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