The Middendorf Garden has Heritage Blooms and an Antique Barn

The Middendorf home is a farmhouse built in 1920.  It is sited in a grove of mature pecan and oak trees on a 137-acre farm set in rolling scenery just north of Athens.  This land was originally part of the Old King Plantation.  G.H. Thurmond bought it when he returned from the Civil War.  The original antebellum mansion burned in the late 1800s.

 Many gardeners have left their mark on the land.  Eloise Thurmond Maxwell planted thousands of daffodils, daylilies, and iris that bloom each spring.  More recently, several individual garden areas have evolved as a result of Karen’s passion for plants.  As you stroll around the farm you will see a fruit orchard, a brand new, fenced vegetable garden, a formal herb garden, large perennial beds, a Japanese garden with koi pond, and many varieties of antique roses along the fence.  A white rose named ‘Frau Karl Druschki’ was given to Wayne Middendorf’s grandmother by her husband on their first wedding anniversary.  Other roses include ‘New Dawn’, ‘Penelope’ and ‘Cecile Brunner’.  Throughout the farm there are generous plantings of mature shrubs and trees, which add to the feeling of permanence and tradition.

 Included in our tour is a large, 200 year old working horse barn of great charm and character.  Karen painted the nine-foot Hex sign herself.  The “Silverthorn” name of the horse stables has fine connotations for the Middendorf family.  Above the stables and under the eaves is a huge wood-floored open space which is used for family gatherings.  From here the visitor may survey the farm and the open countryside beyond.



Helen Kuykendall
The Cary Garden is a Woodland Retreat

Marilynn and Rich have been working and watching for 20 years as their garden has evolved into a peaceful retreat. David Hubbard and William Heredra have helped them achieve their vision by creating a dry rock riverbed which drains water from the front beds and directs it through a woodland setting down to a creek at the rear of the property.

To enter the woodland garden the visitor walks between the plantings in front of the house which include pale peach-colored ‘Hilda Niblett’ azaleas, a fine edgeworthia shrub, white crepe myrtle, clematis, and red, pink and salmon amaryllis. A stroll under the wisteria-covered arbor brings you to a slate patio surrounded by ferns and hosta. Rich has built numerous footbridges to connect the different parts of the garden. A blueberry patch (Vaccinium sp.) flanks one of the bridges which leads to a covered seating area shaded by red buckeyes (Aesculus pavia) next to an Asian stone lantern.

Japanese maples (Acer palmatum ‘Glowing Embers’) and Grancy Graybeard trees (Chionanthus sp.) are planted along the rock-lined paths. Marilynn and Rich have been bringing rocks back from their South Georgia farm for many years to create the beautiful paths that will take you by a fire pit, water fountains, a bee box, and a quiet seating area under the gazebo. The multi-level decks allow them to view the garden from the treetops.

Returning to the front of the house the visitor will walk along a driveway edged with ‘Autumn Twist’™ Encore® Azaleas, which flower in stripes of purple and white, and weeping, green lace-leaf Japanese maples (Acer palmatum dissectum ‘Waterfall’).

Helen Kuykendall