marsh (a.k.a. Margaret Mitchell) was researching her wonderful book, Gone With The Wind, in the 1920s-1930s, she visited and spoke extensively with the granddaughter (or it may have been great-granddaughter) of Godfrey Barnsley, who still lived on the property (I think the family lived in the kitchen house for many years after the tornado). Mrs. Marsh was told how, after the Civil War, a Barnsley daughter pulled things together and made it possible for the numerous people living there (servants, etc.) to survive. He said the character Scarlett O'Hara was possibly  partially based on the Barnsley daughter.

I have heard previously that Mrs. Marsh traveled extensively through the state while researching the Civil War, talking to War veterans sitting around county courthouses during those days. She apparently was a meticulous researcher.

We saw some wonderful plants there. The boxwoods planted in a formal English garden style at the front are original to the house. That makes them more than 150 years old. Once the place started to be restored, experts were called in to perform the pruning, as they were as high as the roof and had to be pruned back over a period of several years to get back to the original size. There are spring bulbs, rosebushes, perennials, too much to name, really.  Apparently Barnsley was a austute record keeper and each planting was recorded, so care has been taken to only install plants that were there at the time.

Below is another photo I shot in the museum. Inside glass cases are items preserved from the house, and I couldn't resist shooting this photo of this little doll. Sorry about the reflection of the wooden plank floor!

I will have more about the garden later, and a few more pictures. I really liked the place and would like to return when the garden is ablaze with summer color.

Thanks for stopping by and I'd like to hear about some of the places you have visited and really enjoyed.


  1. Just read about the Barnsley Gardens and about the resort it is today.
    Quite a history behind it!
    Thank you for sharing your Part 1 about the place as well. Such a sweet doll in the last picture.
    Sorry to report, that I have not visited places comparable to the one you have. Lack of time, perhaps my own life has been challenging enough. Maybe later, when active work life slows down..?

    1. Would love to hear about some places of interest in Finland - historical sites and cultural sites.Your writing is very fine and I know you would bring us there with your descriptions!

  2. All I will add this time is to agree with everything said. It was a beautiful place with a beautiful story behind it and make even better by the company I shared it with, my wonderful sister!

    1. And the visit would not have been the same without you, dear sister!


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