In McDonough, GA, Henry County Master Gardener Extension Volunteers (MGEVs), support a historical demonstration garden at Heritage Park. The garden surrounds the Nolan House, a nineteenth-century raised roof cottage that was moved to Heritage Park, along with other historic buildings in Henry County. At the request of county administration, MGEVs have worked to create and maintain nineteenth century gardens around the house.
In 2009, Henry MGEVs began work on the gardens. They started by researching and designing the garden beds. Then, they constructed the gardens and began the plantings. These gardens are open to the public and presence of plant identification plaques allows the historical garden to exist as a passive learning opportunity. The area is also used for guided garden tours, demonstrations, and gardening classes.
Henry County MGEVs host clean up days a few times a year and spend time caring for gardens and assist in maintaining the historical home. In 2016, Mildred Chamblee completed the certification of the 300+ year old oak tree located on the -grounds. It was recognized and listed as a historical tree by the Urban Tree Council of Atlanta. While the gardens reflect nineteenth-century history, this oak tree has lived through it. As a small sapling, the tree witness the removal of the Creeks, as the main road at the time ran right by the tree. It was also present for Sherman’s march to the west.
Before being sold to Henry County, the land that the Nolan House, the nineteenth-century gardens, and the old oak occupy, was drawn by a widow in the land lottery. Then, the land passed hands a few times before being sold to the County by the Johnson family. These details were traced through documents retained as county records. Today, MGEVs continue to learn about this historical site as they provide plant care and maintenance to the proper time period plants.
*This Henry County project was featured as a 2016 Project Spotlight. To learn more about the project spotlight process and other MGEV projects around the state, go here and here.