Dr. Bob Gold and his late wife Judy made plans for years to purchase the land behind their Dunwoody home simply to extend their backyard so they could entertain more. The Golds were unable to purchase the land; however, their neighbors Suzanne and Patrick Conreaux did.
The Conreauxes originally planned to leave most of it unfinished and extend part of their backyard. They knew they wanted to eventually grow something on it but did not know at the time. Gold approached them with the plans he and his wife had drawn up.
“Bob approached us one night after he learned we had purchased the land,” Patrick said. “After having the plans on our kitchen table one night, we fell in love with the idea.”
The secret garden, as Gold and the Conreauxes like to call it, is in memoriam to Gold’s late wife Judy. It is private and meant mainly for those whose homes are adjacent to it, but in the spirit of Judy, Patrick said it is meant to be shared with others.
“I don’t think we started out thinking it would be dedicated,” Patrick said. “As things went underway, without question, we decided it needed to be dedicated to Judy because of the spirit she brought to the community.”
Gold said it will be maintained by all who wanted to have access. An English-designed tool shed will house equipment needed to maintain the landscape. The appearance of the garden is young since the ground breaking did not start until this past January.
The layout is similar to many private community gardens in England. Before her death, Judy and Gold actually came up with the idea for the garden from a scene in the movie “Notting Hill” where the actress sneaks into one of the secret gardens.
“I have been to London,” Suzanne said. “There are ivied gates all over with signs that say ‘no admittance unless resident’ or ‘only people who live here’ and you see this kind of space. In ‘Notting Hill,’ the actress says she is going to sneak in.”
Patrick added they are not encouraging the residents of Dunwoody to trespass into private gardens — he said it was just a memorial scene from the movie.
The goal of the garden is that as more people learn about it, it brings excitement and desire for others to take a piece of dead land and create their own secret garden.