United States, West Virginia, Kanawha County, Charleston
Michael Garden (Charleston, West Virginia)
Located on approximately one acre in Charleston, West Virginia, the Michael Garden was originally part of a 21 acre property purchased by Mr. and Mrs. James R. Thomas in 1902. The estate included a large house and surrounding woodlands. Mrs. Thomas established formal garden beds on the grounds and planted daffodils in the woodland areas. The next owners, Mr. and Mrs. Settle, built the current home on the property and installed hardscape. Rachel T. Settle took pride in integrating elements of local history, adding a variety of native flowering trees, shrubs and a large flower bed. The current owners have built on the strong structure of the property, being careful to meld improvements with existing features. Their work includes installing additional hardscape and designing new garden areas emphasizing native plants.
Each gardener linked to the Michael Garden has worked with the particular challenges and benefits that come with the Kanawha Valley's terrain. Their efforts produced cultivated lawns and sculpted gardens integrated with the naturally sloping, rocky landscape. The woodlands contain mature deciduous and conifers; shrubs of rhododendron and holly; and native bulbs, plants and wildflowers. Walls, stairs and walkways on the grounds were made from the brick and stone of public properties demolished in the 1930s and 1940s. Among other features are a stream and man-made pond, seating areas and custom ironwork. The Michael Garden's curving garden bed and other gardens contain a variety of herbaceous ornamentals and woody plants, including flowering tulip magnolia and kousa dogwood.
Persons associated with the garden include: Mr. and Mrs. James R. Thomas (former owners, 1902-1937); Rachel Tompkins Settle (former owner, 1938-1985); L.T. Bingston (architect, 1938-1939); Rebecca Trafton (garden designer, 1986); Bill Mills (garden designer, 1992).
The folders include worksheets, planting lists, features map, planting plans, deeds, plats, historical photographs and other additional documentation.
This property has been featured in The 1998 Garden Conservancy: Open Days Directory, p. 367