The New Orleans Town Gardeners Library wouldn’t bestow the honor of “Number One Garden Lady in the State” to just anyone. But a garden journal spanning 40 years of restoration might be just the thing, as is the case with Genevieve Munson Trimble, proprietor of the lovely Afton Villa plantation and its gardens in St. Francisville. Neil Odenwald, the head of Louisiana State University’s Landscape Architecture School, also helped restore the nearly 250 acres of garden and gave a monthly report on them for 40 years. Late last year, Trimble handed over this life’s work to the Southeastern Architectural Archive Library, housed at Tulane University, to be copied and archived. With the help of archivist Keli Rylance, The New Orleans Town Gardeners garden club, a member of the Garden Club of America, incorporated photographs of the garden, Odenwald’s monthly reports and a history of the plantation. When all was finished, copies were given to Tulane University, Louisiana State University and the Smithsonian. This tremendous feat was recognized on November 20, 2008, at a reception for about 100 people, held at Tulane’s Architectural Archive. Trimble, now 84, gave a speech about the importance of posterity, and also spoke of Afton Villa’s original owner. In addition to donating one of the bound catalogued books to the Tulane library, she also donated her original journals, both of which library committee co-chair Ruth Frierson said have enhanced the library dramatically, and also led others to donate volumes to the library as well.
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