Kool Kat of the Week: An Artful Garden for an Artful Cause

Posted on: May 13th, 2011 By:

This week’s Kool Kat isn’t a person but a garden which happens to belong to a Retro home, one of those 1920s neo-Tudor-revival manors on Fairview Road where we can only imagine the Gatsby-style Charleston parties that once went on. Vintage Atlanta got a massive break in the early 1990s when a lawsuit finally took away the threat of Freedom Parkway being extended through what’s now Freedom Park. It was too late to save all of the historic homes that were demolished in the 1960s and ‘70s due to the specter of the “Stone Mountain Freeway,” but the threat of overlooking a highway lowered home prices in the parts of Druid Hills next door to it enough to make a deal for homeowners Christine Cozzens, an English professor at Agnes Scott College, and Ron Calabrese, a biology professor at Emory University. A potential view of asphalt vanquished, they planted a garden so beautiful that it’s a work of art, one of several that complement historic homes in Druid Hills, Morningside and Buckhead on The Artful Garden Tour, Sat. May 14 from 10 AM to 5 PM, which benefits the High Museum of Art.

Druid Hills itself could be called a garden neighborhood, designed to around curving interconnecting parks by pioneering landscape architect Frederik Law Olmsted, who also designed Central Park in New York and the Chicago’s World Fair. Olmsted embraced living in nature, and so does this house. Cozzens grew up in a neo-Tudor revival house and loved the fact that former owners had never changed the floor plan, as has happened to many Druid Hills homes, but the one addition the couple did make was a conservatory. “The idea was that we needed some more living space but we wanted to be able to be outdoors year-round,” she says. The garden, designed by well-known Atlanta landscape architect Mary Palmer Dargan, of Dargan Landscape Architects, literally encircles the house so big windows in the front and back also provide breathtaking views.

When Cozzens and Calabrese moved in with her then-small three children, the only blooms endured for a few weeks in the spring, but now the house is surrounded by an eclectic variety of shrubs, native plants and perennials, allowing for year-round color without a lot of work to maintain the loveliness. The variety reminds Cozzens of Merrion Square and other places in Dublin which the Irish literature expert has visited while leading student trips. “It wouldn’t be miles of privet or boxwood,” she says. “It would be different leaf textures, different colors, different everything right next to each other—an incredible tapestry of leaves.”

Winding paths lead to other parts of the garden including a vegetable planting area with five beds, the Crepe Myrtle Parking Nook which makes for a breathtaking view from the kitchen window, and Emma’s Garden, named after the family’s daughter, which still contains the small unicorn statue the now-20-year-old loved at age 9. The house and garden took a tragic hit in 2009 when a giant tree fell, and the drought gave an extra hit, but the possibility to participate in this year’s Artful Garden Tour provided inspiration to revive the garden after that difficult time. It’s also been featured in the HGTV series GROUND BREAKERS.

Tickets for The Artful Garden Tour are available here.

 

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Weekend Update April 29-May 1, 2011

Posted on: Apr 28th, 2011 By:

Friday, April 29

Inman Park Festival launches from noon to 4 PM with day one of its Tour of Homes, quite possibly Atlanta’s oldest ongoing annual peek behind the doors of private residences. The fun of this tour is not just the historic Craftsman and Victorian structures but the interior decor which often reflects that quirky artsy character of the neighborhood’s residents. Also launching today is the Druid Hills Tour of Homes (10 AM to 5 PM) which this year features houses built from 1918 to 1955 in the city’s first driving suburb originally designed by legendary landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted.

Flashback to the ’80s with Brazilian heavy metal/death metal band Sepultura at Masquerade. Wauchope Krewe plays a mix of New Orleans funk and R&B, along with blues, jazz, Latin and original music, at Fernbank Museum of Natural History’s Martinis and IMAXJoe Gransden and Kenny Banks jazz up The Mansion on PeachtreeLittle G Weevil brings the blues to Fat Matt’s Rib Shack,and Electromatics fuse blues, jazz and soul at Northside Tavern.

Saturday April 30

The Inman Park and Druid Hills Home Tours continue, and the Inman Park Festival shows why it’s Atlanta’s most creative street festival from a bodacious artist and vendors market through the Victorian neighborhood to a one-of-a-kind parade at 2 PM. Plenty of live music, too, with today’s Retro highlights including Zydeco T at 1 PM, crime-fightin superhero Falcon Lords at 4:45 PM, 17-piece big band Usual Suspects at 5:30 PM, and ’20s ragtime-inspired Blair Crimmins & the Hookers at 6:45 PM.

In an extra terror-ific treat, Professor Morte and the guys and ghouls of the Silver Scream Spookshow screen the 1958 Ray Harryhausen monsterpiece THE 7TH VOYAGE OF SINBAD at the Plaza Theatre with a kids matinee at 1 PM and adult show at 10 PM. Read the review by Mark Arson here. Reviving another type of vintage performance, the Atlanta Radio Theatre Company presents Thomas Fuller‘s THE DANCER IN THE DARK, inspired by the H.P. Lovecraft mythos spawned in the 1920s and ’30s with a flavoring of New Mexico, at 2:30 PM at the Academy Theatre in Avondale Estates.

It’s Rockabilly/Redneck Underground heaven as Southern Culture on the Skids headlines the Star Bar with Ghost Riders Car Club opening. Brush up on your GRCC with ATLRetro’s Kool Kat interview with Spike Fullerton from back in February. TheBlues Barons play Fat Matt’s. DJ Romeo Cologne transforms the sensationally seedy Clermont Lounge into a ’70s disco/funk inferno.

Sunday May 1

The Inman Park Festival offers up a final day of fun, including old-time-Western-inspired Cowboy Envy at 2:15 PM and Whole Lotta Dixie, a traditional Dixieland band with a knack for applying that sound to  ’60s and ’70s hits, at 3:30 PM. Six-piece string band The Groundhawgs fuses bluegrass, old-time, jazz and swing, poetry and blues, classic country and a little bit of Southern rock during “dunch” between 1 and 4 PM at The Earl.

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Category: Weekend Update | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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