HOWE GARDEN RENOVATION
Funded by the Garden Club of Nashville
The Howe Garden at Cheekwood, one of the centerpieces of the institution’s botanical gardens and a beloved fixture in Nashville’s horticultural community, under went a near-$1 million renovation. The renovation is expected to garner national renown for its horticulture, design and environmental impact. The garden— originally Wildings, a mid-20th century private garden at the East Nashville home of self-trained horticulturalist Mrs. Harry A. (Cora) Howe—was moved to Cheekwood in 1969.
The Garden Club of Nashville transplanted the garden at Cheekwood after the Howes’ deaths more than 40 years ago. In collaboration with Cheekwood, the organization spearheaded the renovation effort, the largest and most comprehensive renovation project recently undertaken in the botanical garden at an estimated $835,000.
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“Mrs. Howe welcomed thousands of visitors into her private eight-acre garden each spring, and through this renovation, we honor that legacy and hope to inspire thousands more to experience the Howe Garden at Cheekwood,” said Jane Offenbach, president and CEO of Cheekwood. “We are grateful to the Garden Club of Nashville for funding this exciting project and look forward to the myriad of new experiences it will offer our visitors.”
The Howe Garden renovation, which began in July 2011 and opened to the public in April 2012, included both a renovation of the original Wildings garden and the addition of a state-of-the-art rain garden.
"As a young child there are certain memories that are seared into your mind. For me, one of those things was the beauty of Mrs. Howe's garden,” said Ben Page of Page | Duke Landscape Architects. “The way she put it all together significantly affected the way I perceived landscape architecture and I learned that it can be an outlet of artistic creativity. I am really excited about the impact of the Howe Garden on children and the educational opportunities it will provide for the community."
The new rain garden feature is a landscaped, shallow depression that will allow 30% more water to soak into the ground and ultimately help recharge groundwater supply and prevent runoff. The rain garden in the Howe Renovation will be filled with vivid sweeps of native flowers and shrubs that thrive in wet conditions and are designed to collect and slowly filter water back through the roots of plants and into the ground.
“Through acknowledging the past and responding to today’s environmental concerns, The Garden Club of Nashville intends to provide a treasured place for many generations to come,” said Lisa Campbell, president of The Garden Club of Nashville.
The Howe Garden renovation was designed by PAGE I DUKE Landscape Architects. The general contractor for the project is The Carter Group. Both firms operate in Nashville.
About the Garden Club of Nashville: The Garden Club of Nashville beginnings started in the Franklin Road home of Mrs. Jesse Overton on April 30, 1928, where a group of twenty four civic minded gardeners gathered. Over the years the membership has grown and their passions are the same today as they were 83 years ago. The club’s efforts and interests center on horticulture, conservation, city beautification and community involvement. The Garden Club of Nashville has undertaken scores of projects over the years, with the Howe Garden being one that they have been dedicated to since 1968. The Garden Club of Nashville helped move Mrs. Harry A. Howe’s Garden from east Nashville to its present day location at Cheekwood. The Garden Club of Nashville became a member of the Garden Club of America in 1932.
Thanks to the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee for their grant helping to fund the restoration and reinstall of the 1931 Wemyss/Kerrigan iron gates at the entrances to the Howe Garden at Cheekwood.