Bird Gate & Boxwood Walk


The Bird Gate was one of Alice Callaway’s last modifications to the garden. She viewed it as a way to beautifully appoint the old entrance through which guests often entered the garden during Sarah Ferrell and Ida Callaway’s tenures. She commissioned renowned blacksmith Ivan Bailey to create a gate for the garden, which he first visited to get inspiration for his design. It is called the “Bird Gate” because of the two birds that adorn the top of it.

Historically, Ferrell Gardens was a popular destination for LaGrange townspeople and visitors from around the country who had heard about the beautiful gardens. Both the Ferrells and the Callaways opened their gates to the public and invited visitors to take a stroll as you would in a public park. In fact, Blount Ferrell offered to sell the property to the City of LaGrange in 1890 for use as a park, cemetery, and parade ground, but the sale was never completed. In retrospect, that was perhaps a fortunate thing since the garden as we know it might not have survived. It is noteworthy that the once “official” entrance to the garden is an eastern gate, which has Biblical significance that probably factored into Sarah’s original placement of it here. Ezekiel 43:4 in The Bible says: “And the glory of the Lord came into the house by the way of the gate whose prospect is towards the east.”

During the 1994 recorded interview with Alice Hand Callaway, she tells about working with Ivan Bailey on the Bird Gate.

Horticultural Specimens

  • Confederate jasmine (Trachelospermum jasminoides) growing on either side of gate on east side of walls. Blooms white in May. Planted by Alice Callaway.
  • Laurustinus ( Viburnum tinus) growing by south wall of garden near younger magnolia. Pink buds bloom white in late winter. Planted by Alice Callaway.
  • Orange tea olive (Osmanthus fragrans f. aurantiacus) growing outside the gate, between it and the Boxwood Walk. Has very fragrant orange blossoms in fall.

The Portico article, “A Bit of Fall Perfume,” contains information about the tea olive.

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