A New Beginning – the Bath Gardens Initiatives Continue

November 10, 2021

You might not have heard of Bath, Georgia. Originally it housed less than 20 summer homes, most of them constructed by residents in Augusta and Waynesboro. Over the years, all but one of the community’s buildings have fallen to structural issues and other catastrophes. The McNatt-Green-Burdell house, also known as the “tea house,” is the only remaining structure left standing today.

The surviving home holds a great bit of American history, once run by Mrs. Green, world-renowned guests from John D. Rockefeller to President William Taft are just two major figures who frequented the home. It was also a favorite place to cool after a long, hot day. People would pay 25 cents to take a dip, men on one side, women on the other.

In 1958, Alonzo Plumb Boardman, Sr. “Lonnie” purchased 48 acres adjacent to the Bath House at 3855 Bath Edie Road. An additional seven were added over the years. Along with the property, various springs were useful to nourish the vegetation, which had the appearance of a “jungle”. It was an exact replica that Lonnie wanted to recreate of an Austrian Village.

An Initiative in 2017 to Restore the Bath Gardens Was Just the Beginning…

The resulting village had the scene overlooking the gardens. And in 1964, they had become so lush and popular that many regional and local publications recognized both their beauty and their uniqueness. Over the decades, not much of Bath survived, but it still had the original charm and character that it once did. An initiative beginning in 2017 to bring Bath to life again failed due to a lack of resources and funding. But several projects began to restore bits and pieces.

In 2018, Catherine Fleming inherited the property. Ms. Fleming quickly went to work rolling up her sleeves and doing what she personally could to stop the gardens from disintegrating to seed. And in 2019, the Bath Garden’s renovation and restoration began.

Lots of Work Lie Ahead

Bringing the gardens back to life was no small feat. It took a vast number of landscaping professionals and landscaping maintenance and designers to coordinate such a large undertaking. The first step was to tame the spring water. WP Law Fountain Division of Lexington, SC began to repipe the garden because the original clay pipes were either broken, roots were occluding them, or they were clogged.

Frontal view of fountain – Bath Gardens Foundation

The six original cement pools at the garden were all cleaned up and renovated and the three fountains contained within were brought back to spout water again. The largest pond was leaking, causing the Lodge to cave in, so the dam was rebuilt, re-cemented, the patio and planted flower beds were all redone, and a plaque to commemorate Mr. Boardman was prominently placed.

Thanks to the Efforts of Rollin’s Landscaping, Bath Gardens are Blooming Again

Rollin Giesbrecht, President of Rollin’s Landscape Co, came on board in 2019 and began large-scale work on the Bath Gardens. He kept with the original design and layout of the garden, but heavily emphasized seasonal color and fragrance to ensure that there is always something blooming, regardless of the time of year. The garden soon became a huge attraction.   

Rollin also added a French Drain system to guide the water from the newly fixed springs and add it to the irrigation system that was recently installed just this past September. Rollins Landscaping was highly critical to bringing the Bath Gardens back to life. His crew was not only instrumental in containing and controlling water issues and irrigation; his knowledge of regional plants, flowering plants, shrubs, and various grasses and ground cover is the reason that the Bath Garden looks so lovely from spring to spring and every day in between.

Bath Gardens, A Shining Display of Rollin’s Landscaping And Others!

Many people in and around Augusta have put their time, resources, energy, and hard work into attempting to bring the Bath Gardens back to its original majesty, but they can’t do it alone. Bath Gardens aren’t just beautiful to look at; they are an important part of this area, as well as national, history. Support the revamping and renovation project still in process. Many hearts have poured everything into returning the Bath area to its original prominence.

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