Had I read the info on the gardens from the Wikipedia page before my visit I’d have nodded my head in recognition of its truth as I wandered through them:
Mr. Will’s [William Neal Reynolds, brother of tobacco entrepreneur R. J. Reynolds] wife, Kate, a horticultural enthusiast, began the extensive native and ornamental plantings at Tanglewood and employed German master gardener, Mr. Frank Lustig, who continued her plans and his life’s work. He contributed the 800 bush Rose Garden on the Manor House lawn, the Arboretum behind the house, and the nearby Fragrance Garden to the estate. For 60 years, even after the death of his employers, and their gift of the estate, Lustig poured his talents into Tanglewood. He is buried in the graveyard at Tanglewood next to the historic church. The Reynolds couple had no children, and, as a gesture enabling others to benefit from the beauty, elegance, history, and recreation their country estate had to offer, in 1951, they willed the Tanglewood property to the citizens of Forsyth County to share as a public recreational park.
Mr. Lustig’s devotion shows amply in the gardens. They are a delight to wander and their design affords a wonderful variety of viewpoints and perspectives from which to enjoy both the plantings and the setting in the wooded terrain. The plantings are divided into several areas, separate gardens really, although the areas involved are very small. Some of the tree species represented in the garden are astonishing and show that mindfulness has been put into the gardens for a very long time, even before Mr. Lustig entered the picture, one suspects, given the age and size of some specimens. Particularly impressive is a dawn redwood (Metasequoia glyptostroboides). Like the relict species Wollemia nobilis (info here) found in Australia, the dawn redwood was first described as a fossil and then, mirabile dictu, living specimens were found, as the tree’s Wikipedia page describes:
Metasequoia was first described as a fossil from the Mesozoic Era by Shigeru Miki in 1941, but in 1944, a small stand of an unidentified tree species was discovered in China in Modaoxi (磨刀溪; presently, Moudao (谋道), in Lichuan County, Hubei) by Zhan Wang. Due to World War II, these were not studied further until 1946, and only finally described as a new living species of Metasequoia in 1948 by Wan Chun Cheng and Hu Hsen Hsu. In 1948, the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University sent an expedition to collect seeds and, soon after, seedling trees were distributed to various universities and arboreta worldwide for growth trials.
It’s an impressive presence at the front of the garden, jutting up into the sky quite magnificently. Here are a few pics: