Known professionally as an innovator in orthopedic medicine, the late Dr. Gus Frye was revered by his colleagues all around the country. But, moreover, he was beloved by his family and countless friends in the community he called home for decades.
Since his death three years ago at 94, his memory has lived on in the hearts of the thousands of patients he treated; in the hearts of his children and grandchildren; and in the heart of his beloved Eleanor, who enjoyed his company in marriage for six decades.
With each passing year, the family's memories of Dr. Frye have grown fonder and warmer. And, with each year the splendid garden that Eleanor Frye planted to honor her husband grows more lavish with its array of evergreen conifers and shade-loving wildflowers, which are situated beneath a canopy of mature hardwoods.
A spry 97-year-old lady, Eleanor Frye transformed a craggy Lookout Mountain hillside into a lush, intricate garden full of rare and beautiful specimen plantings.
Well-known Lookout Mountain landscape architect and garden expert Jimmy Stewart knows the Frye garden well, and has nothing but praise for Mrs. Frye's artistic vision. For years, Stewart explains, Mrs. Frye had been an avid collector of day lilies.
"But, in recent years she became enamored with the vision of creating a garden with more permanent, structured 'bones,' utilizing the many textures, colors and configurations of evergreen conifers," says Stewart, the man who helped Mrs. Frye realize her vision.
Mr. Stewart, who made a legendary career in garden design in some of the tonier neighborhoods of Atlanta, and later in our area, says Mrs. Frye's garden is an exquisite sight to behold in any season. With its unique specimen evergreens accented by a myriad of blooming shrubs, perennials and showy ground covers, Stewart says this garden is a true gem, a one-of-kind paradise 12 months a year.
Through Mrs. Frye's generosity, her paradise garden will be open to the public as a fundraiser to benefit the Chattanooga Area Food Bank this Saturday (10 a.m. to 6 p.m.) and Sunday (1-6 p.m.). Tickets may be purchased at the garden for $20. Price of admission also includes other gardens around town, such as Shirley and Johnny McMasters in Harrison; Janet Wasetis in North Chattanooga; Stephanie and Mike Payne in Hixson; The Evelyn Davenport Navarre Teaching and Enabling Garden; The Chattanooga Arboretum and Nature Center; and the Fair Share Garden at Hope for the Inner City in East Chattanooga.
Maeghan Jones, president of the Chattanooga Area Food Bank said, “The Garden Tour is a wonderful chance to expose our community to the hard work that goes in and the pleasure that comes out of gardening. We are excited to showcase the seven gardens included on this year’s tour and we are thankful to the gardeners for allowing us to enjoy the fruits of their labor.”