Hours: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday with garden open daily from dusk to dawn
Address: 458 Jefferson St., Clarkesville
More info: 706-754-2220
Sarah Samsel does not say much, but her handiwork speaks volumes.
The 22-year-old woman is the gatekeeper of the garden at Mauldin House in Clarkesville. She tends to each flower and tree with care. She pulls weeds, waters plants and spreads mulch.
It’s a job she started doing as a volunteer from the time she was 10 years old. About 2« years ago, the city of Clarkesville hired her to continue the work.
“I like the variety of the different things we get to do, between the weeding and the mulching,” Samsel said. “And it’s nice being able to talk to people in the community when we’re working on the square or the garden.”
She keeps the garden in tip top condition for the hundreds of visitors who cross the threshold of the historic Victorian cottage at 458 Jefferson St. in Clarkesville. In fact, Mauldin House’s garden is listed as one of the stops on Explore Georgia’s North Georgia Garden Trail, making it a must-see for any garden enthusiast.
The garden is open year-round. In the spring and summer, it showcases a colorful cornucopia of flowers of all shades and sizes including rare and native flowers. In the fall, it is a postcard-worthy picture of the changing colors of falling leaves. In the winter, the garden may lay dormant, but the house is adorned with Christmas decor.
“We try to keep it nice year-round,” Samsel said.
Winding brick paths lead visitors through the garden and around the house, according the Clarkesville website (www.clarkesvillega.com.) The colorful arrangement along with the late 19th century architecture of the house has made the house and gardens a regular backdrop for portraits. Many families with children stop by the garden for Easter pictures, while soon-to-be high school graduates pose for senior photos.
“This particular spot in town is very popular for photography,” said Clarkesville Main Street Manager Mary Beth Horton. “Lots of people get their kids’ pictures made here.”
Horton also sees people start a walking tour of Clarkesville from her office inside the house. Mauldin House doubles as the city’s Visitors’ Center.
“I think folks just like to come here because of the pretty garden,” Horton said. “It’s sort of a peaceful getaway, and there’s a historic significance to it.”
The one-story house was built in 1880 and owned by A.M. Mauldin, according to the Clarkesville website (www.clarkesvillega.com). He gave the property to his son, Oscar McClain Mauldin, in his will. The younger Mauldin married Margaret Rebecca Niebur, who moved to Clarkesville to open a millinery or hat shop in the Barron Building. Since it was common to have a home and shop next to each other, the Mauldins moved the hat store next to their home, which was deemed the Little Pink Cottage.
The Barron Building, a smaller version of the original home, still sits on the property today and serves as a hat museum. Its shelves display more than 190 hats today.
Since the beginning, the Mauldin family owned the home at the corner of Jefferson and East Water Streets. In the 1990s, the house and property were deeded to the city.
“The gardens and the house were original to this piece of land,” Horton said. “At one point, (the house) served as the Chamber of Commerce. When the chamber moved out, it became just the visitors’ center for Clarkesville.”
Since then, the property has been cultivated into beautiful gardens, she said.
“(That) is what people have sort of come to love about Clarkesville,” Horton said. “It’s almost like a little oasis outside of town and off of the main street.”
So for flower enthusiasts looking to stop and smell the roses or any other flower and soak in a piece of history, Maudlin House might be right up your alley.