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In the 1960s John Windle, founder of Historic Madison, Inc. worked with Planning Consultant, Carl Talbott-Hyatt GardenBerg of Louisville and Architect, Roll McLaughlin of Indianapolis to design the present garden and reconstruct a carriage house on the site. It provides a tranquil respite from city streets of Madison.
The site, surrounding the Talbott-Hyatt house at the corner of Second and Poplar, is comprised of the original house lot plus the adjoining lot to the west. Early wells were once located along the Poplar Street border. The team laid out brick walks, added stone steps on the First Street elevation, created a wooden well in the center of the garden, and reconstructed a carriage house at the back of the second lot.
The informal garden has evolved from plantings selected by various owners over time. These include hemlock, green ash, sugar maple, osage orange, holly, redbud, dogwood and black walnut. Perennial flowers and herbs form colorful beds near the kitchen and along the central walk. Several varieties of old roses are featured. Two very large specimens of Calycanthus, “Carolina Allspice,” may well have been among the earliest plantings.
The Garden is open to the public dawn to dusk year round.