The Harding Garden at Belle Meade Plantation
One of the historic jewels of Nashville, the Greek Revival Belle Meade Mansion (link: bellemeadeplantation.com) graces the crest of a hill overlooking Richland Creek in West Nashville. But before Belle Meade’s first owner, John Harding, began to build the Mansion in 1820, he and his family lived for 13 years in a modest two-room log cabin on the 250-acre property. Today, the Harding Cabin and its recreated kitchen garden serve as reminders of the rugged live of Tennessee’s early settlers.
The current Harding Garden , which is located behind the cabin overlooking Leake Avenue, was first developed by members of the Davidson County Master Gardeners in 2009. The 1,200 square foot garden is planted with heirloom vegetables, culinary and medicinal herbs, and period-appropriate flowers. Many of the varieties are the same as those recorded by Harding family in their garden journals during the 1800s. The 12 garden beds are edged with rocks from Richland Creed, and water is pumped from the creek to maintain plants. For a garden layout and current plant list, click here.
More than 210,000 people visit Belle Meade Plantation each year and enjoy the Harding Garden. In addition, several hundred local school children visit during Harvest Days and learn more about vegetable gardening from DCMG volunteers.