Eddie Mannis opens his garden for Dogwood Arts

Tracy Haun OwensWest Knox

Prominent Knoxvillian Eddie Mannis makes good use of the garden at his 1925 Stickley Arts and Crafts home on Kingston Pike. He’s hosted galas for Knox Heritage, Dogwood Arts, Leadership Knoxville and more. He welcomes family gatherings and private celebrations for friends. But its best purpose is a place for peace and serenity.

“It’s very calming,” Mannis says.

English laurel adds an Old World ambience to the garden.

An expanse of green and white flora is broken by a few deep purples and blues, as the garden moves from the courtyard at the back of the house down multiple terraces and climbs back up, with a number of delights along the way. Throughout, there are intimate spots for contemplation or conversation.

Mannis’ garden is one of the featured spring gardens for Dogwood Arts 2018. It will be open to the public Saturday, April 14, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday, April 15, from noon to 5 p.m.

When he bought the place in 2004, it had a long, sloping lawn. There was no way to put a traditional garden into the landscape, so he and the landscape designer, Julie Cooper, came up with the concept of terraced levels. That then inspired the sense of moving through different rooms or tableus within the garden.

A fragrant akebia quinata, or chocolate vine, is part of a chain pergola across the courtyard at the top of the garden.

They began their work in 2006 and went over designs together for a few months before ever turning the dirt. Mannis installed the garden in about three different phases and is currently redesigning the northeast quadrant, where he lost an older tree last year.

“People ask if the garden is finished,” Mannis says. “But is a garden ever finished?”

Mannis and Cooper took the idea of an “Old English garden” as their jumping-off point, and it keeps an Old World-feel throughout, with a chain pergola of flowering vines across the courtyard and rings of English laurel crowning the structures near the oversize fireplace at the bottom of the garden.

“When you get to the back of the garden, you really could be anywhere,” Mannis says.

For more information, visit http://www.dogwoodarts.com/2017-featured-gardens/.

The multi-terraced garden is filled with conversation spots.

A before photo, c. 2004

Looking to the house from the first garden level

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