Garden in a Quarry

  • Nature, Animals & Parks
  • 2007

Andrew Hodges developed oil and gas fields in Louisiana, then became interested in the cutover timberlands of northwest Louisiana, from which all the virgin longleaf pine trees had been harvested, and the land abandoned. In the 1930s he purchased 107,000 acres of clear-cut and had thousands of pine seedlings planted there, earning himself the title “Father of Forestry” in the region. In the midst of this land was an abandoned stone quarry. Hodges and his wife Nina were attracted to its romantic setting, and built themselves a residence there and began planting gardens amidst the rock of the quarry terraces. They created a large man-made lake, and became obsessed with beautifying the picturesque location. In 1957 they opened the property for public garden visits, hiking, fishing, horse riding, and camping, with a nonprofit organization overseeing operations. In 2007, the Hodges Foundation donated 948 lushly landscaped acres, including the unusual stone-quarry gardens and 225-acre lake, to become the newest Louisiana state park—Hodges Gardens.

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