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Ah, the garden at Federal Hill!

It looks nothing like the above photo illustration!

The caption states: "The garden in rear of Old Kentucky Home near Bardstown, "In Old Kentucky" -- where Stephen Collins Foster wrote "My Old Kentucky Home."

On the message part of the card, lies some absolutely hysterical fiction:

"While visiting here in August 1852, Stephen Collins Foster, author of many popular negro melodies, wrote "My Old Kentucky Home." Located 38 miles south of Louisville and 3/4 of a mile east of Bardstown, this house, now a state shrine, is a replica of Independence Hall where the Declaration of Independence was signed. Mingling with the slaves inspired Foster to write his songs and visiting the grave of his cousin caused him to write "Massa's in De Cold, Cold Ground."

At right, you'll find an image of Independence Hall. See any similarity (other than both were built from brick)??


Obviously, the fellow writing the copy for the postcard either decided to pass along some other Rowan/Foster folklore, or linked the two buildings' appearance.

To the copywriter's credit, Independence Hall originally did not have the tower you see from the view at right, and perhaps Federall Hill may have resembled the Philadelphia landmark -- as would any period two-story home.

According to the National Park Service's Web site, Independence Hall really wasn't really recognized as anything special until the country was nearing its 50th birthday in 1826.

Would John Rowan have built a monument to Independence Hall? Unlikely.

But back to Federal Hill and its garden!

Today, the garden paths aren't fieldstone, but are tightly woven brick pavers. Formal flower beds were established and annuals planted -- lots of nice herbs and other greenery. The garden also had some open green grassy areas and fruit trees, surrounded by a large hedge that was quite pretty -- and required a lot of trimming.

Not shown in the Federal Hill photo at top is the carriage house and bathrooms added in the 1950s. The side of the carriage house has a rose arbor that faces toward you in this view, and it holds the most fragrant and beautiful roses ... until the Japanese beetles hit them.

One garden walk goes straight down the middle of the garden, as shown above. Another crosses it in the middle of the garden at a right angle. A walk also borders the edge of the garden. It's beautiful!

Also of note, an orchard of sorts was added to the western side of the garden (on the left side, looking at the photo above), which included a wide variety of fruit trees and walkways filled with mulch.

During the years I was at the Park, prior to the Kentucky Derby, begonias were planted down the main walk of the garden. They took a lot of watering during the summer, as they were hit by nearly constant sun. And during drought conditions, it seemed not even constant watering could keep them from wilting.

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