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Hills & Dales to host flower program

In 1932, Ida Cason Callaway hosted more than 165 members of the Garden Club of America for a festive dinner commemorating the 100th anniversary of Ferrell Gardens, the lushly terraced, 5-acre garden at her Vernon Street home, Hills & Dales.

On Saturday and Sunday, June 4 and 5, Hills & Dales will again invite a large contingent of garden club members to mark another centennial the 100th anniversary of the Callaway household home itself. The Georgian-Italian rental property opened June 16, 1916 with a gala reception marking the 25th wedding event anniversary of Ida and Fuller Callaway and became the home of Alice and Fuller E. Callaway Jr. following his parent’s deaths.

Now a historic property of Fuller E. Callaway Foundation, Hills & Dales Estate has welcomed more than 110,000 visitors since opening as a house museum in 2004.

The Centennial Flower Show comes at the midpoint of a yearlong celebration of the 100-year milestone, began in January with a lecture presenting Fuller E. Callaway: Portrait of a New South Citizen, a popular biography of the fabric tycoon and benefactor, written by historians Buckner and Carol Melton. The ninth child of a Baptist preacher, with no official education after age 8, Callaway increased to nationwide prominence in textiles, banking, insurance and railways.

As part of our 100th anniversary event, and to commemorate Ida and Alice s love of flowers, Hills & Dales will open its doors to Troup County garden clubs for a weekend flower show, explained David Brown, greenhouse gardener and flower designer for Hills & Dales.

Clubs from Elms and Roses Garden Club Council, plus other local garden clubs, will produce 20 plans for placement throughout the home all over from the formal living and dining-room to the girls powder space, kitchen area and 3rd floor billiard room.

The designs will not be evaluated and will be positioned as improvements to the design, a number of them in containers of the house, discussed Betty Lester of Elms and Roses Council, who collaborated club participation.

We were so delighted that 7 of our 8 clubs are participating. We are grateful for the incredible contributions of the Callaways and Callaway Foundation in our neighborhood, and this spurred such excellent participation. Members are looking at this as an enjoyable task that will be enjoyed by them and by all visitors, Lester said.

Laura Jennings, president of Laurel Garden Club, concurred.

Hills & Dales safeguards and showcases all that is good on the planet, from the ancient trees to the tiniest caterpillar. There is a stating that you can t pluck a flower without troubling a star. Garden Club members value that interconnectivity of the natural world and jump at the possibility to open people s eyes to the elegance of the earth.

In conjunction with the flower program, the Callaway custom of hospitality will be extended communitywide. Locals of Troup County may go to the home and garden free of charge Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday from 1 to 6 p.m. for self-guided trips of the garden and docent-led, walk-through trips of the home. On Saturday, visitors are welcome to enjoy Mrs. Callaway s punch served on the terrace.

Filling Hills & Dales with flowers is very much in keeping with the customized of both Ida and Alice Callaway, who invested more than 80 combined years tending the comprehensive boxwood gardens started in 1841 by Sarah Coleman Ferrell however integrating a little garden begun by her mom, Nancy Coleman Ferrell, in 1832.

Not just did Ida and Alice Callaway delight in being the caretakers of the gardens, but each happy in bringing the gorgeous flowers inside your home, said docent supervisor Suellen Dolan. Flowers and foliage were gathered routinely for organizing, and the greenhouse was used to supply fresh plant product when seasonal blossoms were not readily available.

Alice Callaway even transformed Fuller Sr. s former office into her flower space, where she kept journals of her day-to-day garden activities together with a collection of gardening books and paraphernalia. Visitors today see the room as it was in her day, Dolan stated.

Members of seven garden clubs Iris, Ivy, Laurel, Pine Needle, Talisman, Willowood and Wisteria will spend Friday at Hills & Dales, preparing arrangements in keeping with the home s traditions.

We understand that Alice Callaway loved her garden and flowers and utilized the ordinary plants to decorate her home, so designs will be in the style usually in your house, Lester stated.

The clubs are offering their own flowers as our tribute to the Callaways on the anniversary date, she added.

We truly think that Ida and Alice would be so pleased that their lovely home will come alive June 4 and 5 with the skills of local garden lovers, Brown said.