We recently visited the Cheekwood Home and Gardens in Nashville. This was my second time there (I toured it a few years ago with the Master Gardeners). Although we missed the tulip display, which I heard was spectacular, the gardens have a lot to offer. It is worth a trip if you are in the area.
The name "Cheekwood" derives from a combination of the names of the husband and wife who built it - Leslie Cheek and Mabel Wood. The Cheeks were an entrepreneurial family - Leslie's father was a wholesale grocer and his cousin developed Maxwell House coffee. The Cheeks were investors and in 1928, General Foods purchased the Maxwell House brand for $40 million.
The Cheeks purchased 100 acres in West Nashville to build a country estate. They hired New York architect Bryant Fleming to design both the house and gardens. The home and grounds were inspired by great English homes of the 18th century and the project was completed in 1932. Leslie Cheek died two years later after moving in and his wife lived there for another eight years before deeding it to her daughter Huldah Cheek Sharp. The Sharps lived there until the 1950s when it was turned into an art museum and botanical garden.
The house/museum is interesting (my favorite display is Mrs. Cheek's snuff bottle collection). There is presently a bamboo art collection that is quite awesome. But, on to my favorite part, the gardens!
The gated entrance sits beneath a massive oak tree -
We were too late for the tulip display - I can just imagine the sea of color along this walkway and at the entrance to the Visitor's Center -
A beautiful young dogwood just inside the entrance -
And farther into the gardens, we came upon this lovely double-flowered dogwood variety "Plena" which I don't see that often -
A dramatic hedge of Chinese Snowball (Viburnum macrophepalum) -
Next to the house is a boxwood garden and a stone grotto and water feature -
A woodland garden with native plants and azaleas -
A thatched-roof cottage -
A terraced garden -
A woodland garden with Red Buckeye (Aesculus pavia), Japanese maples, boxwood and ferns -
A portion of the Herb Garden - More Japanese Maples and garden art -
It was a beautiful day to see a garden. For more information on Cheekwood, visit their website.