The Friersons' Hidden Retreat, ca. 1970-1980, 2011-2012
Armstrong, Charles R. ca. 1890-1947
Koch, Richard 1889-1971
Hardie, Baby (Dorothy)
Fransen, René J. L.
The New Orleans Town Gardeners, Inc
1 folder+ 21 digital images, 3 photographic prints
Mixed archival materials
United States of America, Louisiana, Orleans Parish, New Orleans
The Friersons' Hidden Retreat (New Orleans, Louisiana)
ca 1970-1980, 2011-2012
A city property measuring 90 by 120 feet with a Georgian style house built in the 1920's has formal garden rooms that fulfill the owners' principle requirements: privacy with a sense of enclosure, year-round color and fragrance, and visibility of the garden from every room in the house. An open side yard visible from the street was enclosed behind a brick wall draped in confederate jasmine with hedges on three sides that include camellia, azalea, cleyera, sweet osmanthus and boxwood, bulbs and annuals. The lawn of St. Augustine grass, called a tapis vert, terminates in a brick courtyard with a Palladian style fountain and four garden beds. A guest house was added to the property in the back corner, with its own patio and Japanese maple trees. Directly behind the main house there is a secret garden containing an antique fountain surrounded by four cherubs that represent the four seasons and shaded by mature camellias that have grown as tall as small trees. A kitchen garden for herbs has the necessary utilitarian features: garden sheds, a small greenhouse and a potting table.
Urns, window boxes, other containers and hanging baskets sited throughout the garden are planted with flowering shrubs and annuals for year-round color. An enormous antique urn that is a family heirloom was fitted into the Palladian fountain and planted with witch hazel. White and cool tones are favored, with some pink flowers for contrast. Old New Orleans soft red brick was used for the patios and walkways that connect the garden rooms, initially designed by landscape architect René J.L. Fransen. A formal knot garden with planted urns is situated in front of the house, visible to all.
Persons associated with the garden include: Esmond Phelps, Sr. (former owner, 1927); Robert Reisfields (former owner, 1971); Charles Armstrong and Richard Koch (architects, 1927); Douglas Freret (architect, 1971); Baby Hardie (garden designer, 1971); René J.L. Fransen (landscape architect, 1980); Barry Fox (architect, 1980); and Marianne Mumford (landscape architect, 2002).
The folder includes worksheets, historical photographs and photocopies of articles.
Garden has been featured in "Jewel Box Garden" by Grace Collins Hodges, published in Southern Accents, March - April 2005; "A Secret I Can't Keep" by Jo Kellum, published in Southern Living, July 1996; Courtyards: Intimate outdoor Spaces by Douglas Keister, p. 67