Although it’s been several years since we last visited the lovely gardens of Lane Hays, we relished the thought of spending quiet time roaming this extensive lakeside property artfully enhanced by Lane’s vision and creativity. Set on the banks of Fort Loudon Lake in Knoxville, the gardens were begun in 1992 using natural elements of a marble quarry located on the property. Now, the additions of a cottage garden, rose garden, moon garden, and newly added waterfall features in the back of the property make this a Southern showplace.
From the front of the house, the lake beckons. Visitors to the property catch glimpses of the water from the planted gardens as well as pathways to the house. And the walks along the way offer the peacefulness and serenity that typify Lane’s property in both the front and back of her home.
Featuring a variety of perennials and annuals in raised beds, the garden has a looseness about it even with careful planning. Stepping stones, garden statuary, and birdhouses stand among the flowers bordered by picket fencing. Pebble pathways lead you through the garden with many of the perennials identified by markers.
Rose Garden and Moon Garden
Although only one solitary rose showed its colors for the tour, Lane assured us that by Mother’s Day the fragrance of many varieties of roses will fill the air. Notable about this garden created in 1996: labels for each variety and an arrangement of plantings that invites leisurely strolling. Also waiting for later spring to show its creamy blossoms was the west-facing moon garden, planted only with white flowers in order to catch the light of the moon as it casts a soft glow on the blooms.
Lane led us through the old ornamental iron gate to the back of the extensive property where we were greeted by a stone frog (bought at auction, Lane said) dipping a fishing line into the pond. After walking the pathways we remembered from a previous visit, Lane gave us a tour of the “new” area just completed within the last year. She’s added a stone bridge, re-positioned massive boulders, and created a formidable waterfall over a previously hidden rock face. Quite the work of art.
Lane Hays’s backyard garden makes an indelible impression: deep woods, native and acquired trees, shade-loving plants, and rushing waterfalls. A respite for anyone touring the gardens that day.
But then all of Lane’s gardens are impressive. So glad she was open!
For more information: Dogwood Arts 2015 Featured Open Gardens