United States of America, Texas, Jefferson, Beaumont
Birdwell Garden (Beaumont, Texas)
The original gardens for the Federal style house built in 1939 had privet hedges for privacy, beds of azaleas, and mature oak trees when the current owners began adding features in 1982. They maintained the formal symmetry that included parterres on either side of the house, added 300 clipped boxwoods along existing brick walkways, and established beds of camellias, hydrangeas, roses and other native plantings. There are three distinct garden areas: the street entrance garden in front of the house comprised of an open lawn with magnolias, oaks and perimeter beds; the drive entrance garden along the west side of the house with parterres, antique statues depicting the four seasons, crushed granite walkways, roses, azaleas, ferns and clipped jasmine shaded by a large oak. The third and largest garden behind the house, called the central garden, has a large lawn of St. Augustine grass bordered by clipped boxwoods. The surrounding gardens are rectangular and symmetrical and include camellias, fruit trees, blue plumbago, gardenias, hydrangeas, azaleas and other flowering trees and shrubs suited to the southern climate, some of which are planted in containers. Flowering vines including clematis, coral vine, passion vine, climbing roses and wisteria grow profusely on fences, iron trellises and the house. A bench marking the end of the central axis of the property has angel statues placed on either side, and there are other statues in the parterres.
This garden was damaged extensively by Hurricane Rita in 2005, which felled a large oak tree near the house in the central garden and also destroyed two rose gardens, container gardens, brick walkways and terraces and other shade plants. The hole left from the oak tree was transformed into a brick koi pond surrounded by jasmine and planted antique urns. The garden was restored to its formal symmetry once again in 2008 following damage from Hurricane Ike. One twenty-five-year-old climbing rose in this garden has survived both storms.
Persons associated with the garden include Captain Gerald Johnson (former owner, 1939-1941); Mr. and Mrs. Robert Robertson (former owners, 1941-1954); Mr. and Mrs. Joe Broussard (former owners, 1954-1982); and Steinman and Goldman (architects, 1939).
The folder includes worksheets, planting list, and other documentation.