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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Hermitage in Davidson County, Tennessee — The American South (East South Central)
 

The Hermitage Garden

An Ever Changing Delight

 
 
The Hermitage Garden Marker image. Click for full size.
By Sandra Hughes, September 25, 2010
1. The Hermitage Garden Marker
Inscription. As with all living things, the Hermitage Garden cannot be wholly defined by any particular moment in time. Gardens grow and change. Few records tell us about the appearance of the garden Andrew Jackson enjoyed. Jackson hired gardener William Frost to establish the garden at the same time he began construction of the Hermitage mansion in 1819. The first garden may have extended closer to the mansion. The garden evolved over many years, and the family made many changes in the late 1840s. The basic layout off the garden you see today may date from that time.

Although Rachel Jackson and other female family members loved the garden and did light work, enslaved workers provided most of the labor. Along with flowers and herbs, they may also have grown vegetables and small fruits such as strawberries and figs in the present grassy plots in the center of each quadrant. Like much else in those times, the ornamental Hermitage garden was worlds away from the gardens grown by the slave near their own quarters.
 
Location. 36° 12.903′ N, 86° 36.765′ W. Marker is in Hermitage, Tennessee, in Davidson County. Marker can be reached from Rachels Lane 0.3 miles east of Hermitage Road. Touch for map. Marker is located in The Hermitage Garden. Marker is at or
The Hermitage Garden image. Click for full size.
By Sandra Hughes, September 25, 2010
2. The Hermitage Garden
Extra long bricks that taper at one end surround the center beds. The added length may have been an attempt to keep burrowing pest out of the flowerbeds. These bricks were made at The Hermitage.
near this postal address: 4580 Rachels Lane, Hermitage TN 37076, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Explore The Hermitage Grounds (a few steps from this marker); A Landscape Of Inequality (within shouting distance of this marker); The Architectural Evolution Of The Hermitage (within shouting distance of this marker); The Work Yard (within shouting distance of this marker); Icehouse (within shouting distance of this marker); Alfred’s Cabin (within shouting distance of this marker); The Triplex (within shouting distance of this marker); The Garden Privy (within shouting distance of this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Hermitage.
 
Also see . . .  The Hermitage, The Home of President Andrew Jackson. (Submitted on February 9, 2012, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia.)
 
Categories. Antebellum South, US
 
The Hermitage Garden image. Click for full size.
By Sandra Hughes, September 25, 2010
3. The Hermitage Garden
One of the earliest ornamental plants brought to the southern United States, crepe myrtles line the walk in the Hermitage garden. Because the Jackson’s left very few list of their garden plants, Hermitage gardeners now simply plant flowers, vines and shrubs available in the United State before the Civil War. This means you won't find modern hybrids such as tea roses or more recently introduced plants such as impatiens here.

Archeology had demonstrated one of the major changes in the garden-over 150 years of adding soil has raised the height of the paths and beds almost six inches. Paths have been realigned as well.
Repair of The Hermitage Garden image. Click for full size.
By Sandra Hughes, September 25, 2010
4. Repair of The Hermitage Garden
In 1867, C.C. Giers took series of stereographs of the Hermitage including this image of the Jackson tomb. His photographs show that The Hermitage as a whole was in a state of disrepair, especially the garden. After Jackson's death, his family's fortunes continued to dwindle leaving little money for garden work. The enslaved labor who worked the garden also disappeared as the family sold slaves to cover debts and as the slave fled for freedom during the Civil War.

The Ladies' Hermitage Association put re-establishment of the garden high on their priority list when they took over The Heritage in 1889. With few paper records to consult, they had to rely on what remained of the garden, family memories, especially those of Jackson's granddaughter Rachel, and their own ideas of what an "old fashioned" garden should look like.
The Hermitage Garden ~Four Square image. Click for full size.
By Sandra Hughes, September 25, 2010
5. The Hermitage Garden ~Four Square
The foursquare garden design with center beds date back to the middle ages. The Hermitage garden plan reflects this English tradition
The Hermitage Garden image. Click for full size.
By Sandra Hughes, September 25, 2010
6. The Hermitage Garden
The Hermitage Garden Marker/Crepe Myrtles image. Click for full size.
By Sandra Hughes, September 25, 2010
7. The Hermitage Garden Marker/Crepe Myrtles
The Hermitage Garden image. Click for full size.
By Sandra Hughes, September 25, 2010
8. The Hermitage Garden
Wide view of The Hermitage Garden Marker image. Click for full size.
By J. Makali Bruton, June 14, 2015
9. Wide view of The Hermitage Garden Marker
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on February 8, 2012, by Sandra Hughes of Killen, Usa. This page has been viewed 506 times since then and 32 times this year. Last updated on July 12, 2015, by J. Makali Bruton of Querétaro, Mexico. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8. submitted on February 8, 2012, by Sandra Hughes of Killen, Usa.   9. submitted on July 12, 2015, by J. Makali Bruton of Querétaro, Mexico. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.
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