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Joseph Thomas Mathis House Garden, 2007-2008

Garden designer:
Mathis, Joseph Thomas
Mathis, Ruth Aldridge
Harvey, T.C
Greenville Garden Club
Physical description:
1 folder+ 15 35 mm. slides (photographs) + three copies of original photographs and one photo postcard
Mixed archival materials
United States of America, Mississippi, Washington County, Leland
Joseph Thomas Mathis House Garden (Leland, Mississippi)
This formal garden, located on one and one-third of an acre, was planted initially in the 1920s and grew to be well-known and well-loved by many in Leland, Mississippi. That formal garden bloomed year-round in the mild climate of the delta region. It was planted in rectilinear beds with deep perennial borders surrounding the lawn, and was maintained into the 1960s. Over time the structured garden declined and features were removed. In the 1980s the current owners began restoring the garden, reviving the flowering shrubs and bulbs that had survived but restyling the formal ornamental garden in a more naturalistic way. The current garden has curving beds throughout the property laced with walks lined with liriope, Chippendale-style garden furniture built by the owner, arbors, patios and porches, and a new fountain in the restored lily pool.
There are more than 300 hydrangeas planted in the Joseph Thomas Mathis House Garden that were propagated on site by the owners. The property is awash in pink blooms during the months of May and June. Among the surviving plants from the original formal garden are live oak, magnolia, holly, cypress, kerria, daylilies, daffodils and other bulbs, iris, and sweetheart roses. The extensive plant selection of trees, shrubs, perennials and bulbs includes only those specimens that thrive in the alluvial soil of the Mississippi delta, which is rich and alkaline.
Persons associated with the garden include Joseph Thomas Mathis and Ruth Aldridge Mathis (garden designers of the original formal garden, 1926-1964) and T.C. Harvey (architect, 1925).
Archives of American Gardens encourages the use of its archival materials for non-commercial, educational and personal use under the fair use provision of U.S. copyright law. Use or copyright restrictions may exist. It is incumbent upon the researcher to ascertain copyright status and assume responsibility for usage. All requests for duplication and use must be submitted in writing and approved by Archives of American Gardens.
The Greenville Garden Club facilitated the submission of this garden's documentation.
The folder includes worksheets, photocopies of articles, and write-ups of the property's history including a photocopy of the garden diary of Ruth Aldridge Mathis from the years 1926-1940.
This property is featured in many newspaper and magazine articles including: The Leland Progress, April 11, 1996; Delta Democrat Times, May 14, 1996, April 14, 2004, May 9, 2006 and May 12, 2009; "Sharing the Joy" by Steve Bender published in Southern Living, June 2001; "Hydrangea has Large, Appreciative Audience" by Glynda Phillips in Mississippi Farm Country, September/October 2004; "Delta Hospitality" by Margaret Gratz in Mississippi Gardener, May 2005; and "Hydrangeas to Share" published in Southern Living 40th Anniversary Special Edition (2006)
Repository Loc.:
Smithsonian Gardens, PO Box 37012, Capital Gallery, Suite 3300, MRC 506, Washington, DC 20013-7012
Local number:
Data Source:
Archives of American Gardens

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