Elizabeth Lawrence Garden Japanese Stewartia


Tree Location


348 Ridgewood Ave
Charlotte, NC 28209

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Elizabeth Lawrence is regarded as a preeminent figure in Southern horticultural history.  In the early part of last century very little was written about gardening in the South Eastern US, and Lawrence quickly learned, “that a knowledge of plant material for the South could not be got in the library, most of the literature of horticulture being for a different climate, and that I would have to grow the plants in my garden and learn about them for myself.”  

Born in Marietta, GA in 1904, Elizabeth's family moved several times before settling in Garysburg, NC.  She then went on to study at St. Mary's School in Raleigh, followed by Barnard College in NY from 1922-1926.  When Elizabeth was through with her courses at Barnard she returned to North Carolina, and in 1932 was the first woman to graduate from North Carolina State University with a degree in landscape architecture.  

Elizebeth's true calling was to garden and write about gardens.  Throughout the 1930s her articles were published in several small periodicals, but in 1942 her first book 'A Southern Gardener' was published to much acclaim.  It was the first book written about Southern gardens, which was written by a true Southern gardener.  

In 1948, along with her mother Bessie, she moved to Charlotte and began building a house on Ridgewood Ave, just down the street from Wing Haven Gardens and Bird Sanctuary.  The garden she created served as both a formal garden for enjoyment, and a 'laboratory' for experimenting with new plants for Southern gardens.   One of the species added to the garden was a Japanese stewartia planted towards the right rear of the garden.  This tree is one of the original trees of the Treasure Tree Program, and is the largest recorded Japanese stewartia in Mecklenburg County.  This Japanese stewartia is a must see with mid/late summer white blooms, red-orange fall color, and characteristic white-gray exfoliating bark.

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