An unapologetic plant geek shares advice and opinions on gardening, the contrived and the natural landscape, as well as occasional topics from the other side of the gate.

July 9, 2012

Savannah Respite

Our recent vacation plans necessitated a long drive south, and the halfway point was about Savannah, Georgia.  I had been here several times before and think its combination of architecture, history, parks and gardens make it one of the most beautiful and interesting cities in the country.  Unfortunately we only had one night in town, not enough to do it justice, but a short time in Savannah is better than no time. On our way to dinner we drove by Forsyth Park as the sun was going down and the late light was beautiful, even if the other weather elements were not.  The park and the entire city is framed by and watched over by a canopy of moss-draped live oaks (Quercus virginiana).  This species is one of my favorite trees, and they define Savannah the way Paris is defined by the Eiffel Tower.  Even though they are named for Virginia, they will not reach there full potential, stature and presence here like they do further down the coast.  I didn't ask, but politely told my wife and son that dinner would have to wait until after I had taken some pictures in the park.

We parked the car on Forsyth's northern boundary, right in front of this home, one of Savannah's many beautiful structures.  If you are in the market for a new or second residence, this 5 bedroom, 6 bath townhouse was recently on the market for a mere 5.5 million dollars.  Click here for more photos.

West Gaston St.

Across the street, the oaks were giving up a bit of their shade to people out for a stroll, joggers, dog walkers and bench sitters.

Quercus virginiana

The oaks also bear witness to much of what goes on in Savannah.

Witnessed by the Oaks (2)

Witnessed by the Oaks (3)

The centerpiece of the park is a large confection of a fountain that has been here since the 1850's. Between its waters and the shade of the oaks, this is were the people of Savannah and weary travellers can get a little respite from a long, hot and humid day.

Forsyth Park Fountain (3)

Forsyth Park Fountain


  1. I keep driving by. Each time I tell myself you need to stop in.

  2. superb lighting.....gorgeous are the master

  3. Wow, those are lovely photos. Those mossy oaks are certainly great natural ornamentals in the park. I have seen oaks just once in this lifetime, however i forgot the leaves as i noticed mostly the bark and trunks. I saw it in Turkey and it was century old.

  4. We have promised ourselves a visit to both Charleston and Savannah this fall. Love the first of the wedding pics by the fountain. Lucky kids to have such a setting.
    The grill work on the fencing is gorgeous!

  5. Les,
    You certainly have the eye. Those giant oaks can be so hard to photograph some times. Savannah is on my list of places to visit very soon.

  6. Going there this wked! I have always enjoyed Savannah. The buildings along the river are wonderful. You can enter at street level, or descend a flight down to where the shops at ground level open up toward the river. Shops tend to be v. tourist oriented though. Savannah, Charleston & Wilmington are three cities representing different city "types." Charleston is organized, or was before the 20th c., along topographic factors, basically a medieval model. Savannah's squares reflect a rationalized, Age of Enlightenment idea. Wilmington, which burned down several times, reflects a 19th c. suburban pastoral ideal though it is now hard to see that.

  7. I'm surprised there are no people in the fountain! As humid as it is there. I've visited Savannah once and got to tour and go to the ocean. It was while I was on a mission at Fort Stewart and I truly loved the old south feel to Savannah. What a lovely wedding under those ancient oaks.

  8. I love the oaks with that marvellous moss.

    The sunlight through the water is a lovely shot !

    How hot was it there ?

  9. Savannah is a beautiful city and your photos certainly do her proud. So glad you got to hug one of your favorite trees.

  10. I remember live oaks from my early life in Mississippi, but none of them could compare to these in size. Beautiful photos.

  11. Beautiful place for a wedding. I visited Charleston twice but never Savannah. I have however read The Book (most entertaining).

  12. You've framed these oaks nicely. We have two on our property and they are revered by all:) Beautiful scenery and water movement shots.

  13. All I can say is -- fountain fotos are fantastic!!

  14. Hi Les, What a beautiful park for wedding photos. I love your shots of the fountain!

  15. I love the movement in your spraying water photos. Just great! How neat to have captured a wedding happening at the fountain as would have done well to give the bride a business card for these gorgeous photos!

  16. Savannah is one of my favorite cities to stroll about. Living in GA has me there often although, it has been a while since my last visit. Have you been to the Bonaventure Cemetery? It is a bit off the beaten path but worth the visit. A beautiful setting along the river. The cemetery is filled with Live Oak’s and Moss and the most interesting grave statues…

  17. My brother was stationed at the army base near Savannah for about a year, so I did get to see this beautiful city. Your pictures are a reminder that I need to go back.

  18. Christopher,
    You need to stop driving by and pay a visit to one of our national treasures.

    My head swells.

    These oaks are easily a century old as well, and just one of many species we have here.

    You should go to both cities. They are somewhat similar, but different if that makes sense. I heard rumor that the 2014 Bloggers Fling will be in Charleston.

    Put it near the top of your list.

    I really like your take on those three cities. I like to think of them as sisters. Charleston the oldest, most uppity who presents a good front, but is thoroughly disorganized behind her facade. Savannah is the rational middle sister who keeps herself very orderly and calm. Wilmington the third child whose own charms are often overlooked in the shadow of her older sisters.

    I was ready to jump into that fountain myself. It was so uncomfortable out.

    That afternoon it was close to 100, but when these shots were taken it had cooled off into the mid 90's and the humidity was at sauna level. We had our dogs with us the whole trip and this night was very rough on them.

    Hug I did!

    Savannah is home to some very impressive specimens.

    I do love that book, but please do not waste your time on the movie.

    Thanks, I have been trying to play with moving water photography.

    Thank you very much.

    I do not know how the bride remained looking so composed. It was so hot and humid, but she stayed beautiful.

    Thank you for your kind comments. That fountain has always reminded me of a liquid wedding cake.

    You are fortunate to be so close. When I lived in Charleston I often went there for a day trip, and took some of my visitors as well. I have not been to Bonaventure, but it is on the list, especially for some photography.

    Since you have been there, I know I do not need to tell you how beautiful it is, and that you should indeed go back.


  19. Wow. Great scenes in the park. Especially the fountain shots. I grew up in Southern California where the live oaks (related species) also define some of the landscapes along the coast. There is something very dignified about the trees as they imply a consistency and continuity that we can only aspire to...

  20. I too need to go back, since I was there for only half a day. But we took the ghost tour in a hearse.