A large oak tree on the site - estimated to be 150 to 200 years old - overlooks a creek sitting above a floodplain behind the Sautee Nacoochee Post Office.
"This tree and garden came not from Jack and me, but through us," Helen said. "We honor the Cherokee tradition of our earth belonging to the ALL."
Allen Stovall, landscape architect, was asked to create a plan for the garden. Allen grew up in the Sautee Valley. He is professor emeritus in the College of Environment and Design at the University of Georgia. Back in 1982, he authored The Sautee and Nacoochee Valleys: A Preservation Study. The study was a precursor to the establishment of the Sautee and Nacoochee Valleys on the National Register of Historic Places.
In 2017, Allen asked several people to help create a native plant garden. In an early meeting, he showed the group his initial drawing, and the work moved off the page and onto the land.
Next, volunteers transformed the site - once covered with invasive privet shrub - into a woodland garden. Native plants were purchased and donated from community members. In his design, Allen considered water diversion, a gravel pathway through the garden and seating areas.