Sunday, June 14, 2009

Behind A Garden Wall in Savannah: The Isaiah Davenport House

An unfortunate result of living near a scenic destination is that one may seldom visit it. So it was for me and Savannah's historic Davenport house, until one afternoon I passed that garden wall and realized I had no idea what grew behind it.

The lovely Federal-style home was completed by Isaiah Davenport, a master builder, as his own residence in 1820. Restored with care, the house features original plasterwork, a beautiful cantilever staircase and furnishings authentic to the 1820s. The courtyard garden was originally a Bicentennial project of the Trustees' Garden Club of Savannah. It was later re-designed by well-known horticulturist Penelope Hobhouse. Saved from demolition in 1955, the effort was the first of many for the Historic Savannah Foundation and marked the beginning of the historic preservation movement in Savannah.

Join me now for this photographic tour.

This decorative urn serves as a central focal point. It is planted with season annuals.

The garden is laid out in a style typical of the Federal period. Beds are outlined with boxwood. Small magnolias and crape myrtles provide adequate shade.

Foundational plants include Aspidistra elatior, Ficus pumila, Trachelospermum jasminoides, Pittosporum tobira, and Camellia cultivars. A slate-paved courtyard provides a delightful place to relax.

With advance reservations, the staff at the Davenport House can arrange delightful visits for groups. The hospitality options can include exclusive tours of the site along with refreshments such as coffee, orange juice and muffins, wine and cheese, Madiera, and desserts.

The Isaiah Davenport house is located on the corner of State Street and Habersham in historic Savannah, GA.

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