A Country-French Garden with Rooted Inheritance


Text by Vicki Ingham / Photography by Mac Jamieson and Sarah Arrington

The Cornay’s Country-French garden blooms with legacy plants from two families in a fragrant and colorful celebration of heritage.

It takes a special kind of person to appreciate inheriting a 100-year-old peony bush, but Dr. Cornay comes from a long line of plant enthusiasts. His maternal great-grandmother was so fond of a particular Old-English-style rose that she packed a few cuttings in her bags when she emigrated from France. His father’s aunt was a founder of the Louisiana Iris Society and creator of the Katherine L. Cornay iris. So when Cornay and his wife, Elizabeth, inherited her grandmother’s house and garden, he was more prepared than most to appreciate the property’s wealth: a collection of perennials and native Alabama plants that Elizabeth’s grandparents had lovingly developed for some 50 years. Today, confederate jasmine and climbing roses frame the doors to the house and fill the air with a heavenly scent in spring and summer.