On The Garden Path: Callaway Gardens

Callaway Brothers Azalea Bowl is bursting with color in spring

| April 2007

If you've ever seen the popular PBS television gardening show The Victory Garden, you've seen Callaway Gardens, located in Pine Mountain, Ga. The gardens, founded by Cason and Virginia Callaway, opened to the public in May 1952 and offer a fascinating glimpse of what can be accomplished with hard work and dedication.

History of the Callaways

After graduating from business school, Cason Callaway worked at his father's cotton mills in LaGrange, Ga., as a bookkeeper. He worked his way up to be an equal partner in the family business, and he eventually took over financial control of the mills.

After serving in the U.S. Navy during World War I, he returned to Georgia, where he met Virginia Hand, who had grown up in Pelham, Ga., and loved growing camellias and other flowers. The two were married in 1920, and by 1927, they had three children.

The mills fought to survive during the Depression, and the Callaway family began spending time at Blue Springs in Hamilton, Ga., where they enjoyed a cottage, horses, a pavilion, a private lake and a spring-fed pool.

In 1935, Cason gave up control of the mills, and in 1938, the Callaway family moved to a home near Blue Springs, where Virginia began helping children and families with financial aid and became active in the Red Cross.

Cason focused his attention on the land they owned, experimenting with cover crops and fertilizer to restore the soil, as well as terracing and raising crops and livestock. He eventually became one of Georgia's leading farmers and agricultural economists.

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