Magnolia Walk


Stereoscope image showing Magnolia Walk circa 1879

This serpentine terrace is the longest terrace in the garden and has long been known as Magnolia Walk because of the huge magnolia trees overhanging the lane. It’s said that Sarah Ferrell planted the old magnolias from seed. One version of the story states that she planted them sometime during the Civil War, while another story says she planted them from seeds brought back by soldiers returning from duty in Virginia during the war. The young seedling magnolias have been planted to replace some of Sarah’s original trees that were lost during storms over the years.

Sarah used boxwoods to line the paths, as was done in classical European gardens. These paths were “swept dirt” in both Sarah and Fuller Callaway Sr.’s time, and Alice Callaway added the pea gravel surface. All these intricate paths have been a wonderful playground for both the Ferrell and Callaway children. Many learned to play hide and seek here when they were too small to see over the boxwood.

Our Portico article, “Magnolias: The Aristocrats,” gives more information on the types of magnolias in the garden.

Horticultural Specimens

  • Southern magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora) growing along the main path on 5th terrace. Blooms white in May-June. They were planted from seed by Sarah Ferrell.
  • Camellia (Camellia japonica) growing in beds to right (south) of main path on 5th terrace. Bloom winter to early spring. Planted by Alice Callaway.

Image Gallery