Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Garden design: a French inspired garden in Alabama

The French window above with its gorgeous garden view made me fall completely flat for this feature on the website of Traditional Home. In Redmont, a historic neighbourhood in Birmingham, Alabama, stands a beautiful house from 1926 that belongs to interior designer Mary Finch and her husband. They bought it back in 2004 and it was gardener Norman Kent Johnson who helped them designing the gardens, which were bare and had old and overgrown wisteria in desperate need of cutting.

Before buying the house, Mary hadn't done much gardening but the property "afforded a blank canvas she couldn't resist." Because of travels to French wineries and to the Provence, French gardens were her inspiration. With pure honesty and laughter she remarks: "Perhaps the most French thing about this garden is the amount of French wine we’ve shared here."

Above you see a purple salvia and the beautiful terrace, which they use to enjoy the morning coffee while admiring the gardens and the view. Today Mary sounds like a true gardener when she says: "There's always something changing ... It's exciting to see a new leaf emerge, foliage change, or a flower about to bloom."

The flower above is a red verbena, which I have never seen before. It also goes by the name 'Voodoo Star' and attracts butterflies, birds, and bees.

The view in the back is wonderful, with the terrace overlooking the parterre and the Appalachian Mountains across the valley. It was Mary and gardener Norman Kent Johnson who added the parterre, a nod to formal French design. Four urns standing in its corners mark off the parterre.

There is an open-air patio in the garden, ideal for entertaining guests, with lanterns on the dividing wall that provide a beautiful soft light in the evening.

photo credit:
Jean Allsopp for Traditional Home


  1. So beautiful! I think I could set up my work space on that terrace during the summer. This gorgeous garden and the Appalachian Mountains in the distance would be my inspiration.

  2. What a beautiful garden. It could easily be in Provence And such a pretty home too. I would love to see the inside. x Sharon

  3. Oh my goodness, you really can take a little of Provence with you!

    Cheers! from,

  4. A beautiful garden, it looks so peaceful and I love the window in the first photograph.
    Happy gardening Lisa:)

  5. wow, i never would have guessed that this was in alabama, even from the view! looks like they have created a little piece of european heaven in the states. i adore this!

  6. instant holiday feeling :-)


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