Herb Garden


The Herb Garden sits on the site of Ida Callaway’s rose garden. Alice implemented this change in the 1960s and the present design is loosely based on one created by Rosemary Louden, a noted designer of herb gardens and a lecturer on cooking with herbs, in the early 1980s. It contains a wide variety of culinary, medicinal, and aromatic herbs, such as rosemary, lavender, lemon balm, mint, costmary, parsley, and oregano. In late spring and early summer, beds of ‘Coronation Gold’ yarrow bloom profusely. Alice sometimes harvested the chives and spearmint in her garden, but she often told people that she mostly just enjoyed watching the herbs grow.

The arbor that overlooks the Herb Garden is based on an original Neel Reid design and was added in 2004. The original design was done for Fuller Sr. and Ida, but was never installed in the garden. The only change to that design was making the columns a little taller they were originally drafted to be. The arbor is draped with heirloom climbing roses and cross vines.

The four main quadrants in this garden contain most of the herbs. In the center of each of these beds is a pillar supporting an antique climbing rose planted in memory of the old rose garden that Ida and Fuller Sr. once enjoyed. Also, notice the evergreen cherry laurel topiaries which add a formal element to the design. Before pea gravel was added, small boxwood and brick outlined the paths.

In her 1994 recorded interview, Alice Hand Callaway can be seen in the Herb Garden discussing the types of plants grown there.

Horticultural Specimens

  • Climbing rose (Rosa ‘Empress of China’) on arbor at Herb Garden overlook. These were planted in 2004, however, ‘Empress of China’ was cultivated at Hills & Dales by Ida Callaway and possibly by Sarah Ferrell. It is mentioned in articles during Ida’s tenure and by at least one source claiming it was present when Sarah gardened here. Blooms pink in late April and then sporadically until frost.
  • Fernleaf yarrow (Achillea ‘Coronation Gold’) in four large beds on north and south sides of Herb Garden. Blooms yellow in May. Planted by Alice Callaway.
  • Climbing roses (Rosa ‘Prosperity’ [2 of these], Rosa ‘Cornelia’, Rosa ‘Ghislaine de Feligonde’) on pillars in four main beds of Herb Garden.
  • Some of the plants included in the Herb Garden are similar types as those that Alice planted here, including Florentine iris (which she called her “little herb iris”), scented geraniums, lemongrass, rosemary, lavender, and thyme.


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