Garden Photo of the Day

Jeff’s restoration efforts in Tennessee

Photo/Illustration: All photos courtesy of Jeff Calton

Today’s photos are from Jeff Calton (tntreeman). He’s been noticeably absent lately, and now we know why–he is BUSY!!

He says, “I did an early morning walk-thru recently at a client’s property. There will be a garden tour and wedding reception in June so we will be hitting the grounds HARD throughout May. Pretty much everything there is documented as to planting date and garden development but the old girl fell into hard times and was neglected for decades, then totally abandoned for 25 years.

“The current owner bought it even with mushrooms growing out of the interior woodwork and has been working now for 22 years putting her back together. It has been horticultural archaeology there in the past but finally, finally we can make her pretty again. I do love this old house on foggy days, and you can tell the height of the resident deer by checking the oakleaf hydrangea.”

Wow. Just beautiful, Jeff. We want photos later in the season, too!

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View Comments


  1. RenataCT 05/02/2014

    So romantic! I imagine the pictures don't do this landscape justice. A perfect place for a June wedding. Great work Jeff!

  2. gloriaj 05/02/2014

    Glad you're back Jeff. Missed you

  3. user-1020932 05/02/2014

    gloriaj, hope your figs survived,,,,,,mine froze to ground level.
    RenataCT this old house has so many gardens spots to be photographed, impossible to capture them all in one image. now it's the house and 9 acres down from the original house and 8,000 acres. as for a wedding, this house was built as a wedding gift in 1832,,, the groom to be drowned in the river directly in front of the house the day before the wedding anddddddddd the ghost stories began then in 1832,,, cue twilight zone music

  4. flowerladydi 05/02/2014

    Nice to see you here again Jeff!!
    The house looks Fabulous!,,,, reminds me of Gone With The Wind!,,,, love those pillars!,,, but of course the property is where the magic will be! , and the grounds look beautiful!! I can't wait to see more of it after you do your thing! You have a lot ahead of you to be ready for June! Love the story!, kind of eery though,, but so interesting! Who drowned him?, or was it accidental?
    Will be anxious to see the wedding pics!!

  5. Jay_Sifford 05/02/2014

    Beautiful property Jeff. I too would like to see more photos. Glad you are well.

  6. wGardens 05/02/2014

    A BIG "Welcome Back", Jeff. We sure have missed you but totally understand. Thanks for sharing these fabulous photos of this grand property! How exciting- and challenging too- to be working with these beautiful grounds and grand home. Please do send more photos as the season progresses. Zow!

  7. User avater
    Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 05/02/2014

    Quite an estate. Gotta love those huge Japanese maples!

  8. user-1020932 05/02/2014

    Tim, believe it or not, i have seedlings i have collected from that green laceleaf. these maples were planted in 1928

  9. User avater
    meander_michaele 05/02/2014

    Hi, Jeff, I sure hope there is some kind of seating opportunity in viewing distance of that glorious gnarly old Japanese maple in the last picture. I could get lost in its twists and turns as it takes my mind on a journey of reflection.
    What a sight those beautiful grounds will be filled with happy wedding guests and a lovely bride and groom. Hard not to have images of a lawn party from Downtown Abbey come to mind.
    I know this property is a funny combination of being your "baby" and your revered elderly other words, it is very special.

  10. user-1020932 05/02/2014

    Michaele the grandmother connection is with the house in my cover photo on FB, this is another old house. you , Darwin and I met here for our whirlwind Kingsport garden tour :) vegetable garden, herbs and containers are being planted next week

  11. NC_Yarden 05/02/2014

    Fantastic house and great piece of property. So cool to see it receiving much needed care and attention. Of course I am awed by those mature Japanese maples. A bit jealous I must admit. Great work and turnaround on this home.

  12. tractor1 05/02/2014

    You sure have your work cut out for you, Jeff, that property should keep you occupied for like forever. It has lots of lovely mature specimens, with much pruning of dead branches necessary... and that lawn can use a good clipping. I'd love to see inside that house, its architecture is very much like that of the buildings at the Pilgrim State mental institution on Long Island... from the same period. More photos, Jeff.

