Our friend Cass in Augusta, Georgia, sent over these fabulous photos of her garden and the history that accompanies it. We included parts of the history of Morningside that Cass sent over below, written by Anne Merry Bell and compiled by Lucien and Cassandra Williams. To read the entire history and view more photos, please visit the page we created here.
Morningside, an Augusta, Georgia garden estate with rich heritage and soil, is undergoing a renaissance to recapture its former glory. Located high above the Savannah River in the Sand Hills area, this magnificent estate once encompassed thirty acres. Its beauty has been documented, published, and admired by generations of guests throughout her years.
The history of Morningside begins in 1906 when Mary Speer Denny purchased six acres of mostly untilled farm land on which to construct a winter haven. A prominent socialite from Pittsburgh, PA, Mrs. Denny and her husband, Francis Herron Denny, had made Augusta a seasonal retreat as did many affluent Northerners in the early 1900’s. Their majestic Dutch Colonial style stucco home named “Morningside Lodge,” designed by famed architect Harry Ten Eych Wendell was completed in 1909. Property photographs as early as 1909 reveal few trees and shrubbery. Subsequently a main garden and a sunken garden were laid out behind the home. Plant materials were purchased from Fruitland Nurseries which included a variety of azaleas and camellia japonica species, English boxwood, and various cedars. Little is known about the exact layout of the gardens, but from the plant selection it is assumed that the modest formal garden and walkways were lined with boxwood. Colorful azaleas particularly well-suited to Augusta’s climate became inspirational to future Morningside owners.