Restoration of the Rock Garden at Jacqueland

Today I feel beyond grateful to see a project that I started working on with my grandmother back in the 90s, finally come to a finish.

                                              My grandmother posing in the rock garden 1928

The rock garden at Jacqueland, the home my great-grandfather and namesake, Cator Woolford, built in Atlanta, has been overgrown for decades and the fountain hasn't worked in my lifetime.  My grandmother, through my encouragement, paid for a new motor for the fountain back in 1990 but the gentleman who promised to install it moved suddenly, and there it sat for 20 years rusting away. 

Through the amazing diligence of the director of Atlanta Hospital Hospitality House (AHHH), Melissa Connor, the rock garden is once again an oasis at the home. 

Here is a video she just sent me explaining the renovation with an amusing time lapse of the construction. I am so thankful to Cooper Sanchez, head gardener at Oakland Cemetery and Jim Higgenbotham from The Atlanta Botanical Gardens for all of their hard work on this wonderful project. I can't wait to meet you both.

I visited the rock garden on my last trip to Atlanta and it was a moving moment to see something I have loved for so long finally be reborn. I assumed most of the stones that created the paths were new, but Melissa told me that they were just resting under all the dirt and weeds, ready to be tread on again.

The fountain originally sprayed upwards and had colored lights swirling underneath, a very 20s effect I think! My grandmother always told me the story that Mr. Cator never mentioned the lights in the fountain, so the first night it was working she looked out the window and screamed in terror. The gardens were awash in red and orange light and she assumed they were on fire. Mr. Cator laughed and explained his magical addition to the estate.

Today the lights are gone and the grand water spray was replaced with a quiet, calming, gurgling movement, more in keeping with the meditative purpose of the garden.

While this is a huge accomplishment, there is more work to be done to the house and property!
We are striving to raise $1 million to get the elevator working again, restore the wood paneling in the library and get the house all the attention it desperately needs to keep humming. So if you have any loose change, send it their way!

Here is another wonderful piece on the house that aired this week on the Atlanta's Channel 2 News.

Atlanta's best kept secret indeed.