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Another Side of Jasmine Hill

by Patricia Poore on May 13, 2014

in Garden

This “Grecian garden” in Alabama presents Classicism in a context that’s decidedly 20th century.

The giant wine and olive jars throughout the gardens come from Italy and Greece. Photos by Gross & Daley

The giant wine and olive jars throughout the gardens come from Italy and Greece. Photos by Gross & Daley

One might wonder how marble busts of Homer and Socrates, a classical fountain and a statue of Athena came to populate so effusive an American garden. The story began in 1928, when chain-store owners Benjamin and Mary Fitzpatrick retired to an 1830s cottage on this central Alabama hilltop and took to developing a living memorial to Ancient Greece.

A flagstone path flanked by low plants and containers leads to the Dolphin Fountain, which was made by Aristide Petrilli in Florence in the 19th century.

A flagstone path flanked by low plants and containers leads to the Dolphin Fountain, which was made by Aristide Petrilli in Florence in the 19th century.

In ensuing years, they traveled to Greece two dozen times, studying at the American Classical School in Athens and purchasing objects of art. Their vision grew into an outdoor museum on over 20 acres, where statuary and more can be discovered amidst colorful gardens in bloom all year.

Since the 1970s, Jasmine Hill has been supported by Jim and Elmore Inscoe, who continue the work of the founders. They promote the arts through the display (and maintenance) of original and replica artworks, horticultural programs, and classical education. Their foundation has even built a re-creation of the Temple of Hera—Jasmine Hill’s Olympian Centre.

Near the Fitzpatricks’ cottage, Marathon Boy presides over a stone pool. The statue is an exact copy of the original 4th-century B.C. bronze, found near Marathon in 1925.

Near the Fitzpatricks’ cottage, Marathon Boy presides over a stone pool. The statue is an exact copy of the original 4th-century B.C. bronze, found near Marathon in 1925.

Like gardens of the Arts & Crafts era and gardening’s golden age, this one looks for a balance between nature and the hand of man. Though the art may be classical, the presentation is in the manner of the early 20th century. Plantings are voluptuous and flowers abundant within a framework of flagstone paths and careful placements.

Jasmine Hill is open to the public weekends, seasonally; tours can be arranged year-round for groups of 20 or more: jasminehill.org

Wall plaques were collected by the Fitzpatricks in Europe; many of the glazed ceramics are copies of works by the Italian sculptor Della Robbia.

Wall plaques were collected by the Fitzpatricks in Europe; many of the glazed ceramics are copies of works by the Italian sculptor Della Robbia.

 

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