Photo credit: “Washington as a Farmer at Mount Vernon,” by Junius Brutus Stearns, 1851.
The Winter 2022 issue of Magnolia features recent landscape restoration efforts underway in the historic district of downtown Columbia, South Carolina. Keith Mearns, gardens and grounds director of Historic Columbia, examines the six properties of a fourteen-acre site with four significant gardens, two of which comprising entire, four-acre city blocks. Mearns’ article examines work at the Robert Mills House, Seibels House, Woodrow Wilson Family House, and the Hampton-Preston Mansion. In “An Iris Paradise in Savannah,” Charles Perilloux of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, examines the extensive historic and species iris collections at the Coastal Georgia Botanical Gardens and profiles the preservation efforts of the garden’s volunteer curator, Stan Gray. The article is illustrated with photographs and profiles of numerous iris varieties. Book Review Editor Davyd Foard Hood provides an in-depth examination of Bruce Ragsdale’s Washington at the Plow: The Founding Farmer and the Question of Slavery. Ragsdale gives new insights into George Washington’s management of agricultural, labor, and estate operations at Mount Vernon, and Washington’s understanding of enlightened animal and crop husbandry. Apropos to the upcoming annual meeting, the book will be available at the Mount Vernon museum shop. Two additional books are highlighted in the “In Print” column of this issue. Longtime SGHS member Val Libby’s recent book, The Northwest Gardens of Lord & Schryver, examines the work of two pioneering women landscape architects who designed over two hundred gardens and landscapes in Oregon and Washington between 1929 and 1969. Finally, in his beautifully illustrated book, The Beauty of the Wild: A Life Designing Landscapes Inspired by Nature, Landscape Architect Darrel Morrison details how his observations of native plant communities informs his ecologically inspired landscapes.