History of the Davenport House Garden
When the Davenports lived on Columbia Square, the space immediately behind the House was a swept bare dirt and sand utility “yard.” The adjacent lot where Isaiah built a small dwelling for his young family was certainly not the ornamental garden seen today. The estate inventory of Isaiah Davenport’s possession taken in 1828 and lists “2 cows and a calf.”
We can assume the bovine either grazed on the property or in Columbia Square. A “cowshed” was also located on the property, too. Directly behind the house was a privy, well, and carriage house. During the early 20th century, an apartment building was built on this space.
The present garden’s history began in 1976, created by the Trustee’s Garden Club as a bicentennial project. Through research of period gardens and the Savannah area, Cy Paumier of Land Design/Research Associates of Columbia, Maryland was commissioned to design our garden.
Over the years, the garden was monitored and nurtured by the Trustee’s Garden Club members who made substantial donations to it. During the 1990’s a redesign was undertaken to remove diseased trees and shrubs, as well as to create beds with representational plantings that an 1820’s resident of Savannah would have recognize.
Through the continuing generosity of the Trustee’s Garden Club, combined with substantial gifts from private donors, restoration plans were completed by Penelope Hobhouse, renowned English landscape architect, in collaboration with Frances Parker of Beaufort, South Carolina. Together they shaped a garden of all white structural plantings, supplemented by white perennials and annuals.
The tea olives are framed by an arbor, which is planted with confederate jasmine and white “Wedding Rose” bushes. White moon flower vines intertwine and bloom in the summer. Annuals are planted seasonally in the surrounding beds and decorative urns.