  13. cwheat000 05/02/2014

    I am a sucker for a great old house. What a fantasy property! It is wonderful that you have documentation on the plantings. I could totally get into a restoration project like this. Keep the pictures coming, but first get back to work. We will all be here, when the busy season is over. We miss you, let us know if you need some muscle rub cream Fed Ex'd.

  14. greengenes 05/02/2014

    Hi Jeff! Thanks for showing this to us! What a beautiful old place!We don't have those here on the west coast. At least not like that! There must of been a brick factory nearby! Oh she is gorgeous! It will be an exciting job for sure! You must have a good rider! Are they wanting you to design planting areas? I cant even begin to think what the inside might be like! Tall cealings, oriental rugs over wooden floors, etc.. Oh so nice. Well you will be proud to fix her up! Thanks again for sharing this with us! Glad you are doing well! We have all been missing you!

  15. wittyone 05/02/2014

    That's a brave prospective groom. Hope he stays well away from the riverbank!

    It's a beautiful house and grounds and it's so wonderful to see a great (but neglected) property brought back to life again with lots of tender loving care. Whoever dared to take on the challenge must have lots of patience and deep pockets. The result though looks to be spectacular.

  16. wildthyme 05/02/2014

    I figured you were up to something! What a beautiful house (seems like an inadequate word for such a spectacular structure). Did I understand that the property is 8,000 acres and that you're landscaping 9 of them!?! That ought to keep you out of trouble for awhile! Good to see you back.

  17. annek 05/02/2014

    It wears it's age well! The grounds are amazing...definitely worth the time you're putting in. Looks like your kind of place, Jeff...lovely

  18. sheila_schultz 05/02/2014

    Lucky, lucky homeowners to have you at the helm of bringing the grounds of their grand old dame respectfully back to her former glory. What an incredible challenge... you're definitely the right man for this job!
    Your thoughtful conversations have been sorely missed, Jeff. You are a positive force and you always brighten my day.
    I can't wait to see the containers ;)

  19. perenniallycrazy 05/02/2014

    Looking forward to seeing the amazing transformation as well as all your containers! Will be counting the days till that post comes. Have a great day everyone!

  20. user-1020932 05/02/2014

    wildthyme, the original farm was 8,000 acres all that remains with the house now is 9 acres, it's "in town"
    greengenes, no brick factories, those brick were all hand made on the farm and the limestone was cut and hewn on the farm as well.
    we will be starting to add color and vegetables next week so things should progress fast in May

  21. janeeliz 05/03/2014

    How nice to have you back on the site, Jeff! And what a great project you've been involved in! it's a charming place with such a fascinating history!....Love those old Japanese maples-how big are your seedlings? Yes, we need to see much more as the big day approaches.

  22. ml73alhi 05/03/2014

    What a great space for a wedding! I love~love~love the pics with the fog!! The Japanese Maple is just amazing. I can't wait to see more pictures closer to the big event!!! Please share more whenever you have the time! Thanks for sharing!!

  23. ml73alhi 05/03/2014

    What a great space for a wedding! So glad the owner is refurbishing the house. It is one of those houses with history! So many stories it could tell us! I love~love~love the pics with the fog!! The Japanese Maple is just amazing. I can't wait to see more pictures closer to the big event!!! Please share more whenever you have the time! Thanks for sharing!!

  24. ml73alhi 05/03/2014

    What a great space for a wedding! So glad the owner is refurbishing the house. It is one of those houses with history! So many stories it could tell us! I love~love~love the pics with the fog!! The Japanese Maple is just amazing. I can't wait to see more pictures closer to the big event!!! Please share more whenever you have the time! Thanks for sharing!!

  25. GrannyCC 05/03/2014

    Welcome back Jeff. What beautiful grounds, must be a joy to work there. We will be looking forward to your transformation. Good luck it is a big job.

  26. ml73alhi 05/03/2014

    Sorry Jeff. Only meant to post that once! Opps!

  27. Meelianthus 05/05/2014

    WOW, a little late to the party here but maybe you check back to read more comments Jeff. I just wanted to say, what a grand piece of land to work on and be creative. The story behind the original owner, VERY sad, and I can imagine in that era the stories that sprang from that tragedy (great place for a mystery novel, or movie to begin - right). Hard to imagine it was abandoned for 25 years! Thanks for sharing such an intriguing piece of history Jeff, looks like you have a lot of really hard work ahead of you.

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