The first reference to ornamental flowers on the Weeks’ property was in August 1827 when Mary Weeks requested flower seed from family members in Bayou Sarah, Louisiana. Gardening remained an important topic of letters between Mary and her daughter Harriet “Allie”.
The gardens today would have been very different with chickens, livestock, and vegetable gardens on the surrounding acreage. Weeks Hall, Mary’s great-grandson, established today’s gardens during the restoration of the house starting in 1923.
"It must be understood that there is not a single planting or plant on the entire place which has not studiedly been put in its particular position…no matter how accidental it may look to the unpracticed eye.”- W. Weeks Hall, 1940
Weeks Hall hired Richard Koch of New Orleans to restore the Shadows. Recognizing Hall’s love of his gardens, Koch built the Summer House as a gift for Hall in 1928. The Summer House has become a focal point in the gardens, its arches imitating the ones on the rear façade of the Shadows.
“I am indebted to Richard Koch for everything which has been done in almost twenty years at the Shadows.” – W.Weeks Hall, 1940
Weeks Hall and Richard Koch at the Summer House
Funding for this exhibit made possible by a grant supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the National Trust for Historic Preservation.