Secret Garden in Atlanta Georgia

imageIn the heart of downtown Atlanta lies a garden covering an acre of land. Nearby a four lane road carries traffic at a frenetic pace backwards and forwards; allowing little time for motorists to catch a glimpse of the colourful flowering azaleas at the entrance to the longish driveway.image

The house has a slightly Dutch styling to it with ornate decorations on the highest point- step inside and immediately you’re transported to an art gallery- colourful and eclectic.

Around the door architraves are old floral tiles broken up and reused by the artistic owner of the home. This is just the beginning.Penelope Smith is an artist, that is an understatement ! She is what I would call a typically eccentric Englishwoman despite having lived in the USA for several decades. Penny yearns to live in England but her physicist American husband is not ready for retirement yet despite being in his7th decade. There are oil paintings of her mother and herself , her dog, and many of her floral interpretations adorning the walls. A collection of antique blue toned pottery adorns one wall and a magnificent dried sunflower and lotus bloom arrangement dominates the entrance. The same sunflower has been captured in its dying stages on canvas, a permanent reminder.Standing 3 feet tall were several African beaded figures and throughout the house were more paintings and exquisite pieces collected from who knows where.

I was there to see the garden so we exited to a pond reflecting apricot floating azaleas matching 5-6 large koi swimming lazily in the sunshine.image

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Nearby another pond was home to a dozen lazy green frogs. Everywhere I looked I was hit with a panorama of colour, the azaleas surrounded the property, lined the walkways and cascaded over archways, they were stunning. In the centre of the middle level a touch of England with a formally laid out garden, pathways and sculptures. Capability Brown would have approved!

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Another area was home to a circular garden along with four bronze roosters standing proud. Penny paints and her glass walled outdoor studio was full of soft clear light – an incomplete canvas of rambling floral shapes was taking shape on the easel. The tubes of paint lay alongside a deep red geranium about to be incorporated into an artwork.image

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Above: A large intricate mural by Penny hangs in her home.

Penny has turned some of her paintings into wallpaper and I believe the papers are available for purchase. I loved the soft greens, gold and blues in the Ginkgo patterned paper. Some of her work is also available as prints.

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I asked if I could blog about her and she was more than happy. As I departed Penny stood on her steps in the sunshine wearing a smile, tramping boots, two skirts, a floral apron and her greying hair wrapped in a floral cotton scarf – the picture of eccentricity!

A most memorable thirty minutes, Thankyou you are an inspiration. You can contact Penny at  penelopesmith@bellsouth.net

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