|Old Dog and Lady Joyce Boyd|
Dewitt “Old Dog” and Lady Joyce Boyd had eight children and gave each one a little porcelain person to play with. Naturally, they needed a place for the porcelain people to live, so the couple began building little castles, roads, houses — even a church. At the end of their “game,” the couple would light up the village with candles.
I know what you’re thinking. Gee, that’s sweet but how is this news?
When you walk through the archway of the whimsical Rock Garden in Calhoun, the acre of the couple’s artistry will blow you away, because there are 50 buildings created behind the Calhoun Seventh-day Adventist Church, including a miniature replica of Paris’ Notre Dame cathedral complete with stained glass windows. There's also Cinderella’s castle, a lighthouse, monastery, a recreation of Bethlehem, places where people can even fit into and much, much more. It’s all created from cement and wire and accented by broken glass and china, ceramic tiles, pebbles and shells and odd pieces of found materials.
It's one of those places you have to see to believe. It's that special. It's that incredible!
In addition to kids young and old visiting to enjoy this fantasy land, the couple got a grant to build a gazebo and people come here to be married (including the Boyds). For those who choose the site for a wedding, their name goes on the memory wall inside a walled space that's as spiritual as it's fantastical.
And all around and above the sweet little buildings are whispering trees, endless blooms, visiting birds and there’s a brook at the back of the property. Sometimes the water flows over into the village and that's okay, Old Dog Boyd said. It's all part of the fun, for he wants children to visit and play. His grandchildren, he says, love to splash in the creek and look for creatures such as baby snapping turtles.
“This is my Ph.D.,” Boyd said of his creations with art and nature. “I love flowers. I love being outside. And I love trees, especially the redbud tree. It (his folk art) is very compatible with nature."
Now, here's where it gets even better. Beginning at 7:10 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 1, 2017, the couple will light up the garden with hundreds of candles for the annual Lighting of the Rock Garden. It's so popular, the event attracted 1,100 people last year.
The Rock Garden is open from dawn to dusk daily without charge. Donations accepted.
Cheré Coen is a food and travel writer who loves a fun Southern story, especially the artistic people who live here. She could have spent hours at the Rock Garden.