Discover Middle Georgia: Lockerly Arboretum

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MILLEDGEVILLE, Georgia. (41NBC/WMGT) – Middle Georgia is home to many museums and natural surroundings, but one location in Baldwin County combines them both.

Tucked away in a line of trees lies Milledgeville’s own tree museum.

Lockerly Arboretum features 50 acres of gardens, walking trails, a pond and a home that is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Rose Hill was built by a local judge in 1852. It is an intact example of greek revival architecture.

The home and 20 acres of surrounding property was later purchased by E.J. Grassman, a man from New Jersey who owned kaolin companies and needed a retreat for his corporate executives.

Grassman was not only a businessman but also an amateur horticulturist.

Jennifer Pollard, Executive Director of Lockerly Arboretum says Grassman traveled the world for business and “would take clippings of interesting plants that he would find and he would bring them back to [Lockerly] and plant them.”

Lockerly now has thousands of different species of trees around the property.

Pollard mentions that while many plants in the garden are labeled, all of them will be labeled in a few years.

When Grassman passed away in the early 1970’s, he left behind instructions and funds in his will to create Lockerly Arboretum.

The arboretum also features a four acre conifer garden, an azalea and viburnum collection as well as a camellia collection – making Lockerly a stop on the Georgia Camellia Trail.

Inside the Woods Museum, there are many educational displays to teach visitors more about horticulture practices.

Lockerly Arboretum serves the community as a public garden, and the community serves the arboretum. Aside from four full-time employees who work at Lockerly, the grounds are also maintained by a few college students and local volunteers.

Pollard notes that “Mr. Grassman loved Milledgeville and Baldwin county, and he wanted Lockerly to be a gift to this community that he loved.” In honor of Grassman’s gift to the town, the arboretum remains free and open to the public.

There is a three dollar fee for a self guided tour of Rose Hill, but access to the gardens is completely free of charge.

On September 8, the arboretum will host its signature fundraising event: Lockerly Under the Stars. There will be dinner and dancing on the central meadow and what Pollard calls the “best silent auction in town.”

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  Kristen Kennedy joined the 41NBC First Alert Storm Team in May 2016. Kristen is not new to the state of Georgia - she was born and raised in Roswell, just north of Atlanta. Kristen developed a passion for weather at an early age - as early as the third grade! Her excitement and interest in meteorology continued throughout her years of higher education. Kristen graduated Summa Cum Laude from Mississippi State University, where she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Geosciences, concentrating in Professional Meteorology with Broadcast Emphasis. She also has a minor in Broadcast Communications. In college, Kristen was a member of the broadcast meteorology program's Campus Connect Forecast where she produced and recorded forecasts weekly, reported weather hits for radio, wrote forecast updates for the student newspaper and worked extensively on social media. She also won 2nd Place in the College Mississippi Associated Press Broadcasters awards banquet for the Best College Weathercast. Aside from her time forecasting the weather in college, Kristen also interned at WSB-TV, a local news station in Atlanta, during the summer of 2015. When she's not monitoring weather conditions, Kristen is probably talking or watching sports. She grew up watching her brothers play and even got involved in a few sports herself. Kristen loves college football, though she is biased towards the SEC. She notes that Saturdays down south in the fall are arguably some of the best days of the year. She has always been an Atlanta Braves fan, and she also enjoys watching the Atlanta Falcons and the Atlanta Hawks battle it out against their opponents. Kristen also loves the outdoors and exploring new locations to hammock with a view. She constantly has an eye to the sky, and eagerly awaits sunset each day - hoping for a colorful sky to capture with her camera. She is excited to finally experience some beautiful sunrises now that she's working the morning side of the day. You can catch Kristen's forecasts daily on 41 Daybreak from 5-7 AM and on 41 Today at 11 AM.