Genevieve Trimble died on September 8, 2023 at the age of 102. ‘Miss Gen,’ as many of us called her, was a grand Southern lady and a remarkably accomplished gardener and garden creator. She may be best known for her creation of Afton Villa Gardens in St. Francisville, Louisiana. In 1972 she and her husband Morrell purchased the ruins of Afton Villa, a gothic plantation home that burned to the ground in 1963. In its ruins and across its thirty acres Miss Gen developed a garden that has become famous. She told me that an LSU landscape architecture student, Steve Coenen, did a study and garden concept in the 70s that greatly influenced her decision to leave the ruins and make the garden directly inside the remains of the house.
She also transformed a neglected rose garden in City Park into the New Orleans Botanical Garden working with garden director Paul Soniat and horticulturist Jerome Lebo and others in the 1980s. But when I think of Miss Gen’s great talents, I always remember her incredible ability to speak to a group. No matter how large her audience, Genevieve Trimble would come forward, always in a daffodil yellow jacket, with no notes, and speak in complete sentences – never an “um” or a pause to find her thought – and speak on her subject from beginning to end, never departing from the point of her message. She was quite simply the finest public speaker I ever heard. She was one of my favorite lady friends, and I will miss her dearly, along with her hundreds of other devoted friends.
Please see the link to Miss Gen’s obituary here.
Read about Afton Villa Gardens and Genevieve in past issues of Magnolia using the links below:
Miss Gen is the author of Afton Villa, The Birth and Rebirth of a Nineteenth-Century Louisiana Garden.