University of Georgia Founders Memorial Garden

Athens, GA
United States
University of Georgia Founders Memorial Garden

Built between 1939 and 1946, this 2.5-acre memorial garden exhibits both formal, Colonial Revival-style outdoor rooms and informal, naturalistic gardens. It was designed on the University of Georgia campus by the Garden Club of Georgia in partnership with Hubert Owens, founder of the university’s landscape architecture program, professor Brooks Wigginton, and their students. The garden commemorates the Ladies Garden Club of Athens, founded in 1891, and fallen soldiers from World War II.

The gardens are located on an irregularly-shaped parcel on the university’s north campus. Surrounding a brick Greek Revival-style house designed in 1857 and its associated outbuildings, the gardens are enclosed by a historic iron fence and pierced brick walls. A western-facing courtyard paved in cobblestones fronts the house, dividing the north and south arboreta. The arboreta are informally planted, with winding paths and stands of trees. The formal, circular boxwood parterre lies behind the house. With a sundial at its center, the parterre is circumscribed by a red-brick walk and enclosed by a white picket fence. To the south, the terrace garden separates the boxwood parterre from the sunken perennial garden, which features a serpentine wall and planting beds around a greensward and small fish pond. Gravel and flagstone walks, masonry stairs, and cast-iron benches adorn the landscape.

The gardens are managed by the College of Environment & Design and are a living laboratory for students as well as a social gathering space. The garden and house were listed together in the National Register of Historic Places in 1972.